Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Holiday Island Resort & Spa – Maldives


Hues of blue dominated the scene as I got off from the boat. The clear azure water and the cerulean sky were in perfect harmony, sandwiching the picturesque island. It was the Maldives that we were all dreaming about. Tropical paradise, achieved.

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.

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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 Maldives
Holiday Island Resort & Spa
Holiday Island Resort Maldives
My favorite shot
It was around nine in the morning when we arrived at the resort. Early morning sun worshippers and beach frolickers dominated the powdery white sand. We were dropped at the boardwalk and were assisted to the reception area. At that moment, I still couldn’t believe that I was actually in one of my dream destinations. Seeing the paradise-like image that I often see on computer wallpapers is pure bliss

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.

Holiday Island Resort Maldives
Boardwalk from the jetty to the island resort
Holiday Island Resort Maldives
Clear azure waters of Indian Ocean
It was too early for check in but they accommodated us and were brought to our villas after lounging on the reception area for some good twenty minutes while sipping on a refreshing welcome drink. We asked for our villas to be close to each other which were gladly provided (check discounted rates here).



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.



The en suite toilet and bath was huge with an old ensemble of bathtub, marbled flooring, and an old school washlet. There’s also an outdoor shower area wherein you could experience an outside bath with privacy provided by a concrete fence. Bathroom amenities with old school hair dryer were also available.



Holiday Island Resort Maldives
Superior Beach Bungalow
Holiday Island Resort Maldives
Private veranda overlooking the beach
We relaxed a bit and then lounged on the seating area on our private veranda. I was thinking of lounging on the sun beds when I realized that the scenery was too beautiful to just stay at the comforts of our villa. We all then decided to have a stroll around the island.


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.

We had an afternoon of just pure happiness as we took a dip on the clear water and talked endlessly about anything and everything under the Maldivian sun.

Holiday Island Resort Maldives
Define clarity
Holiday Island Resort Maldives
My favorite twins in the world!
We had buffet dinner at the Main Restaurant (all meal plans for the resort are exclusively served at this restaurant) and that night, the theme was Barbecue. We enjoyed an international dinner spread of barbecued ribs, pasta, salads, and more. What struck me was that we had our own assigned table and whatever bottled water or anything that was left from the past meal was ready at the same table for the next meal.

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.

We retired early that night with hopes of good weather and fun times the next day.

Holiday Island Resort Maldives
Almost deserted
Maldives Bird
Somebody decided to chill with us
I woke up in a very good mood the next morning. The sun was shining at its best and we had breakfast (which was included on the stay) at the Main Restaurant. International breakie favorites were on the buffet spread but I still chose to have mashuni and roshi from the local Maldivian breakfast section. Pastries and sausages also filled my plate, I know, weird combo. 

Maldives Food
Mashuni and roshi 
My staple breakfast during our weeklong Maldives adventure
We decided to have a daytrip to nearby Sun Island Resort & Spa, sister resort of Holiday Island Resort & Spa, which can be availed for free by the in-house guests. 

Sun Island Resort Maldives
I never missed land transportation during those times
The five-minute ride was smooth and we met some Filipinos working at the resort when we arrived. A friend, also from the Philippines, was also there to meet us and show us around. Kat is working as a part-time yoga instructor at the resort during weekends, cool eh?

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.



Sun Island Resort Maldives
The famous water bungalows of Maldives - Sun Island Resort & Spa
Sun Island Resort Maldives
Tropical paradise
We had some access cards that were used as credit cards should we want to avail of something that will be charged directly to our home resort. We had beers, afternoon tea (buffet) and more. It was like we went there to indulge and enjoy the resort amenities. 



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.


Sun Island Resort Maldives
Our friends raided the Maldives leg of our #BeachHopAsia2016 backpacking trip
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: info@holiday-island.com.mv





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