Olhuveli Beach & Spa.

Sun Siyam has properties all over Sri Lanka and the Maldives – in fact, Indi just checked out their Pasikuda resort. Interestingly, it takes 6.5 hours to drive to Pasikuda, and it took me just 4.5 hours in total from my doorstep to my Maldivian hotel room. This is a part of a new and ongoing travel series where we'll showcase all sorts of travel in and around Sri Lanka – stay tuned!

Getting to the resort

Get off the plane, write your immigration card, breeze through immigration (visa on arrival, no fee required), pick up your baggage, and head to the Sun Siyam stall. Once there, someone will be waiting for you with your flight and booking details, and usher you onto a waiting speed boat. They'll handle your bags etc so all you really need to do is get on the boat, and have a 40 minute nap. Unless you get seasick in which case lol.

The Accommodation

You can get a room here for as low as Rs. 24,000 per night bed and breakfast, although a deluxe water chalet goes for around Rs. 55,000. The honeymoon villa is obviously quite a bit more, around Rs. 90,000 per night. Prices are very variable, dependant on season, other bookings, etc so you really need to just check back frequently for discounts etc.

My room was a Sunset Jacuzzi Water Chalet, which usually goes for about Rs. 65,000. It was a beautiful little chalet perched on top of the water, complete with a large bedroom, sea-front deck with an outdoor bathtub, stairs leading into the sea, a dressing room, and fully-equipped bathroom complete with a rainwater shower, two sinks, and one of the most beautifully located claw-foot tubs I've ever seen.

I actually thought the bathroom was a lot better thought out and designed than the bedroom, with gorgeous stone tiles and windows looking out into the azure.

The bedroom was spacious and filled with all the usual amenities a resort offers, from toiletries to a fully-stocked minibar, cute bathrobes and self-branded flip flops.

Dining & Drinks

There are 5 restaurants and 2 bars at the resort, although if you're on full board you'll most likely just eat at the main restaurant's buffet, Sunset. The variety is undoubtedly large, but nothing really stood out to me in terms of flavour or quality. One of my favourite dining experiences was getting a full Maldivian breakfast sent in to my chalet. At $13, this was a brilliant spread featuring a lot of fish, a lot of variety, and lots of flavour . I'd highly recommend it.

You can also opt to eat at one of the other 4 restaurants, so I dined at the Thai restaurant, Four Spices, and the seafood beachside restaurant, the Plankton Grill. Keep in mind that prices are high, and you're looking at about $25-40 per meal, per person. The Thai resto was great, with a well-curated menu of classic Thai favourites, dim romantic ambience, and good execution. I tried some sticky seafood rice and cashew lobster, which were both great, and perfectly flavoured. 

I wrapped up the meal with some mango sticky rice, which was a bit too rich for me to finish on my own but still well-executed. One of the best parts of the evening was (surprisingly) a live makeshift Filipino band who went from table to table singing excellent renditions of personal favourites. They played me a lovely lilting cover of Elvis Costello's She and I swooned. 

The Plankton Grill was set on a charming strip of beach, featuring private open gazebos with piped music and views of the sea, sky, and pools of fish, lobster and Sri Lankan crab. 

They suggested the lobster thermidor with lemon butter, which came out surprisingly quick. The lobster itself was superbly fresh, but I felt that there could have been some improvements on the flavours at play. It's always disappointing when quality ingredients end up in an underwhelming dish.

Drinks are pricey (about $9 for a beer, $15 for a cocktail), but the local cocktails really stand out. I'd highly recommend the Kurumba Colada, which looks as tropical as A'bay in the '80s.

Activities

This is where the resort really shines. With a stunning house reef featuring beautiful marine life (manta rays, reef sharks, turtles galore), easy access to a nearby sandbank, a dedicated diving school & centre, as well as fleets of jet skis, you can't really be bored here if you tried.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how great the crew at the dive school was too. The staff there was incredibly friendly, spoke several languages, and were happy to teach everything from basics to advanced diving. They were also nice enough to take lots of underwater photos of me flapping about (which can't have been fun for them!).

The Spa

The spa was another excellent aspect of my stay here. With a full and varied menu of treatments (including some intriguing "elements" treatments for Chinese guests), it was tough choosing one.

I ended up with a 60 minute full body massage with a trained therapist from Kerala. Not only was she very professional and polite, but the massage put me in a serene stupor (there may have been some drooling). The spa chalets are also clearly perfect for couples massages, so head on over with your boo (if you've got about $90 a pop to spend).

Service

Across the board, the service was excellent. Genuinely warm smiles, lots of attention and care, and well-trained staff made for a delightful stay. The room service was the only point that was slooow though, probably because the resort is so spread out.

Overall

This a surprisingly versatile resort, because it caters equally to families with kids, older couples, and young romancey sorts. It was a bit tough solo, but I managed to compensate with plenty of kurumba coladas and snorkel sessions! Overall, I'd definitely recommend it for the activities, the service, and just the sheer beauty of the reef and views.

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