Wow where do I begin! Well myself and Sam my boyfriend booked a week in the Maldives. Everyone told us oh it’s a honeymoon destination, you’ll be bored after a few days, there’s nothing to do apart from sunbathe. I ignored all these comments and booked the flights that day. You can book a direct BA flight straight to Male from London Gatwick which takes 10 hours – not too bad especially if it’s a night flight.
We chose to stay at LUX* South Ari Atoll, because we had heard a few recommendations about this hotel from friends. Straight away they were helpful in organising our seaplane from Male to the hotel, which was great because I had no idea how to go about organising it!
The seaplane was an experience to say the least! I arrived into the 31 degree heat in boots black jeans and a pashmina – tip: pack your beach clothes in your hand luggage so you can change because the seaplane is very hot and small!
I’m not going to lie when I first arrived, I panicked and thought there’s nothing to do I’m going to be so bored after a day. After always rushing around London, coming to somewhere as relaxing as this was a shock to the system. However by the end I wasn’t ready to leave AT ALL and didn’t find one moment where I was sitting there twiddling my thumbs. I easily could have done another week at LUX*.
My recommendations for a week at LUX* would be:
1. Lots of snorkelling, especially if you stay in a water villa, which we were lucky to be able to do on our last two nights. You have your own personal reef, which you can step out onto from your villa and see the most amazing coloured fish and maybe a baby shark! We also did three snorkelling excursions where you get a boat out and we were lucky to see manta rays, whale sharks AND dolphins! Unfortunately no turtles (which are my favourite sea animal). Maybe that just makes the perfect excuse to go back?!
2. Staying in the water villas is an absolute must. Your own infinity pool what more could you ask for?!
3. If you’re not a beach person, I would recommend to hang out at the Senses pool out of the two because it’s a bit more ‘adult only’ and they bring you smoothie shots and cold hand towels without asking. Ooh and amazing cocktails! (I recommend the palm tree mojito).
4. The spa is an absolute must and one of my highlights of the trip. Couple massages where you lie on the bed and can watch the sea below you and all the beautiful fish swimming around is literally idyllic. I got the relaxation massage, which I completely recommend, and the lovely girl who was from India got ALL my knots out my back. That never happens!
5. For meals we preferred to stay away from the buffet options so that gave us three options: Senses which is a lovely Indian restaurant, our first time we went there for dinner they put our table in the water which was such a lovely touch. I would recommend the tuna steak, amazing and fresh and the halloumi salad for lunch is a lovely light but filling option.
Then there is Allegria, which is an Italian restaurant. We never went here for lunch but had a few beautiful dinners. Definitely ask to sit in the wine cellar one night if you go and they will recommend you the best wines to go with what dish you choose to eat. I had a cheat night and had the gluten free goats cheese pasta dish – amaaazing with a lovely few glasses of rosé and a drunk cycle back to our villa!
On our last night we were lucky enough to get the chance to be one of the first to try the newly opened Japanese restaurant. This made me so happy because Japanese is my favourite cuisine! They gave us an eight course set menu, but unfortunately we only got to course five before being absolutely stuffed! I was upset we missed out on the dessert but the amazing fresh sushi was enough to fill my belly.
6. Rent bicycles. It’s nice to get some exercise in when you go away and I didn’t want to use the gym because I wanted to be outside enjoying the sunshine at every single opportunity possible! Using bikes instead of taking the golf buggies everywhere was a good way to get some exercise in. Especially since our villa was at one end of the island and Senses restaurant was at the other end so it was a 15 minute cycle each way.
I also did yoga a few times, which was amazing! Sunset yoga when it’s not too hot outside in the shade was another lovely way to relax and also get some exercise in. it’s not a tough session just a good 45 minute stretch and meditation.
7. A pop up dinner – LUX* organise a dinner for you in a secret location. We had this on our second to last night and they organised it on the rocks on the beach at sunset. It was a delicious seafood BBQ because I don’t eat meat with champagne and at one point a guy came over and played the sax, which was so romantic and a lovely surprise.
8. RELAX! For most of us we live such busy city lives rushing around non stop, working, doing admin, paying bills, cleaning the house, running errands so it was SO nice to just lie on the beach read my book and completely switch off.
It was a total recharge for me, which was so needed before we started filming the next series and returning to the crazy London life.