Words by Daniel Bosley; Pictures by Aishath Naj
It is commonly said that modern Maldives consists of three separate realms; the single-island luxury resorts, the capital city – Male’, and the smaller island communities that make up the bulk of the nation.
These are the less well-known three S’s – the sun, the big smoke, and authentic island society.
The recent wave of guest houses sweeping the archipelago are attempting to combine the first and last of these S’s, introducing the world to the Dhivehi culture and community that shades itself beneath the palms. The aptly-named ‘Wave Sound’ (by 3S) in Addu atoll has achieved this union perfectly.
Based in the Maradhoofeydhoo area, the newly-opened guest house’s location is truly unique. Nestled on the south-western corner of the atoll, it looks out over a large expanse of shallow reef area, empty except for the nearby islets of Hajara and Kafathalhaa Hera and the rushing of the waves that give the guest house its name.
However, when the guests turn inland, they suddenly find themselves in the heart of the Maldives’ second city, with the wonders of Addu atoll ready to explore at their leisure. In addition to being within a ten-minute drive of Gan international airport, the atoll ferry is even closer, providing transport opportunities unavailable anywhere else outside of the capital.
This balance of luxury and culture is not easy to achieve, but Wave Sound has managed it spectacularly. Inside are seven peaceful, piney, rooms with cable TV, wifi and a permanent postcard where the windows should be. The outer design, with sandy paths and shaded verandas bordered by lush vegetation and swinging hammocks completes this oasis in Addu.
Outside are six well-connected inhabited islands, showcasing the history, tradition and biodiversity of the atolls. The earliest Muslim graveyard can be found across the lagoon in Meedhoo, while a trip up to the atoll capital of Hithadhoo ends in the protected Koattey area and the freshwater Eidhigalhi Kilhi (lake).
If this wasn’t enough, guests at Wave Sound can also arrange day visits to Addu’s local resorts to utilise facilities there such as the pool or bar. With the airport island technically classed as an uninhabited island, Gan’s Equator Village operates all the amenities of a single-island resort, meaning that Wave Sound’s guests can spend an evening in the bar before heading back to their beach hideaway.
Being positioned perfectly between these two different Maldives opens up a wide range of activities for visitors. A lazy day ‘indoors’ could include sunbathing, snorkelling, and a picnic on Hajara without leaving the confines of the guest house.
Alternatively, visitors can go out and explore rest of the atoll and beyond/beneath with local divers, go island-hopping across the lagoon or fishing, for big game and small, in the channels and by the reef.
After spending a little time at Wave Sound, guests can confidently say they’ve fully experienced the best of the Maldives – the sun, sea, and sand as well as the society and stories that only time within an island community can bring.
How many S’s is that? Maybe it’s okay to skip the sity(!).
How to get there?: Gan International Airport can be reached from Velana International Airport (Male’) on national carrier Maldivian Airlines (1hr 35mins). International flights on Sri Lankan airlines direct from Sri Lanka began last year. From Gan, staff from Wave Sound will arrange a car to take you the 10 minute (5km) drive up to Maradhoofeydhoo.
How to book?: Booking can be arranged through major hotel websites, including booking.com and Agoda. Alternatively, the guest house can be contacted directly via www.3smaldives.com/booking.
2k Isles’ Tip: Make full use of the complimentary bikes provided by Wave Sound and take on the iconic link road. Head off early before it gets too hot, take a left from the guest house and keep going til you hit the wetlands of the Hithadhoo Protected Area. It’s a 24km round trip, so take plenty of water, and maybe stop for a kurumba or two at the roadside stands along the way.