Kuramathi Island Resort Review: A detailed Review and Guide, After Spending a Week as a Couple on Kuramathi Island, in Maldives, in 2017.
You may ask yourself where to stay in Maldives, and often Kuramathi Island Resort is on the top of the list. We have been in Kuramathi Island for one week as a couple, and we bring you a detailed review of what we liked, where there is room for improvement and how to save money and time if you plan to go to Maldives and Kuramathi Island.
General Information on Maldives, Local Islands, and Resort Islands.
Here is the big picture:
Maldives is a set of 1200 islands in the Indian Ocean. The local people, 400.000 Maldivians, live on 200 of these islands, 100 of the islands are occupied by hotel resorts and the rest 900 islands are uninhabited. The hotel resorts don’t own the islands they operate on; they just rent them from a local Maldivian who is, of course, the owner (lucky b@$%^^&).
So, let’s call the islands where local people stay, “the local islands” and the islands where hotel resorts exist, “the resort islands.”
In the local islands, you will not find big hotel chains. Up until some years ago, tourism was not allowed at all on local islands. But in the last 6-7 years, the government allowed the local people to open some “rent-a-room” facilities on the local islands. You will find them on Air-BnB with prices ranging from 60USD to 150 USD per night.
So, you may ask yourself: “Great! Then, why should I go to a resort island and pay 500 USD per night, when I can go to a local island and pay 60 USD per night?”
The answer is that yes, you could do that if you are short on budget. But it would not be the honeymoon or couple’s romantic experience you expect. You will be in a small room; you will not eat at excellent restaurants; the local islands are usually full of pollution and garbage on the roads; swimming on the beach for women is not permitted with a bikini as the locals are Muslims, and the religion prohibits bikinis on the beach (you should cover your shoulder and body). You get the idea. So, you must go to a resort island to experience the romantic part of Maldives. And of course, pay the hefty price.
Where to Stay in Maldives?
So here comes the next question. Ok, you convinced me that my wife would kill me if I take her to a local island. I will go to a resort island. But which one is the most suitable for me? And which ones are the best value for money?
Well, this is not an easy question. And it changes from year to year. But in general, Kuramathi and Kurumba islands, are two resort islands that have been operating for years, with a steady “performance” and medium budget. Of course, you can go to a resort island operated by Hilton, but you will have to pay two to three times more. This is the reason that Kuramathi Island resort is so famous and it has almost 3.500 reviews on TripAdvisor. Consider that the island of Kuramathi has only 450 villas, so in full capacity, it can host around 900 individuals.
What Other Facts are Important When Choosing an Island in Maldives?
Another two parameters that change the cost a lot when choosing an island in Maldives are:
- If you will go from Male to your resort island with a speed boat or with a hydroplane.
- If you will select the full-board or the all-inclusive food meal plan.
Regarding the transportation from Male to the resort islands, just think that a 20-minute flight with a hydroplane for one person, might cost 200 USD, so you could even pay 800 USD for two persons to go to from Male to the hotel and back. Using a speedboat the cost is significantly smaller, maybe 150USD in total for a 90 minutes trip and it is “included” in the hotel room price.
This is our review of the Kuramathi Island resort, after spending a week there as a couple in January 2017. We are going to discuss every part of the experience, from the very first moment we arrive at the airport of Male until the time that we left the country so that you can get an idea of what to expect.
Arriving at Male Airport.
Male is the capital of Maldives. And it is a small island. And Male has an airport. Which is also on an island around 1 mile away from Male.
There are many direct flights to Male Airport, from Europe and Asia but most flights arrive at the Male airport from Qatar, as a transit destination.
QATAR has a flight that leaves from Doha at 02:15 and it takes four and a half hours to arrive in Male. The airplane is big, with four rows in the middle and two on the right side and another two on the left side. The food served is lamb with rice or chicken with potatoes, and you can get free alcohol drinks such as Vodka, gin, whiskey. The seats at row 30 are on the exit, and they are very comfortable, especially on the two sides, right or left. ￼ They don’t give you any sleeping mask or ear protection, so make sure you bring your own. You just get a small pillow and a blanket. And the headphones for the movies. Interestingly the seats have USB ports, which comes handy for using your iPad or iPhone during the flight. To get the exit seats, you will not be able to book them via the QATAR web check-in, as they are not available there. The only solution is to go to the counter of QATAR in the airport, right when the check in starts and ask for the exit seats. Usually, Qatar starts the check-in 3 hours before the flight.
