Situated in the northernmost reaches of the Maldivian archipelago, at the heart of Noonu Atoll, lies The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi. A mere 45-minute scenic seaplane flight from Malé, this Elysian paradise offers escapism to the extent that it will leave you feeling as though your experience had all been a dream in a parallel universe – as if it is not possible that such a magical place could exist on this earth. The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi takes the paradisal aspect of the Maldives as a destination to a whole new level. Unfolding over 52 acres of natural perfection, the island’s warm crystal waters and powdery white sand invite you to kick off your shoes and indulge in typical Maldivian hospitality and luxurious relaxation.
Once she has helped us decide our plans for our first evening and we have left them to her charge, being sensitive to our needs following our journey, Marina swiftly arranges a buggy to take us to our deluxe beach villa with pool. Upon reminding us that we can call her anytime if we require anything at all, Marina leaves us to settle in.
Exploring our temporary private haven, we are pleasantly surprised by its sheer size. The palatial circular villa – a shining example of stunning Maldivian craftsmanship – features a central king sized bed, a large single bed for our daughter, a substantial minibar area with large desk and a dressing area that leads outside into a vast outdoor bathroom complete with jacuzzi bath tub, two showers and a canopy daybed swing! Inside, both beds are adorned with sumptuous pillows and beautiful swan-shaped towel features scattered with red petals, but there is yet more on which to feast the senses. As we open the wall-to-ceiling French windows, our own personal beachside sala and private swimming pool is revealed. As the moon glistens invitingly on the surface of our pool, the sound of small waves on the beach entices us to explore further whereupon, through the palm trees and tropical foliage beyond the pool, we find a luxurious daybed overlooking a pristine stretch of powdery beach and the turquoise waters of the island’s lagoon beyond… a dream come true!
We are brought back down to earth by the faint sound of our phone ringing… it’s Marina to let us know that our restaurant reservation has been made and babysitting has been secured for each of our four nights’ stay. Excitement mounts as our holiday begins!
From the Beach Villas through to the Celebrity Retreat, every category of accommodation provides guests with their own comfortable private sanctuary and haven of tranquility. Villas are designed to offer cool open spaces with clean lines and authentic Maldivian craftsmanship with high quality finishings and all the modern luxuries one would desire. Natural hues are brought to life with a splash of colour and the warm glow of the sun’s rays basking the villa in sunlight through wall-to-ceiling French windows that bring the natural beauty of the island to your door.
Accommodation is generous ranging from 95 sq. m through to the 600 sq. m of the spectacular Celebrity Retreat – a private residence in its own right.
This was the highlight of our stay at The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi – Foodie heaven! There is no way taste buds would tire of the culinary offerings at The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi. With a choice of 13 bars and restaurants and each of them offering a unique experience in terms of cuisine, setting and ambience – the latter two of these being significantly different during the day vs. night – the biggest problem guests face is being spoilt for choice. Catering for a diverse range of clientele from across the globe, The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi’s F&B repertoire greatly reflects this with a total of seven different cuisines being showcased in different forms across their outlets.
Fluid Family Pool & Bar – family-friendly drinks and light snacks throughout the day
Taste of India – serving à la carte as well as set menu Indian cuisine
Reflections Adult Pool & Bar – creative cocktails in a tranquil setting with light bites and bar snacks
Bamboo – Authentic Thai cuisine
TEPPANYAKI – Japanese restaurant
The Wine Cellar – for intimate dinners and vintage fine wines
Bubble Lounge – trendy spot dedicated to Champagne
Water’s Edge – perfect vantage point for sundowners and evening entertainment
Coffee & Ice-cream Café
In-room & Destination Dining also available
Each of the following deserve a special mention:
Iru Buffet Restaurant – International fare with live cooking stations for breakfast and dinner. We only experienced the Iru breakfast, which was world-class. The diversity of international breakfast favourites on offer, most of which were being freshly prepared before our eyes and served straight onto our plates, catered for all nationalities and allowed everyone to try new breakfast traditions together with their own personal favourites. The best feature of Iru is its children’s play area – for those of us who are used to wolfing down our food at the risk of indigestion before our little darlings lose interest and make their escape, this was the greatest luxury of all!
