Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa is one of three distinct and stunning island resorts operated by the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts in the Indian Ocean, the others being a property at Landaa Giraavaru and the private island of Voavah on the Baa Atoll.
The first of the three resorts to open (1998), Kuda Huraa offers just 96 guest rooms with pools inspired by traditional Maldivian thatched architecture both on the beach and over water. There are four restaurants including Baraabaru which also offers cooking lessons, the Reef Club with Italian cuisine, the casual Café Huraa with its signature dish, Maldivian curried lobster and Kandu Grill. There is also a poolside bar to refresh those taking a dip or sunbathing.
For pampering there is a spa with a difference – one located on its own island and reached with a two-minute boat ride. There are seven thatched roof treatment pavilions with louvred side walls to let in the ocean breezes and wooden floor decking with a portal included beside each massage bed through to the marine life below. Other highlights include a private garden courtyard with open air shower, a Night Spa and a Kuda Spa Kids and Teens menu offering 12 treatments especially for children and teenagers aged between six and sixteen years of age. Leisure facilities wise, there are two beaches on either side of the island, two swimming pools – an infinity edge freshwater pool with a large sun deck and the adults only Serenity Pool, both with pool service together with a children’s pool adjacent – plus a 150 square metre fitness facility overlooking the ocean. Other wellness activities include a jogging trail plus group yoga and meditation sessions held at the yoga pavilion facing the ocean.
Water sports abound at the resort offering anything from Dolphin Cruises to fishing, kayaking to snorkelling, wakeboarding to surfing with a dedicated surf school, Recreation Centre and Dive Centre. Young guests are also catered for with Kuda Mas Kids’ Club with a wide range of supervised activities both indoors and outdoors with the Furaavaru Teen Centre for those a little older. This is also the home port to the Four Seasons Explorer, a luxury catamaran available for three-, four- and seven-night cruises. The resort has its own resident marine biologists overseeing an Interactive and educational Marine Discovery Centre with a turtle rearing programme, available to impart knowledge about the marine life and coral reefs surrounding the resort.
Located on the North Malé Atoll, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa is just a short 25-minute speedboat ride away from Malé International Airport at a distance of 20 kilometres. A Four Seasons representative meets guests off their international flights and escorts them directly to a waiting speedboat to whisk them away to their holiday home.
The resort can also arrange seaplane transfers between Kuda Huraa and sister resort, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru or arrange a cruise between the two on the luxury dive boat, Four Seasons Explorer.
There are around 35 dive sites within ten to 45 minutes boat ride from the resort plus a couple of shipwrecks for those who like to dive with a purpose.
The accommodation at Kuda Huraa is inspired by that of a traditional Maldivian village with thatched roofs, teak floors and wooden embellishments such as decorative lattice panels and columns. The resort offers a choice of down or hypo-allergenic pillows on request, 102 centimetre flat screen televisions with satellite channels, an AV system with DVD player and MP3 cables, daily fresh fruit, Kuda Spring drinking water, coffee and tea making facilities and beach essentials for children aged 12 and under.
With just 96 guest rooms, the beautifully styled accommodation is spread over land and sea, split between villas, suites, pavilions and bungalows. The entry level Deluxe Beach Pavilion with Pool offers 55 square metres of simply stunning space within a private walled garden setting with a master suite, a thatched outdoor seating gazebo area and a plunge pool. The interiors are bright and light in neutral tones with stone and marble together with a surprise pop of colour used to good effect. The bathrooms have oversized standalone tubs, twin vanities, L’Occitane toiletries and indoor and outdoor showers. The Sunrise and Sunset Beach Bungalows with Pool offers a little more space at 63 square metres, a more intricate décor with four poster beds, a shady lattice-work veranda and an orientation towards either the sunrise or the sunset. The family versions of these bungalows offer even more space at 75 square metres of living area with ample living areas for little ones with their own bedroom, with bed linens decorated with marine characters. All are just steps from the beach.
The Two Bedroom Beach Pavilion with Pool at 87 square metres of living space has recently been introduced for either family living or two couples sharing with two full bedrooms and bathrooms, a free-form plunge pool and an open-air gazebo for indoor/outdoor living. The ultimate beach front living space has to be the Two-Bedroom Royal Beach Villa located within its own stretch of private beach. This larger space at 197 square metres, contains an open plan living and dining room with shaded verandas overlooking the ocean, a large pool and a spa pool. There is ample space to relax on the spacious deck which looks out over the pool, the beach, the lagoon and the ocean beyond. There is even an over water seating area with its own shaded thatched roof, accessed via a short jetty.
On the water side, it is a similar story with entry level accommodation the Sunrise and Sunset Water Villas with pools, both at 70 square metres of villa space and 113 square metres of exterior space. There is a wide deck with loungers and over water hammocks, a living and dining pavilion and an infinity pool which blends so well with the ocean it is difficult to fathom where one stops and the other starts. The exterior gazebo offers welcome shade as well as steps down into the ocean. The Sunrise Family Water Villa with Pool offers 91 square metres of interior space and 55 square metres of external space with a children’s room located off the separate living and dining space.