The Qatar airport is also very modern and clean. The toilets are great; it has quite A few shops where you can buy Moncler, Rimowa, Armani, Boss, etc. Moreover, it has some areas with very comfortable seats where you can get some nice rest or even sleep, as the seats have support for your legs. If you use Qatar airport as a transit airport, you should know that once you arrive, you must pass through security control. The lanes are fast, so it will not take more than 5 minutes. After the security control, you find the duty-free shops and the five gate areas for departures, A, B, C, D and E. In Maldives hotels accept various currencies but mainly US dollar. Make sure you have dollars with you and ask to get many one-dollar notes to use for tips at the hotel. We suggest around ten one-note dollars for every day you are staying.
At the Male Airport
The airport of Male is a small island next to Male. When you arrive at the airport of Male you have to pass through Passport control. You will need to fill in some details in the Maldives Immigration Arrival card. Make sure that you fill this in when you are on your flight to save some time. Otherwise, you will find these cards in the airport just before the passport control. There are not many pens so make sure you have one with you.! ￼ If you have filled in your arrivals card and you get out of your airplane quickly you will just spend five minutes to pass through the passport control. Else, you may end up waiting for 20 minutes in the long lines.
There are only six desks covering all passengers so this creates a bottleneck. There is a fast track desk but it is only for business and first class passengers. ￼ When you exit the airport you will see that there many kiosks with the hotel names on them. Kuramathi is number 5 kiosk. You will be greeted by a hotel representative and asked to fill in a registration form again, this time for the hotel. The speedboat leaves from the airport at 10:30 so you will be asked to sit on an outside table at the Burger King just one minute from the kiosk of Kuramathi. You will be picked up from there. Unfortunately, there is one speedboat to cover many different flights to Kuramathi so you may need to wait longer. It’s certainly not pleasant to waste your time in the airport but you have no other choice but to wait. You may need to wait even up to three hours! ￼ ￼
There is no air condition in the airport and the climate is hot and tropical. There are some fans trying to cool things off but without success. If you want to try an iced espresso or cold cappuccino while waiting for your speedboat, there is a coffee shop just opposite from Burger King which is called “the coffee club”. An iced espresso and a small 500ml bottle of water cost 5 USD. Everyone speaks English at the airport so you will not have a problem communicating. They also accept credit cards without an issue.
Male to Kuramathi with the speedboat
The speedboat leaves from a spot in the Male airport which is a short 3 minutes’ walk from the Burger King. Be careful while walking as the road is slippery due to water spray coming from the sea. The speedboat is quite big and comfortable but not a luxurious one. It can seat around 40 persons. You have a seat inside so you will not have an issue with the sun. It is also air conditioned which is a nice change from the area of the airport. Once seated you will be treated with a small bottle of water. If you grab a seat at the back of the speedboat you will have more room for your feet but it is noisier due to the engine’s noise. The view is more or less the same. There are big windows and you can enjoy the view. Outside. You cannot get outside of the boat at any time.
The first part of the trip is nothing spectacular. ￼ You will see a couple of small islands and many boats. The sea is dark blue. It doesn’t seem exotic or tropical. We would even say it looks polluted with all these old tankers sailing around.
After 80 to 90 minutes your speedboat will arrive at Kuramathi Island. Above you can see the Rasdhoo Island which is very close to Kuramathi. The boat stops just outside of the reception which lies on an open space below palm trees. The view of Kuramathi the first time you reach it is amazing.
Congratulations! You just arrived at a small tropical paradise in the midst of the Indian Ocean.
Arriving at Kuramathi Island
Upon your arrival, you get a seat in the reception and a lady from the reception will join you and will explain to you what you need to know about the island. You will hand her the registration form which you have completed at the airport of Male and any hotel room voucher you have with you. The whole discussion will take around 15 minutes. After that, you will be driven to your room with a buggy car. Your luggage will arrive separately 10 to 15 minutes later. Make sure you tip a couple of dollars to the boy that will bring it to your room.
