It was unreal. I stood transfixed, staring at the glimmering emerald waters surrounding the wooden jetty of Holiday Island like it was my first time to set eyes on the sea. It was like a huge infinity pool, a never ending one with the clearest waters in gradients of blues and greens. I didn’t want to admit it, and I kept denying it to myself—the Maldives has beaten the Philippines when it comes to having the best beaches.
|QUICK TRANSFER FROM MAAMIGILI TO THE HOLIDAY ISLAND RESORT|
A day tour at an island resort made us rethink our Maldives itinerary. Our original plan of staying solely at the local island of Maamigili went down the drain as soon as we alighted from our boat and stepped on the resort’s wooden causeway. With unbelievable clear waters, super fine white sandy beaches, and cold, cold beer—yes, they have beer on these kind of islands—we thought, why not stay on one of these even for a night, we’re already here anyway.
|LIKE A MASSIVE INFINITY POOL!|
Well, why not indeed? There’s a hundred and fifty reasons why not, and it’s all in US dollars. That’s why not. The logical thing to do, really, was to stay at the Whale Shark Inn in Maamigili and simply do a day trip to the nearby island resorts. Transfers are free, since they’re practically swimmable from our island, and the day trip fee is only a third of an overnight stay.
But we were bitten Maldivian bug. And it made us really, really illogical.
|READY TO TAKE A DIP YET?|
So off we went, booking a single night at the Holiday Island Resort [CHECK ROOM RATES & AVAILABILITY] after a night of deliberation. It was very close to Maamigili—like two basketball courts away, and relatively cheap. Yes, we’ll take any form of cheap. We’re already scraping the bottom of our two-month Beach Hop Asia budget here and we still have Singapore left on our itinerary.
|MOST ISLAND RESORTS IN MALDIVES HAS A WOODEN JETTY|
The thing about staying at the Holiday Island Resort, besides their gorgeous beach and the availability of beer, is that we actually saved millions of pesos (kidding, but it is about the same by our standards) by coming from Maamigili Island.
|FINE WHITE SAND BEACH ALL AROUND THE ISLAND|
Consider this. Should we have booked there and we’re staying at Hulhumale or Male, we would need to pay MVR3,683.00 (USD239.00) for the roundtrip plane and boat transfer fees. But, okay, that’s quite overreaching, why would you actually book an island resort in Maamigili when you’re in Male. So, let’s find a closer island resort from Male.
|SNORKELING, BOATING OR WIND SURFING?|
The cheapest nightly rate I can find for an island resort near Male via Agoda is at MVR1,257.00 (USD81.50) exclusive of 12% hotel tax and 15.2% service charge. The speedboat transfer fee is at MVR2,620.00 (USD170.00), twice the actual price of the room.
See. We saved millions, right?
|THE PERFECT PLACE TO LOUNGE AROUND|
But enough about money. Let’s talk beaches.
We arrived at the Holiday Island Resort quite early. We were thoroughly excited, yes. By nine in the morning, we were already at Maamigili’s docks, waiting for the boat that would transfer us to Dhiffushi Island where the resort is located. The ride took less than two minutes by my estimate and we were soon on its wooden boardwalk, typical of Maldives resorts, staring with our mouths open at the waters surrounding us. It was superlatively gorgeous.
|SUPERIOR BEACH BUNGALOWS|
We were ready to drop our bags at the lobby and frolic at the beach while waiting for our lodgings to be available but lo and behold, the rooms are already available for check in! A bonus!
|EVEN THE EN SUITE TOILET AND BATH IS OLD SCHOOL|
A downside about accommodations at the Holiday Island Resort is that it has none of those iconic water bungalows Maldives is famous for. Well, we really didn’t mind since we really don’t have the moolah to book those. At this island, everyone, luxury and budget travelers alike, are at the same level since they only have a single room type, the Superior Beach Bungalows.
|BALCONIES LOOKING OUT TO THE SEA|
Each one of the 142 bungalows faces the beach at the north and south side of the island. We were set on the northern front where we can actually see the sunset from our balcony. The room itself is spacious but the interiors are a bit dated. It has all the amenities we can hope for, even a private outdoor shower area. There is free wi-fi Internet available, but you have to go back to the lobby since it doesn’t reach our room.
|BAR AND LOUNGE AREA|
|COMPLIMENTARY BUFFET BREAKFAST, NO PORK|
For food, they offer free buffet breakfast for guests. We guessed right that lunch and dinner would be expensive so we brought a packed lunch (mee goreng, yeah!) for our first day and instant noodles and bread from the convenience stores in Maamigili for the rest of our meals. Lol!
|SAND THAT CAN COMPARE TO BORACAY|
Dhiffushi Island isn’t really that big, we were able to walk along the whole periphery of the island in an hour or so. And doing so, we found its white sand can actually go head to head with our very own Boracay in terms of fineness.
|SUNSET AT THE HOLIDAY ISLAND RESORT|
There’s a mini sandbar off the western end of the island, a good place to take sunset photos aside from the jetty area, but my favorite spot at the resort is at the southwestern edge where the water sport center is located.
|A SCHOOL OF CUTE FISHES|
|CLUMPS OF CORALS LITTER THE WATERS JUST A FEW METERS AWAY FROM THE BEACH|
Right in front of it is a reef teeming with colorful fishes taking shelter at the clumps of corals just a few meters from the shore, perfect for snorkeling. If you don’t know how to swim, you can actually just walk, don a mask and dunk your head in the water and you’d see them fishes in all their rainbowy glory. There are also a few harmless baby black tip sharks roaming the shore, but they’re quite shy and tend to swim away when you approach.
|SHARK AND MANTA RAY FEEDING AT NIGHT|
Come evening, we splurged further. This time on beer. It has been almost a week since we last tasted alcohol! At MVR92.50 (USD6.00) a bottle, we really tried hard to get drunk on a single bottle of Heineken. Right after, we proceeded to the end of the jetty where a group of sharks and manta rays were feasting on chicken bits being thrown by one of the resort stuff. Those guys are scary huge!
|MALDIVES IS INDEED A BEACH PARADISE|
Our stay at the Holiday Island Resort is indeed the highlight of our beach hopping around Asia. I thought then that it cannot get any better than this. That was until we were told that a day trip to their sister resort, the Sun Island Resort, is totally complimentary for resort guests.
Holiday Island Resort & Spa
Address: Dhiffushi Island, South Ari Atoll, Maldives
Contact Number: (960) 668-0011
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GPS Coordinates Map: 3.475507, 72.824978
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