Located on the islet of Kanuoiy Huraa in North Malé Atoll, Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives is, simply put, a surfer’s paradise. The four-star property has a perfect left break peeling along the fringe reef and into the deep channel. Surfing guests are in for a delight with exclusive access to the Pasta Point – one of the few left breaks in the Maldives – that breaks directly in front of the Raalhu Bar, aptly named as Raalhu translates to “waves” in the native tongue.
It was a perfect day, the early morning sun gleaming over the horizon, as my partner and I headed off to the resort, just a 25-minute speedboat ride away from Velana International Airport. The speed lapped through the deep blue sea, leaving jets of water in its wake, with the occasional spray of water with the gentle breeze.
As soon as we hopped on the jetty, we were whisked to the reception area, with its high thatched-roof ceiling, whitewashed walls, and colourful furniture. A cold welcome drink later, and the check-in process complete, we were ushered to the Raalhu Bar for a quick snack, while we waited for our room. To our delight, Sanjeeva Perera, the cheerful general manager of the island dropped by to say hello.
We stayed at an Overwater Suite, connected by an arching walkway on the northern side of the island. The well-designed suite came in four different segments; the comfortable bedroom, lively living area, well-furnished bathroom and the patio adjoining the other three with sliding doors. The bedroom and living area came with a thatched-wood ceiling and solid wood flooring. What caught my eye were the fish swimming beneath the living area, visible through the glass patch on the floor.
The private sundeck had ample seating area, sun beds and a hammock, with stunning views of the ocean. Simply, the perfect setting to spend the evening with your loved one, reading a book or sipping a hot cup of joe or coco. Before deciding to laze around, we headed out to check out Rehendhi, the dining outlet dedicated to guests of the Overwater Suites.
A juvenile ray swam alongside the walkway as we made our way towards the restaurant as if welcoming us to its humble abode. Located next to the pool, also reserved for the Overwater Suites’ guests, the restaurant offered a holistic spread of international cuisines, accompanied by the whimsical attentiveness of the hosts. Rehendhi also comes with a bar, and in the late afternoon, you’re always welcome to drop by for some high tea.
After lounging around in the suite, it was time for some sightseeing, and the friendly Life Stylist, Patrice M. Dela Cruz was there to pick us up on her buggy. As we toured around the island, Patrice was more than happy to explain the different offerings at the resort, and the most special elements of the property.
Of course, our first stop was to get a peek at the surfers riding the waves at the Pasta Point. A few were already in the water, doing what they enjoy best, while the others were enjoying the show, watching the sunset sporting chilled drinks in their hands. Pasta Point is just minutes away from their rooms, while other notable breaks, including the Sultans, Honky’s and Jailbreak are just a short boat ride away.
The resort offers some five accommodation options; Garden Bungalows, Superior Rooms, Beach Bungalows, Water Bungalows and Overwater Suites – all well-designed to suit all your needs. The Garden Bungalows are favoured by its surfing guests; two-storeys, built in a duplex fashion with two units in each building.
The Beach Bungalows, as the name suggests, are built on the beachfront, offering uninterrupted access to the white sandy beach and crystalline water that hugs the shore. The Water Bungalows offer magnificent views of the surf and the Indian Ocean, located on the southwest of the island. After a long day, it was time for dinner.
Sanjeeva graced us with his presence at dinner, and after a hearty meal, we whiled away the hours chatting about the story of Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives, and the dedicated and charming staff that were the backbone of what the resort had to offer. An interesting name that came up was that of Hassan Shihab, the Assistant Manager – Operations of the resort, and I made a note to have a chat with this somewhat outstanding fellow, according to Sanjeeva.
In addition to Rehendhi, the hotel features two more restaurants and two bars. Koimala, named after one of Maldives’ late queens, serves a regal spread indoors and on the beach. Exclusively for guests of the Garden Bungalows, Superior Rooms and Beach Bungalows, it serves an international and local cuisine spread that pleases a diverse palate. Maakana, on the other hand, is situated close to the Pasta Point, serves an action-packed atmosphere with an elaborate international spread of delectable dishes. It is dedicated to guests of the Water Bungalows.
In addition to the Raalhu Bar, Raiyvilaa is for you and your better half, to enjoy sundowners and romantic dinners. It is the perfect place to witness the colours of twilight at dusk, as the sun paints a beautiful medley of colours in the sky. Added with the music of the ocean, it is the perfect evening, accompanied by your favoured drink and some hot snacks.
It is not all about a comfortable stay or delectable cuisines at Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives. So, the next morning, right after breakfast, we headed out towards the Chaavana Spa, as it was time to relieve the nerves and muscles and to truly get a sense of the Cinnamon feel. Being a surf resort, the spa offers rejuvenating massages, specially designed for its surfing guests, accompanied also with an extensive menu, which will leave you refreshed and with an easing sense of calm, as promised.
Just outside the spa, other guests were lazing about on sunbeds, while some kids were swimming in the crystalline water, and others playing in the long stretch of white sandy beach. And yes, surfing is not the only activity you can enjoy at Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives. If you’re looking for adventure, I would suggest an exhilarating dolphin-watching excursion, or maybe hit the waters to snorkel with the wonders of the sea, looking for turtles and manta rays.
Not an avid swimmer? Not to worry! Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives also offers the underwater experience without getting wet, on a submarine. Or maybe head out on a boat and test your luck at big game fishing, or just catch the sunset while casting your line in the water for some fish that will be a fun dinner.
In the evening, it was time for high tea and a little chat with Shihab, who spoke in depth about the staff and the benefits they enjoy working for the Cinnamon brand. They are at the core of the outstanding services and hospitality offered at the property; highly attentive, ensuring that nothing goes amiss in what I would describe as the perfect getaway for my partner and me – something filled with bliss, laughter, leisure, and more importantly, hearty conversations with some of the nicest and hardworking colleagues at Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives.