Maldives: care-free fashionable days and nights

20140608-100409.jpgWe are so glad we packed light but smart. This way we can let go when we want and we can kick into fashion gear when we like. For us having what we need handy is relaxing, that way we are not thinking about WHAT we should wear or what we don’t have , but rather we think about WHAT we will do today.

You will definitely need more than one cover up as most places even beach bars won’t let you walk in and sit down in your swimsuits. We brought 8 coverups, just right for this long trip. Today we are wearing our comfy coverups by… Karen Zambos, Patterson J. Kincaid
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The other day we wore these dresses to the White Party. Well, I got hassled by Peter (our Brit friend) that my dress was not white enough lolll He said this as he sat there in his blue and white striped shirt – thanks Peter!
20140608-095627.jpgDesigners: Dolce Vita, and the halter dress is by us (yes we are branching into designing and making our own line)

Today’s bikinis, perfect for this sunny fresh breezy day:
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Designers: Lisa Marie, Missoni

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing we wish you a surprising and exciting day!

Maldives: Kuredu first night disappointment

We were very surprised and disappointed when we got to the restaurant we selected for the night. We had booked half board and this was a designated restaurant. They basically turned us away saying we should have made reservations. We thought they were joking but no they were not. So they told us all the designated restaurants are booked and we should try eating at one of the a la cart restaurants. What a scam — why would anyone pay half board if they can’t get a seat at dinner. Would you??

Shot from restaurant where they turned us away:
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As we tried investigating, we learned that one has to reserve a restaurant everyday at 9 am or take a chance before 6 pm (they don’t make reservations after this point). This is simply ridiculous! Defeating the whole purpose of a relaxed carefree vacation. They basically told us we need to be on a schedule – wish we knew this was going to be a regimented camp instead of a relaxation island, we would have gone to a different island.

Things got worse… since we are leaving at 8:45am for a full day of sailing, we thought we would ask the front desk to make tomorrow’s dinner reservation. This way we could eat when we return from the sail trip. Well, that would have been too logical. We asked and the answer was ‘we will give it a try but we can’t guarantee a reservation’ !!! WTF is the most appropriate reaction since this is an island you can practically walk around in about an hour and resorts owns the restaurants. We are not requesting dinner reservation at another island or country!

Sooo needless to say Kuredu is yet to impress us. Service is not cutting it. Maybe we got too used to excellent treatment at Komandoo, they did set a higher bar for sure.

To Kuredu, we will see if we can give Ken Flockhart, the GM of the island, some feedback about this unpleasant experience.

To you, dear readers and fellow travelers… unless you would like to be on a regimented camp and keep hours to make daily dinner reservations, mind you even having to get a ticket for the reservation before showing up to your dinner, we would recommend considering other islands. Afterall… there are over 135 resort islands, plenty to choose from.

Please share this posting with others so they may be saved from the unpleasant experiences.

Maldives: Kuredu .. partial report!

20140605-173409.jpgWe arrived at Kuredu island today and been exploring it all day. Why ‘partial report’ you might ask — well, it is a big island so it will take a bit before we can give you the ‘full report’.

We were greeted by the staff singing and drumming. We were assigned a host ‘Melanie’ – who will be our go to person whenever we have a question or need something. This was different than the other two islands, maybe because this one is so big and so many people.

It is the biggest island we visited here so far and our last island. Sad to think this is our last destination, until we return to Maldives again.

Kuredu has a different feel, more crowded and has more activities — so you don’t get the remote feeling from it. We like variety so this will be interesting after the quiet paradise islands we have been enjoying.

When they say activities they mean it – they have everything from power boats, parasailing, catamarans, kite surfing… and more. For now we are trying to figure out what time and where the daily yoga is 😉

Kuredu has 7 restaurants / bars – as we sample each we will let you know what’s good what’s not.

We are at a beach villa here – it is very similar to Komandoo. Without hesitation we can say the beach and water is better at Komandoo. We miss our private sharks 😦 circling in front of our doorstep.
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Yes we already made a friend at Kuredu – meet Freddy the crab!
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Maldives: Komandoo island resort – full report!

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Komandoo is located north of Male and takes about 35-40 min by seaplane to get there. It is surrounded by couple other islands, some where locals live.

The resort is operated in partnership by a Swedish and Maldivian firm. It also operates the Kuredu island which is very nearby. The general manager is Patrick who greets everyone at arrival and he is Belgian. We were greeted by songs, cold coconut juice and homemade coconut ice cream. They know how to start your holiday on a positive note.
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We found the hospitality and level of service to be much better here than Gangehi. Also the beach front villas are better and cleaner. But we would advise to pick one not facing the local islands, the view is better. Our villa is nearly at the end tip of this 500 meter long island. Also the villas have outdoor bathroom, shower and jet tubs. Rooms are cleaned twice a day, but as a environment conscious island they won’t change sheets everyday unless you leave the cute wooden turtle on the bed. We love that they are eco friendly.

At first we were ambivalent about the half board but we love it now – the food is quality and lot of fresh fruits.

There is a bit of nightlife as well — last night we had a great cover band with a great variety of songs and sang some requests too.

