Civilisation got you down? Wish you could stare out into the horizon and see nothing but an expanse of blue? You could forsake all creature comforts and get yourself marooned on a desert island, or you can book a flight down to the Maldives on a Scoot flight and get yourself checked in to Mercure Maldives Kooddoo. A two-hour domestic flight from Malé brings you directly to Kooddoo island, which is part of the Gaafu Alifu atoll.
Arrive at the resort, and be greeted with the island beat of a Maldivian Bodu Beru drum — the perfect segue into your island getaway. With 68 villas dotted around the resort, water is always close by, especially in the over-water villas. Little details everywhere ensure that you can fully appreciate the panoramic Maldivian locale: having coffee at a little table in your over-water villa means a view of a small reef under your feet, thanks to a glass window set into the hardwood floors of your villa.
Stepping out to the balcony for a view and some sea breeze? Why not step into the ocean for a dip while you’re at it — the over-water villas each come with stairs or a ladder that leads directly into crystal-clear shallow waters. Meanwhile, beachfront stays provide a different experience: you’ll be surrounded by lush, tropical greenery while also being close to the many amenities of the resort, like the spa and children’s activity centre. There are also little touches of local culture sprinkled all throughout your stay — a traditional beriberu performance of singing with percussion beats to accompany your dinner, local palm leaf weavings used as decoration, and locally-woven trinkets that function as do-not-disturb signs.
Feast on pan-Asian cuisine at the all-day dining Alita restaurant, which serves a good mix of dishes including everything from Chinese stir-fries to South-Asian curries, and roasts. Besides the usual continental breakfast, try the traditional Maldivian breakfast of mas huni, which usually features a local flatbread called roshi (similar to a chapatti or roti) that’s served with tuna salad prepared with shredded coconut, onions and chilli. There are also personalised cooking classes, where you can learn to prepare traditional Maldivian dishes, many of which feature tuna: from mas huni to tuna curry.
Tuna plays a large role in Maldivian cuisine. In addition to using it in dishes like mas huni, the tuna is also often processed. You’ll find a semi-dry, hot-smoked tuna called valho mas, and a thick fish paste called rihaakuru, made by laboriously boiling tuna in salted water for many hours. Thanks to a significant fishing industry in the country, the fish is often very fresh, and all line-caught to prevent damage to the ecosystem. Yellowfin tuna often arrives directly to the resort’s restaurants from a fishery that’s just a 10 minute drive away.
For something a little more intimate, dine at Vistas, which offers drinks alongside a tapas-inspired menu with a slant on head chef Anish Kumar Soman‘s specialty, Italian cuisine — Soman‘s fritto misto and mushroom arancini are particularly compelling. To cater to the wide array of visitors, the restaurant also offers halal, gluten-free and vegetarian menus.
There’s a plethora of activities to do even though you’re hundreds of kilometers away from the nearest city. The resort’s dive centre, Suvadiva Divers, offers the opportunity to explore a stunning underwater world complete with healthy coral islets and undiscovered dive sites, many of which are just a stone’s throw away from the resort. Between the months of January to April, you’ll also get the opportunity to go night snorkeling alongside gentle, majestic whale sharks.
If you’d like to get away from your getaway, take a trip to a nearby deserted island, where pristine white sand, a picnic and snorkelling awaits. Here, you can also do your part in preserving the beauty of the place by helping to clear the beach of any plastics, rubbish, while leaving none of your own.
For adrenaline junkies, other activities include watersports like jetskiing, kayaking, and windsurfing. If you’d liek to take it at a slower pace, try a sunset fishing trip where your catch will be prepared to your liking by the resort’s chef. For a chance to experience local culture, head to the nearby island of Gaafu Mamendhoo, where many of the hotel’s staff live. While you’re here, be sure to pick up some local produce from a convenience store, including valho mas, which is great as a bar snack.
You’re in the Maldives, so a little R&R is in order. Get a range of treatments and therapies done at Suvadiva spa, like their signature body wrap, which keeps with the location with a marine algae wrap that relaxes the muscles and joints and eliminates metabolic wastes through perspiration. Spas not your thing? There’s nothing wrong with just hanging out by the poolside bar, enjoying the view, and sipping cocktails all day.
Don’t break the bank
While the resort positions itself as mid-scale, the amenities, service and design are all top-notch. Staff will be more-than-happy to meet your needs, while the atoll is known for having some of the best-regarded diving spots in the region. Scoot, the low-cost arm of Singapore Airlines also has flights on their Airbus A320 has four flights weekly from Singapore to Malé.
Mercure Maldives Kooddoo
Gaafu Alifu Atoll
20219 KOODDOO ISLAND – MALDIVES
Tel : +960 682 0003