LIVING LUXE IN THE MALDIVES

We’re swapping busy agendas for blissful, beachy getaways as the Maldives makes its way to the top of our 2020 wanderlust list. Elysia Fryer finds peace in a place where time stands still...

The Maldives is a magnet for honeymooners and those looking for the most romantic of holidays, but there’s plenty on offer for families and those looking for adventure-fuelled fun, too.

Think beautiful views, swishy palm trees, turquoise waters and magical memories to last a lifetime.

All of the above comes hand in hand with an escape to the Maldives.

And what an escape it is.

There’s no simple way to get to your island hideaway – you’ll jump from plane to plane, speedboat to speedboat – but that’s all part of the fun, right? What’s a paradise isle without a
little adventure?

The day brings white sand beaches and exploring the rainbow reef, while the evening opens up opportunities for twilight tipples as the sun sinks into the crystal-clear horizon and the stars dance in the sky.

As you can imagine, it is oh-so romantic. Perfect for a bit of post-wedding downtime. And that is what we’re here for…

Our home for the week is Amari’s Havodda island hotel, where we are quite literally plunged into paradise as soon as we step foot off our flight.

From our chauffer service at Male airport, to our internal flight and speedboat ride to the island, the service is as good as it gets.

We’re greeted by people with paradise written all over their faces and it is evident in everything they do.

The staff are genuinely happy to be here, and they’re honoured to be a part of your journey as the island adventure unfolds.

Arriving in style by speedboat, it’s dark but we can see the palm trees gently swaying in the breeze as we approach the pier.

Smiling faces await our arrival and a buggy whisks us away to our ocean villa, sitting on stilts above the blistering blue Indian Ocean. Amari Havodda boasts a sumptuous series of high-spec suites; from beach and pool villas with direct access to the wondrous waters, to overwater villas placed in peaceful pockets above the ocean.

As morning breaks, pulling back the curtains, we’re greeted with a million shades of blue. Undisturbed views of the Indian Ocean and the fluffiest white sand lapping up the circumference of the island.

Dreamy.

The suite itself is a high-spec sanctuary, complete with all the latest mod-cons and home comforts, a novelty outdoor bathroom and a private decking area for blissful bathing from sunrise to sunset.

A bottle of bubbly awaits as we pop it open and say cheers to a week in paradise.

Outside, the opportunities are endless. Whether it’s a dip in the ocean, a quick swim to the shore, or a lazy afternoon by the pool, this is a place to wind down and watch the world go by in all its natural beauty.

Wake up the mind and body with a morning yoga practice on your terrace, enjoy afternoons with the beach to yourself, and explore what swims beneath us on this tropical isle.

You are quite literally at one with nature here.

Whether you’re checking in to lap up the luxury and lounge by the pool, beach or on your private deck, or you’re looking to explore some more, there’s plenty to keep you happy at Havodda.

Those looking for a little adventure will find heaps of it over at the water sports centre – where the experts can help arrange scuba diving sessions, guided snorkeling, jet ski excursions, paddle boarding, water skiing, windsurfing and banana boat rides.

Other facilities include the Breeze Spa, where even more luxury awaits; as well as the FIT centre, tennis courts, beach volleyball and the organic gardens.

Those looking for a bit of quiet time away from the striking sunlight can hide away in The Library – where guests can get lost in a book, lounge around and sip away with a good cup of tea.

For those moments where we manage to peel ourselves away from our terrace, we’re soaking up the magic of the Maldives – in everything from the food and the scenery, to the people and the tiny details that add up to form this perfect paradise isle.

You can lap up the entire island with a 20-minute stroll along the circular, sandy route.

Kick off those flip-flops, dip your toes in the water and take in the spectacular views from all angles.

Stop off for a sundowner at Iru, a laid-back beach bar where cocktails and beanbags call your name.

We watch on as the orange and pink hues glisten over the water, before swimming back over to our villa, bypassing plenty of exotic fish along the way.

Amaya Food Gallery is the go-to dining destination for culinary creations from all four corners of the globe. This all-day-dining hub serves everything from Asian daily specials, to international favourites from Spanish tapas to barbecued meats.

Amaya blows the usual hotel buffet out of the park – bringing vibrant new dishes to the table on a daily basis.

A hearty breakfast in Amaya is the perfect start to a day on the island. Those with a sweet tooth can delve into a colourful display of dainty cakes and pastries, while the cooked brekkie options range from omelettes and pancakes, to cooked meats and curries.

After a day or two, the breakfast chef has my eggs waiting, sunny-side-up and served with a smile.

The breakfast stuff of dreams and a piping hot cup of coffee, served up as we settle into the day in this beachy restaurant… it doesn’t get better than that.

It’s a quick turnaround for the Amaya Food Gallery, also serving up a hearty lunch offering. Again, a far cry from your usual hotel buffet, packing in plenty of unique flavours to ensure guests can try something different on every visit.

For something a little more low-key, get a slice of the action at Pizza Kaage – a rustic snack shack by the infinity pool, rolling into the Indian Ocean.

This chilled-out deck is the place to be for a late-afternoon pizza party. Pick up a glass of prosecco from Thari Bar and sip with a slice in hand as the sun beats down.

The Ember Grill – a traditional Japanese barbecue spot – is something of a special treat.

Go here and enjoy a unique take on grilled food, from tender meats, to succulent, straight-from-the-ocean seafood.

We take a seat on one of the restaurant’s romantic al-fresco tables as flickering candles set the scene and the smiley chef guides us through our feast beneath the stars.

Life is sweet (and oh-so slow) when lost in this island sanctuary.

We get to know the gang who ensure a glorious stay – from breakfast right through to the final nightcap – and we’re well and truly whisked away into another world.

When in such a breathtaking location, it doesn’t take much to put a smile on our faces, but at Amari Havodda, the people are the difference, and really are what make this island paradise tick.

In all its sun-kissed beauty, the Maldives is the ultimate escape to really ‘get away from it all’, and we leave feeling fully charmed by the island experience.


amari.com/havodda-maldives

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