Travelling across the Maldives, The Edition brings you reviews of the crème de la crème of Maldivian resorts, hoping to inspire your next holiday getaway. Indulge in the tropics vicariously through the experiences of our writers, and pack your bag right after!
When I first heard about Summer Island Maldives, the two words sun and fun came to mind, as is the experience of summer, I hope, for everyone.
However, when I first got the opportunity to experience the island, one more adjective slipped through - blue! More specifically, sunny days with my feet poised between soft white sand, hanging with my truest friend, the big blue sea.
Making landfall after what was a relatively short 45-minute speedboat ride northbound, whizzing past my window-view of an endless ‘slideshow’ of idyllic green islands, we were greeted at the dock by warm smiles as before whisking us away in a welcoming reception that was, simply put, ‘light and breezy’.
While waiting for our island-tour and room escort, I was handed a small welcome drink, which I assumed to be carrot juice (thanks to a thin strip of carrot garnish that encircled the glass). Wide-eyed and having never enjoyed carrot juice in my life, with an unapologetic look of disdain I gulped the glass down. In what would be the culminating characteristic of my ‘Summer’ experience, I found myself unequivocally (but quite pleasantly) surprised, setting the precedent to keep an open mind for what may come my way.
The reality of my daring escape from the concrete jungle finally setting in, I leaned towards the ol’ island tradition of going barefoot. Breathing a sigh of relief, I slipped away from the stress of daily life, feeling grounded and at home.
Having embarked on this journey with a small but lively crew, two best friends strong, our concierge dropped us off at our respective rooms, leaving me the last person to see my room. I was lucky enough to receive a ‘Water Villa’. one of seven categories of accommodation on offer at Summer Island Maldives.
Though the island was considerably small, we slowly made our way to the opposite end of the island (and far away from my friends *sad *sad*). With the multiple nods in response to the abundance of smiles erupting on my face making me feel nothing short of absolutely welcome, I could barely remain composed by the time I got to the villa entrance.
Adorned with turquoise-infused interiors, varnished floors of wood and complementing furniture, I was taken aback by the short-term luxurious lifestyle I was about to enjoy. Rarely are feelings purer than crashing on the bed after reaching one’s hotel. The perfectly made bed lay happily ruined as I lazily took myself out on the sun deck to bask in the glorious view of an endless horizon.
The sea just steps down, I was equally looking forward to a swim out my own lagoon backyard and the upcoming night’s slumber with the waves.
In addition to my amazing overwater villa, the Summer Island Resort offers rooms in the categories ‘Superior Bungalow’, ‘Superior Beach’, ‘Superior Vista’, ‘Premium Beach Villa’ and the prestigious ‘Summer House’, a two-storey spacious suite for every bon vivant out there, plus their family and friends of course.
Crashing my parade came the boisterous bunch of friends, famished from a brekkie-less arrival, demanding my presence before much-needed sustenance. What better way to feed our adventurous rumbling than to navigate towards the buffet-style restaurant ‘Samuga’ for multicultural cuisine with a distinct tropical touch.
At last satiated we dallied over to the neighbouring entertainment lounge and bar ‘Nevi’ , only to be reinvigorated by the charming bartenders, busy mixing one colourful concoctions after the other. Taking a brief moment to unwind by the beach, drinks in hand.
The island possessed an aura, unmistakable to the senses. It hinted at a very possible quintessential holiday in the Maldives, ‘Summer Island’, I thought, must know the ins and outs of an incredible summer vacation - the one where it never ends.
Soothed to the core and almost lulled to sleep, I felt the need for a pick me up of sorts, my drug of choice, the sea.
Making my way towards the watersports hut, I had a brain fart; so many choices, but which to try?! When I spotted some guys taking rounds on the wakeboard though I found my curiosity tickled. As I watched the speedsters carving out a mirror-like ocean surface, however, I grew giddy to experience the same.
Being a surfer that has spent the last 4 years lying down on a bodyboard, this felt like the opportune moment to attempt standing on the surface.
Sitting in the water, with an all too familiar feeling to the Eminem fans out there, my palms were sweaty, knees weak and arms heavy as I gave the final nod. In uncontrolled fashion, the slack tightened and I began moving forward. Alas! I would spend the next 30 minutes gracefully splashing on the ocean surface as I fail to get the board above the water.
Worn out from the constant faceplanting, I took a little break from the action. Making new observations as the watersports boys skimmed the waters with enviable ease, I grew adamant to do so myself.
Motivated by their encouragement, I once more donned the lifevest and strapped myself into the board. Keeping the weight on my back foot and remembering to straighten out as I began rising to the surface, before I knew it - I was up and riding!