Flavours – Over-water restaurant serving French cuisine (over 16’s only). The romantic setting of this restaurant both day and night together with the fish – and sharks(!) – swimming below made this a favourite for us. If you love French cuisine, you won’t be disappointed and the service is excellent. A key attraction here is the feeding of the sharks everyday 6-7pm (except Mondays).
The Trio – Mediterranean-inspired over lagoon venue serving Italian cuisine. This relaxed yet romantic restaurant offers great sea views from all vantage points – both outside and in – as it is surrounded by the turquoise waters of the lagoon, which also makes it a favourite spot for feeding the fish off the jetty.
Islanders Grill – beachfront restaurant renowned for its steak and fresh seafood. This was the ‘piece de resistance’ of culinary indulgence for us. No shoes required… sink your toes into the soft white sand, still aglow from the warmth of the setting sun and savour an award-worthy cocktail whilst looking out over the glistening moonlit ocean, reminiscing about another beautiful day in paradise. Romance is served in abundance here and the food is heavenly. If you’re feeling brave, select your own live lobster for the grill, or, if your ‘chosen one’ decides to opt for a narrow escape like mine did, allow the expert waiters to pick one according to your weight requirement by the 100g. If you’re not a seafood lover, allow yourself to be tempted by the choicest cuts of meat to be grilled to order with all dishes being served with tasty freshly prepared side orders. Just make sure you leave room for the delectable desserts!
Recently rebranded, The Spa by Thalgo, draws on two key inspiring qualities – Organic Earth and Vibrant Sea, which are transferred into the spa’s philosophy by taking a unique approach to health and wellness incorporating the healing principles of the East and West, backed by almost 50 years of skincare experience from Thalgo France, the undisputed expert in Marine Intelligence.
Upon entering the spa, it is immediately evident why the resort was awarded the Maldives’ Leading Spa Resort at the World Travel Awards Africa & Indian Ocean 2014. An air of calm washes over you as you are led along a pebbled pathway that winds amidst wild tropical blooms and endless shades of green lily pads in this tranquil haven of relaxation. The warm air is sweetened with the soft scent of sandalwood and jasmine – relaxing for both body and mind.
Located conveniently central to the island amidst towering palm trees and tropical vegetation, the spa is deceptively large with three different sections each focusing on a different wellness tradition such as Thalgo, Ayurveda, Chinese and Maldivian treatments.
The new spa menu features a total of 127 treatments incorporating many new innovative treatments from Thalgo including a dedicated section on anti-ageing facials, which offers separate facials for age groups 25+, 30+, 40+ and an exclusive facial with complete anti-ageing benefits. There is also a new section dedicated to slimming known as ‘Integrative Slimming Treatments by Thalgo.’ The holistic menu offers a diverse range of tempting treatments from traditional massage, authentic Maldivian-inspired rituals through to world-renowned wellness practices. All treatments are carried out by expert practitioners who combine finely honed knowledge with a naturally healing touch.
We opted for the couples’ Balinese massage, which combines a variety of massage techniques to stimulate the flow of blood, oxygen and Qi Energy around the body. The therapists delivered perfection with a finely tuned balance of pressure to aid relaxation and de-stress. We were left feeling as though we were floating out of the treatment suite, spiritually renewed and with our energies boosted. To make the most of our spa time, we indulged in the hot and cold water therapy pools where there was also a steam room and sauna for guests to enjoy.
Leisure and Activities
Your time on Iru Fushi can be as busy or as Zen as you desire. There are a whole host of activities to enjoy and plenty of opportunity to discover, learn and connect with the wonderfully vibrant local culture. Main facilities include: main family pool; infinity-edged adults pool; Water Sports Centre; PADI five-star dive centre; fully equipped gymnasium; tennis courts; badminton courts; Recreation centre with snooker table, darts board, golf simulator, Wii, Karaoke and library; Spa; and Kids Club. Everyday there is a schedule of daily activities from Yoga to Nature Walks and excursions such as an island tour, fishing trip or sunset dolphin cruise – and you can partake in as many or as few as you like.