About the Villa
Although we had booked the simplest type of villa room, we got upgraded for free to a deluxe beach villa with a jacuzzi. That was a pleasant surprise and well appreciated. The villa is spacious with a comfortable double bed and big windows that offer some view to the sea together with the plants in front of the villas. The ceiling is also quite high at around 4.5 meters which give a great feeling when you are inside the villa. The villa has an outside balcony with two long chairs where you can lie and enjoy the view to the sea. Here is the view from a beach villa to the sea. ￼ Upon your arrival, you get two complimentary bottles of water and some fruits. The bathroom is almost open, and you take a shower almost outside, which is fun. You will occasionally find some ants in the bathroom, but this is expected on a tropical island like Kuramathi. You will also see some small lizards in the room, but they are friendly and harmless.
A downside is that the Wi-Fi in the villa does not work. We did not manage to connect to it. If you need Wi-Fi access you need to go to the main reception. There is a 32-inch screen with satellite TV in English. It shows BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Fox, ESPN, Eurosport’s, HBO, TV5, DW, Sky News, Fox News, Premier League, star sports, Fox movies premium, WB, Zee Studio, Fox crime, star world, Cartoon Network, NFC wild, tru TV, RAI Italian, POCCNR RTP Russia, TVE, Comedy Central, Fox family, set max, Sony, Thai TV etc. There is also a hi-fi system for playing music.
The villa is air-conditioned however the temperature is fine even without air condition on. The power is 240 volts, and the socket is the English one with the three pins. If you haven’t brought adapters, you could ask one from the reception. There is a minibar with soft drinks and alcoholic beverages in the villa, but it is not free in the full board package. ￼ There is a safety box, a hairdryer and you can also give your clothes for laundry with an extra charge.
The villa is cleaned twice a day, and if you don’t want to be disturbed, you should hang the relevant label outside of your door. The quality of sleep is excellent. The mat and the pillows are soft and of high quality. You will not hear any noise during the evening. The ocean is the loudest sound you will hear. There are some mosquitoes during the night so bring a mosquito repellent with you. Nothing is too disturbing, though. An excellent solution for mosquitoes is to open the ceiling fan or the air condition during the evening.
Communicating with the rest of the world is pretty expensive in Kuramathi. Calling with your mobile phone in Europe costs 4.5 euros per minute and the cost of SMS is 0.5euros per SMS. Don’t even think about using data roaming. It costs 4euros per MB! Our advice is to contact your local mobile operator before going to Maldives and try to find a special package which allows you to pay e.g. 5 to 10 USD per day and keep on using your cell like you were back home. Otherwise, make sure you turn your data roaming off. You could try to connect to wifi.
Talking about the wifi, it is awful. You may try 30 times to connect while you are at your villa. It rarely works correct and you need a lot of patience. So don’t expect to be using Skype to talk back home all the time from your villa. The only place we managed to use Skype with a two-way video is the reception. The quality of the call was pretty good there. The wifi signal and internet connection is also good in the Laguna bar.
About Kuramathi Island ￼
The island is 1.8 Km long. You can walk from the one side to the other in twenty minutes. It is a small paradise. The island is full of palm trees and other beautiful plants. ￼ There is white sand on the beaches and the inside roads of the island are also sandy. ￼ There are only electrical vehicles on the island (except for an oil based tractor for collecting garbages) and you will hear no car noise on the island. It is quite heavily constructed. There are around 500 villas, many of them are water villas meaning they are built inside the sea. You can swim on the north side of the island which is sandy and does not have a reef.
The south side is only for snorkeling. At the left side of the island, there is a long 500meters strip of sand with just the ocean from the two sides of it. You can go there during the sunset or the sunrise to enjoy the magnificent views and scenery. The visitors of the island are coming 70 percent from Asia, and then you will see some Russians, Italians, British, Germans and a few Americans. Mostly couples in their honeymoon but there also older couples in their pension time and some families with kids. You don’t get the feeling that you are in a place packed with tourists, though.
About the Food: What is the difference between full-board, with all-inclusive plans.
There are three types of food packages you can have in Kuramathi. The Full board, the Basic all-Inclusive and the Platinum all inclusive which is the most expensive.
