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
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