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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Postcard from the Maldives- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

The afternoon sun daubed the crystal clear waters in blue light as I peeked from my window, 3,000-feet above sea level. A calm enveloped me as I watched the blinding blue sights.  Perhaps the Maldives have a way of taking care of my ephemeral needs.

I waited for Velana International Airport’s arrival gate to open into the sea. Seated on a private speedboat to Ozen Reserve Bolifushi, the sofa of the boat gives me an ample view of the ocean. I prepared myself for a visual relish, for the next three days, at the South Malé Atoll.

Welcome drums

At the resort, the tunes of traditional Maldivian drums give me a cheery welcome. I was escorted to the Ocean Pool Suite, one that houses an infinity pool and two pool beds. The resort offers a one-of-a-kind Reserve plan, curated to include fine dining, premium beverages, and a few other experiences.

An exquisite high-tea

I choose to walk and befriend the beach. After an hour of finding myself in a meditative state with the wafting breeze, I decide it’s time to treat my tastebuds. I head over to Ozar for high-tea. Nature and food both offer intimate experiences.

With the former already doing its job well, I surrender myself to the latter at Traditional Saffron for dinner. A speciality restaurant that celebrates India, I find a slice of home in their traditional thali. At the end of day one, I know I have signed up for a course in the art of idling.

Island livin’

I have the most unusual wake-up call with the sun rays piercing through the curtains, and the loud swish-swash of the waves hitting the stilts. I start day two by cycling to Vista Del Mar, the all-day dining restaurant.

“Maldives is where you come to relax and de-stress,” Chaitanya Sharma, executive chef of the property, tells me. Who’s to deny that? So, I submit my senses to the king-size breakfast there. Ozen Reserve Bolifushi offers 90 secluded Reserves and villas. The club is a few steps further from Vista Del Mar, where I drop in again for a quick bite. 

While in the morning I chose to gaze at the sea and experience nothingness, the afternoon sun forces me to opt for a cosy set-up inside. I wait for my spa appoin ment. Energised after a great day at the spa, I cycle around to lose myself in those parts of the beach where the powder-blue sky meets blue-green water.

The day ends with a feast at Vista Del Mar. I am introduced to dishes native to countries like Italy and Maldives. My time here has birthed a soaring appetite for life in me.

Granola on the water

Having scrolled through endless photographs of floating breakfasts, before I arrived here, I was ready to tick this one off my bucket list. On my third day, I begin with my morning with breakfast in the private pool.

Later, I put on a pair of skates to pirouette around the plastic ice rink with the help of Naalhi, my instructor. But, two rounds of skating later, I am ready to hit the beach again. My penultimate meal is at Sangu Beach. Seated under the sky with twinkling stars, I savour Moroccan favourites. 

On the morning of my departure, I am up early to watch the sunrise and cycle one last time and kiss paradise goodbye. This time, I stop by Heart Street, a Maldivian twist to The Pont des Arts (Paris’ Lock Bridge). While I did not tie a heart, a part of me will always stay at these islands — where I transformed into a beach baby.

The writer was invited to the resort in February 2021 before the second wave of the pandemic.

Travel protocol

The Maldives opened for tourists on July 15, 2021. Travellers will have to carry a negative RT-PCR test result (issued from an ICMR-approved lab no more than 96 hours before departure of the direct flight) while flying to the country. 



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