Kuredu has been carefully and cleverly developed over the years to fill out this large island and deliver several differently priced holidays within an overall classic Maldivian package of beach, diving, snorkeling, activities and romance.
First opened in 1989 as a fun-packed young people’s place, big on diving, the resort matured with the opening of the smart, no children Sangu, a resort within a resort. Now the modern look ‘O’ resort has been added at the eastern end of the island and the truly private Sultan Villas have been built in the middle. There is also a new spa for the ‘O’ and a new restaurant, The Far East, by the main restaurant and pool.
This is a resort that has worked out its systems and looks after its staff. The place runs wonderfully smoothly and the staff are calm, organised and friendly. Not overly friendly in a trained sort of way but genuine, as befits a no fuss, no frills place.
Shaped Like A Whale Shark
The island lies more or less east-west, shaped with a bulge on the eastern end and tapering to a point as it goes west (rather like a whale shark seen from below and a bit like Cyprus). The long south side faces into the Llaviyani atoll and has the great beach. The long north side faces the open water and has occasional beaches protected by low walls and tetrapods.
The Sangu Water Villas are built into the lagoon on the north side, with the Honeymoon Suites at the sunset end. The rest of the north side is taken up by Bonthi Beach Bungalows and when these move more inland they become Bonthi Garden Bungalows and in front of them have been built ‘O’ Beach Villas. The ‘O’ beach villas are right on a good section of beach and the Sangu water villas have steps down to the lagoon but the snorkeling is not great on this whole side because of some persistent sea grass and because there is often a bit of current and/or rough water.
The south side of the island has ‘O’ Jacuzzi Beach Villas which have swimmable access to the snorkeling reef as well as decent corals inside the lagoon and the better privacy than most of the other rooms. The Koamas Beach Villas and Jacuzzi Beach Villas then take up most of the rest of the south shore, either side of the jetty from which the snorkeling is accessed. The western end is taken by the Sangu Jacuzzi Beach Villas (and so around the narrow end to the Sangu water villas).
Room Styles And Location
The original resort room is still the core of the Bonthi beach bungalows. These are basic enough but very economical and perfectly fine for those concerned more with diving, sports, sun, fun, eating and drinking. All the Koamas, Sangu and ‘O’ villas share the plain, functional elegance of Scandinavian design, with walls and floor of light timber and furniture of black metal. The ‘O’ rooms might be seen as a little more feminine with their decor and predominantly wood rather than metal furniture. The key difference between the rooms is really their position around the island with their access to good beach, the snorkeling and the various pools, bars and restaurants.
Kuredu is a gregarious sort of resort, a place where hideaway privacy for two is not its raison d’être. The only rooms that have real privacy all around are the nine Sultan’s Villas. These premium rooms with their 10 metre pool and extensive decking are enclosed by walls and surrounded by greenery in the middle of the island.
Most guests here are happy to be among other like-minded people, around one of the swimming pools, in the bars in the evening, on an excursion or out on a dive or snorkel trip. Just about everything here is the largest in the country, only Sun Island can compete — and that merely on size alone. Nowhere else is there more beach or more swimming pool area. The resort has the largest dive centre, watersports centre and spa. With the size has come a level of professionalism that is also rarely matched.
Hanging Out At The Watersports
The watersports centre has grown from a hut on the beach to big building beside and in front of the main bar, with its own bar and ice cream parlour serving the guests hanging out on their large deck, playing cards or scrabble, sitting in beanie bags or checking out the Billabong boutique.
The dive centre is run not only with professionalism but with an easy camaraderie that belies the complexity of all the activities. Guests range from hard-core, single-minded divers who really know what they want, down to the anxious and uncertain first-timers. But this doesn't seem to cause a hiccup in the system. There are enough instructors, boats and dive sites to keep everyone satisfied.
The centre takes on the snorkeling too. A separate board with an introduction and lots of information, details the options and activities. Daily lessons are free, as are the accompanied snorkels from the beach on the excellent house reef. On top of this are regular half day and full day snorkel trips with the guests well prepared as to what there is to enjoy.
The Golf Club
Meeru and Kuredu are the only two resorts that offer golf. The Kuredu course is larger and there is also a putting green and a 200 metre driving range with traps. And a real golf pro too. This may all sound inappropriate for the Maldives but it really works. It is helped by the fact that it is so well hidden inside the island that you would walk straight past it if you didn't know it was there. It is insidiously addictive and the tiny country club-style 'seventh hole' is a hoot, staying open for gin and tonics long into the floodlit evening.
British and Germans have been the large majority of guests here since the beginning. Many of them come back year after year to enjoy the special way that Kuredu does the Maldives.
Reviewed by Adrian Neville