Floating breakfasts, spa sessions and island drumming, this vacation in the Maldives is worthy of a postcard

The afternoon sun coated the crystal-clear waters with blue light as I peeked out my window, 3,000 feet above sea level. A comatose calm enveloped me as I was looking at the blinding blue views, which can be dizzying when you haven’t felt that level of intimacy with the colors of nature (thank you, but no thank you, coronavirus!) But maybe the Maldives has a way to taking care of my ephemeral and ethereal needs, I told myself. “

This splendor was just the beginning, as I waited for the arrival gate of Velana International Airport to open to the sea. Sitting on a private speedboat to the Ozen Bolifushi reserve, about 30 minutes away, the boat’s C-shaped sofa gives me a breathtaking view of the vast ocean and its otherworldly hues. Attracted by my first encounter with the Maldives, I prepared for visual delight, for the next three days, at South Male Atoll – a seven month resort, nestled amid towering palm and coconut palms, sandy white and turquoise waters. . But how prepared can you be?

Ocean pool suite

Welcome drums
At the complex, the tunes of traditional Maldivian drums give me a cheerful welcome. Lavender oil infused cotton towel and soft coconut drink – given to me by Vicky, ma hiyani (Butler) – Instantly loosen my troubled nerves and my screaming feet are silenced by the hot massage of masseuse Edz’s feet. Vicky escorts me to the Ocean Pool Suite. As the name suggests, the Ocean Suites are built over the water. She maneuvers the buggy seamlessly on a wooden path, also built over the water, and I am mesmerized by the changing colors of the sea. “The turquoise portions are lagoons and the dark blues are the ocean,” says – her, as we reach my villa.

While Maldivian drums provide a festive welcome to the resort, other highlights include suites with ocean pools, turquoise lagoons, explorations on foot or by bike, and fire dancers to light up the night.

While all of the villas on the property offer guests access to water and sand, the Ocean Pool Suites house an infinity pool and two pool beds. A few steps lead you to the ocean, where you can swim (with life jackets) depending on the tide conditions. My bedroom here has a queen-size bed, a few sofas, a walk-in closet, and a large bathroom with a shower and tub. The resort offers a one-of-a-kind reserve plan, designed to include fine dining, premium drinks, maxi bars (replenished twice daily) and a few other exclusive experiences.

Interiors of the suites with magnificent views

Butlers and buggy rides
You can explore the 2.5 km island on a buggy driven by a butler, on foot or by bicycle. I choose to walk and befriend the beach, sometimes letting the waves crash over my feet as I watch the evening rays paint a postcard picture.

After an hour of finding myself in a meditative state with the roaring waves and the floating breeze, I decide it’s time to feast my taste buds. I head to Ozar for a high tea party where a spherical stand filled with finger sandwiches, blueberry scones, profiteroles, lamb sprouts, nuts, jam and cheese reminds me of my tangible needs. Heavily fed, I plunge into a sofa that promises me the best view of the crimson ball that puts this part of the world to bed.

Nature and food both provide intimate experiences. The first already doing its job well, I give myself up to the second at the Traditionnel Safran for dinner. A specialty restaurant that celebrates India, I find a part of home in their traditional thali which offers welcome drinks, kebabs, curries, bread, sweets and several cocktails and mocktails. At the end of the first day, I know I signed up for a class on the art of idling.

Breathtaking aerial view of the resort

Living island
Unlike the cacophonous mornings of Chennai, I have the most unusual awakening with the rays of the sun piercing the curtains, casting a brilliant shadow over the ocean, and the loud rustle of the waves hitting the stilts. I start the second day by pedaling to Vista Del Mar, the all-day restaurant, greeting chefs, butlers and lifeguards along the way.

“The Maldives is where you come to relax and de-stress. Eat the food and enjoy the water, ”Chaitanya Sharma, the property’s executive chef, tells me. Who can deny it? So, I submit my senses to the king-size breakfast at Vista Del Mar, which has a culinary range for all types of travelers. On the menu, fresh bread and muffins, idli-sambar, eggs (as you wish), pancakes, waffles, dim sum, fruit, cereals, juices and Danish pastries. My breakfast consists of Danish pastries, pineapple juice and a cup of coffee. And everything turns off in the next few hours when I walk around the property.

