It all started with my friend Caroline canceling last minute. We have known each other for 5 years, well enough for me to know that this might happen and when it did I was not all that suprised. Still – now I didn’t have a girlfriend to join me on my girlfriend getaway! With just 2 weeks left I called up all my female friends, including those living in different countries. Some couldn’t get time off work, others couldn’t afford the flight, a few were already tied up in other trips.
Just when it looked like I might have to go alone with Atlas I popped the question to this girl Stefanie, another mother I had recently met at a business meet-up who seemed cool. We were on our first playdate together (our kids are almost the same age) when I asked „Hey, do you two want to come on a 12-day trip to the Maldives with us?”
Fast forward 2 weeks. It was 9.50pm when our plane to Male, the Maldivian capital, took off, 2 pretty excited moms and their babies on board. We knew from the start that this could be a hit or miss. It’s hard enough to get a good night’s sleep with one little one, try make that 2 and you could be in for some seriously sleepless nights. Add in the fact that I barely knew these guys, what would happen???
The first 3 days we stayed in Kurumba, a perfect island for families. Stunning beaches for the little ones, amazing dinners for us girls. The 4 of us were off to a good start, but with teething Atlas in tow nights were still restless, mornings early and managing 2 babies at the same time still seemed somewhat of a challenge.
However, when on day 4 we arrived in Velassaru, the very first island in the Maldives I had ever visited and was now seeing for the second time, something magical happened.
Maybe it was the fact that this was my second time to the island? Everything felt familiar, and even more comfortable due to that. I made a pact with myelf there and then that I would return here again and again.
From one day to the next everything seemed to fall into place. There is something about Velassaru that makes this place unique. It is so laid-back, so incredibly beautiful, and everyone who works there appears to have one common priority: to make you feel comfortable.
Natural setting and design
Few Maldives islands can rival the incredible beauty of Velassaru. Nowhere else I’ve been to were the surrounding waters more turquoise, the beaches whiter and the sand finer. In many ways Velassaru provides the epitomy of the Maldivian experience. Add to this an incredible infinity pool that regularly finds itself on top 10 lists of the world’s most amazing pools and you are in for your time in paradise.
People regularly ask me what my favorite destination is and I routinely answer ‘Maldives’. This is this place I always think of, when I say that.
Velassaru is great at catering to different budgets and needs. All villas and bungalows come with an outdoor bathroom (Have you ever tried showering below trees? It’s awesome!) and a delightful little front porch complete with lounge chairs and a table.
Your private beach may not have your name on it, but your very own lounge chairs have your room number on them and that’s kind of the same thing. Guests can rent free snorkelling gear for the duration of their stay, meaning you can go for a snorkel at your leisure seeing colorful reef fish à la Nemo, chorals and even small reef sharks!
Food and drink
Velassaru boasts not one or 2 but 5 restaurants, ensuring to keep your tastebuds well entertained. The Japanese Teppaniaki provides a one of a kind dining experience with it’s over water location. Sand has you dig your bare feet into the soft, white sand, while indulging on grilled lobster, man-sized steaks and fine desserts. Etisian captivates guests with its one of a kind ambiance and a giant wine-cellar made of glass that is sure to hold your favorite choice of grape juice.
Vela is the main restaurant, dishing up international culinary goodness at a rich buffet that is guaranteed to hold something for everyone. Especially the breakfast is one of a kind and I guarantee everyone will find their favorite breakfast foods here. Nutella Banana Crepe, anyone?
The Cafe is always open, offering uninterrupted service as well as fresh sandwiches, burgers and other beach/pool food favorites. A definite winner for sunset hour is Chill Bar, where amazing cocktails await while you crawl into super comfortable furniture, just to feast your eyes on beautiful horizons. The Strawberry Margarita here is the best one I’ve had to date.
When I first visited Velassaru 4 years ago I brought 5 books, that’s how certain I was that I would get bored to death. I mean, what does one do on a tiny island? Suffice to say I got absolutely no reading done, I was simply too busy sipping cocktails by the pool, going on diving adventures, dolphin watches and sunset cruises, snorkeling around the island, getting pampered at the spa, dining on great food, enjoying sundowners at the bar, chilling in a hammock or on our private lounge chairs…. you get the idea. If you get bored here, you’re the one who’s boring.
I do travel a lot and often my trips take me to nice hotels and resorts. Hospitality and friendly service is something I always look for as I believe it’s the part that makes a good holiday a truly memorable one. Only if a place can make guests feel like they are genuinely happy to have and host them will they create a stand-out experience.
On my travels I have noticed that even very simple abodes can get a 9+ rating on Booking.com or comparable booking engines if the hosts were perceived as particularly forthcoming. Once again Velassaru has impressed me on all those points. Each day someone went out of their way to help us, make our stay a bit better and us feel welcome.
Everyone was especially wonderful with Atlas, always keen to play with him or introduce him to the wonders of the island, like this crab, he fearlessly took from the hands of the gardener who showed it to us.
Fun fact: One of the waiters working at the bar still remembered me. I guess I did have a lot of pina coladas 4 years ago.
I’ll admit I’m a bit of an oddball when it comes to massages. More often than not I cannot really relax when essentially a perfect stranger is feeling me up from head to toe. Not such at Velassaru. The only time I ever actually fell asleep during a massage was here! I loved the option of my friend and I having a massage simultaneously in the same room, maybe the presence of a familiar person actually helped me let loose? I certainly recommend it highly!
The spa at Velassaru also hosts my favorite spot on the whole island: the incredible infinity jaccusi! Dive into the bubbles as you watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean – it’s magic!
Velassaru offers various special deals and we were on the Velassaru Indulgance package which includes delectable 3-course meals with a free choice of restaurant as well as drinks. On top you get complimentary snorkelling equipment, a two-hour use of an Ocean Kayak and a choice of excursion. There are various of those on offer. The sunset cruise for example is a wonderful 2 hours spent on an old fashioned long-tail sailboat with guests sinking into comfy seat sacks while watching the day come to an end with a mild breeze in their faces. Other than that there are dolphin-watching cruises, fishing-tours, nightsnorkelling, island escapes and more. The list is is fabulous!
But you don’t have to leave the island to have a ball! There is a long list of water-sports you can do, simply by renting the necessary equipment at the water sports centre. Water-skiing, wakeboarding or windsurfing are all available here, among others!
Need any more convincing? I suggest you have a look at this phenomenal gallery – plenty of proof here that Velassaru truly is one of the world’s most beautiful places.
Thanks Velassaru, for 3 magical days, an epic birthday cake for Atlas and a suitcase full of unforgettable experiences!