Full-board: you get access to one of the three restaurants that offer buffet meals; you will be actually given access to the one closest to you. You will have three buffets eats per dau, one in the morning for breakfast from 07:30 to 10:00, one in the noon for lunch from 12:30 until 14:00 and one in the evening for dinner from 19:30 to 21:30. The water and the drinks are not included. A 1lt of water and a small glass of beer cost 9.24 USD. The food at the buffets is ok. Not exceptional, not bad. For example, as a lunch buffet we got some pork, fish made with pepper and curry, steam rice, fussili arrabbiata, tomato salad, boiled squid, some fruits, and sweets. Moreover, the restaurants have specific theme buffets during the evening: spice and herbs, Tex-Mex, Italian, Asian etc. The food in the evening is much better than the food you get in the noon. You have unlimited access to the food of the buffet but you pay for the drinks and the water. The waiter will bring you the bill with your room number to sign. No need to bring credit cards or cash with you in the restaurants, as everything is charged to your room. The dress code in the noon is a t-shirt and flip flops. And the same casual style more or less during the evening. Shorts, sneakers and a shirt or T-shirt.
The island has 3 restaurants with buffets for the full board visitors. Imagine that the island is split into 3 sections, 600meters long each and each section has its own buffet restaurant. The names of the three buffet restaurants are: Haruge, Malaafaly and Farlvalhu. Depending on where your villa is, you get appointed to one of the three restaurants. You can use the other two but you have to call the reception first to ask for availability. The reception’s number is 117. Sometimes you even have to book the previous day. The breakfast and lunch is the same in all three restaurants and the dinner differs. The thematic dinners are Tex-Mex, American, French, Italian, European, Far East, Chinese, Maldivian and Sri Lankan, Surf n Turf( this is seafood basically), world island, and Mediterranean.
Here are two examples of what you can find in the Far East or Tex-Mex buffet.
The most beautiful restaurant of the three ones for your evening dinner is Farlvalhu because it has a deck on the sea. ￼ Moreover, right opposite from it, in 10 meters, you will find the Laguna bar which offers an amazing view of the Indian Ocean and it is very relaxing. You may even see a movie being played on a projector on the wall. ￼ The Malaafaly restaurant does not offer a view of the sea. The Haruge is right next to the beach and it has the best view after Farlvalhu. Below you can see Haruge restaurant
To move to the restaurants, you can get a buggy from one of the several stops in the island or while you are walking. The buggies pass every 15 minutes until 22:00 and every 20 minutes after 22:00. They are convenient and easy to get, while you will almost always find a seat- they can handle up to 8 people. In the f/b package, You do not have access to the other restaurants on the island, and you cannot order a la carte to any restaurant. Of course, you can pay for using the a la carte service of any restaurant but this is very expensive. Basic all-inclusive: This is the upgrade option from the full board. It costs 55USD per person per day, plus the taxes, so this could end up to 60 to 65 USD per person per day. The cost depends on the period and could be a little bit lower if you go off season. It gives you unlimited access to water, drinks at the restaurant and minibar at your villa. Moreover, you get a free hour of snorkeling equipment per day, which costs 11.5USD per person, a free hour of windsurfing per day and one excursion to the Neighboring Island Rasdhoo. The minimum booking is for 3 nights. It is hard to say if it makes sense to upgrade. If you drink a lot of alcohol then it would make sense.
About the Sea
The sea is warm but not as warm as the sea in the Caribbean. You can easily spend a couple of hours inside. During some days, there is a light wind, so the sea is not entirely calm. The bottom of the sea is sandy and quite swallow. The beach has palm trees and other beautiful plants which cast a great shadow, and there are long chairs available for you at no additional cost.
The sun is pretty intense, so you should bring sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses and a hat. There are no more than 20 persons on the beach, as there are many different spots to swim, so you get the feeling that you are on a private beach. Getting a nap on the beach under a palm tree after your lunch is a must-do. The north part of the island is where you will be swimming. It is excellent for enjoying the beach life, but it doesn’t offer any interesting snorkeling, though. There are no beach bars or waiter service on the beach. However, you can go to any bar you want inside the island and ask them to prepare a drink for you in a plastic glass to take it with you on the beach. On the upper side of the island, you will see some small reef sharks, -they are friendly don’t worry-, and a few tropical fishes. You may also encounter a local bird which looks like a little pelican.
There are a PADI training school and a diving center on the island. Moreover, there is a decompression chamber, so if you are into diving, Kuramathi is one of the safest bets in Maldives. The PADI school offers basic discover scuba diving lessons or formal PADI certification, including Nitrox lessons, night dives, diving from a boat, extreme buoyancy, underwater photography. Things to do in the evening Each night there is a different happening in Kuramathi. For example, every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 21:00 there is an open space cinema movie played on the “Fung bar”. You grab a seat under the stars, get a cocktail from the bar and watch the movie being projected. On Thursday, in the same place, there is a live band playing popular songs.
