What to Expect on a First Visit to the Maldives
“Thinking back, I had no idea what I was in for”.
For three weeks, Kambiz had been telling me that he had the best surprise for our seven year anniversary/my birthday. I guessed everything I could think of, but could tell I wasn't getting close. He had the best poker face knowing that I would never guess a ten day trip to the Maldives!
He surprised me two weeks before leaving with a folder of pictures of the resorts and our plane tickets! I must have flipped through that folder a million times trying to imagine what it would be like. However, thinking back, I had NO idea what I was in for. These are the five things that really set our Maldives trip apart from any other vacation we have taken.
1. Arriving to the Maldives, the views from the plane alone are mesmerizing with THOUSANDS of turquoise, shallow water pockets spotting the expansive deep blue water. You will fly into Male Airport and then take a seaplane (more views) or speed boat to your resort’s island. In my case, we got both. The seaplane dropped us to a platform in the middle of the ocean and then our resort’s speed boat picked us up to continue the journey. It was the best start to a trip to say the least!
2. With each resort having their own island, you get an incredibly private experience. There is so much beach even when the resort is full that you feel like you have it all to yourself. Especially at Amilla Fushi, where we kept discovering new places that were pure perfection that we had all to ourselves!
3. Each resort has their own vibe so it’s super important to pick based on what kind of experience you want to have. Two new resorts that are really taking it up a notch or ten are Finolhu and Amilla, both in the Baa Atoll Maldives. I don’t think you could go wrong here, but it’s still a tough choice. For tikki hut luxury with a fun social vibe, go for Finolhu. And for modern, Miami style luxury that is more low key, go for Amilla. With either one, you can choose to have a villa raised over the lagoon like you see in all the photos (especially if it’s your first time) or a beach home with your own private pool. Amilla also has wellness focused treehouses and Residences that range from 4-8 bedrooms.
4. You are going to be surrounded by and interacting with the incredible staff and since 50% of staff is required to be locals, you will find yourself learning about their culture and life in the Maldives. Each guest has their own Katheeb (butler) who assist you in planning your time, making any necessary bookings, and are a phone call away for anything you may need. It was amazing to have a particular person to go to and share our experience with. Amilla also made it really easy to get to know everyone beyond our host when everyone was so passionate and happy to be there, that conversation was organic and natural.
5. There’s going to be so much to do. When we first started trip planning, I didn’t think there would be much to do on an island, but I was so wrong. Amilla’s vision is to be “your island home” and I think the amount of activities and options made it a place that you could really stay forever! The first thing on your list should be their complementary jet lag massage, snorkelling around the island (which is in fact a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve), getting a complementary 45 minute photo session done (1 printed photo is included), trying out some water sports, excursions guided by a marine biologist, yoga, fitness and massage classes, watching the magical sunsets and sunrises, and so much more. By the time we had finished our initial tour at Amilla given by our Katheeba, I had a list so long and it kept getting longer as I discovered more on the island.
I will not for a second stop missing the sand being permanently stuck to my body, the incredibly difficult decision of whether to shower in the rain shower inside or outside, or the private pool with direct beach access I got quite accustomed to during our Maldivian getaway. However, I don't believe Kambiz will be asking me to 'guess the surprise' any more...I have some BIG ideas now :)