Escape to Maldives, a paradise on earth
Just Back From… The Maldives.
Trip Duration: 4 days and 5 nights.
Flight Plan: We flew on Singapore Airlines, but our flight was delayed due to a group of passengers held up from a transfer flight. This turned our original flight into a red-eye, and we landed at Male International Airport slightly past 11pm. I have to be honest here: I had a mini freakout because I assumed were getting to our first resort by seaplane, which only operates in the day time. Thank God for speedboats!
Where I Stayed: We stayed at two COMO Hotels this time: COMO Cocoa Island and COMO Maalifushi. Both were absolutely stunning beachside resorts that blew me away with their elegance. The vibe there was just so calm and serene, I felt instantly relaxed and at ease. COMO Cocoa Island was a much smaller, more exclusive outfit than COMO Maalifushi, which was grand with its sweeping views and unparalleled waters.
Best Thing I Ate: The one meal that gets me really excited on holiday is breakfast, and they definitely didn't disappoint. Muffins, cakes, home made yoghurt and fresh fruit aside, the COMO Shambhala options also caught my eye, and I was absolutely blown away by how delicious healthy food could taste. My top pick would be their egg white and spinach frittata with a side of mushrooms - I had this almost every day!
Best Hang Out Spot: Usually by both my villas' private stretches of beach. The COMO Cocoa Island one was particularly memorable because I could just step out onto my patio and just walk right into the crystal clear water. During low tide, sandbanks would surface and they were just perfect for a leisurely stroll before heading to dinner.
Best Daytime Activity: The time we went to Lavadhoo, a castaway island just off COMO Maalifushi for lunch. First, we basically kayaked there like the bunch of sporty people we were (we really aren't); then we had a huge spread of barbecued delights and cold Prosecco by the beach; and to cap it all off we spent hours exploring the lush wilderness, expansive sandbanks and cool waters. Disclaimer: We did not kayak back and opted for a speed boat instead.
Best Night Out: On our first day at Maalifushi, we arranged to go on a dolphin watching and sunset cruise. With the sun's golden rays on the horizon and the deep blue of the sea skimming below, we chanced upon hundreds of spinner dolphins leaping and twisting in majestic aerial displays. Several even swam alongside the boat - "playful" is how our guide pointed out their behaviour to us. The whole experience of seeing these carefree creatures gambolling in the wild made my heart sing.
Trip Highlight: The COMO Shambhala treatments at both hotels really hit the spot. We did a spot of aquatherapy on Cocoa Island, which was both a workout (it was really just yoga in water) and water jet therapy to ease muscle tension. The COMO Shambhala Signature Massage at Maalifushi was the most decadent massage that I have been to in a long time. The therapist's expert kneading, coupled with the extraordinary view of the sea, made for an hour of total bliss.
Could Not Leave Home Without: I would not leave without slathering on SPF 50 sunscreen - the Maldivian sun gets bright and hot pretty quickly; sunglasses; and my trusty Mansur Gavriel tote to hold everything from magazines to water bottles.
Most Inspiring Aspect: What I really enjoyed was the total peace and serenity with the world that I experienced at both places. Imagine beautiful blue vistas stretching as far as the eye can see, the calm lapping of the waves and, at night, the brilliant sparkle of the stars above gave me the chance to just sit back and appreciate the beauty of the world.
Why The Maldives? Who wouldn't want to escape to heaven on earth?
This article is adapted from Harper's Bazaar Singapore.