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.