The Maldives has always been on my dream destination list. So on my 32nd birthday and our 1st wedding anniversary, my husband and I took a trip to Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives. It is a 5-star resort in the North Male Atoll, a short 20 minutes speedboat ride away from the Male International Airport.
I liked the team welcoming us to the island with a live performance of the boduberu drums as we arrived at the resort’s private dock. The relaxing sound of the drum is what I still vividly remember today. How very Maldivian!
Reaching Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives was a breeze. We were greeted at the airport by the resort staff and boarded the white speedboat — with high-speed Wi-Fi onboard just so if you need to connect to the outside world in the middle of the Indian Ocean. And within a blink of an eye, we were already at the resort! Trust me when I said it is so much easier (and faster!) to reach the resort as most 5-stars resorts in the Maldives will require an additional seaplane or domestic plane ride after arriving at Velana International airport, then followed by another speedboat ride.
The seaplane rides, though fun and exciting, are usually small and come with baggage restrictions. Since seaplanes can only fly in the daytime, so if your plane arrives at the Valena International Airport late at night, you might have to book an extra night at a hotel in Male City. So selecting a resort that is closer to the airport may be a good choice!
Grand Park Kodhipparu is designed by the award-winning hospitality firm, Hirsch Bedner Associates, so you can expect a beautiful set-up at the resort. From the beautiful corridor to the villas, to the main infinite pool at the bar, and of course, the romantic overwater hammock, the gorgeous mix of traditional and contemporary architectural design makes everything on the island picture perfect!
The resort has 5 different types of Overwater Villas and a Beach Pool Villa to choose from. Depending on where your villa is situated at, you can easily get to everywhere within a 10-15 minutes walk. Since the Maldivian sun can be mercilessly fierce, the buggy is at your service if you prefer to be chauffeured.
Ocean Water Villa
We stayed at Ocean Water Villa 31. It is an ocean-facing villa that features a wider overwater hammock compared to the villas with a private pool. All overwater villas on the island (regardless of pool or hammock only) have direct access to the ocean. I love that we can plunge straight to the sea to swim and snorkel, then relax on the hammock during the day.
I enjoyed the unblock view of the sea. As we visited the Maldives during November, there were short showers in the early morning or afternoon, followed by bright and sunny weather. We saw a double rainbow from our villa after a swift thundershower in the morning!
Insider Tip #1 at Grand Park Kodhipparu: Seriously, I do not know why there aren’t many mentions about the sparkling night sky in the Maldives. The country is situated right above the equator, so you’ll be able to see both northern and southern hemisphere stars. Just switch off all the lights and be amazed by the starry night sky at your private deck. We even caught 10 shootings stars in 20 minutes looking up at the clear sky!
There are 3 restaurants on the island, offering a variety of food choices. The Edge offers a buffet-style dining experience for breakfast and dinner, and plated international cuisine during lunch. Breeze Poolside Dining & Bar offers light menus of modern Asian and Mediterranean classics, as well as old favourites like burgers, pasta, salads, and of course, tipples that are ready for the gram. I’ll come to their speciality restaurant, FireDOOR later.
I love the alfresco dining area at The Edge, where you can just seize the moment, not rushing breakfast while gazing at the beautiful sea.
Insider Tip #2 at Grand Park Kodhipparu: There is a pod of dolphins that will come near the shore at The Edge to play every morning so do check them out!
Being Asian, I love my rice and noodles. And I am so happy to see Japanese sushi, Taiwanese-style congee, Braised Beef Noodles, Vietnamese pho noodles, Korean Kimbap, Hong Kong Wonton Noodles, and Pad Thai on their menu. I have tried their continental breakfast, Italian pasta, Mediterranean hummus and grill, Thai fried rice, Cuts of Steak, Maldivian curry dishes, Japanese Tuna Tataki and all other Asian selections at breakfast during my 4-nights-stay.
Everything at their restaurants turned out to be above expectation, and there is nothing I don’t like about their food (and wine!).
Initially, I was really concerned about the food as there are only 3 restaurants on the island and I have food allergies. And being on the island 4 days would mean at least 12-14 meals on board. But the friendly staffs at the restaurants attended to all my food requests and the buffet menus are on a rotation so there is always something new to look forward to.
Bar & Pool
The Breeze Poolside Dining & Bar was the place we spent most of our time on the island. The infinity pool overlooking the majestic Indian Ocean was really quiet in the morning, ideal for a few laps of swim to burn off the excessive calories and alcohol intake the day before. I love taking my morning coffee here too.
The west-facing infinity pool is also one of the best places to view the splendid Maldivian sunset on the island. No wonder the bar is so popular at dusk! There is just something magical about watching the sunset here at the bar. When the sun dips into the horizon and the sky is filled with that shimmery gold, red and yellow… The marvellous ambience is truly one of a kind.
Insider Tip #3 at Grand Park Kodhipparu: If there is only one cocktail you should try on the island – that’d be Kurumba Colada, a concoction of Maldivian Kurumba (coconut), dark rum, malibu, coconut puree and pineapple juice!
Spa & Wellbeing
The award-winning overwater spa has a photogenic setting. With an oval bathtub filled with flowers overlooking the majestic ocean, taking a dip here is a dream come true. I enjoyed the massage from the Indonesian masseuse. The session was relaxing and I can feel instant relief in my neck and shoulder.
There were also free yoga sessions at the beach club. I have attended both the sundown and sunrise yoga sessions at the beautiful open-air yoga deck. Those are wonderful and rewarding experiences for my body, mind and soul. For fitness junkies, working out at the air-conditioned gym with unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean and magnificent sunsets is true bliss.
Sunset Dinner at FireDOOR
One of the memorable experiences on the island was our wedding anniversary dinner at the FireDOOR. It is situated at the other end of the resort to provide an intimate dining experience to the guests. The restaurant offers a Modern European dining experience and specialises in charcoal grills that are prepared using a Josper grill to achieve a perfect charred flavour to the dishes. The service is impeccable and we had a wonderful anniversary celebration at the restaurant.
Insider Tip #4 at Grand Park Kodhipparu: Don’t miss out the spectacular sunset at FireDOOR. Check with your lifestyle host regarding the sun setting hours, and let them know that you’d like to have some drinks at the cocktail area during the sunset. The alfresco deck at FireDOOR features unobstructed ocean views with an intimate and romantic atmosphere, certainly a perfect place to create memories that you and your partner will remember for years.
Writer’s Note: If you are looking for an affordable luxury water villa in the Maldives that is accessible via speedboat right from the Male International Airport, consider Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives. It offers a perfect retreat for couples and families who are looking to spend some quality time together. Go for an All-Inclusive meal plan as this will save you a small fortune as drinking water comes in a hefty price tag in the Maldives. You may also check out their ongoing promotion here.
Insider Tip #5 at Grand Park Kodhipparu: Get an instant 10% discount by signing up as a Park Rewards member before booking a villa at Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives! Park Rewards is a loyalty program by Park Hotel Group to reward travellers with exclusive benefits, deals and discounts. If this is your first time staying with any one of the participating hotels (Grand Park Kodhipparu is a participating hotel), you can earn a bonus of PARK$250* (a virtual credit of Park Rewards) which can be used to redeem a wide array of dining, shopping and hotel stay vouchers! As we all know the expenses for a dream holiday in the Maldives can go up to several thousand, it is a good time to accumulate your PARK$ for future indulgence!
For Singaporean readers, remember to activate Shopback as you get a 3% rebate after the trip!
Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives
Kodhipparu, Maldives 08121, Maldives