Part 2: Kuredu Island Resort
Jim and Cary report on their trip to visit various resorts and liveaboards in the Maldives. In Part 2, they visit Kuredu Island Resort…
After seeing Komandoo, we boarded the speedboat and made the short crossing to the next island and its sister-resort, Kuredu Island Resort. We were told to expect that Kuredu Island was significantly larger, which was instantly confirmed as we approached it from the sea by the sight of the very long – and gorgeous – beach on both sides of the large jetty. We’d also been informed that Kuredu Island Resort catered to several different types of guest i.e. serious divers, (honeymoon) couples, families and even groups, with a total of 388 rooms in six different categories.
I’m guessing that the obvious thoughts you’ve just had in reading that is “too big, crowded, impersonal” etc., because that’s also what we assumed, however we had to maintain an open mind till we’d experienced a stay there first-hand. I’m glad we did because, trust me, we could not have been more wrong in our preconception: Kuredu is an absolutely great resort and actually the opposite is true – at no point throughout out stay did this place feel like so many of the other large resorts we’ve experienced over the years. In fact, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable place to be, with an unhurried atmosphere, where you’re not just a number and everyone has time and a genuine smile for you. I can put it best this way: unless you know it, you’d never know from the atmosphere and service that you were in such a large property. We were most impressed by how the management and staff of Kuredu have achieved this surprising feat.
The key is that Kuredu runs like it’s several different resorts, insofar as the various room categories do not all share just one reception, restaurant and beach – there are three different ones located around the island, so all guests are fully catered to right next to their room and don’t need to go for for anything they seek.
Each of the four main restaurants features “eat all you want” buffet-style meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner*. As well as these, there are also three a la carte restaurants: Italian, Japanese and a grill. There are seven atmospheric bars (we saw them all but didn’t drink at all of them, honest) and there’s even a lovely tea house right at the end of the main jetty, where after dinner one can go, choose from an enormous range of teas, select your comfy seat, then just sip away whilst watching the nightly show of resident nurse sharks and stingrays playing in the lights below the jetty. Magic.
*We were lucky enough to stay in a middle-category Sangu Water Villa and were therefore able to eat at the two lower-category restaurants, which we did and, just as with “our” restaurant, found the food, service and setting to all be excellent. We would have no problem whatsoever staying in one of the lower category rooms, nor hesitate in recommending them to divers, who often wish to spend more on diving and a bit less on accommodation.
During our two-night stay Cary was “forced” to test out the Duniye Spa, upgrading her complimentary 15-minute welcome massage (for an extra charge) to a 30-minute back and shoulder massage. Having lived in Indonesia, Cary is a bit like Alex Pelozzi-like (TV’s “Hotel Inspector”) when it comes to spa treatments……she knows when it’s good and when it’s not. I am happy to be able to report that after her rigorous test, Cary gave their spa two big diver “ok” signs and that she also made all appropriate “ooh” and “ah” noises that usually indicate that a state of blissful wellness had been arrived at.
As it was a necessarily short stay before moving on to the next resort, we did just two dives , the first being named “Kuredu Express”, an exciting “channel” site that even the liveaboards like to visit, where we were lucky enough to dive with several grey reef sharks and also spotted seven passing eagle rays, not to mention schooling and reef fish; it was an excellent dive. The other dive was on Kuredu’s House Reef and we have to say that this was also a superb dive. It was absolutely teeming with fish (not all of which were small), there was almost no current and, oh, we shouldn’t forget to mention a very lovely little artificial wreck perfectly positioned in diveable depth on the reef slope! To call this “house reef” really doesn’t do this site justice – it’s a great dive in its own right.
However, please note that there are almost fifty dive sites on offer from Kuredu, from calm and relaxed shallow dives to adrenalin-fuelled drift and channel-crossing dives, not to mention the only dive site in the Maldives that has two wrecks on it.
We dived with Kuredu’s concession dive operation, Pro Divers. In short, they ticked all the boxes: highly organised, serious about their guests’ safety and comfort and always very friendly and welcoming. Their Dhoni dive boats are extremely spacious and well-equipped, guest-to-guide ratios are kept happily low, their guides’ experience unpatronizing (i.e. they did everything they needed to do in terms of safety, but were also able to appreciate our own experience and so didn’t overdo things.)
Another point worth mentioning about Kuredu Island is that it is home to a recompression chamber, in fact the only chamber for many miles, with resident hyperbaric doctor, nurse and technicians.
Accommodation at Kuredu is in 388 Rooms, include 10 Sultan Pool Villas including 1 2-Villa Family Suite, 50 Sangu Water Villas including 1 Honeymoon Suite, 100 Jacuzzi Beach Villas, 93 Beach Villas, 90 Beach Bungalows, 45 Garden Bungalows.
Kuredu has 3.5 kilometres of beautiful white sand beach, a lagoon for snorkeling, three fresh water swimming pools overlooking the beach, including the Pool Bar Pool with a children’s wading Pool, the “O” Pool for guests of age 12 years and older, and the Sangu Infinity Pool for guests of age 18 and older; floodlit tennis court and golf Driving Range, putting Green, six-hole pitch & putt golf course, beach volleyball, badminton, bicycles, football grounds and a fitness centre.
Children are welcome in the Garden Bungalows, the Beach Bungalows, the Beach Villas, the Jacuzzi Beach Villas and the Sultan Pool Villas. Only guests of 18 years and older can be accommodated in the Sangu Water Villas and the Sangu Honeymoon Suite and may use the “Sangu” Resort swimming pool and dine in the Sangu Restaurant. Only guests of 12 years and older may use the “O” Resort swimming pool, dine at the “O” Resort restaurant, and “O” Bar.
In summary, we were extremely satisfied with our experience at Kuredu/Pro Divers and we feel that it’s a great Maldivian resort option for experienced divers, be you single, a couple, a family or a group – this resort really has got you covered. They have succeeded in achieving that sought-after, but oh-so-often elusive, fine balance between delivering an efficient service whilst maintaining a relaxing and welcoming ambiance that one hopes to find in an exotic setting such as the Maldives. Full marks, Kuredu!
Jim and Cary own and run UK-based tour operator Diverse Travel. To find out more about the Maldivian itineraries that Diverse Travel offer, visit www.diversetravel.co.uk/maldives.