Despite the fact that I only rode my 15 seconds of fame before my face decided to tango with the sea, moments of such exhilaration must be savoured, no matter how fleeting. A first for the books and one tick off the bucket list!
Barely ashore, Summer Island’s Assistant Resort Manager Thaufeeq Mohamed brought me yet another experience to savour. With favourable winds, we set sail on a lovely catamaran. An eye out for any ‘faun’ surprises, I drew my attention to Thaufeeq and his impressive sailing. Soaking in the serenity, I found myself not wanting to spoil the mood with too many words.
If you’re anything like me, and would always like to hear blue, see blue and be in the blue, Summer Island has everything you need. The ‘Feena’ watersports centre and ‘Diverland’ dive centre are sure to please, with the latter offering over 40 dive sites and guided snorkelling at a variety of reefs including around the island’s own 100-meter artificial reef. The massive coral propagation project also includes structures built underwater using 3D printing technology for growing corals and building artificial reefs. It’s fascinating to see, and an experience all in itself!
It should also be noted that the coral garden is just one of many environment-forward initiatives that Summer Island Maldives has in place, such as the banning of single-use plastics including plastic straws throughout the island, on its incoming and outgoing boats and moves to reduce overall waste such by switching to longer-use alternatives.
As expected, after my adrenaline-infused pursuit, I was completely sore, from my neck to my legs. Struggling to make my way to the room, I discovered a giant hole next to the bridge. ‘A crab??’, I wondered, edging closer and closer.
Lo, it appeared, and what a whopper it was! For fear of intruding, I backed off, and Mr Crabs here went on his crabby way, another luxury resident of the island, I laughed to myself.
Crossing the bridge, I entered my villa and momentarily exited the realms of conscious reality. After my unexpected slumber though, I was finally able to explore the ins of my villa, more specifically, the bathroom. Gazing at the ocean view from my jacuzzi, any residual tension slipped away, bubbling water and all.
Rejuvenated and stocked up on stoke, I made my way towards the 'Nevi' bar where my friends were hanging out and discovered the night’s star attraction, music!
Joining us was local band ‘Prism’, already busy negotiating an intricate solo, note for note, doling out a variety of classic rock pieces. Moments of calm filled funk were produced by a seamless mix of waves crashing on the beach complemented by the band’s harmonious instrumentals and strong vocals.
With plenty of open space on the beach deck, guests are encouraged to dance and spread the joy!
The merriment over too soon and our interests piqued, we wondered what other entertainment Summer had to offer. A brief investigation pointed out to the upcoming Maldivian cultural night and a DJ. Excited for tomorrow, we departed, closing the chapter on a day well spent.
After a day and night of what felt like back to back excitement, I checked in to ‘Firuma’ by Serena Spa for an early morning indulgence. The overwater spa features 5 rooms, two being ‘Adam and Eve’ rooms specially curated for couple treatments.
Having started the day right, I convinced a friend to join me for a private sail on the sunset cruise. This is where we first met one of Summer’s finest, multi-talented captain Iqbal. Reserved and soft-spoken, Iqbal was nevertheless unfailingly confident as he expertly steered us around the lagoon while we mowed down on hors d’œuvres. At the end of our interaction, I was so inspired by this man keeping a seemingly fading art alive, that I wanted to learn how to sail a traditional ‘riyaa dhoni’ (sailboat) myself.
I slowly began to see why Summer Island prides itself on its bevy of returning guests, in my opinion, a certain result of Summer’s numerous unique staff. In any case, getting to know Iqbal was a definite highlight of my stay.
With our last day drawing to a close, there was one more thing on my plate, or rather for my palate, trying a dish from ‘Hiya’, the resort’s grand overwater restaurant.
Offering excellent fusion style meals and placing special emphasis on seafood and steaks, Hiya has something for everyone. The restaurant caters exclusively to guests lodged at the Water Villa and the Premium Beach Villa.
Stuffed to the brim and still experiencing some residual fatigue from, well, the entire weekend, I eventually dragged myself out of the restaurant to my room. My senses were so sated, it’s a wonder anyone managed to pack for our departure, but somehow, perhaps rather unfortunately, we all managed to pull through! As we left Summer Island, I couldn’t help but reflect on just how aptly the island was named in our local language as well - ‘Ziyaaraiyfushi’. Albeit named before the development of the resort, the two words ‘Ziyaaraiy’ and ‘Fushi’, meaning visit and island, respectively, pay homage to the allure behind this four-star resort. That, of course, and endless summers.
If you’re looking for just the right balance of rejuvenation, relaxation, romance in the many choices Maldives spoils you with, I’d say Summer Island Maldives is definitely a decision you won't regret. This quaint little beautiful isle is definitely worth a visit and maybe a couple more while you’re at it!