We have learnt over the years of travelling the globe, that long haul flights needs stop overs to help the body cope with jet lag. Our layover this year was the Maldives . 2500 small islands grouped into circles and called Atols just off the coast of India are heaven on earth.
I was recommended a resort by a friend, who had gone with her family the year previously. Vivante Coral Reef by Taj was an hour from Male international airport. The resort representative met us at the airport. He took our bags off us, didn’t see them again till we were in our hotel room. He then ushered us to a luxurious speed boat, with complimentary cold wash cloths, that were a welcome relief after a long haul journey. He also gave us juice and fresh fruit on a stick. Bliss!
It was an hour of slow cruising to reach the resort. Lots of pictures taken of the neighbouring islands, some large and others so small, that the hotel was widely spread out into the ocean, on stilts with rooms on broadwalks.
Our Island had just the main hotel on it. All rooms were little, purpose built huts with private facilities including, our own beach and a front garden with its own outdoor shower, that was very private from other residents. The rooms were pure luxury with every facility you could think off, even down to complimentary flip flops for the beach! We could order room service and never leave the room if we so choose.
Breakfast and dinner were included in the package and to be honest even though lunch was provided, at a cost, you didn’t feel the need.
Breakfast was a fusion of western fare, Indian or Asian cuisine of the highest quality. OH and I had to try an Asian breakfast. I had shrimp wonton in a broth with was delicious and OH had a fiery fish curry, brought tears to his eyes, so I know it was hot as he doesn’t bat an eyelid at vindaloos. There was a full buffet of pastries and fresh fruits, yogurts, pancakes and eggs as many ways as you wanted. It was a great start to the day of doing very little.
The resort had a variety of accommodation to satisfy every need. You could opt for the water huts that were slightly bigger than our room but just the same luxurious facilities.
There were serveral activities to keep you amused. The bar was a hive of activity, offering cocktail making. They had live music in the evening, a pool table and table tennis if you so desired. The Bar was the main hub of the resort.
The infinity pool was stunning although with the amount of selfies taken, mainly by scantily clad Asian ladies, draping on the pool wall and scolding the photographer for not taking the photo at the right time, it was slightly amusing! Odd how the younger generation are so self absorbed and not taking in the true beauty, of the landscape around them, but more interested in showing the world the false perfect bubble they live in.
OH and I preferred to sit on our private beach away from the false or loud mouths that inevitably congregate around the pool, boasting of far flung places they have visited.
Our beach was pure silica sand, that was unspoilt and the soul of the turquoise sea lapping at your feet just lulled you into sleep. Occasionally you would move into the cool waters, however, the site of a dorsal fin had me leap for the safely of the shore! We had been told there are Reef sharks and although they are non aggressive and will feed in the evening, I wasn’t going to chance it.
At 5pm we were invited to feed the stingrays. They had been coming to the Island for the past 40 years and at the same time every evening.
Staff provided us with makeral cut into small pieces and with a plastic glove. We dropped the food at the waters edge. A feeding frenzy ensued with the stingrays scrabbling for the morsels. They made the weirdest of sounds as they blew air out of their blowholes. The bleeding mackerel attracted other fish, including the Reef sharks. When these predators approached visitors were asked to step out off the waters edge. It was a memory that will stay with me for a life time. Fear and awe.
Evening meals were a real social occasion. You could however, have your meals in your room with a full butler service and a table provided on your deck if you wished. Our meals were a mixture of Indian and Asian meals of which we loved, after many months in rural France and not many curry houses around.
We both completely indulged.
I love Thai curries, which I find palatable and less hot. OH loves the heat! The chefs didn’t disappoint. My red Thai curry was delicious and the coconut sticky rice complimented it perfectly. OH hot spicy curry made the tears roll down his cheek, so he was happy!
One evening, we met a very nice young man who was working in the hotel and living on the island. He asked if we would like a tour of the accommodation and his living quarters. It’s certainly was an eye opener. I had wondered if the staff were on rotation and if they went home at all. Most stayed on the Island all year round and in the middle of the resort was their accommodation. Bog standard rooms in a low high rise hidden from the resort visitors. They had their own canteen and tuckshop. He also showed us the desalination plant, from where all the water including the drinking water came from. It was truly facinating.
Our holiday soon came to an end and we had our final dinner perched on the tip of the island, with a butler service under the stars. It was a lovely night of wine and food with a touch of romance. A perfect end to a magical holiday.