Moreover, there are several bars and even a champagne loft, to sip your drink while enjoying the view of the ocean. The alcoholic cocktails (e.g mojito, caipirinha, sunrise) cost around 12USD. The non-alcoholic cocktails cost 10USD and a 1.5 bottle of water costs 5 USD. A glass of beer costs 5.5USD. Next to the reception you will also find an open area with a ping pong table, darts and a mini football table game (the one you play with your hands). If you cannot find the ping pong balls or the darts, just go to the Fung bar which is right next to it and ask for them.
From Kuramathi to Male With A Speedboat
There are different speedboats leaving Kuramathi to Male. The earlier one leaves at 06:00 in the morning. One day before leaving at 19:00 you will get all information in a printed document in your room. You will get a wake-up call at 05:00, at 05:15 your luggage will be picked up from your villa and you can have a light breakfast at the restaurant. At 05:45 there is a meeting point at the main reception and at 06:00 the speedboat leaves from the deck just in front of the main reception. The trip from Kuramathi to Male takes 90 minutes. You don’t get any extra bottle of water during the trip. Make sure to bring your own with you.
Once you are at the airport of Male you must go to the departures entrance. There you will get your luggage scanned and then you can proceed to the check in. After the check-in at the ground floor you go up to the first floor. There you must pass first through the passport control which is very quick. You must fill in the departure card and hand it out together with your passport at the passport control. There is a stand next to the windows with pens if you need one. Once you clear the passport control you must pass through the scanning (again) of your hand luggage and yourself. It is quick and you are not required to take out your shoes. After this control, you will find the duty free shops. There are not too many shops but you will find Tumi, cosmetics, sunglasses, memorabilia, teas, spices and herbs, tobacco, cigars, drinks, and some places to eat or drink a coffee such as Burger King and espresso coffee shops. There are 6 departure gates. Departure gates 1,2 and 3 are one floor down. Departure gates 4,5,6 are on another side. The toilets of the airport are not very clean. It would be a good idea to keep an antiseptic bottle handy at your hand luggage. The airport offers free wi FI but you should register with your mobile phone and your email. You will get a pin code sent to your mobile phone that you should use to sign in the free Wi-FI of the airport. You go on foot to the airplane as there is no bus to drive you there.
Scores of Kuramathi Island Resort
Overall score of Kuramathi Resort: 9 out of 10
Food at the morning buffet: 8 out of 10
Food at the lunch buffet: 8 out of 10
Food at the dinner buffet: 9 out of 10
Cleanliness of room: 9,5 out of 10
Cleanliness of the island: 10 out of 10
Cleanliness of food, toilets of bars, restaurants etc: 9.5 out of 10
Snorkelling: 8 out of 10
Water Sea Quality: 9 out of 10
Quality of Cocktails: 7 out of 10
Responsiveness of staff: 10 out of 10
Prices of drinks/water/a la carte: 3 out of 10
Quality of Service: 10 out of 10
Transportation in the island: 10 out of 10
Suitable for Honeymooners: 10 out of 10
Suitable for Couples and Romance: 10 out of 10
Suitable for families: 9 out of 10
Value for money: 8 out of 10. Not cheap but you get what you pay for.
Tips During Your Stay at Kuramathi Island:
- Don’t order a water bottle in the morning breakfast. There is free water in the buffet area.
- Get sunscreen and after sun lotions with you. The sunscreen costs 25 usd to buy on the island.
- The spa treatments are quite expensive.
- There is a 22% overcharge to all the prices you see written in catalogues.
- Get your own snorkelling equipment with you. It costs 13usd per hour per person to rent it on the island.
- You will see reef sharks and you will swim with them. They are small and friendly, don’t panic.
- It is a tropical island and you will see: ants, mosquitoes and lizards in your room. Bats occasional hanging on the palm trees. Maybe a rat on the beach. Crabs walking on some parts of the beach. Nothing is dangerous and don’t panic. You will get used to it after a day in the island and you will not mind as everything is so great on this little paradise.
- Don’t bring beach towels with you. You will get them at the resort.
- Get a seat on the left side of the airplane when you go back. It has the best views over the Maldivian atolls.
Where to Book the Kuramathi Island Resort: You can check the prices for Kuramathi Island Resort by clicking here.