Hotel Ocean Grand at Hulhumale

KB and I landed at Malé International Airport at close to 11 pm (Maldive time). We didn't want to waste one night in the expensive private island hotel and the earlier SQ flight was way more expensive, so we booked a room at Hotel Ocean Grand through Agoda for the first night. There are quite a number of small hotels near the airport and we chose this one because it had the best ratings. After clearing the customs, we eagerly look for the airport transfer driver. Many hotel staffs were already there to pick up their guests, holding up signs with their hotel names. But our hotel staff wasn't there.

Before approaching the information counter, KB decided to quickly go grab the tourist SIM card. At that hour, only Dhiraagu was still open. The other telcom, Ooredoo, was already closed. The SIM card cost USD 11 and comes with USD 6.50 worth of talk time. To buy the data pre-paid plan, we had to buy this card and top up with USD 24 to get 5 GB worth of data. (There are higher amounts of data plans, but I cannot remember the price already.) So, essentially, we paid USD 35 for 5 GB of data because we don't foresee we'll be using the talk time at all.

After we were done getting the SIM card, the hotel driver was still not here. There were already a few people seated behind the information counter, waiting for this same driver. About half an hour later, he finally appeared! KB and I were getting impatient already. The driver checked our names against his list and led the whole group of us (4 pairs of couples) to the pick-up area. Then, he said we have two options, either all 8 of us can squeeze into the 7-seater SUV or he can ferry us to the hotel in two shifts. Seriously, it really not quite possible to put 8 adults into 6 passenger seats. Thankfully, 2 pairs of couples are friends and they volunteered to wait for the driver to make the second trip.

Other than the long wait at the airport, the hotel service was pretty good. When we arrived at the hotel, the staff opened the door and told us to take a seat, while the driver unload our luggage and the reception was processing our check-in. Another staff brought cold towels and chilled fruit juices.

O'view Restaurant where all the meals are served.

By the time we check into our rooms, it was already close to midnight.

The little pantry on the desk below the television. Those in the tray are complimentary, while the nuts and chips in the small basket are chargeable.

The rather tiny but clean bathroom

Toiletries and the extra roll of toilet paper

Next morning, KB's alarm went off and we woke up before 7 am. Considering that it is 10 am Singapore time, it's not too early for me. I think he wanted to catch the sunrise, but the sky was already very bright by 7 am.

After breakfast, I was armed with my camera to take a stroll along the beach. But this photo above was the last shot before the heavy rain came. Three hotels built side by side; Ocean Grand in the middle. I didn't see any buildings in Hulhumale Island that is taller than four storeys.

I booked a room with ocean-view and we were allocated the room on the fourth floor. When the rain had subsided into a drizzle, I sat by the balcony to watch the crashing waves. KB was still napping and the cable television had no signal due to bad weather.

Taken using Sony Action Cam

Looks like another storm is approaching.

It was rather therapeutic to watch the waves crashing at a distance from the shore.

The lift in the hotel can only go up to the fourth floor. To get to the sunrise terrace on the rooftop, I took the stairs next to the lift. On a rainy day, the roof terrace seem rather under-utilized.

View from the roof terrace

Our lunch at the hotel: my spaghetti carbonara chicken and KB's fried rice

Despite the rain, the local children were still happily playing by the seaside.

Last look at the lovely beach

The hotel wasn't particular about check-out time and allowed us to use our room until 1 pm. Shortly after settling our check-out, the driver arrived to send us back to the airport.

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