Experiencing guilt-free luxury under the Maldivian sun | The Financial Express

Experiencing guilt-free luxury under the Maldivian sun

For both luxury and leisure travellers, the Maldivian islands offer a beautiful mix of sun, sea, and sand with a dash of adventure and culinary delights.

Experiencing guilt-free luxury under the Maldivian sun
One of the exceptional initiatives in place is the preservation of the seagrass, which is usually removed to beautify the beaches. (Pictures credit: Nivi Shrivastava)

By Nivi Shrivastava

There’s so much joy in exploring the crystal-clear waters of Maldives at any given time of the year, no matter how many times you visit each trip is a new adventure. For both luxury and leisure travellers, the Maldivian islands offer a beautiful mix of sun, sea, and sand with a dash of adventure and culinary delights. Post-wet season, as soon as the Indian Ocean calms down, tourists from across the world flock to this holiday destination to explore the stunning coral reefs and colourful marine life indigenous to these islands. However, to maintain the balance between fragile marine ecosystems and the influx of tourists coming each year to experience the water adventure, hotels, and resorts in the Maldives have been taking special measures.

A shining example of responsible tourism in the Maldives is The Residence Maldives at Dhigurah, which is located on the island of Dhigurah in an idyllic setting of Gaafu Alifu Atoll, one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world. The two km long island is home to the lush vegetation of over 2500 coconut palms, and soft, white-sand beaches and connects with the sister property of The Residence Falhumaafushi. The twin island resorts are connected by a kilometer-long private bridge, and guests can explore both of these during their stay in either of the properties.

Known for its environmental sustainability, and community outreach programs within the islands, the luxury resorts aim to reduce their carbon footprint and reliance on imports without disturbing the interactive experiences. While there are 1,490 solar panels to generate and recycle energy requirements for the properties, the hotels also ensure a plastic-free service with reusable glass water bottles, an environmental card for guests, free cycles for every villa to move around, and using organic ingredients at the in-house spa treatments.  

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One of the exceptional initiatives in place is the preservation of the seagrass, which is usually removed to beautify the beaches. The seagrass beds surround the two islands and prevent beach erosion by protecting the delicate climate inside the water. It acts as a carbon sink for the ocean and doubles up as food for marine animals like rays, turtles, crabs, and a variety of fishes. Thanks to the wonderful environment and the rich habitat here, we could swim next to the Rays and easily spot varieties of sea animals floating around the luxury water villas that opened into the clear blue sea waters. We could even see the in-house reef, the resident sharks, and turtles from the over-water villa deck as they swam freely without getting perturbed by human presence.

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As one explores island life, guilt-free pleasures come in the form of spacious suites attached with infinity pools and exquisite dining experiences that are customized for every guest depending on their dietary needs. Speaking about the food experiences, M. Sundaram, General Manager at The Residence Maldives Falhumaafushi & Dhigurah, mentions, “Besides focusing on importing quality or exotic produce, we focus on creating an experience for the guests. In addition to dining at the 8 restaurants and 6 bars in both island resorts, we also create bespoke dining experiences in tranquil settings known as “Vibes by The Residence Maldives” where guests can enjoy a private meal with their partner.”

From romantic candlelight dinners to private bonfires by the beach side, the hospitable staff and chefs at The Residence create magical experiences for honeymooners or solo travellers like myself celebrating a year around the sun. At the Dining Room in Dhigurah and the Falhumaafushi, indulge in all-day dining and select from international, Asian, and Indian Ocean fare. And, the overwater fine dining restaurant The Falhumaa at the end of a 230-m long jetty serves an elegant dinner affair of Western cuisine. At the Café Del Sol, one can enjoy the Mediterranean bites and tapas by the poolside, and at the Cantonese specialty restaurant Li Bai relish the spicy Asian cuisine. After indulgent food and adventure experiences, enjoy the Maldivian sunset on a cruise or hop on a traditional dhoni boat as you chase the dolphins by the horizon.

(The author is a Delhi-based travel journalist and reports on luxury and hospitality trends She can be contacted at nivi.iimc@gmail.com. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)

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