Maalifushi by COMO is one of the most incredible and luxurious resorts in all of the Maldives. It is the kinda place that you could be saving to visit for years. As much as it was truly amazing and the cost does reflect the astounding level of service and attention to detail, it is not the kind of lodgings that is open and feasibly affordable for many people. So in order to keep some perspective and show the Maldives from different angles, after leaving Maalifushi, it was time to head North to another resort island – this time one that is much more budget friendly.
Reethi Beach Resort is an eco-friendly, 4-star resort located in the Baa Atoll – a 35 minute seaplane ride north-east of Male international airport. The resort is located on a tiny island called Fonimagoodhoo and when I say tiny – I mean tiny! The island is 600m x 200m in total size – so it is but a tiny blip of the Maldives – albeit a beautiful one.
There are two options regarding arrival to Reethi Beach from Male – domestic carrier flight or domestic seaplane transfers with Trans Maldivian Airways. The former involves getting on a 20 minute flight to Dharavandoo and then boarding a speedboat for a 15 minute ride to Reethi – this is the most cost-friendly option. The latter is an incredible seaplane flight offering glorious views of the Maldives from above. Kate and I chose the latter, it wasn’t an enormous amount extra to travel in the seaplane, and they are an absolutely amazing way to travel.
Once we arrived at Reethi, it was time to deplane onto the ocean pontoon and wait for the Dhoni boat to collect us and take us to shore.
We were pretty instantly enamoured by the colour of the water and the jungle-esque look of the island! One thing is certain – Maldivian islands are ridiculously photogenic!
Once arriving at reception to check in we were greeted with welcome coconuts. Light, refreshing and a lovely beginning to a lovely stay.
After checking in and downing my coconut, it was time to look around the island and check out where we would be staying for the next few days.
The cheapest rooms on offer here are the Reethi Villas – which go for around $165 USD per night. This is still a fair bit of cash, but compared to the other resorts which can go for thousands of dollars each night – it is certainly a more affordable option.
For the first few nights we stayed in the Deluxe Villa which goes for around $240 USD per night. The decor could stand to be updated and the room is fairly basic – at least by Maldivian resort standards – but the beds were comfortable, the outdoor shower was heavenly and the location was superb.
We later transferred to one of the over water villas (more info in posts to come) which go for around $290 USD per night – easily one of the cheapest over water villa options on the market.
The best part of these Deluxe Villas is without a doubt, the location. As soon as you open the door – you take a few steps – and this is the view you are left with! The sand is as white as my legs during the winter, the water is unbelievably warm, and the house reef is a mere 2-3m from the shore (tide dependent).
There are lots of water sports and activities on offer at Reethi, but most of these are fairly exxy. After splurging at Maalifushi (room service and cocktails were too good to pass up) my pockets were left feeling rather light, so I decided to hire some snorkel gear for the duration of my stay ($12.99 USD per day) and spend most of my time off of dry land.
The house reef was easily the most appealing part about staying at Reethi! While snorkelling with sea turtles at Maalifushi was amazing, being so far away from the reef made it hard to get really up close and personal with the aquatic life. A beautiful reef is mere 2-4 metres below the surface here and incredibly easy to access. I saw a ridiculously abundant amount of marine life during my time at Reethi – so much so that I am going to have to do numerous posts to cover it all! So stay tuned – you won’t want to miss it.
After arriving on that first afternoon and settling in, Kate and I did not do a whole heck of a lot else for the day. It was blisteringly hot and the humidity was at 80% – so after watching the sun set we settled ourselves into bed for an early night with the plan to rise nice and early and watch the sun rise again.
We had visited the water sports centre the previous afternoon to inquire about kayak hire. The rates were between $15-$20 USD depending on how long you planned to take the kayak out for. We wanted to be on the water for the sunrise, so we were able to negotiate with the staff to leave a kayak out on the beach overnight for us, so that we would have access outside opening hours.
It did not take long at all to kayak around the tiny island but it did require a little bit of manoeuvring. There are several areas of the island that are prone to sand erosion – so there are some man made sand bars in place to prevent further sand from being washed away. When the tides are low these sand bars are just centimetres from the surface and we would have to kayak around them. This sounds easy but when you have two people in a kayak – one of whom is mostly just taking pictures and another who really has never kayaked before – it can prove a little tricky.
The views proved absolutely stunning and were well worth the early rise.
Once back on dry land, the sky went from pink to a fiery orange and made for some pretty spectacular views.
After getting some lovely shots and admiring the gloriousness of the new day, it was off for breakfast and then time for some snorkelling. Stay tuned!
T H E L O W D O W N
Getting to Male: There are many different routes flying into Male, flights with Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur are some of the cheapest
Trans Maldivian Airways: This is the largest seaplane company flying to destinations in the Maldives
Getting to Reethi: Access is by seaplane or domestic flight – costs for return flights are $450 USD and $330 USD respectively
Reethi Beach: One of the most affordable resorts in the Maldives, basic rooms start at $165 USD per night
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 12-40mm M.Zuiko Pro Lens
Threads: My favourite maxi skirt is by Aussie label Tigerlily Swimwear
Remember: To pack any and all personal items you could possibly need – import costs are high to these islands which means that anything available for purchase is going to cost you a lot
Don’t forget to add me on Snapchat and Instagram – @wwellend – for more foolishness and travel adventures!