The staff is better trained in hospitality and services in general. There are also women working at this island which we did not see at Gangehi except for the spa and the souvenir shop.

Water is fantastic – private beach with deafening quiet except of the sounds of ocean. The black tip sharks and stingrays go up and down the beach. So exciting to swim next to them and be in their presence. They are harmless and very cute (we think).
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While this is the rainy season we have had great weather on both Gangehi and Komandoo. Occasional rains in the evening or overnight have been welcome after the heat of the day.

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Now we are off to snorkeling – catch you later!!

Maldives: what to wear – fashion edition!

Ok so you are probably wondering what we wear and what is the attire around here. Before we got here we read many things, some said just beach wear some said long and modest clothes.

We are here now and this is what we have seen in 3 islands so far:

Male: little more conservative since it is the capital city and people live and work there. You can get away with shorts and knee length skirt/ dresses.

Gangehi and Komandoo: let loose and stick with your swimwear, cover ups, and for dinner casual or slightly dressy clothes. We brought long flowing dresses, they are super easy to wear and elevate the style a bit. Other people wore similar things, men stuck to casual but nice shorts and shirts.

Here is a glimpse at our beach ware… can you tell we love mixing, wearing matchy-matchy stuff is not our personal style.

Morning swimwear:
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Designers: Ondade Mar, Eberjey, VIX PaulAhermanny, Heidi Klein

Evening swimwear:
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Designers: Mikoh, Zinke, Tibi, Tori Praver

Please note – Maldives is not a topless zone. You have to keep your top on, maybe unless you are on a yacht somewhere in the distance.

Today’s swimming companion was a sting ray – seriously we were a bit afraid.
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Maldives: Gangehi Island Resort – full report!

This is a small island in middle of the ocean, only 25 min by seaplane from Male. Likely you will stop at other islands before you get to it. What’s small? To give you an idea – we walk around the island in 5-10 min max.

The island has no locals, only the resort. The locals, Indians, Sri Lankans etc that you see are the staff. The resort is owned by Italians so you will be in luck if you speak Italian.

We recommend this island to people who seek complete quiet and peace, or families with children. There is no nightlife, or excessive crowds or activities. Perfect for relaxing and enjoying the pure nature. Also this happens to be one of the cheaper islands; but you get what you pay for. If you like to be attended hand and foot – don’t visit this island. Set expectations accordingly – for us the food got boring. Tonight they have a Maldivian dinner so we hope that will be exciting.

There are light activities like snorkeling, diving, kayaks, spa, and daily yoga. Highly recommend the yoga at 5:15 everyday, here is a look:
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What a peaceful setting to practice your daily yoga.

Rooms are decent and kept clean. You get fresh beach towels and good spa quality toiletries. However, you won’t find free water! Yes you heard it right not even a glass of water. The water in the room as well as anywhere else will cost you at least 2 or 3 euros per 1.5ltr bottles. Keep hydrating 😉

There is one restaurant, one buffet, and a bar. Prices are all in Euros. We prefer half board to full board as we don’t eat all day long. Also we found that this is cheaper than the full board. Btw don’t expect great service, you maybe sitting for more than 5 minutes at the bar before you see a menu or someone you can hail down. We are not sure if this is unique to this island or not – we will let you know from our next island!

Best way you can enjoy this unreal Maldivian colors beauty is with lot of protection. Bring a lot of sunscreen – buying it here is not a good idea, since it is triple the cost. We sunbathed in the shade for the first two days and still got color.

There is a great sandbar that is exposed every morning and evening perfect for a nice walk and swim. We can’t get over the colors and clarity of water; the sharks, mantas, the little fish that basically swim with us right off the shore.

So before we leave Gangehi in 2 days – do you have any questions for us about this heavenly place??
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UPDATE: 06/01.
We got lucky to see the resident small black tip shark right on the beach swimming next to us.

For American Express folks – insist on asking them to use it. They state that they accept this card in their print materials but at front desk they will tell you another story.

We have one regret 😦 we don’t have underwater camera. You should seriously consider buying one before coming to Maldives!! Really ! Really!
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We made it to Male!

20140526-125843.jpgWe can relax now, until tomorrow when we catch our flight to the first island. This is our first time in Maldives and we are beyond excited.

Journey to Paradise
No journey to paradise would be easy and we did not expect it so. Here is how things went down:

First leg of flight to Istanbul – upgrading to business class was on of the smartest decision I have made in a while 😉 made the flight easier on the body.

Second leg of flight from Istanbul to Male – the overlay was long but very worth it.

So we selected Turkish Airlines for this journey. After a few hick ups early on things did straighten out. For example using their app is useless – found a price there and they would not match it and they claimed it could not be true – despite screenshots I took. Not evoking trust. And yes, I am writing them a letter of complaint after the trip. The desktop version is ok, but to make sure we were booking things correctly we did call their call center. The call center is a hit or miss – you might luck out and get an awesome person like we did, but given their denial of the app issues, we were timid about calling. Anyhow… they were be best and shortest option for our destination, also we know once on board we would be well taken care of.

From Male we will have a 20 min seaplane ride tomorrow – but today we discover Male. We are ready for it, is it ready for us ?!!