Diving: being keen divers and given the stunning marine life and excellent visibility that the Maldives has to offer, diving is always a must for us, but this particular dive trip surpassed others as we were lucky enough to visit ‘Shark Point’ where we descended to a coral reef that large reef sharks favour as a feeding and cleaning station. Normally, we are lucky to see one shark on a dive, but at ‘Shark Point’ we saw nearer 20 of all different sizes from young ones to full grown adults circling the reef in front of us as they fed and allowed little fish to clean them. It was an exhilarating experience and a wonderful memory that will stay with us a lifetime.
Needless to say, the Dive Centre is seamlessly efficient with top quality equipment and all of the staff – both at the Dive Centre and on the boat – were wonderfully friendly and charismatic making the whole experience even more enjoyable.
Sunset Dolphin Cruise: this was a must for our daughter of 3 years and she was not disappointed! The boat ride in itself is a fun experience and the high-tech sonar equipment used to track the Dolphins’ movements gives satisfaction guaranteed. Half an hour or so into our boat trip, we spotted the dolphins jumping and spinning out of the water and as we drew nearer, they circled the boat – almost playing with us – and gave us a spectacular show delighting all of us on board as we cheered and clapped in encouragement. During our return trip to Iru Fushi, the crew surprised us all with some bubbles to celebrate a stunning Maldivian sunset!
Kids Club: this was by far the best we have ever experienced, not only for the diverse range of activities and creative and constructive ways that the experienced staff entertain the children, but also for the unprecedented level of kindness and caring attitudes shown towards the children. We requested a level of continuity for our daughter in terms of having the same lady look after her for babysitting and in the Kids Club and we felt extremely grateful for the care our daughter received. When we collected her, she seemed so stimulated, happy and excited to tell us all about what she’d been up to and had created an abundance of artwork whilst there, such as origami flowers and stars, hand-coloured paper handbags, a bookmark and more. Whilst one always tries to strike a balance between precious family time and ‘alone time,’ our daughter kept begging to go back to Kids Club and as long as she was happy, so were we!
From the exhilarating sea plane landing, breathtaking first impressions, warm welcome from our personal Butler, Marina and the team, a whirlwind of activity and relaxation all in 3-4 days, to being left feeling refreshingly well rested and with the most wonderful family (and romantic) memories that will stay with us a lifetime, we highly recommend The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi as your next holiday destination!
TMA: Trans Maldivian Airways
One word: clockwork! It’s funny how the vast metropolis-style airports in the largest cities around the world can be the most exhausting places to negotiate and the process from check-in to takeoff takes hours when here is a company that single-handedly serves the islands across the Republic of the Maldives with a fleet of 44 Twin Otter Seaplanes from a tiny terminal in comparison and the whole experience is flawless and totally stress-free!
We arrived at Male and enjoyed the typical saunter across the tarmac to the terminal where within a matter of 10 minutes we had passed through passport control and had been reunited with our suitcases ready for the short walk to a stress-free transfer. We were greeted with a warm welcome from the Iru Fushi team and immediately relieved of our bags as we were led to the TMA desks, swiftly checked in and then we were guided straight onto a minibus to take us to the spacious Iru Fushi lounge at the TMA terminal where a buffet of light snacks and refreshments awaited and even a neck, shoulder and back massage whilst we awaited another arrival before boarding our sea plane.
The flight is an experience in itself providing the perfect aerial view of the glistening Indian Ocean and awesome beauty of the islands below. 45 minutes later, the expert landing just off-shore of our own tropical paradise that awaits is thrilling – the sea sprays up past the windows as we make contact and then the pilot taxis effortlessly to the jetty where our welcome committee awaits.
For more information, visit: www.transmaldivian.com