One of the most exciting things to plan amidst all the madness of the wedding planning was definitely a serene getaway honeymoon. Bearing in mind, my husband and I had met less times than fingers I have on my hand (hint: I have the standard five!) and had only known each other for six months, I wanted the honeymoon to be perfect.
With a lot of discussions, review checking and sky scanning, we opted for the beautiful blue waters of the Maldives – a dream we both shared. We did originally look into the Seychelles but with prices starting from £8k, we knew that was well out of our budget. Ok so we had picked Maldives, but which of the exotically sounding 154 tourist resorts did we want to go to? We spoke to several relatives that had been, all with glowing reviews and beaming smiles as they reminisced. We heard tails of exotic garden villas on the beach, to luxurious hot tub villas over the water.
Upon first research, we ruled out many islands that clearly offered a luxurious experience with high-end price tags – looked amazing but not for us. We decided that an indoor bathroom was definitely priority, I did not want to be stepping on creepy crawlies in the middle of the night! I scoured the good old Internet and came across Bandos and boy am I glad I did! With the same white sandy beaches and blue green seas, I was in awe.
Having read over the whole seaplane vs speedboat debates online, I was so happy to read that Bandos was only 8km from Male airport – a 20 ish minute speedboat ride away. This was perfect for me as I wanted the last leg of our already long journey to be quick.
After having booked the package with a local travel agent, I excitedly counted down the days. We went from London Heathrow to Male with a brief 1 hour 45 minute stopover in Abu Dhabi.
Upon arrival at the airport, it was really easy to find the Bandos stand (most of them are all lined up) and we were greeted and told that we would be waiting for a few more passengers from various flights before making our way to the speedboat. Stepping out into the glorious February sun, as the heat enveloped my entire being, I felt a tiny sense of relief, the rest of my relief was reserved for when we checked in.
The speedboat was a quick and smooth journey with some stunning views of the surrounding islands, sea for as far as the eye could see, and extraordinary coral life. We were given complimentary water bottles and a life jacket to buckle up. I remember the sheer bliss on my husband’s face as he took in the sights and the salty sea smell.
We were helped off the speedboat and our luggage was taken care of, I still kept an eye on it as I am super paranoid! At the hotel lobby, we were given warm towels and amazing cold iced teas and greeted with lots of smiles. We were soon checked into our Classic Room, a short walk from reception. As we opened the door, I stood to see my husband’s reaction to the special surprise of the bed decor that I had organised, long leaves spelt out a message to him.
Much to our delight, the room was spacious, clean and well stocked. We loved that we were a short walk away from the restaurants and reception area but also hidden away from any ruckus of any passerby. By this time it was late afternoon so we showered, unpacked and napped.
Our first dinner was a feast for all senses! Endless choice of fruits, breads, meats, fish and sides. Oh and the desserts, they all looked so good, we were spoilt for choice. Every day from then on, we were treated to copious variety of food, each a joy on the tongue. We also discovered a sandwich station at lunch which was made to your liking, an egg station at breakfast (we only managed to wake up on time the once – oops!) and a stunning meat/fish station in the evening. I would definitely recommend the sandwiches, the hot desserts and the smoothie shooters! We preferred to wake up later, pray and then eat lunch. Then we’d chill for a bit, go for a walk, see the sunset, pray and go for a leisurely dinner.
We browsed through the entertainment menu and attended the adjacent bar (the entertainment was in an open area wayyy away from the actual bar) to see whatever took our fancy, mostly the Maldivian night with eclectic dances and banging drums. We also attended when a live singer was there, and saw a movie night and kids’ entertainment was also on the agenda.
Eager to do at least one excursion, we settled on the early morning glass bottom boat ride (the only morning we made it to breakfast). This was an experience not to be missed. We learnt so much on this excursion and saw countless variety of life in the sea. The changing hues of blues and the calming rock of the boat made this one to remember.
Another thing I was adamant to check out was the spa, I had heard amazing things about the massages, and whilst on the pricier side, I just HAD to go! I booked us in for a pre-dinner couples massage. When we got to the spa which was hidden away like a retreat of it’s own, we were greeted with a cleansing tea and a form to fill out. On the walk to the private hut, my husband and I shot glances at each other, excited but trying not to expect too much. We were pleasantly surprised to have our feet delicately washed as we entered. The most stunning decor awaited us inside, with bold brass ornaments and a brass bathtub in the centre of the room, the crowning glory. We were left alone to undress and made ourselves comfortable on the massage beds. After an hour, which felt like a blink of an eye, because we were enjoying it way too much, we were again given privacy to change back into our clothes. We were told we’d be met outside, so feeling like a new man and woman, we selected some sun loungers and rested. After a few minutes, we were given the most sweetest melon I had ever had with another flavour tea.
As part of our all inclusive package, we had a two hour free kayaking session. Now, I’m all for trying something once an even more for getting our money’s worth! So I convinced my dubious husband, and we booked a slot. We initially thought we would only be there for half an hour max but we actually enjoyed it (even though we couldn’t coordinate to row properly!) and spent most of our time slot out in the water. Also part of our package was afternoon tea in the Sea Breeze Cafe which we occasionally tried, also boasting stunning ocean views, yummy iced coffees and cookies and cheesecakes – something I wish we did more of but we often wanted to leave space for dinner.
The whole island took us around 45 minutes to walk around, discovering remote areas of the beach and pretty ornaments along the way. The best thing was that my husband and I truly cherished the moments of wedded bliss alone, just what we needed after a hectic wedding. My favourite was our daily walks, with the sea crashing into our ankles as we strolled hand in hand with idle chit chat. Our destination? A pier type restaurant called Huvan which had the most amazing mocktails (a select few included in our AI plan) but most of all, it had the most stunning view of the blazing red sunset – something I truly recommend. The first few times we saw it, we tried so hard to capture it on camera, but not a single picture did it justice, so instead, we used to enjoy it in the moment – a lifetime memory to cherish.
Our room was cleaned on a daily basis, with complimentary water, fresh towels and bedding. We also asked one man if there was a prayer timetable, and he directed us to the reception to get one printed, he also then left two prayer mats in our room the next time he cleaned. We were gifted with non-alcoholic champagne and a fruit platter, a welcome surprised which we thoroughly enjoyed.
I really enjoyed the food, the culture and the whole experience and would definitely, no doubt recommend the All Inclusive package. You have no worries of hidden costs, where in Maldives they add 10% service charge and 12% GST as common practice. I didn’t like the idea of having to worry about food and drink so this package worked out for us. I would also recommend taking snacks as if you do feel peckish, the chocolate in the gift shop was extortionately prices – £11 for a Toblerone bar – understandable as it’s imported but still crazy!
The people are absolutely lovely, the on-island mosque was immaculate with facilities for both men and women. There was also a games room with some games consoles, a pool table and a foosball table. – we sure did get competitive in here! There is a state of the art gym and outdoor swimming pool too! Definitely something for everyone, and worth the long haul flight 🙂
I would love to go back someday – maybe a ten year anniversary gift?