Villingili – Malé’s Hidden Treasure

On the quiet side of the Maldives’ capital, Male, lies a well-kept secret. Hidden from the million plus visitors who land on Hulhule island each year, Villingili is the hidden gem of North Male atoll.

BuggyArriving on the island from the bursting capital city 7 minutes away, as the ferry’s engines idle and you glide past shaded restaurants into the harbour, your hearing takes time to adjust to the contrasting calm.

Where raised voices and revved engines dominated your senses across the water, in the leafy suburb island the only raised voices are those of the cuckooing Koels up above, and the battery-powered buggies humming down the lanes.

Historically an area of private recreation for sultans before a period as a prison island in the 1970s, Villingili became one of the Maldives’ first resorts before being incorporated (as Villimale) into the insatiable greater Male area in the 1990s.

view of MaleAs the overflow from the teeming Male focuses largely on the artificial Hulhumale island to the north, savvy travellers and residents alike head west to enjoy the perfect hybrid of island and urban life in the Maldives.

The embodiment of this character comes in the form of a fleet of electric buggies, recently introduced as the local transport network on an island that maintains its long-standing restriction on motorised vehicles. For five rufiyaa ($0.3), the buggies can take take you to any one of the three guest houses on the 0.26 square km island.

Villingili Guest HousesBut even during the heat of a Maldivian midday, Seahouse Topdeck hotel and the recently opened Villingili Inn are just a sandalled stroll from the ferry terminal. Further on, past towering palm trees and streets lined with netted joali chairs, the City King guest house sits on the western side of the island.  

Guests at all three sites can enjoy spacious air-conditioned rooms, wifi, television and private bathrooms. The largest of  the three, Seahouse, also provides massage treatments. Seahouse and City King have cafe’s on site while visitors to the Villingili Inn can enjoy exclusive access to the nearby McRooster restaurant.

Numerous canteen cafes scattered across the island offer local basics such as fish curry, devilled chicken, and afternoon savoury snacks known as short-eats. For striking views of the chaotic capital, however, Xie Xie restaurant and Marimba cafe are recommended, with the latter situated on the beach itself.

On foot or by bicycle, the small island can be circumnavigated in the 15 minutes it takes to travel to the city and back. Villingili’s visitors can dive into Male’s maelstrom to see the heart of the modern Maldives before heading back to enjoy its spirit, reclining on swings let down from the sheltering trees and swimming in the clear blue waters.

Alternatively, those looking for a little more action can take a trip to the opposite side of the island, where the team at Liquid Watersports will be happy to show you their backyard, providing a range of activities, including jetskis, windsurfing, and their signature speciality – flyboarding!!

The underwater delights of the atoll are easily accessible from Villingili, with the experienced team at the Diver’s Lodge offering the aquatic experiences to divers of all levels. The country’s first whale submarine company also operates from the channel between Male and its sleepy neighbour, providing a unique trip around the reefs and channels in air-conditioned comfort.

In addition to this, the island’s guest houses are happy to arrange snorkelling, fishing and local island visits, while day trips to one of the many nearby single-island resorts can easily be arranged.

Visitors to Villingili will feel that they have stumbled upon an unexplored treasure island, and in many ways they have. Maintaining island calm in the shadow of the world’s most densely populated island is some achievement, and those choosing to stay in Villingili will feel the rewards.

Kurumba Maldives Celebrates International Children’s Day 2016

For the fourth consecutive year, Kurumba Maldives celebrated International Children’s Day 2016 by welcoming 30 Maldivian children from the orphanage “Kudakudhinge Hiyaa” residing in Villingili island. Aged 9 to 16 years old, the children enjoyed an exciting afternoon at the Resort.

Kurumba Maldives - International Children's Day 2016After a fun speedboat ride from Villingili island to Kurumba, the children were welcomed at the Conference Hall by Kurumba Maldives’ Bodu Beru team, who performed a few songs for them. Then the children enjoyed a delicious buffet and sweet treats prepared by Kurumba’s team of chefs, whilst some of our team members sang and danced for them. This encouraged the children to do the same in return. This was then followed by a Magician Show and fun team games, accompanied by Kurumba’s mascots.

Kurumba Maldives - International Children's Day 2016Ali Farooq, Assistant Food & Beverage Manager of Kurumba Maldives stated: “Kurumba Maldives endeavors to support our local community through events and projects like this. This year, we combined Maahefun – celebration marking the beginning of the Ramadan – and International Children’s Day for the kids to enjoy.”

Kurumba Maldives - International Children's Day 2016The Kudakudhinge Hiyaa orphanage, located on Villingili and Hulhumalé islands, hosts children between the ages of 6 months and 21 years old. This is a self-supporting service that requires help from the community and industry in order to continue providing a caring, safe and educational environment for these children.

IMG_8128Kurumba Maldives has an ongoing commitment to Kudakudhinge Hiyaa and over the past 2 years has provided numerous improvements to the orphanage’s residential areas. These include upgrades to the kitchen, laundry, play areas, CCTV and installing new computers, along with providing ongoing consumables such as linen, cleaning equipment, toys and complimentary repairs and maintenance.

Kurumba Maldives - International Children's Day 2016For more information on Kurumba Maldives’ CSR program, please check www.kurumba.com/maldives-csr-activities

For more information about upcoming events in Kurumba Maldives, please check www.kurumba.com/maldives-event-calendar

About Kurumba Maldives

Kurumba Maldives is set on a tropical island in the North Male’ Atoll, conveniently situated a brief 10 minute speedboat ride from the airport. Dotted with coconut trees that are the island’s namesake, Kurumba was the first private island resort in the Maldives. Beautiful gardens, palm fringed white sandy beaches and a vibrant house reef is the hallmarks of this classic Maldivian resort.

The resort offers an array of nine styles of accommodation, ranging from comfortable Superior rooms to the spacious Royal Residence, spread amongst the island’s lush tropical gardens with easy access to the beach. With eight different restaurants to choose from Kurumba Maldives will charm you with its unparalleled choice of dining experiences and a wide range of recreation activities and entertainment. All while maintaining idyllic refuges and quiet spaces of relaxation to create the perfect balance for a holiday in paradise, perfect for honeymooners and families alike.

Over the years, Kurumba has played host to a variety of foreign dignitaries and Heads of State, including Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and former US Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. It has also been the recipient of numerous accolades and awards, including Maldives Leading Hotel (World Travel Awards) in 2010 and 2011, and Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards for Best Service and Luxury (2013) as well as the number one All-Inclusive resort in Asia (2014 and 2015), and number one best All-Inclusive resort in the world (2015).