Tuesday 25 September 2018

Unlock the treasures of the Maldives

We’ve enjoyed a glorious sun-drenched summer this year and as much as we’d like to hold on to the warm days and balmy nights for just a little bit longer, we have to accept that winter is just around the corner.

If you’re dreaming of swapping umbrellas for parasols and relaxing in dappled sunlight on pristine beaches, with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other, you might want to try the Maldives. Blessed with year-round summer temperatures, it’s the perfect respite from the Irish winter.

The Maldives encompasses over 1,000 coral islands grouped into 26 stunning atolls and has long beguiled travellers with its promise of white sand beaches, tropical seas, year-round summer temperatures and an unhurried pace of life. Its five-star resort hotels have made it the ultimate honeymoon destination with newlyweds.

While it is truly difficult to imagine a more picture-perfect romantic setting than the Maldives, the Indian Ocean archipelago is starting to pique the interest of a variety of holidaymakers from adventure lovers, to wellness seekers, eco-travellers, foodies, families and groups of friends.

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It’s one of the most unique places on earth and is blessed with beaches of bone-white sand, fringed with lush forests and towering coconut palms, and surrounded by  turquoise waters teeming with dolphins, reef sharks and crayon-box hues of coral fish. In fact, the water is so clear that if you dropped a shell to the ocean floor you could see it settle into the sand below.

It’s also incredibly accessible, even if you’re a first-time visitor. Due to their small size, each island hosts just one hotel so you’ll find everything you need within reach and, as it’s the lowest country in the world (its highest natural peak is less than eight-feet above sea-level), it’s easy to navigate. All of these details lend to the intimate atmosphere and the Maldives’ reputation as the Holy Grail of luxury travel.

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Dining

Naturally, the Maldives is famous for its quality of seafood and it’s one of the only places in the world where you can dine underwater (it’s home to a number of all-glass underseas restaurants) or on mid-ocean sandbanks.

You’ll find an eclectic range of world cuisine here too as many of the resorts fly in world-class chefs with a range of influences from Asian to Mediterranean, so you can travel the world in flavours without ever leaving your resort. Some hotels offer cooking classes where you can learn local, traditional techniques that you can take home with you to spice up your Irish kitchen in winter.

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Rest and relaxation

The Maldives whispers ‘carefree days’ and as soon as you reset your body clock to island time, you’ll feel your worries melt away as the waves gently lap against the shore as you lay on the sand or an overwater hammock with a book in hand. With average daily year-round temperatures of 28C, you can hang your swimming suit on a tree and it dries in less time than it takes for you to cut up a fresh coconut and add it to your cocktail.

This is easy living at its finest. But if you want more, the Maldives is home to a wealth of award-winning spas that offer bespoke beauty and wellness packages from water therapy to massages, body wraps and facials. Some spas incorporate the sounds of the ocean to heighten the sense of wellbeing.

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Watersports

The Maldives is a great place to be active and fit. There are a range of PADI-certified dive schools on the islands that offer snorkelling and scuba diving expeditions where you can see tropical sea creatures in the coral reefs. Above water, you can partake in a traditional fishing trip along the calm, gentle waters or head out further to sea for speedboat and sailing opportunities. Thrill-seekers can test their nerve flyboarding, surfing, canoeing, jet skiing and wakeboarding

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Five must-dos in the Maldives

Sunset on the beach: Soak up the last rays of pink-hot twilight as you enjoy a spectacular Maldivian sunset. Some resorts have outdoor private living rooms, private hot tubs, private decks and even private outdoor showers where you can take in the spectacle. The best way to enjoy it, however, is with a glass of Champagne and a loved one at hand.

Explore the coral reefs: Exploring the warm, crystalline waters that are teeming with vibrant, coral life is a true, bucket-list experience. Swim among colourful reef fish, reef sharks, moray eels and a wide variety of rays. The waters are also home to the whale shark.

Explore on a safari boat: Unlock the treasures of the Maldives as you island-hop with a safari boat, you’ll even get to explore some of the uninhabited coral islands and live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasy.

Submarine ride: Discover the riches of the waters without getting wet; try the Whale Submarine in Male and see everything from manta rays to turtles and even dolphins.

Spot the bioluminescent phytoplankton: There are stars in the sky and stars in the sea when, at night,  the bioluminescent phytoplankton light up to create a brilliant blue colour that makes the shoreline glow.

Get me there

Award-winning tour operator, Hayes & Jarvis (sister company of American Holidays), have been specialising in luxury travel for over 15 years. From their shop in Duke Street, Dublin 2, they have a range of itineraries to suit every travel whim and a dedicated team of experts whose innate knowledge of the islands will take the hassle out of organising your trip.

Their Indian Ocean travel specialists will arrange flights to the mainland, as well as speedboat or seaplane transfers to your chosen resort island. They offer a range of all-inclusive packages and can arrange a multi-centre trip for you; stop in Dubai on your way out or enjoy a cultural and sensory overload in Sri Lanka.

Hayes & Jarvis currently have an amazing offer on the Kuredu Island Resort and Spa, where you can enjoy beautiful beaches, relaxing spa treatments, an island golf course, and beachside accommodation in bungalows or water villas. Enjoy a seven-day, all -nclusive package for €1,999 per person.

For more information and to book an appointment with one of their specialists, call 01-4331032 or visit here.

Sponsored by: Hayes and Jarvis

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