The Magic Of Maldives
Getting away from the rigours of routine living in Mumbai had taken me and my family to the Edenesque islands of the Maldives a few weeks ago. We arrived at Male International Airport and walked out to spot the Taj staff and speedboat awaiting us, with broad smiles and much-awaited refreshments. The ‘ride’ to the property was swift and luckily not filled with any turbulence, as the waters behaved themselves – perhaps the fact that my little daughter Samika was on board made Nature smile beatifically down on us, even though the monsoons were raging across neighbouring regions.
We soon spotted the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa – an expansive property that is situated on the exotic Emboodhu Finolhu Island, in the middle of one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives. Known earlier as the ‘Three Coconut Island’, it is renowned for its pale white sand and crystal blue waters that have a plethora of tropical flora and fauna. No sooner did the speedboat dock at the jetty than the waiting staff ushered us in after taking a family picture that now adorns our living room. Live drums echoed softly in the background urging us to leave our worries behind us. A quick buggy ride took us to our lagoon villa – where a platter of personalised chocolates attracted our attention. Samika had her own enticing milkshake in a fish- shaped mug. Each villa has a dedicated butler for personalised attention, from unpacking luggage to customising the private bar with precise beverage preferences, and providing an array of personal amenities.
We briefly rested, draped in our indolent robes in our lagoon villa – its quaint thatched exterior echoing the culture of the region. Our pampering – and the time for discovery – had begun! The private verandah offered us numerous moments of delight as we watched excitedly as Samika ran up and down on her tiny feet in her flip-flops, taking in the endless expanse before her. It was a sheer joy to see the world anew through young, innocent eyes. And to enable us to relax in comfort, without any stress, the staff had created a fence around the pool and open decks – so that Samika could run about freely without fear of falling into its waters. The personal sundecks with their breath-taking view of the Indian Ocean gave us several Kodak moments. The three of us spent many a memorable moment in the private plunge pool in the villa.
We explored the natural bounty of the island – attired suitably in our colourful beachwear. While Samika and I built sandcastles and bonded almost as we had done when she was born and I first held her, my water-loving husband was more than happy to go snorkelling and swim amongst the corals that were home to dozens of sting rays, parrotfish and other fish gliding in the sparkling blue waters. He surfaced on terra firma with a contented look that proclaimed ‘I was one with nature’.
As far as food went we were completely spoiled for choice – more than a dozen (come to think of it, that must have been a challenge to the chef as he was faced with a vegetarian couple and an infant) options for each meal gave us ample variety to pick from and satiate our palates. We threw our diets out of the window while dining at The Deep End and the Ecuador – the restaurants that offer extensive menus inspired by several cuisines from Europe. We discovered to our delight that if we found a perfect spot to sit down and dine, it was transformed into an intimate dinner experience for us to revel in and relish. Ah bliss!
Our senses embraced the relaxation that the property offered in abundance. Our sessions at the Jiva Grande Spa took indulgence to yet another level altogether. One warm afternoon, we partook of a signature wellness experience – and under the ministrations of the therapist, we found that wellbeing and near-sleep were just a massage or wrap away.
As I look back, I know that this was a special getaway for all three of us – perhaps because of the natural locations, the luxury of the resort’s environs, the attention and care of the staff of the resort and also because it made our togetherness ideal.
Back from this sojourn, I have been swamped by the business of everyday living. But when I shut my eyes and rewind to those relaxing days, I can still see the palm trees blowing in the wind, the sandy beach dotted with loungers, the various blues of the sea and the sky, the excitement of the water sports and the attractions of the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa that made the entire sojourn so memorable!
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