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Island hopping in the Maldives

High off my Maldives travels I’m back home in the cold and finding myself already reminiscing about our trip. The pristine beaches, luxurious overwater bungalows, floating breakfast and morning snorkels with reef tip sharks and stingrays, welcome to paradise!

But how long could you actually stay in paradise? We met some people during our trip who were staying at the same resort for 9 days +. If you’re like me and enjoy doing things on vacation then you may get bored staying in one spot the entire time. 

In this blog post I’ll break down our trip and show you how we spent 13 days island hopping in the Maldives!

James enjoying our sunset cruise at the Conrad
Sunrise over Club Med Finolhu

This trip was incredible for so many reasons, one of them being I got to have James with me finally! I’ve talked about my relationship pretty openly on Instagram but for those of you who are new to me or my blog, James is my boyfriend. We rarely get to travel together because he owns a business in Montreal which keeps his home most of the year while my business takes me around the globe!

(If any of you are in Montreal and looking for a landscaping company, Rockmore is seriously the best!) Ok, proud girlfriend and shameless plug over… moving on! šŸ™‚ 

Convincing him to travel 30 + hours for a vacation was the biggest challenge. But after much persuasion, he finally agreed to take some much needed time off! There are very specific times of the year in which he can travel (mainly in between seasons ) so I had a strict two-week window to whisk him away!

How to get there?

I immediately got searching for flights. Airfare from North America to the Maldives can get pretty pricey, especially if you wait to book last minute like we did. We ended up finding a good deal on FlightHub for $1300 each and I booked us tickets that night.

Once you arrive in Male, typically your resort/hotel arranges for you to be picked up and taken by boat or a seaplane transfer to your destination island. We set up our seaplane transfers separately with Trans Maldivian Air rather than through the hotel’s package.

Trans Maldivian Seaplane

Where to stay?

We organized stays at 5 different properties over the course of 13 days. Now before I go any further I want to be fully transparent with you guys, so I will mention that these were hosted stays. In collaboration with the hotels, I provided them with social media content in exchange.  We did pay for parts of this trip but because we were working for the hotels we did stay in nicer accommodations than we would have if we paid for this trip completely on our own. 

After a whopping 57 hours of travel (including a 17-hour layover in Shanghai), we finally arrived in Male. Exhausted and excited to see my bestie and brother, we made our way to Club Med Finolhu.

Club Med Finolhu 

  • Accessible via: 30 min boat ride
  • Island: ★★★★
  • Food: ★★★★
  • Ambience/ Activities: ★★★★★
  • Room: ★★★★★
  • Adult only

Club Med Finolhu was our first stay in the Maldives and our home for the next 4 nights. This was our meeting point with my gal Mel and my brother Michael who were at the end of their trip. It was the best place to unite all 4 of us and to kick off the trip and was especially perfect because Michael finally had a drinking buddy with James. It wasn’t long before they discovered how delicious the mojitos were! 

We checked into villa 51, the last sunset villa on the jetty with the most spectacular view! Each villa is assigned a private butler and our man Calvien was the best! It’s already been 3 weeks since we’ve seen him and he still comes up in our daily conversations. That’s how memorable the staff is at Club Med, it feels like family. By the end of our time, we knew most of the staff by name!

While Finolhu is known to be the adults only/ honeymooner island their sister island Kani is just a 5 min boat ride away, open to all ages and always alive. When staying at either Club Med you have access to visit both islands. One night we decided to go experience Kani’s glow party. The vibe on this island couldn’t be more different, it really was a party complete with glow paint, and lots of shots! Although our jetlag and lack of drinking (on mine and Mel’s part) kept us from raging all night it was definitely something to experience!

If you are looking to book a trip to the Maldives and have no extra costs, this is the perfect place for you, Club Med is all inclusive!

Conrad

  • Accessible via: 45 mins seaplane
  • Island: ★★★★★
  • Food: ★★★★★
  • Ambiance/ Activities: ★★★★
  • Room: ★★★★
  • Kids allowed

Arriving at the Conrad felt like we landed in paradise! I felt like I was in the movie Couples Retreat and we made it to Eden! 

We were escorted to our accommodations, a Deluxe Beach villa.  To be honest with you we were a little sad not to be staying in an overwater bungalow but within minutes of stepping into our beach villa, we retracted our above statement! The Deluxe Beach villas have been recently refurbished and feel brand new! With private access to the beach, our backyard and the private pool was secluded enough to enjoy a little evening skinny dip! šŸ˜‰ 

For our last night, we transferred over to an overwater villa. The Conrad is so iconic that we felt like we couldn’t leave without hanging experienced it. In all honesty, we much preferred the beach accommodations and were a little disappointed we traded it in. For one, the water villa wasn’t as “new” feeling and it was also located much farther from our favorite restaurant, Atoll Market. Not ideal when it is pouring buckets all night. Thankfully they have a pickup service and would drop us off door to door. 

We fell in love with the Atoll Market because it was a massive buffet which offered anything and everything! James could eat what he wants and I could explore the vegetarian and dairy free options. I especially loved the Indian section, I can always count on great flavor and veggie options there. The chef was amazing, he knew me after day one and always made sure to cook up a dairy free curry for dinner!

On our last morning before we left the island we were invited to experience their Ithaa Underwater Restaurant. As you know I’m a real-life mermaid, so I was bursting with excitement at this opportunity! We spent an hour sipping on champagne and canapé, taking pictures and just being in awe while watching from a completely different perspective. A perfect ending to our time at the Conrad!

Anantara

  • Accessible via: 30 min boat
  • Island: ★★★★★
  • Food: ★★★★★
  • Ambiance: ★★★★★
  • Room: ★★★★★
  • Kids allowed

Another quick 35 mins speedboat ride away from Male airport and you’ve arrived. We were greeted by several members of the staff singing and waving to us as we stepped off the boat. What a warm welcome!