There are four speciality over water accommodations including the Sunrise Two and Three Bedroom Water Suites and the Sunset Two and Three Bedroom Water Suites ranging in size from 165 square metres of interior space and 242 square metres of external space to 240 square metres of interior space and 278 square metres of external space. These are lavish spaces with an infinity pool reflecting the sun’s movements with both outdoor and indoor dining and seating areas looking out over the sea.
There are two main beaches on either side of the island but if you prefer a pool, there are also two of those – the main Infinity Pool which totally blends into the ocean (one of the largest in The Maldives with a large sun deck) and the adults only Serenity Pool near the Reef Club, complete with an over-sea whirlpool. Both have attendants who regularly provide fresh towels and cooling spritzes of mist. There is pool service and a swim up bar for refreshments.
The spa here at Kuda Huraa is quite unique in that you have to take a traditional Dhoni sail over to it. Yes, the Island Spa is on its own island, albeit one which is just a two-minute sail away. With seven thatched-roof treatment pavilions with louvred sides to let the cool breezes flow through, there are also sliding doors out onto the ocean. Another nice touch is the portal built into the floor by the massage bed allowing guests to look straight down to the seabed where marine life floats by unconcerned about any intrusion. Spa services include massages, bath rituals, body treatments, Island Spa Rituals, facial treatments, Salon Services and multi-day spa programmes. The spa also features a private garden courtyard with an open-air shower, a rooftop Night Spa and a Kuda Spa Kids and Teens menu offering 12 treatments especially for children and teenagers aged between six and sixteen years of age. Wellness services include therapies to bring balance and calm and reflexology together with a visiting programme of Masters with the industry’s most sought-after teachers and facilitators.
Other wellness facilities include a Fitness Centre offering a work-out with a stunning ocean view with both weight training and cardio equipment with a personal trainer available on request. There are also private and group fitness classes including a daily morning Yoga session available and tennis courts for the uber-active. If you have forgotten your kit, the Centre will also lend out shorts, t-shirts, socks and shoes together with headphones, water bottles, workout gloves and heart rate monitors. Complimentary water and fruit are re-stocked regularly.
The Recreation Centre has experts to arrange dophin cruises, turtle or shark safaris, fishing trips, snorkelling and more. There are also tailored programmes and diving courses available at the PADI five-star IDC Centre including educational dives for children of eight years and above. Diving expeditions range from Thila and Reef Diving around the coral formations to swimming around reef fish, sharks and turtles. A particular highlight between June and October are manta ray sightings whilst some prefer wreck diving with several nearby including the 110 metre Maldives Victory freighter and the Kuda Giri wreck.
For surfers, the resort’s Surf School is run by professionals from Tropicsurf of Noosa, Australia who offer courses for guests aged six and over. They have a Dream Programme for beginners learning the basics to daily surf boat trips and a Ride Clinic and coaching for the serious surfer. It is even possible to ride a seaplane into the midst of the Indian Ocean with a team of experienced guides on a customised surfing safari looking for the best wave. Four Seasons also hosts its own invitation-only Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy.
The Water Sports Centre is where to head to for some of the best water activities in the area. There are complimentary snorkels, masks, fins, kayaks, catamarans and windsurfing gear as well as high octane fun too with X-Jetpacks and Hydrofoil experiences.
The interactive Marine Discovery Centre allows guests to find out more about the environment in The Maldives whilst resident marine biologists can explain more about the fragile eco-system around the resort and the marine life that inhabits it.
For a more intimate Four Seasons Maldives experience, go for a sail aboard Four Seasons Explorer, a 39 metre long, three deck catamaran. There are ten spacious staterooms and an Explorer Suite accommodating up to 22 guests and it even features its own Spa Therapist who is more than happy to arrange a massage on an uninhabited island if required and an on-board marine biologist too. Other facilities include a restaurant, two bars, a lounge and a library. There is ample room to relax and sunbathe or to take advantage of a diving itinerary from the onboard Dive Centre, sailing between one site to another around the island and further afield, meeting the local marine wildlife. Due to its shallow draught, Explorer can also visit sites which larger vessels cannot and features its own dive tenders and a custom-designed wooden dive dhoni called “Aseykara”. If preferred, simply privately charter the boat for more customised programmes, to sail from one Four Seasons resort to another or to simply take advantage of their three-, four- and seven-night cruises for a land and sea holiday.
Junior VIPs are welcomed at Kuda Huraa with their own Kids for all Seasons Kuda Mas Club for little rugrats aged from four to 12 years of age. It offers a range of activities including both beach, indoor and outdoor activities, crafts and games whether that is sandcastle making, coral painting, scavenger hunts, cooking classes or turtle monitoring and coral reef building. For teens, there is the Furaavaru Teen Centre providing a bolthole for teenagers to socialise, watch a film or play video games.
With a destination as special as The Maldives, it may come as no surprise that luxury brand Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts operates four distinct offerings in the region – Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Explorer and Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, Baa Atoll.
