GET­TING THERE

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

Vil­las at Mir­ihi Is­land Re­sort cost from around £475 per night B&B based on two shar­ing be­fore taxes of 12% GST and a 10% ser­vice charge. mir­ihi. com

Con­trary to what I’d ex­pected, hours go quickly on Mir­ihi. It may be tiny at just 350 me­tres long and 50 me­tres wide, but it boasts one of the best house reefs in the Mal­dives, so much time is spent snorkelling and swim­ming, tak­ing in the in­cred­i­ble un­der­wa­ter life just feet from your villa. From reef sharks to manta rays, tur­tles to par­rot fish, each visit brings a dif­fer­ent en­counter with vivid-hued crea­tures.

Day two was spent on the re­sort’s 55 foot pine-wood yacht as part of the Whale Shark Safari — a day trip with EDITED BY CATHY WIN­STON cwin­[email protected]

Di­rect flights from Gatwick to Male with Bri­tish Air­ways (ba. com) cost from £800.

Mir­ihi’s res­i­dent ex­perts in search of pods of whale sharks and manta-rays. You are en­cour­aged to jump into the wa­ter and snorkel along­side the gen­tle gi­ants, which was a daunt­ing yet mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Be­fore I knew it, the day had sped past.

Din­ing is an­other high­light and to en­cour­age con­ver­sa­tion and con­nec­tiv­ity with each other, none of the restau­rants and bars have WiFi. The cen­tral, laid-back Dhon­veli Restau­rant of­fers Mal­di­vian spe­cial­i­ties, un­der the watch­ful eye of jolly head-chef Felix

Bamert. Mar­ry­ing In­dian flavours and Sri Lankan tra­di­tions, Mal­di­vian cui­sine is light and mod­er­ately spicy with an em­pha­sis on veg­e­tar­ian dishes — Tem­pered Jack­fruit with Mus­tard, Ba­nana Curry, and Pump­kin Salad with Tamarind Dress­ing, for ex­am­ple.

Mean­while, Mu­raka — the over-sea restau­rant — of­fers a fine-din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. If at first it seems too ro­man­tic a set­ting for solo trav­ellers, af­ter a sip of chilli-pas­sion-fruit daiquiri, you re­alise that hav­ing a meal here (alone or not) is un­doubt­edly one of the most up­lift­ing ways to re­flect on your day.

The cook­ing classes at Chef Felix are also an en­gag­ing way to spend an af­ter­noon, and you can mas­ter sim­ple recipes, such as Red Lentil Curry, Pol Roti Co­conut Bread and Ba­nana Frit­ters.

By day four, I had over­slept and missed yoga and, af­ter a late break­fast of ex­otic fruit and freshly-baked rye toast, headed to the de­serted beach to flop on one of the bean bags. Lunch was beach­side — I was in no hurry to move much — and by mid-af­ter­noon I had nearly fin­ished one of the books that had been gather­ing dust for months by my bed­side back home.

That night, af­ter a rum and cho­co­late tast­ing un­der the palm trees, I re­alised it would soon be time to go home. I won­dered what the news was back in the UK. I idly con­tem­plated work. I should check in, I thought. But what’s the rush? To­mor­row will be here soon enough.

Maybe I had too much rum, but noth­ing else seemed to mat­ter ex­cept the mo­ment.

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