The Maldives, the one place that reality is just as exquisite as the fantasy. The sand really is white and powdery and the sea really is the colour of emeralds, there is a magic that embraces you and doesn’t let go until you leave, a destination of envy, a place where most people dream of visiting and the top destination of choice for a honeymoon.
Set amidst the exotic turquoise hues of South Male Atoll lies the luxury island resort of OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo. It is the first ‘luxury all inclusive’ in the Maldives thanks to its ‘INDULGENCEPlan’ which covers all dining, drinks (including award-winning champagnes/wines), accommodation and non-motorized water sports, meaning you can just sit back, relax and indulge in as little or as much as you likefrom the moment you step off the speedboat onto the jetty you know you’ve arrived in paradise.
Smiling staff greet you with a chilled glass of champagne, drape your neck in a flower garland and welcome you like you’re an ‘A’ List celebrity arriving for a premiere on the red carpet.
The resort villas are spread across two separate islands that join together via a wooden jetty, with spectacular views of the surrounding lagoon and ocean, no matter how many times you cross, your heart still skips a beat at the sheer unadulterated luxury that surrounds you.
Accommodation comprises of 90 luxurious stand-alone villas, each utilising a natural aesthetic to effortlessly blend with the surrounding landscape. Forty-one beach-front ‘Earth’ villas line the coastline of the main island, whilst an additional 49 over-water ‘Wind’ villas sit directly over the lagoon, with glass flooring unveiling the underwater world below.
On a previous visit to The Maldiveswe’d stayed in an Overwater Villa, so this time we thought we’d stay on dry land in an Earth Villa, half hidden within the resort’s tropical foliage and leading directly onto the soft white sandy beach, complete with its own private infinity pool, and outdoor bathroom, I wasn’t sure we’d even make it to the beach! But of course, we did on many occasions whether it was to sip champagne as we watched the sunset, snorkel in the crystal-clear water, or just lie on our sunbeds, enjoying the calm tranquil surroundings as we listened to the soft lapping of the waves around us.
The inside of our villa was just as captivating, a large spacious room with high beamed ceilings, warm earthy tones that complement the white luxurious décor effortlessly, a mini-bar to indulge in champagne, wine, soft drinks, and nibbles whatever you fancy, whatever you drink, it is replaced as part of the ‘INDULGENCE Plan’.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining, there are six restaurants as well as options for private dining and beach BBQs.
The main restaurant Palms has stunning ocean views (as if you need a reason to linger over the delicious food). The fresh vibrant interiors and high ceiling are the perfect backdrop for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a huge range of international cuisine, live cooking stations, and so much choice, you really are able to ‘indulge’ to your hearts content.
You can also choose to chill poolside at the Joie de Vivre pool bar, which has stunning sunset views, serves cocktails and pizzas and has its very own Gin Bar, aptly named ‘Gin Is In’. Again, all drinks from the gin bar are included in the ‘INDULGENCE Plan’ and you’re certainly spoilt for choice with more than 25 top brand gins to choose from.
RAW is a fresh sushi bar and there are two fine dining establishments The Traditions, Peking takes you on a culinary journeyshowcasing authentic Chinese dishes and The Traditions, IndoCeylon, goes back to the roots of South Asian, Sri Lankan, Indian and Maldivian cuisine. Offering delightful dishes with fantastic presentation, and an array of textures and tastes to tease your taste buds, if you only try one dish from here make sure it’s the Crab Lagoon Curry, a real Maldivian treat.
Dining at any of these restaurants really is a divine journey of fresh flavoursome food, a culinary delight that will have you thinking about your next meal before you’ve even finished the one you’re eating.
And then there’s the Jewel in the Crown, a definite tick off the bucket list, the one restaurant that just adds to your honeymoon in paradise, M6m (Minus Six Metres Underwater), the chance to truly immerse yourself in life beneath the sea and enjoy exceptional seafood dishes.
Make your way down the winding staircase (don’t worry there’s a lift if you’re feeling less that energetic when you leave) and enter a jaw-dropping underwater world, windows all around have you looking out into the clear turquoise waters, where manta rays, sharks, little, medium and big fish in a rainbow of colours float in front of your eyesas you do little else than marvel at the magic of this underwaterworld.
Food is exceptional, as is the service, choose between two menus (both 5 courses) accompanied with wine flights and you’re in for the most romantic, fine dining experience, you’ll ever experience, a memory that will that will last a lifetime. The food boasts dishes such as prosciutto-wrapped tiger prawns, butter-poached lobster, Chileansea bass and for dessert well it has to be a chocolate dome with melting hazelnut fudge, a sumptuous delight of the freshest seafood we have ever tasted and as for the chocolate bomb, a sweet tooth indulgence that literally melts in the mouth. The ‘INDULGENCE Plan’ allows guests one Fine Dining Experience per stay in this breathtaking restaurant.
The ‘INDULGENCEPlan’ isn’t just about t food and drink, there’s also an array of activities, whether it’s a serene canoe trip to enjoy spectacular views of the island from sea, or something a little more adventurous like windsurfing or paddle boarding, the choice is yours. There is of course unlimited snorkeling around the resort and twice daily excursions to breathtaking snorkeling sites nearby. A sunset fishing excursion lets you catch fish and watch the sun slowly set on the horizon, you never tire of a Maldivian sunset, each one is as breathtaking as the last.
And then before you know it, it’s over, it’s time to leave this impossibly picturesque island with its lush green foliage, white sandy beaches, and perfect turquoise waters, it’s hard to do justice to somewhere as beautiful as this, it really is a dream come true, you’re very own paradise islandand the only question you’ll have is “when can we come back?”
Destinology offers 7 nights at OZEN Maadhoo in an Earth Villa on the Indulgence Plan, including return international flights and speedboat transfers, from £3,399 per person. Valid for travel between now and 31 May.
Book at destinology.co.uk or call 01204 689 704.