The Maldives conjures up images of clear blue waters, plentiful reefs and the whitest of sand. But nothing could have prepared us for the visual splendour that unfolded on our recent trip.
Arriving in the capital city Male just before midnight is interesting, if not underwhelming. Choices are limited to transit to the islands after 6.00pm, so plans were made to stay in Hulhumale on the tourist strip. The Maldives is a Muslim country and we arrive on Ramadan, the holy month of fasting – the streets are quiet.
Next morning the renowned Maldivian service is in full swing as we board the Sea Plane, destination Mirihi Island, in the South Ari Attol. The plane intentionally flies low to capture the endless reefs and glimpses of the Indian Ocean- a transparent mix of the bluest of blues.
Arriving at Mirihi island is like landing on your own private Idaho. Resort Manager Gunther and his team await you on the jetty and the warmth of this welcoming party does not falter throughout your stay.
Water villas are literally built over the water and a few steps off your deck you are snorkeling with turtles, reef sharks and the most exotic fish.
Island life is simple but abundant, the environment is exceptional with photo opportunities at every turn, no filter required.
Throughout our stay we meet the extraordinary team of workers, from the culinary chefs to the yoga teachers, art makers and musicians. Everyone has a story and plays a part in the unique island culture.
Head Chef Felix from Switzerland, lives in Thailand and works in the Maldives, his Sous chef Fernando is from Sri Lanka. The global menu is indicative of the mixed cultures and changes daily. We are in luck, tonight is South American night.
There are spiced rum and homemade chocolate nights with the ocean as the backdrop (Gilligan island style) tropical fruit carving and live music by local legend Mohamad Ali – yes that’s his real name.
Tourism is the main industry of the Maldives and it’s preserved from the top. Government stipulates that resorts must employ up to 60% of Maldivian workers and foreigners can only purchase properties if they partner with a local.
The environment is at the forefront of preservation with minimal plastic refuse, active water desalination plants and marine conservation, such as the turtle hatching program.
The pristine atolls that make up the Maldives house over 1,100 islands, a mixture of private resorts and locally inhabited.
It’s time to wave goodbye to our private oasis and head further south closer to the equator, to Six Senses Laamu, we have the feeling we will forever miss Mirihi.
Alas Six Senses dulls our pain, an expansive island with a rustic chic feel, surrounded by private coral reefs and surf breaks. Contemporary eateries with fresh local flavours are dotted along the driftwood peers, all with spectacular views.
There are plenty of activities with an emphasis on wellbeing from aerial yoga to ayurvedic treatments. An Earth Lab recycling centre and an active desalination plant provides the island with water, the resort recently won the environmental award at the 2017 expo in Singapore for commitment to sustainability.
Personalised push bikes are your mode of transport and the super friendly staff take hospitality to the next level, complete with your very own GEM (guest experiences manager)-we get the feeling we will also long for Six Senses.
The Maldives is a place you dream to return to…. naturally wonderful, one can only wish to be marooned here one day.
@thetravellingsenorita was a guest of Mirihi Island and Six Senses.