With its white sand beaches, tropical sea life, lagoons and romantic 'over-water' villas, Kuredu Island in the Maldives sounds ideal for a honeymoon – but how does it shape up? Ask a honeymoon couple
The 40-minute seaplane journey from Hulhule, Male International Airport was nothing short of spectacular. As a nervous flyer, I was amazed to find myself gazing constantly in awe at the many islands and stunning coral reefs scattered sporadically across the Indian Ocean. As the seaplane made its final descent 80 miles further on, we were treated to a superb panoramic view of the whole of Kuredu Island. Landing in the sea was a lot smoother than I had anticipated. It is not just a different way to kick off your holiday, but also a great deal of fun.
On leaving the plane, we were greeted by friendly and courteous staff who welcomed us with a refreshing local cocktail. The Island motto is "No news, no shoes" – and unless you utilise the resort's Wi-Fi hotspots or TV room, you are unlikely to hear much of the latest news until you return home.
Where to stay
My new wife and I stayed on the western side of the island, in the excellent Sangu Resort – run by the same company as Kuredu Island Resort, and effectively the more exclusive part of it. We upgraded our accommodation to spend our two-week honeymoon in a Sunset Water Villa – and we were delighted by the decision. Equipped with a four-poster bed, a two-tier sun deck and what felt like our very own sea life constantly swimming around our villa, it was the ideal base to start every morning (especially with the Champagne breakfast option) and watch every magical sunset.
What to do
We chose to alternate our days on Kuredu between active and chilled-out. First up, we embarked on our very first snorkelling adventure. After an initial (free) introductory lesson, we dived into the lagoon and encountered sea turtles feeding, baby reef sharks learning to hunt, small rays and a stunning array of tropical fish. Kuredu is famous for being one of the elite places to dive, but even rank amateurs like us could enjoy snorkelling in the shallows.
A few days later, we took advantage of the (free) hour-long Sunset boat tour which offered a good opportunity for the budding camera enthusiasts aboard to take great shots of the sun as it dipped into the sea. Seeing dolphins was virtually guaranteed by the boat's crew – and we weren't disappointed. A seat at the bow of the boat provides the best viewing point.
Other action-based highlights included teaching my wife to swing a golf club for the first time on the driving range – and discovering she was rather good!
How to chill out
Despite the variety of activities on offer, we also whiled away many an hour soaking up the November sunshine on the beach and by the swimming pools. Many guests take the opportunity to stand in front of the live poolside webcam (www.kuredu.com/community/default.aspx) and wave back home to family and friends who had no doubt been given the web link in advance in order to make them jealous!
We found that a slow walk around the 3km-long Island was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours, stopping off every now and then to point out a new type of fish you hadn't yet seen, or just marveling at the natural beauty of the Island and its surroundings. In the late afternoon, when the tide was right, we ventured out a few hundred yards into waist-deep water to reach a sandbank that seemed to part the Indian Ocean. We were able to walk along the thin strip of sand for about a quarter of a mile. A few days earlier, we had witnessed others taking the same walk – an odd sight, since they appeared to be walking on water in the middle of the ocean! If you want to take photographs of Kuredu from this angle, remember to take a camera that is waterproof.
Another favourite pastime was walking to the Sai Kotari tea house at the end of the harbour, to sip "coffee cocktails" as the sun set. As the light began to fade, the tea house lights shone into the sea, attracting a mass of fish to watch.
Where to eat and drink
Sangu Restaurant was our allocated and preferred place for a buffet (all-inclusive), but we also had the option to eat in the other main restaurants – Koamas Restaurant and 'O' Restaurant. It was great to be able to vary our mealtime venues, and we also paid extra on a couple of occasions to eat at two of the à la carte restaurants. The Beach serves mouthwatering BBQ steaks and a healthy selection of fresh seafood dishes for dinner, while Franco's offers high-quality Italian dining in the evening but also serves late breakfasts, pizzas, pastas, burgers and sandwiches throughout the day.
We were also impressed by the seven bars on Kuredu. The Babuna Bar is the main bar where a variety of evening entertainment takes place. During our stay, we joined in with traditional dancing, listened to local bands and watched Maldivian craftsmen get creative with coconut trees. For a quieter evening, Akiri Bar and Sangu Bar play background music and offer more secluded seating areas in which to enjoy each other's company.
Kuredu Island is a perfect blend of entertainment, relaxation and romance. You can indulge in local cuisine, then work off the calories in the Island gym – or unwind with a spa treatment and watch the local volleyball team play. In our view, Kuredu is the most romantic island in the world.