Cora Cora Maldives – It’s Freedom Time…
As I sit on my luxurious daybed on the deck of my amazing Lagoon Pool Villa, I can’t help but think and repeat several times a day ‘how lucky am I’ to be in this totally magical Maldivian resort.
We were invited to experience Cora Cora Maldives, a newly refurbished 5-star premium resort and all it has to offer, and boy does it deliver, on all fronts!
After a smooth ten-hour overnight flight from Heathrow to Male, we were met at the airport by a helpful Cora Cora representative for our short seaplane transfer. He looked after all our group’s luggage and escorted us to the nearby seaplane departure lounge for our 45-minute flight to the resort.
As we approached the island by seaplane we felt the excitement grow, we were completely mesmerised by the beauty of the uninhabited and inhabited islands that make up the Maldivian atolls. Crystal clear blue azure seas and coral reefs create a wonderful start to our heavenly week at Cora Cora Maldives.
As the seaplane approached the jetty of the resort we were greeted by the Cora Cora management team with a cool drink, refreshing towels and a very warm welcome and after checking in we were escorted to our gorgeous island water villa.
This 60 million dollars newly refurbished resort is nothing short of perfect – totally pristine grounds, beach, restaurants, accommodation and so much more.
Our Lagoon Pool Villa was very comfortable, it has that luxury seaside beach vibe, cool colours, soft fabrics, colourful artwork with a huge bathroom with an open-air walk-in shower featuring a sea hammock, ideal for an obligatory cocktail at sunset.
The villas have been very tastefully refurbished, ensuring your comfort is the most important part of your stay. The King-sized bed is firm and inviting, the bathroom huge, and the outside decking has a fabulous daybed and a private infinity pool with superb views. The villas also include a mini-bar, free and efficient wifi, tea and coffee making facilities, a large flat-screen television, desk, dressing area, sitting area, hairdryer and of course lovely bathroom luxury goodies. Also not to forget our welcome gift of a luxury beach bag and free Cora Cora branded flip flops.
Once unpacked we were advised to download the new Cora Cora app to make booking dining and excursions very easy, we were hooked and successfully secured all of our activities and daily meal reservations using the app.
The Maldives was traditionally known to be the ideal honeymoon destination and while that is still true, there are now so many more activities, especially at Cora Cora and we exhausted them all, our days were filled with a huge array of amazing water and island experiences.
The TGI Dive and Watersports Centre offers many great opportunities to make the most of the ocean. From night snorkelling, sunset cruises, PADI diving courses, deserted island cruises to kayaking, beginners snorkelling, dolphin cruises to traditional sunset fishing, jet-skiing, water-skiing and wakeboarding. You can fill your day with any of these or not, the emphasis on Cora Cora is ‘Freedom’. You are free to do as you wish, be very active as we were, a little active, or just spend the day relaxing.
The dive centre is run by staff members highly passionate about the protection of the ocean, ethically and sympathetically and they are knowledgeable and full of interesting fishy facts.
The snorkelling and deserted Island cruise excursions provided us with high-quality equipment, we felt extremely safe with our various leaders whose first priority was looking after us and the second gave us the experience of a lifetime. The deserted island was magical, with soft white sand and an abundance of shells (sadly illegal to take out of the country). The ocean life was simply beautiful with a huge variety of colourful fish, we were lucky enough to see live coral, crabs, lobsters, a turtle and the highlight, a huge Manta-Ray, this for me was the icing on the cake, a gentle and gently gliding creature, one minute it was there and then it was gone.
There are so many islands close to Cora Cora that it is imperative to follow the guidance of the TGI Dive Centre experts, so when we booked a jet-ski tour we were not permitted to go alone, we would not know where the sandbars or coral reefs were, it could prove treacherous, not to mention losing your sense of direction, so we had an exciting tour of the surrounded uninhabited islands, stopping off for a dip in the sea along the way. It was perfect for those needing a little sport, speed and exhilaration.
The gym and superb sunrise yoga we used sporadically throughout the week, the booking system ensured there were never too many people exercising at once, maintaining COVID regulations. We also were fortunate enough to enjoy an hour in the MOKSHA spa where we unwound and destressed. There is a fabulous selection of facial and massage therapies designed for both men and women to choose from to enjoy in one of the seven therapy rooms, some on the beachfront and some actually over the water. The relaxation lounge offers a cooling drink or warming tea to either complete your treatment or begin it.
We were on the Gourmet Dining Plan, very highly recommended, as it included five different dining concepts, fully inclusive of all meals and premium beverages.
Breakfast was taken on the beachfront at a large open planned buffet-style restaurant called Tazäa, where you could also dine in the evening, no booking required. The buffet-style breakfast was superb and offered a huge variety of different choices according to your individual tastes and requirements.
The poolside Acquapazza restaurant was hugely popular, with a fabulous and varied menu, booking is definitely needed here, the lunchtime experience included everything from a simple cappuccino to a three-course extravaganza. There were snacks, salads, pasta, and fresh fish, everything freshly cooked, and always steaming hot and delicious, add on a cocktail by the resident mixologist and your lunchtime is complete.
Japanese at Tien was a firm favourite with us, the freshness and authenticity of the sushi were amazing, The fish comes from the local Raa Atoll caught by the Dhuvaafaru Island fishermen, the Yellow Fin Tuna comes from a little further away, from the Ungoofaaru island fishermen. You can taste the freshness in the sushi rolls and on the skewers, we dined here a lot.
The newest addition to the Cora Cora dining venues is Ginger Moon, another superb beachfront open-aired restaurant, delicious Asian cuisine in a stunning relaxing atmosphere. Sizzling in the open kitchen the aromas are mouth-watering and as we perused the menu it was hard to choose, it all sounded divine. The street market-style freshly cooked dishes were presented artistically on pretty plates. Tom Yum, Pad Thai, Satay and many more choices were all prepared with local herbs and spices including bowls of crisp vegetables, this was hard to beat, we also dined here several times.
All-day snacking and drinking, tea, coffee, shakes, smoothies, ice cream, panini, bagels, wine and beer at My Coffee was the real deal and absolutely amazing, for those hours between meals and late-night nibbles. Also if you have to check your odd email as I did, this is the guest hub of the island and a very cool place to just hang out, relax and meet new friends
The resort also has a great medical centre, hopefully not needed, but nonetheless there, just in case. Sandy Toes is a lovely boutique selling locally made goods, such as beachwear, jewellery, hats, ornaments and more, great for a little memento of Cora Cora.
All-in-all this was a very special week, made all the more wonderful by the attentive, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful Cora Cora team, from the reception staff, buggy drivers, housekeeping to the restaurant team, the spa therapists and the dive centre team.
As the Group Editor of Luxuria Lifestyle International, I am lucky enough to receive many global luxury resort reviews and experience opportunities, but this one sits very near the top!
We long to return, hopefully sometime next year, watch this space…
W: Cora Cora Maldives
Written by Debbie Stone Global Editor for Luxuria Lifestyle International