Shangri-la for the soul. Guesthouse or Resort? by Rubi Amir
When it comes to the Maldives, it’s tough to make a decision.
Most travellers look at the website or brochure pictures of places to stay and most have had the pleasure of getting exactly that. The island nation dotted across the Indian Ocean with its coconut palm insignia, varying oceanic colours and sandy soft beaches is Shangri-la for the soul.
The one-island one-resort conception of the Maldives has stayed true for decades. Travellers can choose a resort, book it, arrive, take off their shoes, and stay in that resort till it’s time to leave. The chosen resort will provide for the traveller their villa, exquisite meals in the main or ala carte restaurant(s) , excursions and entertainment. The beaches can be enjoyed without a care in the world, a drink or two readily available as sundowners or nightcaps. The varying star ratings on the resorts will signify the level of service to be expected. Travellers can be considerably frugal and still enjoy the resort experience of the Maldives. Or travellers can decide the sky’s the limit when it comes to getting a resort experience of a lifetime.
The recent flexibility in the laws of tourism has made it easier for inhabited islands to host travellers in their homes turned into guesthouses. Warm, cosy houses that can be a second home away from home with their little kitchenettes. Rooms come with comfortable amenities and beach or garden views depending on where the house is situated. Guesthouse tourism has flared up with its introduction, with various inhabited islands registering their renovated houses as bookable stays to boost their local economy. The guesthouse offers a conventional Maldivian experience. Though travellers have to dress modestly, wear swimwear in designated ‘bikini beach’ areas, and be more conscious of the Muslim culture in general, it is a great way to mingle with the locals to experience the culture.
Nowadays it is becoming popular for travellers to seek both the resort and guesthouse experience. A week in a resort coined with a week in a local island lodging has become a refined way to experience the Maldives. The former offers the pictures don’t do justice flair while the latter offers a chance to sit with a local, have a local meal together and see the lifestyle of islanders.’