Beth Littler flies to Moofushi in the Indian Ocean, to be pampered on one of the world’s most peaceful holiday islands.
The sound of the tiny aircraft’s engines whirs in my ears and a warm tropical breeze drifts in through the window. I’m heading to Moofushi in the Maldives and following a 10-hour flight from the UK to Male, the region’s capital and largest city, I am making the final leg of my journey, 20 minutes in a small sea plane. My pulse quickens as Moofushi comes into view, a pristine stretch of sand the size of two football pitches. Wooden villa roofs stretch out over the heavenly turquoise blue water surrounding the island, cobbled with golden sandbanks, woodlands and lagoons.
Forget shopping centres and nightclubs – here it’s all about long days in the sun, kicking back and chilling out in the warm waters and above all, not having to worry about a penny.
It’s also one of the best diving spots in the world.
The resort has 24 beach villas and 56 water villas – all rustic charm on the outside but luxurious and elegant on the inside. The water villas have steps which lead down from the balcony into the crystal waters below, where shoals of tropical fish dart around. There are also 30 senior water villas with their own outside bath tubs.
The whole island is all-inclusive, although additional spa treatments will need to be paid for. And you may want to take some spending money for diving because it would be criminal to leave without exploring what goes on under the water.
The Maldives is famous for its 26 coral islands and features almost 1,000 different species of fish.
Having not dived for a few years, I am slightly apprehensive about getting my flippers on at first but the instructors are so patient and understanding, they completely put me at ease. And the experience lives up to the promise – I spot a Manta Ray and a few turtles.
I am told that sometimes you can even see sharks (the friendly kind).
After the relative action of my underwater adventure, I am more than happy to spend the rest of the time enjoying the beach. It’s so peaceful and empty, I feel totally spoilt for choice as I scan the soft, golden sands, deciding on a spot.
There isn’t very much else to do here, but that’s part of the joy. And determined to make the most of it, later on, I amble over to the spa, in a stilted wooden sea villa. Just stepping inside I feel my tensions ease away. The people of Moofushi certainly know how to make you feel pampered – there are delicious fruit teas on tap and relaxing music mingles with the gentle lapping of the waves outside.
I opt for a facial (which turns out to be one of the best I’ve ever had) followed by a massage. Maybe it was the scrumptious oils, or perhaps the sea air drifting in through the open windows, but I soon find myself drifting asleep. I could get used to this...
After feeding my skin, it’s my stomach’s turn. Moofushi has two restaurants – a buffet and the, more formal, a la carte Beach Grill.
The buffet restaurant really is a trip around the culinary world, with an array of simple yet tasty dishes. The themes change daily but there will always be fresh fish and Maldivian specialties, which diners enjoy on a balcony that extends over the water.
One thing Moofushi does incredibly well is the wine. Its hugely extensive collection, from all over the world, is large enough to rival any top London restaurant.
After dinner, I stroll over to the resort’s bars to enjoy some cocktails. Guests have a choice of drinking at the bars or from their own mini-bars, which are stocked daily. Another evening option is a sunset boat tour – an experience not to be missed. You are taken out to the edge of the reef at dusk on a rustic boat where you relax on cushions, sip champagne and munch canapes with the beautiful backdrop of Moofushi in the distance. Amazing.
Honeymooning couples can enjoy private dining on a nearby sandbank. All the ingredients will be brought out and a chef will create an amazing dinner, before leaving the newlyweds to enjoy it alone. By the end of my stay, I wonder how I’m going to cope with going back to normality, and having to wear shoes again – Moofushi has a “Robinson Crusoe Chic” dresscode where visitors can be as dressed up or as dressed down as they want. The only bad thing about this little island paradise is that eventually you have to leave.
Beth Littler was a guest of Constance Hotels which operates Beach Villa at Moofushi and has seven luxury resorts across the Indian Ocean. For information see www.constancehotels.com
Kuoni offer seven nights’ all-inclusive in a beach villa at Constance Moofushi, including flights from Manchester with transfers and access to VIP lounge in Male airport on departure from £2617 on June/July departures. Kuoni reservations: 01306 747 008 and www.kuoni.co.uk.