11.18.2014 - 11.22.2014 85 °F
The Maldives were a welcome break after roughing it on Safari for 2 weeks (we weren’t really roughing it). The Maldives are a collection of small islands in the Indian Ocean. The biggest is Male with a population of 105,000 people. The Maldives is the flattest country in the world rising a mere 2.4 meters above sea level.
Our resort, The LUX, was located about 20 minutes by seaplane from the main airport. The seaplane offered an amazing view of the islands surrounding Male. Their white sands dot the green ocean, some barely breaking the surface of the water. Many have resorts on them, some are so small they have no vegetation at all. The ride was much smoother than the bush plane in Botswana to our relief.
When we touched down in the ocean beside our resort, we were greeted by ten LUX staff members; it was obvious this was going to be the luxurious part of our travels. The resort encompasses the entire island which is 1.8 km long. it consists of two sand roads running the length of the island with bungalows facing the ocean on either side. The premium bungalows were on stilts over the ocean, allowing guest to step out of their rooms directly into the ocean.
Once we had disembarked from our plane we were given the rundown of the resort. There were three restaurants on the island, Italian, Japanese and Indian, each with an accompanying bar. Bicycles were scattered throughout the grounds. Guests could take one, use it and leave it wherever they pleased. However, the activity that would consume most of our time was searching for messages in a bottle which were hidden all over the island.
Every morning before guests awoke, the staff would hide 25 glass bottles with messages inside over the entire island; some in bushes or in trees, some even out in the water. In the bottles would be coupons for goods or services which could be redeemed at the resort. The coupons ranged from free coffee to massages to free bottles of wine. Purchases on the island were especially expensive so, being on a budget, searching for bottles was a valuable use of our time. Our strategy was to wake up on the early side, find some bikes and head to the ends of the island where the bottles were most abundant. Occasionally, early in the morning, our paths would cross other bottle hunters. It was always awkward. In the end, our final tally comprised of coffee for three days, ice cream for three days, two bottles of wine and two cocktails, a cash value of over $200!
The staff was also incredibly attentive, there were around 600 employed on the island. Every day when we came home from our days activities, there would be a different intricately folded towel animal on our bed, sometimes with flowers, sometimes with a special message.
The Maldives cater to honeymooners. We were given a cocktail making class along with all the other newlyweds, a honeymoon dinner, a stargazing cruise and a bottle of champagne, all on the house. Along with our haul from the bottles we found, we accrued a substantial amount of free swag.
Our room itself sat on the beach facing the ocean. Most of the time we had the whole beach to ourselves and could go swimming at sunset right outside our door. Unfortunately, we had some gray skies and rain so we didn’t spend too much time sunbathing.
Snorkeling in the Maldives was a real treat. Guests could borrow equipment, swim 50 yards and be surrounded by corral filled with aquatic life. We saw all kinds of colorful fish, crustaceans and sharks. There were even giant clams.
By the end of our 4 night stay, Shawna and I were thoroughly spoiled. It would be hard to go back to ordinary traveling after being so pampered but island fever was beginning to set in so it was time to move on.