Grand Park Kodhipparu, the natural choice for a quick getaway
A vacation to the Maldives can be a bucket-list event for many travellers. But the wide range of resorts renders decision-making a challenging task. Within a similar price band, every other resort looks so ever inviting and heavenly with overwater villas or beachfront villas. After my recent trip (my 4th) and 10th resorts inspected, the experience has enabled me to assist readers to have a better understanding and easier time at deciding what is ideal for them.
Invariably, the first thing that narrows choices for a Maldives trip involves budget. Good Maldives resorts have the reputation of being pretty pricey. This is unavoidable as it’s very costly and difficult to run a quality resort, especially where almost everything is imported and that’s not taking into consideration the high maintenance and manpower cost. When factoring in the cost of seaplane transfers to faraway resorts, the vacation budget can get substantially depleted. In such a scenario, The Grand Park Kodhipparu (opened in Dec 2017), which is just a quick speedboat ride from the Malè International Airport, presents a compelling choice. If you like a reasonably priced 5-star resort with a wide range of facilities, then read on.
The Resort – Location and Concept
Grand Park Kodhipparu is located on the island of Kodhipparu in North Malè Atoll, which is renowned for its dive sites and vibrant marine life. The resort is just a short 20-minute speedboat ride from the Malè International Airport, allowing guests to cut precious time and cost on seaplane transfers so that they can reach their paradise quickly and maximise on the hard-earned vacation.
This resort is Park Hotel Group’s first luxury resort in the Maldives. Designed by award-winning hospitality firm, Hirsch Bedner Associates. The resort prides itself as a “one-island-one-resort” destination with its collection of beach and water villas, dining venues and recreational spaces. It is more than just a destination for couples and honeymooners, as the resort is also family-friendly with a wide array of children’s facilities including a kids club and kids activities. The resort location in the North Malè Atoll is the gateway to many exciting underwater escapades with fabulous snorkelling and diving sites including wreck sites nearby.
The resort accommodation
Guests can look forward to luxuriating in the resort plush accommodation designed with sophisticated architecture, cosy yet comfortable interior with a high ceiling palm-fringed roof. The villa exterior is designed with Maldives’ influence of wood and rattan that give cosy rustic appeal for a peaceful ambience. The spacious rooms with excellent amenities complement the spectacular beauty of the tranquil turquoise sea, making guests feel at home instantly.
The boardwalk to the water villas. Electric buggies ply the path fetching guests to and from the villas to the restaurants or facilities area. But a stroll can also be enjoyed as the island size is manageably compact.
The fabulous Grand Park villa – The Grand Residences, ideal for families as it sleeps up to 5 person. Spacious and furnished with everything you could ask for.
The Grand Residences room for the children. Plush and cosy room that will ensure memorable childhood memory.
The Grand Residences living room. At 210m², there is more than ample space for everyone.
The villa private pool and the deck which leads to both the resort lagoon and the island reef.
Picture perfect whichever way you look. The pool is ideal for swimming at night if you do not like the idea of dipping in the open water at night.
The Ocean Water Villa. For most Maldivian resorts, the beach villa is the lead-in (lowest priced) accommodation with the water villa priced much higher. But at Grand Park, the water villa is the lead-in, so guests can get to enjoy that over water experience straight on, without any compromises.
What a view to wake up to, right from the Ocean Water Villa room. A splendid view that will convince you on a revisit.
The Ocean Water Villa comes with a built-in netting hammock over the water that you can lounge on, besides sun loungers that are also provided.
Your direct access to the atoll ocean reef. Just don’t forget to apply sunblock for hours of snorkelling.
Just step ahead for the huge natural swimming pool. One of the key attraction of water villa accommodation.
Prefer a bit more comfort? try this sun loungers. Perfect day or day. Strategically positioned for better privacy too.
The Ocean Water Villas at night. A picture of serenity and comfort. Lay on the deck for stargazing or explore the resort beach bar for a night-cap.
The Beach Pool Villa, for guests who prefer the “on land” feel. Still, a very nice experience with the beach just steps away.
The Beach Pool Villa pool and sun deck. A perfect layout that let guests connect with the powdery sand on the feet and sea.
Amazing shower and wash up room. With double sinks and a bathtub with an outdoor shower, you will want to enjoy longer time here, on purpose.