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Each has its own special place with the Landaa Giraavaru resort located within the UNESCO Biosphere, Voavah the world’s first UNESCO hideaway and private enclave and Four Seasons Explorer, a private three-deck luxury catamaran whose home port is Kuda Huraa.
Four Seasons has become known for its elevated experiences and an anticipatory level of unobtrusive service that has become one of its brand MOs – it is thoughtful, sensitive and always efficient combined with a genuine warmth and welcome. It fits so well with the staff here at the resort and the design of Kuda Huraa which takes the form of a traditional thatch-roofed Maldivian village, surrounded by the intense blue ocean, a beautiful lagoon, flower gardens and its own island spa.
This care and sense of wellbeing extends out to the environment with the Four Seasons Maldives resorts trailblazing incredible sustainability projects to protect local marine life and the coral reefs. Today many other Maldivian resorts follow in their wake, which in itself is a remarkable achievement.
This resort ticks all the right boxes and offers a timeless, carefree and relaxed ambiance, perfect for guests who know their own mind and are content to experience life at their own pace.
Enjoy homestyle Indian cuisine at Baraabaru Restaurant whilst looking out onto a deep blue lagoon. One of the Maldives’ top-rated restaurants, the décor is inspired by Kerala. Baraabaru is open to the ocean, styled in carved wood with jewel like red and orange hues highlighting the interior. Signature dishes include Indian Thali, Raan Kebab, Tandoor Tapas and Masala Tea Panna Cotta. Special events include the Taste of India night on Sundays showcasing Indian cuisine and the Indian Cooking Class offered to guests.
Head to the Mediterranean for a taste of Italy in the resort’s al fresco Reef Club featuring seafood pastas and authentic Italian wood-fired pizzas. Looking out over the Serenity Pool and the ocean beyond, signature dishes include Burrata Panna Cotta, Mixed Seafood Platter and Spaghetti al Gamberoni. Every Wednesday, enjoy Aragosta Night for a taste of fresh seafood.
Café Huraa overlooks the main infinity pool and the Indian Ocean and serves International and Asian favourites, beautifully presented, under a traditional Maldivian thatched pavilion. Signature dishes include Pho Bo Soup, Kabayaki Unagi, Spicy Softshell Crab Burger, Sushi & Sashimi Platter and Coconut Ice Cream.
If looking for grilled freshly cooked fish and choice cuts of meat, head to the Kandu Grill Restaurant whilst enjoying a soft sea breeze. Signature dishes include Fruits de Mer, Mixed Meat and Seafood Platter and a Miranda Tomato Elixir.
For snacks during the day, wander down to the Poolside Bar for a range of healthy salads and sandwiches and in the late afternoon, enjoy afternoon tea or a sundowner at the Sunset Lounge Bar where evenings at the resort begin. On Saturdays, it is Shisha Night for a taste of the Orient with flavoured shisha pipes, baklava, dates, fruit skewers, Turkish Delight and Turkish Coffee.
The culinary team at Kuda Huraa will also deliver custom dining in suite, bungalow, villa or pavilion or enjoy a torch-lit dinner at the Reef Club, a barbecue by the shore, Sandbank picnics or a Robinson Crusoe private island picnic excursion.
Over the past twenty years or so, the Marine Savers conservation team, created by Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, has led the way on ecotourism by establishing some of the region’s most ground-breaking initiatives including coral propagation, turtle rehabilitation and manta ray research. For more inspiring information, see marinesavers.com for current projects.
The resorts have an ongoing programme that addresses all aspects of environmental, social and cultural sustainability including on-site bottling plants, local health and outreach projects. They are now partners with the NOW Force for Good Alliance and EarthCheck, a commitment to creating a more conscious, collaborative and Earth-aware travel industry.
Conservation - Since 2002, the team at both Maldivian resorts have transplanted more than 300,000 coral fragments into more than 7,000 frames to help restore Maldivian reefs working with Reefsavers.com. From their two Marine Discovery Centres, a team of 15 marine biologists have also rehabilitated more than 200 sea turtles since 2011 and manage the country’s only turtle and dolphin ID databases to help advance scientific understanding of local populations.
Protective partnerships - Four Seasons Resorts Maldives have partnered up with The Manta Trust to help protect these gentle giants, combining pioneering research with guest focused experiences of the world’s largest known population of manta rays.
Fish Lab - The resorts also successfully bred Nemo, the Maldivian clownfish made famous in the Pixar film “Finding Nemo” to help curb harvesting of sea creatures from the wild.
Reducing single-use plastic - Four Seasons Resorts Maldives has partnered up with the Maldives chapter of Parley since 2018, sending plastic waste (as well as that collected from three neighbouring islands) to be made into sportswear, some of which is sold within their resort shops.
Supporting local communities - The resorts also offer a Hospitality Apprenticeship programme, running since 2001, offering youngsters a year long stint at the resort. Since it started, over 651 local youngsters have graduated. The resorts are also the largest supporters of the Thulhaadhoo lacquerware artisans – the last left in the region – showcasing and selling their products.