Anantara is actually 3 islands within the same lagoon – Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Veli and Naladhu Private Island. We checked into an overwater pool suite at Anantara Dhigu and made a mad dash to the villa to catch the most spectacular sunset from our villa! Seriously, it was probably the most vibrant sunset I’ve ever seen! 

The room was beautiful, sleek, modern, and my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw the bathtub! You guys know my love for tubs and beautiful tub pics there was no way I was leaving here without one! 

Anantara Dhigu bathtub

The island was so photogenic! From the lush green pathways, infinity pools and swing sitting right in the ocean, you can’t take a bad photo here! We loved cruising the island by bicycle. It was a great way to explore the property and figure out where we wanted to shoot!

One of the main reasons I quickly fell in love with Anantara was their food! They have so many incredible restaurants to choose from and tons of non-dairy and vegan options on their menus! Typically visiting an Italian restaurant is pretty hard for me as I can’t eat any dairy. I was so pleasantly surprised to see they some great seafood and non-dairy options!

On our last night, we visited the Thai restaurant at Anantara Veli. I’m a sucker for anything Thai, so I was in a coconut curry heaven!! The restaurant had a very authentic feeling, all the employees were from Thailand and I was able to say hello and thank you in Thai! (It may have been rusty, but I still got it!) Some of my favorites are green curry and morning glory. And for dessert make sure to get mango sticky rice!

Kandolhu

  • Accessible via: 40 mins seaplane + 10 mins boat
  • Island: ★★★★★
  • Food: ★★★★★
  • Ambiance: ★★★★
  • Room: ★★★★
  • Kids allowed above the age of 6 years old
Sunset outside our villa at Kandolhu

Time for one last seaplane ride over to Kandolhu located in the North Ari Atoll. Kandolhu is the smallest island we stayed in the Maldives with only 30 villa. But don’t be fooled, this small island left a big impression!

While our time here was rained out we did manage to keep ourselves busy by eating our hearts out! Eating at any one of the 5 restaurants was a fine dining experience. We were told Banzai, the Japanese restaurant was a must but it only at 6 seats so it was always booked up. We were not left disappointed with the other selections. The best part, each of their restaurants had a complete vegan menu available!

We stayed in a beautiful Duplex Pool Villa for our 2-night stay and we loved the two-story design and outdoor bathroom! The room had direct access to the beach and tons of friendly reef sharks swimming right up to the shore (these sharks are completely harmless so don’t worry).

Nawaimaa

  • Food: ★★★★★
  • Ambiance: ★★★★
  • Room: ★★★★

If you’re looking for a unique experience while in the Maldives, welcome onboard Nawaimaa!

We thought spending our last night on a yacht in the Maldives would be a really unique experience but we had no idea how luxurious it would be! It was only when we were greeted by the staff that we became completely speechless. 

We learned the 85-foot yacht is 3 floors, can accommodate up to 10-12 guests, comes complete with a private chef and we had it all to ourselves!! SOMEONE PINCH ME! I know what you’re thinking “WTF LISA!” And I hear you, I probably would say the same thing if I was reading this. 

We sailed to a local sandbar just 30 mins from Male and docked there for the night. The Nawaimaa team assured us the boat was loaded with anything needed for the ultimate water adventure. From jet skis, dive gear, snorkel masks, a banana boat.. our ocean activities were endless!

The staff on board was absolutely amazing and made our stay onboard so memorable! It was obvious that they were used to hosting high government officials and royalty, not a social media influencer who was there to capture every moment and eat cold food. Imagine having to ask for everything. I wanted fruit and I had to ask Chef Rasika to serve me rather than just grabbing the plate myself. I wanted him to relax and join us but he wouldn’t. 

This was by far the most luxurious boat and opportunities I have ever experienced and the perfect way to end our time in paradise! Both James and I were so appreciative to have been able to sail onboard Nawaimaa and we cannot wait to revisit! 

Onboard Nawaimaa

I know this is a lengthy one but there was just so much to share! Each one of these accommodations was incredible in their own respect and has me wanting to revisit ASAP! I hope this was helpful. Please let me know if I can answer any questions in planning your trip to the Maldives! 

xx Lisa

Sunset with my love <3
Club Med Finolhu island
Club Med Kani
The most insane sunset I’ve ever seen at Anantara Dhigu
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8 Comments

  1. Angelica
    December 14, 2018 / 11:21 AM

    From the hotels you visited , which is the best one to go with a 2 year old? Thanks

    • lisahomsy
      Author
      April 14, 2019 / 7:51 PM

      Where are you looking to go Angelica? Club Med is always a good option for kids!

  2. December 14, 2018 / 1:50 PM

    I love reading all of your travel experiences! This one was the best so far…I think it would be great to know how much each place would have cost had you not been hosted. Your pictures are spectacular xo

    • lisahomsy
      Author
      April 14, 2019 / 7:53 PM

      Hey Courtney, we would have never been able to afford our trip had we of paid for it. We would have never gone for 2 weeks if that was the case as it gets pretty expensive. Our room at the Conrad was $1400/ night and that is no food included to give you an example.

  3. December 19, 2018 / 7:38 PM

    These photos are beautiful Lisa! Need to get here asap!

    • lisahomsy
      Author
      April 14, 2019 / 7:53 PM

      Yes the Maldives is a dream come true!!

  4. One World Wanderer
    January 19, 2019 / 1:40 AM

    Ahh I wanted to travel to the Maldives so bad before reading this. Now I am DYINGGGGG to visit there!

    • lisahomsy
      Author
      April 14, 2019 / 7:58 PM

      It’s definitely a beautiful place and one to be visited for sure!!

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