Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi: a destination in paradise
By Matt G. He is a young professional from the United States with a background in arts and education. Matt loves to travel the world in search of beautiful destinations and unique travel experiences. He also enjoys cycling, writing and photography. He is also a writer for The Joys of Traveling.
Maldives Promotion House – Have you ever had a dream so real that when you woke up it took you a few minutes to realize it wasn’t? Well, as I sit here back in my day to day routine, having just come from the reality of the Maldives I have a similar feeling. It is not that my experience was imaginative, but kind of surreal. This is the first time that both prior to and after a travel experience I have vivid images of an unbelievable place racing through my mind. When speaking about the Maldives images of fantastic island destinations come to mind. The place is characterized by picture perfect scenes of the gentlest and soothing shades of white powdered sands and sea colors from deep blue to glowing sapphire. If one is tempted to think that photos like this are retouched, I can assure you they are not. The Maldives are thousands of little islands gathered into many atolls and each one offers scenes of resplendent beauty. That is why every hotel in these parts has developed its own piece of paradise. The setting in such pristine and surreal surroundings is the primary inspiration for the overall greatness one can expect to find. From these majestic views each of the hotels have created a sensorial journey all inside one compact destination. I had the pleasant opportunity to savor one such slice of paradise recently: The Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi Resort and Spa.
The best way I can begin to describe this experience is by relating just how unique it was getting here. Maldives is not something you just up and go to. Even if you have the resources to decide to go at any time, it is a far away place and requires at least some planning to arrive. The flight to Male is quite far. I couldn’t help but realize that I was on a large aircraft headed for what seemed like tiny specks of land in a huge ocean. Upon arrival in the international airport, the journey was just beginning. The next step on the trip was a sea plane transfer to my destination of choice. Waiting in the Hilton lounge at the seaplane terminal was a great introduction to the hospitality and luxury I could expect at the destination. The lounge is spacious and has an atmosphere of relaxation and quiet. There are comfortable sofa beds on which you can enjoy views of the seaplane harbor or watch any range of television, all the while enjoying a wide selection of snacks and drinks. The attentive staff are sure to make you feel welcome and will even give you a massage to help you enter your next flight unburdened and carefree. The seaplane experience was a great thrill, especially if one loves flying like I do. In our modern age of jumbo liners and lengthy check in processes it was a delight to simply get on board and go. It felt like a real throwback to the early years of aviation, the golden years of just fifteen passengers and low flying over a tropical seascape. Forty five minutes later I had arrived to my first taste of heaven on earth.
Disembarking the seaplane I was immediately met on the jetty by an employee assigned to be my host. I didn’t have a single care for my bags as they were carefully whisked away to my room. After enjoying a complementary welcome drink in the Water’s Edge Bar by the lagoon, my personalized hotel representative (who would be my easily reachable contact for the entire stay) speedily checked me in and gave me an interactive orientation of the hotel, the island and all the facilities via ipad. I was then shown to my room, a deluxe seaside villa. What does a mansion in heaven look like you may be asking? Well, first there is a beach, you know the one you’ve seen gracing the covers of countless travel magazines since they were first put in print. And what a view it is. The layout is perfect from your beachfront gazebo to your covered villa porch right to the master bed, there is a clear line of sight to that iconic space where land and sea meet with overwhelming grace and charm. The villa itself is a large structure with a rounded shape. The interior has high ceilings made of delicate wood and the floors and walls are a series of relaxing shades of white and cream colors. The bed is soft and large and it is complemented on one side by a pillowed sitting area built into the wall and on the other by a spacious desk space and minibar. The room comes equipped with internet and a great entertainment system. Behind you villa is perhaps the gem of the whole masterpiece, your own private garden and relaxation area. This outdoor area is where the shower and bathroom facilities are located too. Indulge in your own backyard I spa as your open garden space is enclosed with high walls, a gazebo bed and a Jacuzzi for round the clock relaxation. The villa is a perfect getaway with all the pleasures one could hope for under one roof.
The hotel itself has an amazing layout. There is good use of space over the whole island of Iru Fushi without ever disrupting the natural feel of the dense tropical vegetation and the wide beaches and lagoons maintained by mother nature. Each morning I would savor the barefoot walk either along the beach or through the interior footpaths to the Iru Restaurant where a sumptuous breakfast was served. I found as well that there several lodging options on the island. There are beach villas, deluxe beach villas, overwater bungalows and a couple specialty retreats like celebrity, hidden and aqua. The overwater bungalows are an exceptional way to enjoy a holiday by living above the calming sea.
For an island so remote and relatively small the infrastructure is stunning and the variety is impressive. There are several restaurants and bars on the island and their menus are as extensive as anyone would find in a major city. There is even an impressive wine cellar with a sizable collection. Those who have a Hilton Gold membership can expect a complementary happy hour on the beach every night and a gift of a bottle of wine for the room among other benefits. The hotel facilities are varied and impressive. There is luxury shopping, recreation facilities, a library, a kids center, a family pool and a serene adults only pool as well. For sports there is a tennis and a badminton court, a golf simulator and a gym. The gym would be the one flaw that I found in my entire experience here. It is quite small and the machines are outdated, it could definitely use some upgrading.
Water sports are a must at the beach and there are ample opportunities for them here. It would be a shame to come all this way and not to get out into some of the world’s most pristine waters. If Maldives is beautiful above the surface then what’s below is certainly the other half of that equation. Here in the turquoise reefs one will find untouched corals and scores of fish and aquatic life. The dive center is a great way to suit up and head out to sea or even to learn to dive. One can also borrow snorkeling gear from the hotel here, something I enjoyed doing every day. The water sports center offers all non motorized sports like windsurfing kayaking and much more complimentary and one can rent any number of motorized excursions like wakeboarding, jet skiing and big game fishing during the day.
The Spa is a focal point for the hotel so much so that it makes up part of the official name. The Spa is like a resort within the resort. The setting is in the central area of the island where one can splash into refreshing privacy and undergo a real rejuvenation. The entrance to the spa is a unique pathway that winds through a mysterious garden and opens up into a tranquil atrium of pleasant smells and cooler temperatures under a lush canopy. There are steam and sauna areas, hot and cold plunge pools and a whole selection of private villas for massage and therapy treatments all in view of nature’s finest displays.
The best thing I have taken from my experience of the Maldives is that heaven can really be a place on earth. The reality is that there are lots of opportunities to experience the luxury and comforts of the Maldives, but every experience is unique and each island is heavenly not only because it exists, but because you are there to enjoy it. I am glad to have found my piece of heaven, a place that I was able to marvel at and experience all in one. The Hilton Maldives was my taste of heaven on earth and I can assure you that it is waiting to welcome and wow you as well.