Paradise islands fringed with white sand and coral-rich, crystal clear waters, fabulous spas and beautifully designed accommodation are all a given in the Maldives. The key is finding the hidden gems that are a perfect match for your own requirements. For those in search of a small resort, nestled amidst tropical gardens, with a village feel as well as surfing lessons and turtle hatching programmes, then look no further than Four Seasons Kuda Huraa.
Just a half-hour hop by speedboat from Malé International Airport, Kuda Huraa has played host to the Surfing Champions Trophy since 2011 and is considered the best venue for surfing in the Indian Ocean. Intimate and wholly charming, the resort exudes an authentic Maldivian flavour, with peaceful bungalows and sprawling suites traditionally crafted from indigenous materials set beautifully over the water or just steps away from the white sand and the turquoise lagoon beyond. Considered essential in any luxury Maldives resort, the award-winning Island Spa bucks the trend with a unique position on its own secluded island, just a minute’s sail away across the lagoon by miniature dhoni, a traditional Maldivian boat. The latest addition to the spa is the Lunar Spa, where you can enjoy treatments under the moonlight in total peace. World class cuisine presides in the resort’s three restaurants and an adult-only pool has now been added next to the bar at the Reef Club for those looking for a child-free environment.
And with all this and plenty more besides, the Four Seasons Resort goes far beyond the pre-supposed norm when it comes to its water-based programme of activities. Experience the swells and spills of the Indian Ocean at the dedicated surf school, catering for both novices and experienced surf dudes alike (aged six and over). There’s also the five-star PADI dive centre, with access to over 30 of the Maldives’ prime dive sites including the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve as well as wreck, reef, kandu and thila diving. For an altogether exhilarating diving experience, consider a sunrise or night dive. Kayaking, catamarans and windsurfing are complimentary whilst waterskiing, parasailing, wake boarding, jet skiing, fun tubes and banana rides are also available at a charge. If that’s not enough, the resort also offers sunset and big-game fishing expeditions and even the Four Seasons Explorer yacht, a three-deck luxury catamaran for private excursions.
If your interest in the water has a more environmentally-conscious leaning, the resort’s Marine Discovery Centre is a fascinating interactive research and education facility run by a team of marine biologists. It also serves as the headquarters for the Maldivian Sea Turtle Conservation programme. As well as actively participating in the appropriately-named Reefscapers’ coral reef building project, in addition to having the opportunity to feed critically endangered sea turtles, the Marine Discovery Centre is the starting point for shark safaris and dolphin watching excursions. Rest assured, you won’t find many luxury Maldives resorts offering such an enriching ecological experience amidst such decadently idyllic surroundings.
For a cultural experience of a different kind, the Four Seasons’ cooking class introduces you to the rich culinary heritage of India and the Maldives whilst for those looking to increase the heart rate, the state-of-the-art gym, tennis courts and picturesque jogging trails lend themselves perfectly to the task. And if you’re planning to bring along the little people in your life, yet still fancy a few precious hours away from sandcastle sculpting and pool supervision, the Kuda Mas (small fish) Club caters daily for four to 12 year olds with all manner of cultural and adventurous activities on offer to captivate curious minds and insatiable appetites for action.
In summary: the epitome of Maldives luxury with a very generous splash of activity to spice up the mix.