The Maldives, Hollywood’s Favourite Hideaway
Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Lee Cobaj, a regular blogger and an amazing travel writer. She has spent most of her life jet-setting around the world to fascinating destinations. Her work and adventures can be seen on her blog, Hello!
Next stop, the Maldives. After three non-stop days and nights in Dubai it was time to leave the Middle Eastern metropolis for the swaying palm trees and tranquillity of this most beautiful of island nations. I had been to the Maldives before with my husband to celebrate our first anniversary – the Maldives is of course one of the world’s most popular honeymoon destinations for A-list lovers – Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, and Fergie and Josh Duhamel have all jetted in Male before slinking off across the bright blue waters of the Indian Ocean to the seclusion of private islands, far from the prying eyes of the Paparazzi – but this time I’m here with my friend, Shelley so would these private isles turn out to be blissful or boring with only the bright blue sea and each other for company.
The answer was no, it wasn’t boring in the least! Shades on, wind in our hair, turquoise seas twinkling all around us, our arrival at the Velassaru Resort on the back of a gleaming white speedboat couldn’t have been more glamorous. Just a four-hour flight down from Dubai and a thrilling twenty-five minute whirl across the Indian Ocean and we were setting foot on our own little slice of island paradise. Despite our adrenaline-filled arrival as soon as we stepped onto the chic sun-weathered pier and felt the warm afternoon sun on our back, it was time to relax. Cold towels and cocktails were on hand, as were warm smiles and friendly chat, and after a seamless check-in it was apparent that this little resort had more to offer than just being another romantic bolthole.
Swaying palm trees, shimmering silver-white sands and picture perfect coral reef cradled a sleek infinity pool, restaurants, bars, a library and spa. We had seven different room types to choose from; some on the beach, some with private gardens and some stilted over the sea. A Water Villa was our haven. As the name suggests, it’s built hovering over the sea, a wooden walkway curling across glimmering fish-filled water leading to the door. But that wasn’t the only means of entry, as soon as we set our bags down it was time for a Wonder Woman-style quick change into our bikinis and we were off down our private snorkel staircase for a quick dip before the sun went down.
Back in the room, the overall feel was spacious and simple with bright flashes of Missoni-esque brilliant orange and cobalt blue adding an edge to the decor. Under its cavernous thatched roof, there were comfy sofas, a vast bed, a dressing room and bar area so we never felt we were crowding each other. Sliding doors revealed a monster-big bathroom with a tub big enough for two (although we didn’t test that theory!) while a vast wall of window could be manoeuvred open to reveal a huge deck and the real star of the show – an uninterrupted view of the iridescent Indian Ocean.
It only takes around twenty minutes to walk (or swim) around the island but despite its diminutive size its delights were many. Our days were spent swimming (of course) or lolling on the beach amused by loved-up couples snapping photos of themselves – I’m not sure what it is about the Maldives that makes the ladies want to posed provocatively in the sand but it provided much hilarity, particularly the one bikini-clad woman who wrapped herself around a tree like a kind of weird sexy adder. Afternoons were spent trying out the hotel’s many watersports – the Velassaru has a resident Marine Biologist to point you to all the best spots and put names to all pretty fishes.
And when that all got too much for us, it was time to sample the Velassaru Spa. Here, the design has been kept simple, almost sparse in fact, with the main focus being on the perfect panorama its over-water location affords. The treatments though were far from basic with the therapists intuitively kneading every bump and lump from bodies during our sixty-minute Balinese massage, with every last trace of tension disappearing as we blissed out post-treatment in the sauna, steam room and outdoor whirlpool.
There was a lot to like about the drinking and dining options too. With five restaurants to choose from and two very hip bars we were spoiled for choice. Vela is the main all-day restaurant, and serves an immense international buffet with food so good we were required to do a couple of extra laps around the island to work off the excess calories. Stand-out moments included dinner at Sands, the hotel’s very swish beachside restaurant, and the private dinner on the beach under a star-lit sky with our own personal (and very personable) chef attending to our every culinary wish. And let’s not forget the quite brilliant Basil Mojitos! What better way to end the day than with the sand between your toes, a cocktail in hand and your best friend by your side.
So yes, there is no denying it is all very romantic and the Velassaru may attract newly-married models and soon-to-be-engaged songstresses (Sarah Harding was proposed to here) but long lies, lazy lunches and lying on a beautiful beach aren’t just restricted to just loved-up couples and we thought that for a girlie break the Velassaru made quite a splash.