NO matter how much you hear about it, nothing can prepare you for the sheer breathtaking beauty of the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives.
Nor the feeling of snorkelling above a gently lolloping sea turtle as it makes its way over a technicolour reef.
It’s easy to see why this string of small islands, about 600 miles south-west of Sri Lanka and slap-bang in the middle of the Indian Ocean, has become a bucket list destination.
Whether it’s stunning sunsets or the extraordinary white sand that slips through your fingers like milk, this is truly a unique part of the world.
Most of the 100,000 British holidaymakers who visit the islands each year will head out to their chosen island from the Maldives’ main airport in Male via speedboat or seaplane, and we are no different.
A pink-shirted porter greets us from arrivals and, within minutes, we’re in a luxury cruiser on our way to the newest high-end resort on the islands, the Oblu Select on Sangeli Island on the North Male Atoll.
After an 11-hour flight, an hour-long trip across a distinctly choppy sea certainly acts as a wake-up call — not least when the friendly, if obviously amused staff, dish out the sick bags.
But, having arrived in one piece, a glass of sparkling wine on arrival calms the stomach.
The Oblu Select opened in July, the latest project from the brains behind Maldivian powerhouse Atmosphere Hotels.
All the hallmarks of their previous successes are here — a bowl of fresh fruit in the room on arrival, a constantly re-stocked minibar, and unfailingly attentive service.
It’s immediately obvious that the most taxing thing you’ll have to do on the island is choosing what juice you’ll be having for breakfast.
Actually — that’s not entirely true. As you’d expect for a resort in the middle of a watersport paradise, there are plenty of options for getting out into the drink.
Whether it’s kayaking in the calm waters of the island’s turquoise cove or shooting out into the wilder waves on the spanking new jet skis, there is plenty to get the adrenaline pumping.
As for the rooms, the honeymoon villas are undoubtedly the jewel in the crown — complete with a retractable mirror above the bed.
But this is more than just a couples resort and a host of accommodation suits any kind of trip, with family villas and babysitting available.
The over-water villas, giving direct access to the water for a morning dip, are a delight, complete with a private terrace.
And when you venture out, three restaurants are on offer.
The family favourite Courtyard offers a perfectly acceptable buffet for every palate and is your base.
But you can mix it up at the not particularly imaginatively named Just Grill and Simply Veg eateries — providing exactly what they say on the tin.
Four bars and a handsome cocktail menu will keep you well-lubricated.
But the highlight of a trip to this extraordinary place is a sunset cruise, which guests enjoy on their last night at the resort.
Taking in a nearby sandbar, it gives you a magical view of a Maldivian sunset.
And a refreshingly relaxed approach to health and safety allows you to climb on to the roof of the boat, a glass of bubbly in hand. There will be more than one engagement proposal made up here, we’d bet.
Now, this is an island resort — and for all the myriad activities on offer, you will have to make your own entertainment.
The kids should manage that, with the pool and beach offering plenty of chances to muck around.
And, with extremely comfortable king-size beds and dreamy scenery, romancing couples might just find something to do to occupy their time.
Full details are available at the link below:
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