What do you do when your husband comes home and asks, “ Would you like to go to the Maldives? “ You grab your sunscreen, bathers and passport and begin packing. The Maldives had not been on my radar other than as a honeymoon spot and a great place for divers and surfers. We have beautiful beaches here in Australia, so it was not somewhere on my bucket list. Yet, after holidaying here, I would love to go again. Those images you see are real. The water is crystal clear, the white sandy beaches are pristine and beautiful, the marine life is second to none and the people are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met. We stayed at The Westin Miriandhoo in a luxurious overwater villa and it’s one of those places you never want to leave.
The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring shaped atolls , which are made up of more than 1000 coral islands.The Maldives are nestled halfway between Indonesia and Africa and lie southwest of Sri Lanka and India. The capital is Male, which is also home to the main airport. Our resort was situated on the Baa Atoll, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Site. The Maldives is one of the lowest countries in the world and is carbon neutral in an effort to combat the rising sea levels. The best times to visit are from November to April, although it is hot and sunny all year round with average temperatures from 23 – 31 degrees Celsius. Even in the rainy season (when we were there) you are guaranteed sunshine, although we had a couple of afternoon storms, just like at home.
The trip there, for us, was like something straight out of a James Bond movie. We caught a taxi from home before boarding a Singapore Airlines flight from Brisbane to Singapore. From Singapore we flew with Silk Air to Male. At Male airport we were greeted by a Westin representative and driven by van to the seaplane port. We went by seaplane, which is a magical and scenic way to see the islands, resorts and atolls, but as a storm was brewing we were dropped off at a nearby island and taken by speedboat to Westin Miriandhoo. We arrived just as the afternoon storm broke and our butler transferred us to our overwater villa in a covered golf buggy. Talk about planes, seaplanes and automobiles. We’d had a taste of them all before we even arrived!
The weather was forgotten as we checked into our luxurious villa with a beautiful welcome basket of tropical fruit, biscuits, chocolates and champagne. With an indoor and outdoor shower, king sized bed, plunge pool, free standing bath and viewing porthole to watch the ever changing marine life in the lounge room, you could happily spend a week in your villa alone and at over 200 square metres these are some of the most spacious villas in The Maldives. The Westin is only a year old so everything is immaculate in soothing neutral tones based on the ocean. Your view is the horizon, with nothing as far as the eye can see and there are steps into the water so that you can swim or snorkel from the privacy of your deck. Once in your room you really feel like you are the only ones at the resort.
We’d arrived just in time for cocktail hour in the library and after a couple of margaritas we headed to the overwater Japanese restaurant ‘ The Pearl’ for dinner. This was Japanese food at its finest and we enjoyed a lovely meal before finally heading to bed. We were lucky to have no jet lag and woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
But first breakfast! The buffet breakfast here was the best I’d ever seen. Every cuisine, eggs your way, fruit, curry, a range of pressed juices and delectable pastries. They are used to visitors from all over the world so have something to suit everyone. There was even Vegemite on the condiments table. Almond milk and gluten free options were also covered. The staff were friendly and couldn’t do enough for you.
There are three restaurants and a lovely rooftop bar at this resort so you are spoilt for choice. We really enjoyed Hawker restaurant, which as the name suggests serves delectable hawker food, like satay sticks, pad thai and san choy bow. Seated on the sand this feels like an island holiday should, delicious food in relaxing surrounds.
At the Sunset Bar we enjoyed our cocktails sitting in oversized wicker chairs, watching the sun go down over the Indian Ocean. Dinner was at the Island Kitchen which overlooks the hotel’s pool and is a buffet one night, then a la carte the next. We dined from the a la carte menu and I enjoyed a lovely duck dinner and hubby a steak , both were cooked to perfection. We could not get over the range of choices available!
One of the highlights for me was a traditional Maldivian dinner with entrée made by one of the local ladies, before a selection of curries including breadfruit, fish and chicken. Dessert was a traditional cake with yummy coconut ice cream. We were entertained by a local pop singer and gifted traditional sarongs to wear.
You can also choose to dine in room, enjoy a romantic dinner on your deck or on the beach. A romantic option is to be transported by boat to a nearby deserted island for a picnic. Nothing is too much trouble.The only downside is the cost of your drinks. Alcohol is expensive in the Maldives so you will definitely have to allow for that in your budget. Some deals in The Maldives are all inclusive so it doesn’t have to be a super expensive holiday. There is something to suit all budgets.
Swimming in the beautiful crystal clear water is a must every day. The resort provides snorkelling gear and even snorkelling around the resort there are a myriad of fish ( including Nemo and Dory for the kids) , reef sharks, oysters, turtles and a range of other sea life. Remember to put on your sunscreen and bring a rash vest or cover up as the sun packs a punch here near the equator. There are day trips to the nearby Hanifaru Bay to swim with the Manta Rays or perhaps , like me, Dolphin spotting is more your style. If you’re lucky you might even spot a Blue Whale. Scuba diving here is world class.
We loved lazing in the hammocks or on the loungers at the main infinity pool.The stand alone Wellness Spa looks out to the ocean and provides massages and beauty treatments in its relaxing surrounds.
The gym was also spacious and well equipped and sitting up high had the best view. As it takes only 10 minutes to walk around the island we were here every day using the treadmills and equipment.The resort offers a range of classes and one of the highlights for me was a sunset yoga class. There is also a sauna and steam cabin available, as well as a nearby tennis court to practise your killer volley.
There is also a water sports and dive centre where you can get free kayaks or rent jet skis or wakeboards. For water-babies, like we Aussies , there is so much to do. We didn’t have time to fit in everything we’d planned so might need to visit again!
I found visiting The Maldives a heavenly experience and this resort was welcoming, relaxing, pristine and contemporary. The staff were friendly and willing to accommodate our every need. As the seaplane picked us up I had tears in my eyes as we headed for home. The beauty of this place is incomparable and the natural beauty has to be seen to believed. Looking for an island holiday like no other? The Maldives might be for you.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).