Dining and facilities at the resort
The resort features three dining venues that guarantee to excite the taste buds. For once, after many resorts stay, I was pleasantly delighted by the resort culinary offerings. Not that other resorts are not good but just that Grand Park food offering (especially during breakfast) tugs at my food comfort zone.
You will especially like the FireDOOR, the resort’s speciality restaurant for a special evening dining. At the centre of the restaurant, schools of reef fish swim idly in the lagoon beneath, adding to the carefree and relaxed ambience as you dine by the sea.
With such lovely ambience, you will thoroughly savour the slow-paced meals. And you are in the Maldives, formal dress code is not mandatory.
Walkway to the FireDoor, enjoy the day receding last light as you stroll in for an unforgettable dining experience.
The FireDoor chefs all ready to whip up a delectable meal at the show kitchen featuring an impressive Josper grill. Get ready for an adventure ahead.
The Edge – This is the restaurant where breakfast is served. The ocean-side restaurant with locally crafted furniture and decor items will set you at ease. With all-day dining with a wide selection of international culinary creations that answer to all dietary whims.
My breakfast order of teppanyaki being prepared on the spot by the cook. What a treat!
Dining by the ocean always lifts the feasting vibes. But the nicely prepared food definitely helped.
The Asian menu on the breakfast spread reflects the resort guests’ nationalities. Nice touch by the chef indeed.
The Breeze Poolside Dining & Bar serves light menus with a wide range of popular Asian and Mediterranean classics. You can also do some people watching here, as it’s the hub of activities when the sun gets too hot.
Our order of pizza with tandoori chicken came out perfect. At USD28, it’s definitely a reasonable high-tea snack for two person.
The wine cellar adjoining the Breeze will make wine lovers happy. Wine aficionado should find a vintage that they like.
Red, white, rosè or bubbly, plenty to choose from. Full or light-bodied, just let the sommelier assist.
The right glass for the right wine. At sunset, the Breeze transforms into a great chill out bar where the creative bartenders put together refreshing cocktails (and mocktails) together with fine wines and light snacks alongside soothing music at sunset.
The Resort Spa and Facilities
A good spa is a must-have in any resort. Grand Park Maldives resort spa, simply named The Spa, offers a thorough wellness experience with a curated selection of signature body and skin care treatments made with the finest natural-origin products. The Spa garnered awards for “Luxury Destination, Spa Retreat and Resort Spa” in 2018, so you can be assured of an amazing session.
The resort- The Spa treatment hub. The beautifully designed sanctuary that will soothe guests even before treatment starts.
Ladies pedicure stations, overlooking the resort turquoise lagoon and water villas. Certainly a lovely treat for ladies!
Man gets to be pampered here too. The spa offers a selection of signature spa sessions focusing on post-session rejuvenation, with body and skin care programs or the Asian selection of Balinese or Ayurvedic for inner peace.
The resort fully equipped gymnasium lets you enjoy the sea view as you sweat it out. The facility centre also has an outdoor meditation deck with yoga deck, steam room, a wide range of games together with a Kids Club and even a fully equipped First Aid Room.
The resort swimming infinity edged pool with a limitless view of the Indian Ocean. You can’t help but wish the clock ticks slower as you enjoy such natural splendour.
The Maldives President made a pledge to open fifty new resorts over his five years rule. With such bold and ambitious plans, the Maldives resorts landscape will get even more vibrant and ‘crowded’ as time passes. But aside from the wide range of choices, the basic consideration remains- that of budget and the consumer’s sense of value.
The Grand Park Maldives looks set to come out a winner. It’s proximity to the airport greatly facilitate transfer time, letting guests enjoy a piece of the paradise much quicker. It’s pricing, while not cheap, still presents great value when benchmarked against other branded luxury grade resorts. The facilities are great and of course, not forgetting the fabulous cuisines. All this placed the resort in a position of strength in the “sea of resorts”. The sole grouse I had with the resort was the frequent “rumbling’ of the buggies on the boardwalk. which can be heard from within the villa, as they ferry guests past the villas. But I understand the resort management is addressing this noise issue head-on at the moment.
Departing paradise is always a hard thing to do. But it is all the more reasons for more visits in the future. And when the time comes, it’s easier to decide. Thanks for coming along the pixels journey. For other Maldives resorts experiences, do check out my other travelogues here. Do check out Jetabout Holidays special promo package here, should you be considering a trip to the Maldives.
P.S – All pictures used in this blogs are all rights reserved and copyrighted to Jensen Chua Photography and Jetabout Holidays.