November 1, 2009
Please forgive the tragic cliche of a headline above, but truly, I found one of paradise’s costumes right here in the Maldives. This long strand of islands, or Atolls as they’re known, out in the middle of the Indian Ocean features some of the most picturesque island-fantasy scenery I have ever imagined. Lo and behold the proof from my camera:
I’ve been here for all of two days (1 of them rained) and already I’m vowing – writing promises in the sand – to return. It’s no wonder travel mags run loads of Maldivian spreads – the place is a lazy photographer’s dream. Every shot is stunning. I may even venture that your computer’s tropical screensaver is indeed from here – this place is almost impossible to make look unappealing.
From the variant shades of turqouise water to the simple wood and thatch-roofed architecture to the Indian influenced spicy cuisine, the Maldives are a study in effortless vacation. Too bad they’re so darn far away…..
THE CAVEAT – GETTING HERE:
Okay, they’re SUPER far away. They’re pretty much in the middle of the ocean and the closest neighbor is Sri Lanka. It takes upwards of 30 hours to get to them and even then you have some domestic travel. But, here’s some good news – British Airways has just announced a new direct flight from London to Male, the Maldives’ main hub, making travel from Europe far, far easier.
Just so you know, I came from London through Doha on Qatar Airways and though they are the “Five Star” airline, as they suggest, and my layover in Doha was incredibly easy (40 minutes in a nice lounge), I was exhausted by the time I arrived in Male, and then we still had to take a transfer plane and another boat. Depending on your resort, once you arrive in Male you either have a boat ride, regional flight on Maldivian air, (or both like me) or if you’re lucky then its just a quick (and fun) ride on one of the many Sea Plane taxis.
As a first time Sea Plane rider, this was hands down one of the best parts of the trip. I LOVED landing on water, think it takes away much of the fear. Not to mention the views from the plane are mesmerizing and allow for a greater perspective about this long stretch of Atolls. Short of being on a boat, its the best way to travel and see the area.
For the eight days I’ll spend here, I am going to check out three of the Hilton properties – the Beach House, part of the Waldorf Astoria collection, Hilton’s Iru Fushi and Conrad Rangali Island. Stay tuned for individual posts.