It feels surreal, this midnight half-hour speedboat ride through the darkness of the Indian Ocean, but here I am, riding through still black waters, leaving a frothy white wake in the warm seascape.
I’ve left the tiny city of Malé, capital of the Maldives and barely bigger than an airport landing strip. I’m headed for the isolated Club Med resort on Kani, one of the northern atolls of this nation, which is made up of more than a thousand coral islands, rests just south west of Sri Lanka, and is equidistant from Somalia to the west and Singapore to the east.
I’ve come to Club Med Kani to experience its “endless turquoise playground” but also to see what has become of Club Med as it attempts to re-stake its claim within the luxurious world of all-inclusive resorts.
Stepping off the water onto a lamp-lit jetty, I’m handed a warm towel and greeted by a slender Maldivian, the hotel chef de mission, named Barq. After a brief orientation and mild overnight battle with jet lag in my beachside bungalow, it is morning in paradise and I am among guests at an opulent buffet breakfast.
The official languages here are the local Dhivehi and English, but more often that not in this place I hear ni hao and bonsoir. It makes perfect sense. This is a destination mostly for Asia and Europe, and it is a French company.
Kani is “paradise reimagined”. It needs to be, too, because there is nowhere to go. There are no gates through which you can enter a cacophonous hawker market. There are no major tourist attractions. You are at the attraction itself. It creates an ideal environment to ponder the big questions, such as whether to have a second dessert, and whether jet skis have anchors.
Kani island is tiny, and while there is no golf course, the resort is manicured to resemble one – almost like a country club.
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Source URL: Google News