We're at the peak of our Beach Hop Asia 2016 two-month summer backpacking, and after hopping on to different islands in Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, me and my buddy were raided by three of our friends for the Maldives leg of the trip.
For the past few days, we had an overnight transit at Clear Sky Inn on the reclaimed island of Hulhumale (where the airport is) then transferred to the local island of Maamigili for five days of experiencing the Maldivian way of life. We also had a daytrip on a nearby island resort while staying at Maamigili. It was then when one of my friends suggested that we stay overnight on its sister resort, Holiday Island Resort & Spa. It's quite near where we're currently staying , and not to mention, it's relatively cheap.
Me and my buddy thoroughly discussed it, taking into consideration our meager budget. With the urging we got from our friends who were totally decided on staying at the resort for two nights, we agreed on going but just for a single night. My buddies were thrilled.
Holiday Island Resort is relatively far from the capital city of Male (check my Maldives Travel Guide for geographical references). You can either; take a domestic flight for approximately 20 minutes ($105 each person | one way) plus a two-minute speedboat transfer, book a seaplane ($400 per person | one way), or book a chartered private speedboat for 2 1/2 hours ($1,000 for up to 10 persons | one way) to get to the resort. In our case, since we were already at a nearby local island, we took the resort's two-minute speed boat transfer from Maamigili Island which was arranged by our gracious host from Whale Shark Inn.
|Holiday Island Resort & Spa|
|My favorite shot|
Holiday Island Resort & Spa is located on the South Ari Atoll. The elongated shape of the 700 meters long and 140 meters wide island is dotted with 142 Beach Bungalows with private terraces and a perfect view of the Indian Ocean. It started operating in 1994, and although the structures are a bit dated, the rustic charm of the island resort is still there. It isn’t difficult imagining long morning walks on the powdery white sand with different shades of blue in sight.
|Boardwalk from the jetty to the island resort|
|Clear azure waters of Indian Ocean|
There wasn’t any choice on the accommodation type as all of the villas are the same. Our Superior Beach Bungalow was huge and had an old school feel to it. There's a double-size bed, end tables with lamps, coffee table and chair, TV, coffee and tea-making facilities, fridge, individually-controlled air conditioning and ceiling fan, complimentary drinking water, in-room safe, satellite TV with cable channels, work desk, and ironing facilities.
|Superior Beach Bungalow|
|Private veranda overlooking the beach|
Circling the island wasn’t a bore. There were areas where you could frolic all day on the sand and just do nothing. There were also some areas wherein you could have some water activities and some pampering time on the spa. Beach bars were also spotted.
|My favorite twins in the world!|
There was a band playing at the main lounge area after dinner. It signaled the party as the guests grooved with the music. I was betting at first that the guy who's singing is a Filipino. To answer my curiosity, my friend asked a staff about it which confirmed my early assumption. The singer was indeed a Filipino while the rest of the band were Maldivians. This made all of us proud of the great talent we have in entertainment scene.
|Somebody decided to chill with us|
|Mashuni and roshi |
My staple breakfast during our weeklong Maldives adventure
|I never missed land transportation during those times|
Sun Island Resort is grander in terms of size and facilities. They've got an infinity swimming pool (which is actually not needed when you have the great Indian Ocean to play around), water bungalows, shops, beach bars and more. Me and my buddy explored the island (with the help of the complimentary buggies) while our friends enjoyed the amenities.
|The famous water bungalows of Maldives - Sun Island Resort & Spa|
We went back to Holiday Island Resort & Spa very late and went straight to our villas. Me and my buddy were leaving the island to go back to Male while my friends stayed for another night.
It was fun, to experience that postcard image of Maldives with my friends. Our local island experience can't be compared to our island resort jaunt but the sun, sea and sand tropical paradise was achieved through our island resort adventures. Holiday Island Resort & Spa was quiet and tranquil while sun Island Resort & Spa was a party place. Good thing we both experienced it for the price of an overnight stay on the cheaper option.
Holiday Island Resort & Spa (check for discounted rates here)
Dhiffushi South, South Ari Atoll, Maldives
Email Address: email@example.com