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Our Hot Resorts: Maldives

Our Hot Resorts: Maldives

Our World | On 14, Apr 2011

I had often wondered what all the fuss was about; I love the sun and the sea (also a keen diver) as much as the next person – but honestly, can one just ‘kick back’ and do nothing for a week or two, without feeling somewhat like Tom Hanks in Castaway and making friends with Wilson the soccer ball?

Well, last year, I had the lucky fortune to test this out… and although I was only there for a few days, I can honestly say that I have never been so busy doing ‘nothing’ as I was then!

I sampled the delights of the two Four Seasons hotels – Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru (or LG as we locals call it!)  Both simply amazing properties, both different and both offering extemporary service and style.  I won’t go in to masses of detail on the actual properties themselves, simply because their websites say it all; I can however confirm that all their claims are true, they really are breathtaking properties.  Check them out on www.fourseasons.com/maldives for more information.

From speaking to others that have been, there really seems only to be varying degrees of ‘wonderfulness’ in The Maldives; I’ve yet to hear anyone with a detrimental comment on either the individual islands, or hotels.  That said, aficionados of the islands will probably say that some properties offer better diving or sunsets; some have better beaches and some offer rooms that are (god forbid) overlooked by another some metres away!  Whatever they say, I imagine that the sunsets are extraordinary from wherever you can see the sun dip over the horizon – and that same sun will offer the viewer the delights of a tropical sunset, where it is sunny one minute and then dark the next – with only a few minutes to marvel at the beautiful colours that stain the sky between the light and shade.

I would also imagine that they all share the coral rich, bathwater warm, aqua coloured seas, which offer the diver or snorkeler, a real treat.  As each one of these islands is really an atoll, they all vary in size from those with just a few palm fringed square metres, to the slightly larger resort sized, palm fringed wonders.  The sea off any one of them will be a huge draw – it’s relatively calm and the abundance of sea life will astound.  If you are lucky to dive in deeper waters, then you may be able to see fast moving tuna or even hitch a ride in the wake of a whale shark (I didn’t unfortunately).  You will most likely see turtles, tropical coral reef fishes and their larger predators, but it’s all very safe.

The weather can vary from island to island, simply because of the vastness of their spread over the Indian Ocean.  In the south-west, monsoon season is May to November and in the north-east it is December to April.  The hottest month on average is April, the coolest is December and the driest is February; however, let’s put this in to perspective – t-shirts, sarongs are the order of the day at any time of the year!

The country is strict with regard to imports and exports as it is fiercely protective of its natural history and marine parks; it celebrates its marine diversity and is very conscious of how ‘alien’ species may affect them.  As one of the world’s most low-lying nations (much of it around 1m above sea level), The Maldives is also very active in the subject matter of climate change with President Mohamed Nasheed striving to apply pressure to the world’s biggest polluters to help change habits and thus save his country.  This is a country that relies on fishing and tourism to earn a buck – and if nothing else convinces a person to change their habits a bit, a visit to this incredible paradise will possibly do the job (even if polluting in the process of getting there!)… there is no way one would want to see these islands submerged.

To finish on a nice note though – I have to say that with diving, snorkeling, boating, lazing in the sun, yoga at sunrise, tennis during the day, wonderful food and service and a glass of something lovely in hand at sunset; this really is the paradise on earth that it advertises itself to be.

Chris Clarke