Meeru – Paradise found
Think of the Maldives and you think of tropical paradise islands with perfect white coral sand beaches and luxury – well you’d be right, we went for a once in a lifetime trip, and it really was paradise found. For this bucket list trip we decided to take a family holiday with Garth’s parents and have two weeks of sheer indulgence and relaxation.
Getting to Meeru
After an exciting flight on the comfortable and gigantic A380 via Dubai we arrived at Malé International Airport on the small island capital of Male, incredibly packed from coast to coast with buildings.
Coming out of the arrivals hall we were met with ridiculous turquoise coloured sea views against jetty’s and a slight wiff of petrol from the seaplanes. After a wait in the humid heat for other passengers to arrive we set off!
Our island – Meeru, or Meerufenfushi, in the North Male Atoll is 30 miles from the capital accessible by speed boat whereas other islands in the South Atol are accessible by sea plane. It took about 50 minutes, although it was bumpy, the anticipation outweighed that, wondering which island would be ours .. the feeling was like Christmas Day morning, passing different islands along the way.
Then we saw Meeru in the distance, just like a shipwrecked island of palms getting closer and closer, we arrived to its beautiful crystal clear turquoise lagoon and perfect white sandy beach, where we were met by a line up of staff offering us cocktails. We had definitely arrived!
After a welcome drink and induction we were shown to our Jacuzzi Water Villa. Nothing can describe the sheer joy we felt as we walked across to jetty over the fish filled lagoon to our private villa, you really can’t believe you are actually in paradise. It was on our bucket list to stay in a water villa in the Maldives, so big tick! The island resort is actually once of the biggest in the Maldives, we went in high season, but you never felt like it was full as you only ever saw a handful of people on the beaches, just perfect.
Our favourite experience was probably snorkelling, just incredible. When we first put your heads under the water it was like looking in a giant aquarium, you can’t believe there is so much activity under the water, even standing in the shallow waters of the lagoon you are accompanied by baby sharks and stingrays, going further out to the coral reef the colours of the fish become something else. The island also provides some brilliant posters with guides to the varieties you can see, including a video screening one evening about the tropical waters and coral life for snorkelling and diving, as it’s an approved PADI site, which is well worth watching. There were plenty of other activities on the islands ranging from a driving range, water sports and tennis, but snorkelling kept us entertained the whole time. Sadly the results captured by our GroPro camera underwater came out blurry.
Another favourite experience was just relaxing in the water villa’s jacuzzi at night and star gazing the dark night skies. The water villa had an open-air bathroom and the jacuzzi area was walled for privacy, so you are not overlooked by the other villas.
Our other favourite was simply walking around the whole island and stopping off at the couple of bars along the way, it took about 40 minutes to walk around the immaculate white coral sand shore.
5 Star Service
The staff were so gracious and nothing was too much trouble, impeccable service, many were from Sri Lanka and there was a whole staff community with island lodgings for staff including a football pitch and small mosque, they said that during their time working they too were well looked after. The beds were turned down each evening and decorated creatively with Frangipani or Hibiscus flowers.
Food was incredible too, on arrival we were allocated the same table and waiter in the buffet restaurant and very varied on daily basis considering it was all-inclusive. We stayed for 2 weeks and never got bored. We also went to their À La Carte Asian Wok Restaurant and had some very tasty Japanese food, the prawns were enormous, bigger than your face!
We went on a couple of excursions, including a free dolphin watching trip, which luckily they came out to play and entertain us. We also took a seaplane sightseeing trip which was breathtaking from the air, and would recommended, apart from some obnoxious couples who split up and hogged the window seats. Although expensive, the spectacular memory of seeing the Atolls was worth the price.
10/10 If we can ever afford to go ever again, we’d have no hesitation, hopefully before it disappears under the water as its currently only 1.5m above sea level, and its predicted that in 50 years it will be gone, which is sad.
Phil & Garth’s Top 5 Meeru Tips
- Tip #1: Invest in a decent underwater camera at home and take it with you
- Tip #2: Break up your journey – Don’t take a direct UK flight to Male, instead get a free stopover eg Dubai, for a similar same price
- Tip #3: If you can afford it, combine Sri Lanka with the Maldives, a lot of people we met did this.
- Tip #4: Boat transfers in rough water can be unpleasant, so if you suffer sea sickness you may want to consider a seaplane transfer
- Tip #5: The Maldives is an Islamic country, but bikinis and alcohol are allowed, absolutely no topless bathing for ladies.
How we did it:
- We booked with Thomson, they came out cheapest the time we wanted to go, the staff were pretty helpful in store too.
- Flights were with Emirates, and we paid for a 2 night stopover in Dubai.
- Transfers from Male were provided by the resort.
- The sightseeing plane trip was booked through the hotel on arrival, approx £100 each