The day you pack your bags to leave a place like Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa in the Maldives could just be a day you shed a few tears. Saying goodbye to All Inclusive luxury, 5-star service, crystal clear waters and those cocktails is not an easy task. Thankfully, we found a way to preempt the post-Maldives blues; we packed our bags, checked out, jumped in a boat and made our way to Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa in the North Male Atoll.
A big part of any trip to the Maldives is the ‘getting there’. Generally, you’ll fly into Male airport. Many travellers will then jump straight on a boat, plane or seaplane out to the islands (depending on where your resort is). Those who land in Male in the late evening with often check in to an airport hotel overnight and get up nice and early the next morning to head to their resorts. When we arrived we did the latter, catching a plane from Male to the Alifu Atoll in the early hours of the morning so we were refreshed on arrival.
We opted for a seaplane for our transfer from Centara Grand to Centara Ras Fushi. It costs a little more to take the seaplane, but it’s well worth the investment for the breathtaking views you get as you float above the atolls. It was our first seaplane ride and we were like two kids at an amusement park (again with the ‘Disneyland effect‘). Seeing the Maldives from the sky makes you appreciate just how vast the area is. It’s such a striking seascape. The images (mental and photographic) will stay with me forever. We jumped in a speedboat from Male (which is how guests will normally arrive at Centara Ras Fushi. The short commute from Male is one of the many reasons guests are attracted to Ras Fushi; the speedboat from Male to the main wharf takes about 20 minutes.
One of the other big draws for Centara Ras Fushi over other Maldives resorts is its adults-only policy (children over 12 are welcome). The resort really reflects the adults-only focus and that’s just one of the many ways it is an entirely different destination to its South Ari Atoll cousin.
Centara Ras Fushi has 140 villas on the property. The Ocean Front Villas are a few steps from the beach and if you want to pimp your villa you can check into a Deluxe Ocean Front Villa which has its own large, outdoor spa for star gazing over a couple of glasses of bubbles (a romantic option for couples). The prized over water villas are another ball game entirely. There are three types of over water villas to swoon over – the Deluxe Water Villas, the Deluxe Sunset Water Villas and the Premium Deluxe Spa Water Villas. The labels really speak to the different features of the villas – The Deluxe sunset villas are the same as the the Deluxe villas but they’re in the best position to watch the sun go down from your own private deck. The Premium Villas go one luxurious step further and have their own private outdoor spa on deck too.
Being driven by buggy to our Deluxe Water Villa was a real pinch-yourself moment. You have a lot of those in the Maldives, in part owing to the inexplicable brilliance of the blue water that surrounds you all day. You never get used to it. Having already experienced a few days in a luxury, Maldivian setting at Centara Grand, I thought I was prepared. But then we opened the door to our home on the water. It was stunning. The private deck is the first thing that grabs your eye. Two sun loungers and a side table were sitting out on the half-moon shaped deck, calling us. Walking outside, a narrow wooden staircase lead directly into the crystal water.
The room itself is designed so that you don’t miss out on the view no matter where in the room you’re relaxing. A large bathroom and wardrobe sat off the left as you entered the chalet. To the right, you come to a table, minibar and arm chair. The king-sized bed faces the floor to ceiling glass sliding doors to the deck, so you can go to sleep and rise with the sun, while protecting your privacy from the guests in villas to either side of you. As we were unpacking the doorbell rang. A bottle of champagne and chocolates arrived. This really is the honeymoon-style experience you read about in those bridal magazines. What were we to do but pop the bottle and enjoy a glass on the deck as a quasi ‘villa warming’?!
There is a choice of a Half-Board Plus or All Inclusive when you book your stay at Centara Ras Fushi. The Half-Board Plus includes breakfast and dinner and some drinks, while the All Inclusive covers everything. I highly recommend choosing the All Inclusive package and leaving your wallet safely locked in the safe in your villa.
Everyone’s day begins with a breakfast buffet at Oceans. Follow the fine white sandy pathways to the grand bale-style restaurant. The buffet covers off international favourites from eggs on request, waffles, pancakes, bacon, Asian dishes, healthy choices from fresh fruit to smoothies, juices, muesli with nuts and superfoods. Of course, there was a table stacked high with baked goods (including gluten-free options) for those who are having a cheat day. Lunch and dinner is also served at Oceans for clients who want the variety of an Asian and international style buffet. The culinary theme changes daily too so you are spoiled for choice.
Al Khaimah was my favourite restaurant at Centara Ras Fushi. A Bedouin style tent with low, cushioned seating and soft candle light, created a restaurant that felt worlds away from our tropical island. Al Khaimah serves Arabic and Middle Eastern-style grilled meats, hummus and vegetables so it’s the perfect pick for a health conscious traveller (particularly the paleo crowd). We ordered a handful of items and shared family style; starting with home made hummus, chicken kebabs, prawns. A number of marinated, grilled meats that were packed with flavour followed. You’ll be tempted by the very sweet Middle Eastern desserts too which I also recommend you share.
Plating up modern Italian fare and local seafood, La Brezza sits in prime people watching position, by the main swimming pool. You’ll have the choice of a daily set menu or you can order a la carte. All the usual suspects are on the menu from delicious Caprese salad or paper thin carpaccio, to creamy potato gnocchi, tender cuts of meat dishes and mouthwatering seafood platters. I’m a huge fan of Italian food, so it’s no surprise I loved La Brezza for lunch.
Neighbouring La Brezza is Suan Bua, the Ras Fushi’s signature Thai restaurant. Utilising techniques, flavours and ingredients brought in especially from Thailand, the entire experience has been created to give you a truly authentic taste of Thailand.
Waves Pool Bar
Nowhere is the relaxed and laid back feel of Ras Fushi more obvious that at Waves Pool Bar. Guests can pull up underwater stoop and enjoy a cocktail while catching some sun or even grab one of the in-pool beach chairs so they’re really close to the water and the action. Not surprisingly the pool bar is a favourite with groups that are staying at the resort, it’s a fun, central meeting point that’s also within metres of the sand.
Giraavaru Lobby Bar
Viu Bar is Centara Ras Fushi’s answer to Cheers. You’ll likely find yourself just ‘popping in’, a few times a day and by the end of your stay everybody may just know your name. During the day, Viu serves snacks and coffees overlooking the lagoon with views back to the beach. Complimentary afternoon tea is served at the bar and you might just find yourself sticking around for a cocktail or two afterwards. Unless you’re staying in a Deluxe Sunset Villa, an over water net at Viu Bar is the ideal spot to listen to some live music, enjoy a drink and some canapés at the sun sets.
Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.