Happy December my loves!
I can’t believe we’re in the final chapter of 2014! I have to say though.. even though this year flew by, it was a great one! I got to check so much off of my travel bucket-list.. Dubai + Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, & Hawaii! It’s so funny when I look back on my trips and kick myself for not having whatever gear or cameras I’ve purchased since then. I’m so happy with my photos and video from Maldives and Hawaii and I think UGH why didn’t I have this stuff for my Middle East trip?! But then I think back to the Dominican Republic last year or Europe the year before and those photos were the worst, just awful! Everything can always be improved in retrospect right? As I grow and evolve, I’m bringing you guys along. I hope you enjoy the ride!
If you’re new here (welcome!!), I traveled to the Maldives in October and it was simply a dreaaam! I have never seen such beautiful water in my life. For as long as I can remember all I ever talked about was wanting to see tumblr-esque crystal clear blue water with my own two eyes. I must say that I’ve just set the bar extremely high for myself. The water was not only gorgeous to look at but I swear it’s magic LOL. I get so ashy and dry any time i get into the water; any kind of water but especially salt water, but for some reason this water left my skin and hair so soft.
As I mentioned in my mini Maldives post in October, I stayed at the gorgeous Iru Fushi Beach & Spa Resort; a 52-acre private island resort. The island is located in the Noonu Atoll about 200 miles north of Malé, the capital city. After landing in Malé a shuttle took us to another airport of some sort where we hung out in the resort lounge for a bit as we waited to board our seaplane to the island. The 45 minute ride to the resort is breathtaking, as you’ll see in my photos below. Land makes up less than 1% of the country (crazy!) and It is just incredible from above. The Maldives is made up of 26 atolls – ring shaped coral reefs with a rim that encircles a lagoon. The Noonu atoll, where Iru Fushi is located, is a community of islands all with different characteristics and allures.
The accommodations are anything but just.. rooms. There is a wide selection of private beach villas and water bungalows. We stayed in a private villa with our own pool, cabana/daybed, and very easy access to our secluded beachfront. Simply amazing. A couple Villas down was a Saudi prince and his wife and a little further was the Maldivian vice president! The resort was designed around relaxation and checking-out; A world away from the everyday.
I’ll leave it at that for now and narrate between photos, enjoy!
Seaplanes outside of the Iru Fushi lounge, where we checked in and enjoyed refreshments and massages until it was time to board.
Stunning views from the seaplane!
Finally arrived at Iru Fushi Beach & Spa Resort! How stunning is the water?!
The resort has 12 restaurants. Fluid is a family-friendly poolside snack bar surrounded by lush trees. We grabbed a quick bite here while we waited for our villa to be ready. I wish I got better shots of the pool, it was so lush with hidden enclaves and waterfalls.
I loved our open-air bathroom!
Thanks to jetlag we were able to catch the gorgeous sunrise! The sky never looked the same any two days. Every sunrise and sunset were completely different. Amazing.
Buffet breakfast every morning!
Another poolside restaurant at the resort, Reflections. The sunset here is absolutely amazing, the infinity pool seriously melts into the Indian Ocean! This pool is adults-only and really comes alive in the evening for their great two-for-one happy hour.
Yummm! I love Mediterranean food so this was probably my favorite restaurant at the resort, Trio, everything was just so good!
Sigh! Nothing compares to this sunset.
Amazing & fast backyard (back..beach?) room service!
Our butler, Jaweedth! We loved him soo much! He was always so polite and kind! We’d get jealous when we’d see him helping other guests lol!!! Best thing he said all week: “Please allow me to send someone to remove the spider for you” bwahahah!
We arrived back in Malé much sooner than our return flight so the resort lounge offered us a complimentary tour of the city, just a quick ferry ride from the airport. Malé is a tiny city (2.2 square miles!) with a population of over 100,000 making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world! I loved how small it was because everything was so easily walkable! All of our stops on the tour were so close together, we’d literally walk next door or across the street to see something new. Malé has so many wonderfully preserved historical sites as you’ll see below.
The People’s Majlis – the legislative body of the Maldives
Medhu Ziyaarai Shrine – Tomb of Abdul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary, Moroccan scholar who first converted the Maldives to Islam. May 10, 1153 AD
Hukuru Miskiiy (Old Friday Mosque) Constructed 1656-1658 AD mostly out of coral (check out the intricate work below). The oldest mosque in the Maldives, surrounded by 17th century graveyard of sultans and martyrs.
Muliaage – The Maldivian President’s home. Built in 1914.
Memorial for the lives lost during a terrorist attack on November 3rd, 1988
Grand Friday Mosque, opened in 1984. Largest mosque in the Maldives.
Another mosque we walked by, I don’t know what it’s called but it was beautiful! check the tiles two photos down.
Back at the airport for some good ol’ Burger King before the long journey home!