Once in a blue lagoon
From Page 1 bearing breadfruit, bananas, papayas and limes. (Perhaps by now management has invested in some signage: guests during my stay wander about in a state of dislocation as most of the main buildings and the 29 beach villas are all but engulfed by greenery.)
But the spa, at least, can be identified by smell if the breeze is in one’s favour: lovely Asian holiday scents of coconut and lemongrass, ginger and lime. There are vigorous body scrubs on offer using combinations such as coffee and orange or chocolate and almond, soothing facials and forensic pedicures and all manner of Ayurvedic miracles.
There are 10 treatment pavilions set in the spa’s compound, open to the breeze and with Mother Nature’s pantry at hand; for some treatments, therapists pause to pick herbs and fruit from the laden gardens and pound them into ingredients, often with an audience of long-tailed lizards.
Spa sanctuary aside, the ultimate refuge is one’s villa and, whether overwater or by the beach, all come with private pools, talcum-fine Frette bed linen, espresso machine, flat-screen television, quality sound system, wireless internet access, stocked minibar and a groovy wine cabinet.
The interiors feature dark timbers, with splashes of tangerine in cushions and (oddly unattractive) artworks, tonnes of lounging space and, in the overwater category, a glass panel set in the floor that acts as a window to spy on the watery world beneath.
Which is much more active than what lies above during the siesta hours. Schools of silver fish scoot about like flying arrows, an eagle ray glides past and striped butterfly fish putter by; such a peepshow is about as close as one can reasonably expect to get to communing
Ultimate refuge: Overwater villas at The Beach House at Manafaru come with private pools
with King Neptune and still be in-villa dining.
Time to turn holiday hermit and put up the do not disturb sign (a cloth turtle to hang on the door, actually, with a dozy look on its face). I know how it feels. Susan Kurosawa was a guest of The Beach House at Manafaru and Singapore Airlines.
reach of The Beach House at Manafaru has packages that include transfers from Male, breakfast, meal plans and seasonal specials such as free extra nights. Although the resort primarily caters to honeymooners and couples, children are welcome and catered for with junior menus and supervised care at the Turtle Club and baby creche. Singapore Airlines has multiple daily flights to Singapore from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and daily flights from Adelaide, with daily onward connections to Male. More: 131 011; www.singaporeair.com.au. For 2009, Singapore Airlines Holidays has a stay seven nights for the price of five deal in an overwater villa, including daily breakfasts and return airport transfers from $3055 a person; valid May 16 to July 31. More: 1300 666 722. Standard tariff from $US700 ($834) a double overnight, including breakfasts; children two to 11 years, from $US175. All rates include taxes. More: www.beachhousecollection.com.