ISL A ND PA R A DI S E

If heaven had palm-fringed white sandy shores and turquoise crys­tal clear waters, it could well be in the Mal­dives. By Teresa Ooi

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - THE ESCAPE - Visit www.nal­adhu.anantara.com

It’s a pinch-me mo­ment the minute we ar­rive by lux­ury yacht at Nal­adhu Pri­vate Is­land Mal­dives, a lux­ury re­sort by Anantara. A wel­come party of drum-play­ing staff sprin­kle rose petals in our path as the house mas­ter, oth­er­wise known as the but­ler, walks us to our lux­ury ocean villa fac­ing the In­dian Ocean.“Wel­come to par­adise,” says Has­san, our but­ler. Nal­adhu sits on the South Malé Atoll and is blessed with white, sandy beaches, di­a­mond clear azure waters and spec­tac­u­lar un­der­wa­ter life. Ev­ery morn­ing, a group of baby black-tipped sharks swim non­cha­lantly in front of our villa. Black rays move like mini-space­ships in the shal­low waters and when the tide is out, baby crabs come out to play. It’s like an aquar­ium at our very own doorstep.

Our house is enor­mous (300sqm2) and comes with a king-sized bed with 300-thread count cot­ton linen and a pil­low menu. The charm­ing bed­room opens out to a cov­ered ve­ran­dah with a swing­ing day bed and is sit­u­ated next to an infinity-edge pool.There is an out­door rain shower, an in­door steam and sauna room, and a be­low ground mar­ble bath.And, of course, there’s Has­san, at our beck and call to meet what­ever whim­si­cal de­mand we may im­pose. How did we ever sur­vive without a but­ler? The next day, we opt for a sun­set fish­ing ex­cur­sion, which takes us out to the outer reef. The big­gest catch is a 2.5kg red snap­per, which puts up quite a fight but is suit­ably sub­dued by the lo­cal fish­ing tour guide. Flushed with vic­tory, we head back to Nal­adhu and hand over our fish to Has­san, who rushes to the res­tau­rant kitchen with or­ders to grill the snap­per with Mal­di­vian spices and make an In­dian curry with the smaller fish. It’s one of the best meals we’ve had. Stay­ing at Nal­adhu also means hav­ing ac­cess to restau­rants in sur­round­ing is­lands man­aged by Anantara that are only a walk or a short ferry ride away—from a Thai res­tau­rant on the bridge link­ing Nal­adhu to the fam­ily is­land re­sort of Dhigu, to the restau­rants on the hon­ey­moon is­land of Veli.

All lux­ury re­sorts take pride in of­fer­ing pam­per­ing spa ex­pe­ri­ences, and Nal­adhu does it well.The masseur comes to our villa, where we have our mas­sage in the ve­ran­dah to the sound of the sea.With skil­ful and strong hands she kneads away at tired mus­cles. “Leave the aro­mather­apy oil for at least an hour, then have a steam sauna be­fore you shower,’’ she ad­vises. She is so right: Any re­main­ing aches and pains are eased away.

A stay at Nal­adhu Pri­vate Is­land Mal­dives is an in­dul­gent, re­lax­ing hol­i­day to re­cu­per­ate from the daily stress of work­ing life.You can do as much or as lit­tle as you like. No won­der the re­sort is such a mag­net for any­one who likes the finer things in life—un­der­wa­ter and on land.

Clock­wise from top: Beach­front per­fec­tion at Nal­adhu Pri­vate Is­land Mal­dives. The spa­cious Ocean House ac­com­mo­da­tions. Trop­i­cal bliss from the bed, bath and be­yond. The Beach House. Soak up the sun­set from the com­fort of an enor­mous free­stand­ing tub

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