We go island-hopping in the Maldives to try a different flavour at Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Spa
If you’ve read the previous review of Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, you’ll know that we made our first family visit to the Maldives, travelling as a couple with our son Oscar (eight years old) and this was the second stop on our inaugural tour. We returned to Malé and this time had a boat rather than a seaplane connection.
Our destination was Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Spa, which was one of the first resorts to open in the Maldives with a 1974 pedigree and provided a very different contrast to the new resort we had just come from.
The island is just 20-minutes away by boat, which makes it perfect for those short on time and wanting to stay within convenient distance of the international airport. The foliage and vegetation here is also extremely mature, while the accommodation has thatched palm-frond roofs and inspires a feeling of walking through a traditional village.
We stayed in a beachfront cottage that had a wonderful outdoor bathroom and was a stone’s throw away from the shore. This provided a great soundtrack when sitting on the terrace in the twilight hours. These rooms were recently renovated and had a fresh feel to them. Overwater villas and other room types are among the choices, but we were pleased with our cottage and location which was just a few minutes’ walk from restaurants in one direction and the Kakuni Hut in the other, which became our go-to spots at various points in the day.
The whole resort was busy and vibrant during our stay with no obvious prevalence of a particular nationality of visitor. The CIS and India are top markets, but this resort is also popular with GCC guests and generally, of course, with honeymooners.
Our son, Oscar, was delighted with the kids’ Adventure Club. This had an indoor and extensive outdoor play area, although surprisingly this was not very busy during our stay despite a lot of families being around at the resort. Nevertheless, he was asking to spend an hour or two there each day which gave us a little extra relaxation.
Something not mentioned by the resort, but which came as a nice surprise were the activities arranged on the beach next to Kakuni Hut. There is a boules (pétanque) set-up along with darts and football, while a coordinator leads some fun activities for the kids during most afternoons – from water balloon games to hide-and-seek. This provides some great entertainment for the kids while parents relax nearby.
One of the first activities we enjoyed as a family turned out to be the best. Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Spa is pioneering a reef-building initiative with a third-party company, Reefscapers, and we enjoyed participating in building a coral frame. This is a metal frame covered in two layers of resin and sand, which forms a base for coral fragments that are attached with tie wraps. These grow with time and bond naturally to the structure and to the wider reef.
The activity was fun and prompted many questions from Oscar, raising his awareness of the plight of the reefs and providing an inspired feeling amongst the family that we were giving something back to the ocean.
We even participated in a morning yoga session as a family, which was hosted on the ‘spa island’. This is a superb facility with treatment rooms at the ocean’s edge and also an impressive garden area where the yoga pavilion is situated. This is an open wooden floored cabana right at the edge of the shore. I may have been the least flexible member of the family on this occasion, but it was a great way to start the day.
The Maldivian traditional dining event on the beach was a fun experience and both Oscar and Jozina took to the sands and moved to the beat of the drums, while I occupied myself at a safe distance, capturing the experience from behind the lens. We enjoyed the cuisine, while Oscar opted to order a pizza from the wood-fired oven in the bar which is manned from 11am to 11pm.
Swings and hammocks around the resort are a good way to break up any meandering wander between the accommodation and outlets. There are also many shaded areas to enjoy throughout the resort.
The choice of seven dining outlets meant that we were spoiled for choice during our four nights at the resort. All were good choices, but Baan Thai was head and shoulders above the others and as a frequent visitor to Thailand, this was one of the best we have experienced anywhere. The Angus beef stir fry, in particular, was delectable.
Anchorage Bar tended to be our final destination and has a boardwalk around its outer perimeter to enjoy live entertainment. A resident South American band played while we were there and we loved their acoustics. A pool table and foosball tables attracted Oscar and he was able to make some friends and enjoy some independence not far from our watchful eyes.
For a Maldives destination just a short hop from Malé, the Sheraton is a great choice for couples and families alike and, of course, it was no surprise that we felt sad when the trip was over. Oscar was asking from the second of the day trip when we would be back and I fully expect a recurrent request now that we have returned to get back there again before too long.
Plan the perfect trip
Flights Most international airlines offer direct or connecting flights to Velana International Airport. UAE-based carrier Emirates operates daily direct four-hour flights from Dubai to Mal
Complimentary speedboat transfers from Malé to Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Spa will be arranged with your reservation.
Check in Take your pick from accommodation categories that include beachfront rooms and cottages with island or garden views or overwater bungalows, villas and suites.
Dining: Sample world flavours at the resort
Feast: International venue serving breakfast and dinner
Sea Salt: Seafood
Masala Hut: Indian restaurant
Baan Thai: Authentic Thai venue
ChopstiX: Chinese cuisine
Kakuni Hut: Caribbean-inspired cuisine
Anchorage Bar: Mediterranean light bites
Wellness Shine Spa offers guests the chance to rejuvenate with signature treatments in a private spa pavilion on a private island with sea views, lush gardens and a yoga pavilion. To discover more about the resort, visit SheratonMaldives.com