Our Honeymoon at Cinnamon Dhonveli, Maldives20:04
“Where’s the one place you’ve always wanted to go?” a friend asked, as I racked my brains for honeymoon destinations. Of course, my answer was the Maldives, but assumed it would be ridiculously out of our budget. I’d been pinning pictures of over-water bungalows pretty much ever since Pinterest took off, but I never thought that dream would become a reality.
Rob and I had discussed what we both wanted from our honeymoon, and it came down to three things: luxury, white sandy beaches and somewhere you could drink beer at 10am and not get judged.
We decided to book an appointment at our local Kuoni store in Nottingham with travel representative Karen. She sat us down, we told her what we wanted, and of course it was massively out of our budget. Two weeks in an over-water bungalow was totalling up to around £10,000. That’s A LOT of money.
Karen didn’t let this dampen our mood though. “Let’s see what we can do for you,” she said with a smile. Within a couple of minutes, Karen had planned a 10-day stay at Cinnamon Dhonveli, just a 25 minute boat trip from the capital of Male, where we’d stay four nights in a beach bungalow, and five nights in an over-water bungalow. Splitting the rooms helped keep costs down a lot, and I’m so grateful to Karen for suggesting it. Our flight was direct from Gatwick on the Wednesday following our wedding, which gave us time to settle down after our Big Day, and open our cards and gifts from guests.
Arriving in Male, we were greeted by a Kuoni representative that stays in the Maldives. Her name was Rosie, and she met us from the arrivals gate and led us to our speedboat that would take us to the island.
The speedboat in itself is an experience. Racing over turquoise waves, spotting little fishing boats on the way, and passing other islands – trying to figure out which one was ours! We pulled into the harbour at Cinnamon Dhonveli and were greeted by the staff who had cold towels and fresh watermelon juice for us to enjoy. After a short check-in, we were shown our beach bungalow.
Situated literally right on the beach with a gorgeous outdoor bathroom, it was pretty much a dream.
The décor was traditional Maldivian with crisp white walls and thatched roofs.
One of my highlights was coming home to a beautifully decorated bed and a bottle of wine waiting for us, as a honeymoon gift from the staff. We drank the wine in the bath whilst looking up at the stars. How romantic!
The Maldives tends to stay between 25-30 degrees at all times, so although we had a few overcast days, it was still extremely hot. We really enjoyed sitting by the pool, going in for a dip whenever the heat got too much.
We dined in two of their restaurants: Koimala and Maakana and both had incredible food choices to suit everyone. Each day had a different theme with cuisines to suit, so it was great to get some variety. On one of our evenings, we decided to do a sunset fishing excursion. I caught a huge fish, rob caught a small one, and the chef at our restaurant cooked them for us for supper the next day!
At Cinnamon Dhonveli, you will be given an allocated restaurant depending on which room you stay in, however we were told that you could dine in a different restaurant as long as you called to book 24 hours beforehand.
There are also a couple of bars - the surf bar and the sunset bar - where you can enjoy a coffee or a cocktail. The sunset bar is in the perfect place to watch the sun set over a neighbouring island. You can also watch the crabs dancing on the walls!
A lot of people assume there isn’t much to do on the island, but rest assured, we kept ourselves busy! We enjoyed a dolphin safari, sunset fishing and even a trip on a submarine, as well as a tour of the capital, a honeymooners package at the spa, and 20 minutes on the jet skis.
The capital, Malé, is definitely worth a visit. We stopped by the mosques and enjoyed looking at the intricate details on their buildings.
Depending on the package you go for, you will need to pay for excursions separately. With an All Inclusive plus package, you receive two free excursions per stay. We were on basic All Inclusive, but were more than happy to pay for these amazing trips.
After four nights in our beach bungalow, we moved to the overwater bungalow. Situated in the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean, the gigantic windows from our bed overlooked nothing but the sea – we were also in the ideal spot for the sunrise.
Now, I’m not a confident swimmer or snorkeller, and worried I’d miss out on some of the amazing marine life, but even when you’re only ankles-deep from the beach, you have brightly coloured fish swimming at your ankles. Not forgetting some of the incredible creatures we saw from the balcony of our over-water bungalow; a 5ft shark and a turtle to name just a couple!
Many people fall for the preconception that the Maldives is too expensive and just for honeymooners, and although they’re right on principle – it is a very expensive holiday – it’s worth every penny. Prior to our experience with Kuoni, we also looked into Barbados, Mexico and Florida, and for the same price, you don’t get anywhere near the amount of luxury as you do in the Maldives.
To have the holiday we did, you’ll need £5,000 – that’s flights, accommodation, your All Inclusive package (food and drinks – including spirits and cocktails), and enough spending money to do the same excursions as we did. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a heck of a lot of money, but it’s definitely do-able if you wanted to save. And as for a honeymoon destination? I couldn’t think of anywhere better.