Ozen Reserve Bolifushi offers 90 secluded reserves and villas – located on the water and beachfront. Each villa has a private pool and direct access to the beach or lagoon. Their villas include Earth Pool Villas (Sunrise & Sunset), Royal Reserve, Sunrise Earth Pool Pavilion, Ocean Pool Suites, Ocean Pool Suites with water slide, Sunset Earth Pool Reserve and Private Ocean Reserve with water slide. The resort offers water activities, ice skating and is home to the Kuda Koli Kids Club, where they host differently each day of the week. Friday, we hit our fist and hit five.

Dinner with a view

The club is a short walk from Vista Del Mar, where I come back for a quick bite. For lunch and dinner, selections include sushi, pizza, nasi goreng, Indian specialties, and noodle bowls. There is also a cold section with a display of fine cheeses and pastries.

While in the morning I have chosen to contemplate the sea and experience nothingness, the afternoon sun forces me to opt for a cozy interior. A few slices of pizza, salad and a generous helping of desserts later, I await my spa appointment, the next chapter in my fairy tale.

Shagnika offers me a cup of tea with butterfly pea flower extract which would have a calming effect before the start of my Balinese massage. I am accompanied to a part of the unprecedented beach which houses the spa rooms. My therapist Fa, from Seychelles, explains the three variations of oils available – Tranquility, Pain Relief and Vitality. I opt for Pain Relief oil which has strong notes of mint and other spices. I wanted to silence the world and its suffering for a while. The oil begins to show its magic within seconds, as my tense muscles begin to relax. Sixty minutes pass in a jiffy; I can almost feel my body floating. She offers me a glass of lemongrass and ginger tea to enhance the effects of the massage, indicating the end of my spa session. Sigh!

Relax at the spa

Full of energy, I cycle to get lost in those parts of the beach where powder blue sky meets blue-green water. The long day ends with a carnival-like feast at Vista Del Mar. On Friday nights, special decorations are set up on the beach, tables and chairs are set up, and a makeshift stage is built. There’s a strong party vibe – a fire dancer, belly dancer, and a DJ to entertain guests; the waiters in sarongs are having fun while they bring our order. From poultry to seafood, I discover dishes from countries like Italy, Vietnam and the Maldives. My stay here has certainly created in me a growing appetite for life.

Granola on the water
After going through countless photographs of floating breakfasts, before I got here, I was ready to check this one off my bucket list. On the third morning, an attendant carrying a circular rack set up my dream meal in the infinity pool. With the sun, breeze and waves for company, I start with my morning coffee fix, then reach for the bowl of crunchy granola. The pita bread in the mezze platter and the buttery Danish pastries are also given fair treatment. After all, what’s breakfast if it’s not in your private pool, right?

After eating, sipping and soaking, I prepare for a breathtaking snorkeling experience. Vicky informs me that the water activities are canceled because there are high tides. Okay, so not all dreams come true. After sufficiently marinating my brown skin in the sun, I head for a sumptuous breakfast of Schezwan fried rice and lotus stem in garlic sauce, and cheesecake. I’m only happy that the food doesn’t have weather conditions to follow.

And while I’m floating in this fairy tale, why not tick another dream off the to-do list. I put on a pair of skates to spin around the plastic rink with the help of Naalhi, my instructor. But, two laps of skating – read slips – later I’m ready to hit the beach again. In the evening, the waves seemed to have gained visibility, allowing me to paddle boat.

Trip to Sangu beach

My penultimate meal is at Sangu Beach – a modern Moroccan and Levantine restaurant overlooking the beach. Sitting under the dark sky with twinkling stars, I savor favorite Moroccan dishes like mezze platters, tagines, shish-tawook and grilled meat delicacies whipped up by Chef Mahmood. I savor my last night here on a sweet note while digging Umalin, Baklava and Muhalabya.

On the morning of my departure, I wake up early to watch the sunrise and ride my bike one last time and say goodbye to heaven. This time, I stop on an alley lined with red plastic hearts adorning tree bark. This is Heart Street, a Maldivian variant of the Pont des Arts (Paris lock bridge). Although I haven’t attached a heart, a part of me will always remain on these islands – where I turned into a beach babe.

(The writer was invited to the resort in February 2021 ahead of the second wave of the pandemic.)

Travel protocol
The Maldives opened its doors to tourists on July 15, 2021, following the second wave of the pandemic. Travelers will be required to carry a negative RT-PCR test result (issued by an ICMR approved laboratory no more than 96 hours before the direct flight departure) when entering the country. The governments of both countries require that you download health declaration forms from their respective websites 24 hours before departure (Air Suvidha for India and imuga.immigration.gov.mv for Maldives).

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