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Island Escape, Zitahli Resort and Spa Kuda-Funafaru, Maldives

By: Dave
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A stay on a private island in the middle of the Maldives can make the rest of the world seem mundane, pedestrian in comparison. Such is the case of Zitahli Resort & Spa Kuda-Funafaru on its own private island in the heart of the Noonu Atoll, accessible via a 50 minute seaplane ride from Male (the capital city of the Maldives).

"Remote" Maldivian resorts such as these simply did not exist 15-20 years ago. Most of the resorts were clustered around the capital of Male - accessible at the most by a several hour high speed boat ride. Then commercial seaplane companies arrived and started offering daily flights and it became feasible to build resorts much further away.

There are two commercial seaplane companies in the Maldives: Maldivian Air Taxi (red & white livery) and Trans Maldivian Airways (blue and yellow livery). These companies are Danish and Canadian owned - many of the pilots are from these countries. They pilot either barefoot or in flip flops. What a lifestyle! The flight to Zitahli Kuda-Funafaru is in a 19 seater "Twin Otter" Maldivian Air Taxi seaplane.

Zitahli Resorts & Spa operates an exclusive lounge where the seaplanes depart from (short bus ride from the main International terminal). You can relax here before takeoff. After heading into the clouds from a quick ocean takeoff we found some clear skies and saw absolutely stunning "pearl" shaped islands below us - these islands broke up the deep blue waters with their sandy beaches, green vegetation and aquamarine water on the surrounding coral reefs. We quickly dropped from the sky and circled Zitahli Kuda-Funafaru. The island runs lengthwise with a number of water villas protruding from the sparkling white beach. We were with a number of other foreigners in the plane and despite the obvious language barriers there was no mistaking the sounds of amazement as we gently dropped onto the water.

The staff is part of what makes a stay at Zitahli Kuda-Funafaru memorable. From the moment we stepped out of the plane we were met by a very welcoming reception; after a refreshing drink we were quickly whisked away to our Super Deluxe Aqua Villa in one of their golf carts. There are 50 villas of which 30 are spread out over water. The Super Deluxe Aqua Villa boasts a private pool built into the deck and from the edge one walks a few steps down and is quickly immersed in the clear inviting waters.

Smells can define a trip - smells that you haven't smelled in a while but carry with you from childhood. Take for instance the dusty smell of slate rock, cooled by the water in the open air shower or the inviting aromas of toasted cedar after you lay your clothes out on the deck to dry in the bright Maldivian sunshine.

Then there are the views, all of them are visually impressive, completed in their perfection when you have sunny skies. This is a special place and one almost doesn't want to do anything except absorb the brilliant colors both above and below water.

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