The Maldives conjure up images of pristine beaches, reef-ringed atolls, and luxurious bungalows on the water where lucky guests can observe fish through glass floors and jump into the sea from their balcony.

This island nation has always been on my “bucket list,” so when I decided to visit Sri Lanka and Dubai last month, the Maldives was a logical and obvious addition to my itinerary.

In 2009, the Maldivian government allowed locals to open their own guesthouses and restaurants to tourists. Whereas before, travelers were limited to the resort islands, now they can visit and stay on any local island they choose to. Suddenly, homestays, hotels, and guesthouses have started popping up.

It was a momentous shift in policy that finally allowed locals a piece of the economic pie.

Though I wanted to experience everyday life, the aforementioned idyllic images rippled through my mind. There was no way I could miss a chance at experiencing that kind of luxury.

Splitting my nine-day visit into two parts, I decided to spend four days in a resort and five days on the “real” islands.

Water Villa

Velassaru offers 10 kinds of rooms. We stayed in a Water Villa. It had a large bed, sitting area, bathroom with bathtub and shower, and a private terrace. The villa had all the comforts like WiFi, free drinking water, coffee and tea, daily cleaning but also a home theater system if you feel fancy to watch a movie. We recommend going stargazing instead haha 🙂

Dining at Velassaru

There are 8 types of restaurants and bars to have lunch, dinner, or a snack. Their main restaurant called Vela offers a buffet-style dinner but definitely one of the best buffets you will ever have. We had the pleasure to be at Velassaru during lobster nights at Vela Restaurant, incredible!

Buffet breakfasts are also served at Vela Restaurant. There is a large selection of yogurts, eggs, on request made smoothies, and fresh fruit. But even sushi and pastries! The other restaurants are Japanese Teppanyaki, Indian Ocean, International cuisine and a lot more to choose from.