“ A select resort in the Maldives. „
Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, Maldives
Since discovering the joys of The Maldives several years ago I have made an almost annual journey to these islands. When people ask me why I go there so often I always say the same thing- I adore everything about them, the unspoilt beauty, the peace and quiet, the tropical fish and the people- who are some of the most friendly and welcoming that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
I do try to visit a different island each time. It would be so tempting to re-book as all have their charm, but I love to explore new places. So I always research the islands thoroughly, and then choose one about a month before from the late deals that are possible to find, especially in their low season when I tend to go. If you are unfamiliar with the climate it is true to say that you can expect daytime temperatures between 29 and 31C and in general the driest months are between December and April. June July and August are the monsoon months, but with climate change this is not as clear cut as it used to be. Whatever the time of year you go you will be treated to warmth, and even in the monsoon months many days are dry, or the storms that pass through are short lived. I tend to go in the low season as this is when the prices become more affordable, and I am not too worried about wall to wall sunshine as long as I can snorkel and experience true Maldivian escapism.
This year my travels took me to Meedhupparu. This island is in the remote Raa Atoll and it takes 45 minutes by seaplane to transfer to the resort from Male, the capital. Here there is an international airport and close by a seaplane terminal, and as this resort is owned by the SriLankan company Adaaran, you are treated to a beautiful air conditioned lounge here to wait for the sea-plane. This is such a welcome touch as the international flight from London we made with Thomson Airways lands in the early morning, and most passengers are weary and tired.
The seaplane journey is a treat you will never forget. Barefooted pilots fly these planes over the tiny islands below and the landings and take off are especially exciting.
The island itself is one of the few on The Maldives that have a permanent representative from Thomsons living there and there is also a resident doctor. This makes it a superb choice if you haven't been to the Maldives before and maybe want that little bit of extra security. Our rep was Pete and he is one in a million- A Liverpudlian with a heart of gold, and nothing was too much trouble for him. He even takes new arrivals for a snorkelling lesson which is a real asset if you are new to the pastime and want to gain some confidence. Having said that he is not intrusive, and you can keep yourselves to yourselves.
The island is used by many nationalities, Japanese and Russian are especially in evidence, and there is a Russian village on the island where the Russians stay, and it even has its own bar which you are welcome to use as part of your all inclusive deal. We tend to purchase holidays on this tariff as despite not being alcohol seekers, we are used to drinking copious amounts of fluids on holiday to keep hydrated, and so for us this works well. It also allows for easy budgeting as you can relax from the moment you arrive. This island has a superb all inclusive service- allowing mid morning, afternoon, and late night snacks as well as three good meals each day. Drinks are also included and you are given a list of these when you arrive. This island has a particularly good choice and the servings are generous. The food is plentiful and good, but make sure you ask to have your own table unless you enjoy sharing with strangers as Maldivians enjoy sitting couples together.
In order to benefit from snorkelling it is important to choose an island that has a house reef and Meedhupparu does- but it is average in quality. It does not have marked entrance and exit points as is common in many islands, and most people choose to snorkel from the main pier. Steps are provided and you can then swim along the reef edge. You do need to be careful here though as there are passing boats and seaplanes to watch out for. I saw turtles, and every kind of tropical fish in large numbers here, and there was good visibility in the morning, though not in the afternoon as the current and wind was stronger then. It isn't the best house reef in The Maldives but it is good, and certainly I enjoyed snorkelling very much indeed.
Global Warming Is Real - Sea Levels Are Rising
Many people I spoke to disliked the accommodation for one main reason and that is the problem of coastal erosion and the way that it is affecting some of the rooms. Along the coast to one side the water level has risen so much that some rooms are not able to be used as the water is up to and over their balconies. Also there is a long sea wall that has been built to keep the water back, and some find this to be less than aesthetically pleasing. Being moved from their allocation of a seawall room seems to dominate many clients' holidays, and for those that expected to have a room literally overlooking the sea they would be rightly disappointed. This is something out of the control of the management and entirely at the mercy of mother nature. We were given a sea wall room initially, and at first we were entirely pleased, but we did notice a room that we preferred and we did ask that should it become available we would like to be moved. We were able to enjoy our second week literally overlooking the edge of the sea which did make our 3oth wedding anniversary that we celebrated there even more special.
I always recommend that anyone booking a holiday to the Maldives buys or borrows the superb book by Adrian Neville called " Resorts Of Maldives" This book details all the main islands, and from this you can ascertain if the island will be to your taste. Especially important are the room details and population numbers for the island you are considering. Some are more densely filled with accommodation than others. Meedhupparu scores 4 on the room density scale, 1 being the densest so this does indicate a fair level of people on the island which I would agree with. This isn't the place to go if you seek utter isolation, but having said that no islands are crowded and we had large expanses of beach to ourselves for many parts of the day.
The rooms themselves are beautiful and are newly painted in yellow and turquoise and the ensuite bathrooms are tiled to a high standard and there is an outdoor shower as well as an indoor one to enjoy. I was very impressed with the room cleaning though you are not treated to flowers on the bed unless you request this. Sheets are folded at night in seascape shapes which is always a delight.
The island alsohas a water bungalow village which is totally separate and is run by a different company. The prices are very high indeed I believe.
Excursions from the island include a trip to the nearby island of Meedu which is occupied by locals who travel to Meedhupparu daily to work, and there is a trip to a deserted island called Lovers Paradise where you can enjoy a romantic day alone.
So how do I see this island in comparison to others I have been to? The island has a remote and wild feeling and it is windier than some. The house reef is good but not outstanding, so if you are going for diving or snorkelling there are better. However it has every ingredient I adore from start to finish - icing sugar sandy beaches, coconut trees, turquoise and golden views in every direction, and a sense of wonder that places like this still exist. My advice as always - get up early - share the crimson and golden dawn moments with a heron as he watches the shallows for signs of his breakfast. Walk round the island before the day begins and listen to the sound of the waves- heaven it is and one day it will be gone. The wall around part of this island is a symbol of the future; the sea is tantalisingly close to the shoreline which is receding year on year. It is unforgiving and time is against us. I always leave these islands feeling very privileged to have seen something so amazing and so unspoilt.
The cost of visiting this island varies tremendously according to how close you book. We were able to go for just over £1000 each for 2 weeks which included everything - flights, food and drinks, but you can pay more than twice this for high season dates booked ahead.
This review is also posted on other sites with photographs. On Ciao it is under my user name there-Violet1278.