The Maldives are basically one big body of water, meaning a cruise is arguably the best way to discover the idyllic archipel. This voyage onboard the world-class Four Seasons Explorer, a floating resort, embodies vacation bliss.
« Sunrise scuba-dive in the middle of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, what else? » - Patrice, Expert Islandian
The price includes:
- Greetings at Male and transfer by speedboat to Kuda Huraa Island.
- 3 nights on the Four Season's Explorer, on all inclusive basis (alcoholic drinks not included)
- 4 nights at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru in Beach Bungalow with Pool, on half board basis
- Seaplane transfer from the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru to the international airport
The price does not include:
- The possibility of getting a massage on the beach
- Meals not mentioned as included.
- The bar, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Cancellation / multi-risk insurance
- Excursions and activities not mentioned as included
- Personal expenses
Upon your arrival at the airport of Male on the island of Mahe Hulhule in North Male atoll, you will be greeted then taken by speed boat to the island of Kuda Huraa, thirty or so minutes from Male. The immensity of the Indian Ocean is astounding. You will have barely set foot on the gorgeous island-hotel that you will embark upon the Four Seasons Explorer, a luxurious three-deck catamaran. Settle into one of the stunning air-conditioned cabins - glass windows allow natural light to flood in. Spend the afternoon exploring the ship (there are three decks!) At cocktail hour, you will be introduced to the crew, which even includes a marine biologist. The cocktail is followed by dinner, a sumptuous feast, which sets the tone for the rest of the voyage.
Beneath the stretch of blue, the abundant Maldivian aquatic life is mesmerizing. Countless species live within the colourful corals of the reefs. Further, in the open sea, solitary turtles, whale sharks, schools of fish and a ballet of manta rays. The on-board PADI 5-star Dive Centre enables you to explore this aquatic paradise. Rise at dawn if you want to go for a sunrise scuba-dive. After a lavish breakfast, you may go scuba-diving (three dives are scheduled each day) or practice a water sport, such as waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kayaking or fun tubing. Slip on your fins, mask and tuba and accompany the marine biologist to discover the “gentle giants” - pelagic fish. Licensed divers may go on a third dive. Note that additional wreck, night and sunrise dives can be organized. At sunset hour, have a drink, alone or with the occupants of the other ten cabins. At night, after an exquisite dinner, stop by the lounge where you may review the day’s highlights captured by the resident videographer, or play a board game. Night on-board.
The day begins with a sumptuous breakfast buffet before taking a dip in the clear warm waters to observe the aquatic life with the marine biologist. You may go ashore (the shore being a small piece of inhabited land) for an immersion in Maldivian island-life. The tiny secluded village has remained unaffected by a rampant tourism. Here, the inhabitants’ daily lives are dictated by the tides and Indian ocean winds. Lunch on-board before the captain moors the catamaran near the shores of a deserted island. Opt for a massage on one of the island’s secluded beaches or explore the local flora. Cocktails will be served on the beach, followed by a barbecue under a starry sky. Night on-board.
Rise at dawn if you want to go for a sunrise scuba-dive. Head toward the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, in the middle of a UNESCO biosphere reserve in the Baa atoll. The resort, which rises above the Indian ocean, consists of 103 villas, set at times on the immaculate stretch of sand, and at other times, on stilts. The service is impeccable. Feeling ravenous? Opt for Blu, the Italian restaurant situated on the far western tip of the island, where the sea meets the sky. Sit at the Blu Bar pavilion or at the restaurant to savour contemporary Italian cuisine - organic salads, antipasti, “primi piatti,” and a dreamy dessert menu. Spend the afternoon exploring the swanky islet, your home for the next few days. At Landaa Giraavaru, five restaurants with distinct identities (from the Fuego Grill that serves freshly caught local fish to Al Barakat, which serves Arabian specialties) offer a large choice (including alternatives for vegetarians and children.) Night at the hotel.
Breakfast at the Four Seasons is the perfect fantasy of what a hotel breakfast should be: watermelon and cantaloupe juice, mango smoothies, banana pancakes, Belgian Waffles, brioche French toast, Sri Lankan teas, Japanese and Chinese breakfasts and all your favorites. The hotel’s location within the turquoise waters of the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve means that conservation is at the heart of Landaa Giraavaru. Once a year, between June and October, the lunar tides and monsoon currents trap high concentrations of plankton, attracting manta rays and whale sharks from all over the Maldives. These hotspots are within easy reach (snorkeling is authorized there). Head over to the Marine Discovery Centre to help build coral reefs, snorkel amidst the reef structures alongside a reef researcher, learn about the on-site rehabilitation of sick and injured hawksbill and green turtles, and how to preserve at-risk species. The kids can help transplant coral frames, learn to snorkel in the “Coral Garden” and hold sea cucumbers, starfish and crustaceans from the touch tank. The waters around Landaa Giraavaru are home to hundreds of spinner dolphins and sea turtles. At sunset hour, you may sip a drink at the Seabar - one of five bars -, located on the jetty, or go line fishing on-board a dhoni, a stunning traditional wooden boat with a rooftop deck, from which you can gaze at the most magical sunsets. At dinnertime, choose between five exquisite restaurants or dine in your cocoon-like villa.
Day 6 & 7
A morning jog is a good way to explore the paths that cross the island, which albeit small, has many spots to discover (ask for a map at the reception to plan your run). Landaa Giraavaru is the only hotel with an olympic-size, 50-meter swimming pool, perfect for laps. There are however four pools, including calmer ones for those who would rather bask in the sun. Seclusion hasn’t kept the hotel from offering an astounding choice of activities: tennis (the courts are lit up at night), beach-volleyball, water sports, a fitness centre, snorkeling excursions, dives, yoga… Landaa Giraavaru, home to the Maldivian Manta Ray Project, offers its clientele the chance to be a scientist for a day. The adventure begins on-board a dhoni with the world’s leading experts on these gentle giants. Learn to spot these creatures, record environmental information on them and take identification photos to protect the harmless species. The adventure continues with a free-dive alongside the giants in their natural habitat. After a long day, sit back in one of the plush chairs at Al Barakat shisha bar, which overlooks the sea - the drapery and ornate lamps give the bar an Arabian nights feel. Wind down while sipping a Turkish coffee. Opt for the Fuego Grill on the beach, where you may slip off your sandals and feel the cool sand between your toes.
We could spend hours on end in the villa… The contemporary Maldivian style villa offers breathtaking views. The blue sea and immaculate white sand stretch as far as the eye can see. The personnel at the Four Seasons takes great care to make your stay a succession of magical moments. Speaking of magic, you must experience the spa. Acupuncture, Panchakarma detox, Ayurveda, nocturnal spa, anti-gravity Yoga, Tibetan massage, Verju body contouring, bio-energy mud… The Spa & Ayurveda Retreat was named “Best Holistic Hideaway” by Condé Nast Traveller Spa Guide 2016. Our therapists and ayurvedic physicians will receive you in 10 open-air pavilions where you will be lulled by a gentle breeze. One always leaves the Maldives against his or her will… nose pressed against the window of the small seaplane as it flies over Baa atoll.