Fifty years does not sound like much in the course of history and natural terrain. But the same cannot be said of a land that is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, just waiting to be improved. A lot can change in half a decade. Infact, that is exactly what Maldives has done. Half a century ago, the first private island resort opened in the Maldives.
Today, country is a synonym for exotic dream vacations and paradise on earth with the quintessential tropical destination being home to almost two hundred resorts scattered across 26 coral atolls, welcoming couples, families, and adventure seekers.
With global warming becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives, the country has embraced the change towards sustainable tourism and has assimilated the drive to meet carbon neutrality whilst maintaining its fairy tale-like luxury resort identity.
This being my second visit to Maldives, albeit this time with the family in tow, I got a chance to experience the delectable joys of nature in a wholly new light, thanks in large part to the wonderful resort. More than just a luxury resort destination, the Maldives offers something for everyone, with its azure waters and pristine white sand. One such latest addition to the breathtaking lineup of dream resorts is the Oblu Xperience Ailafushi resort that takes the term dream vacation to a whole new level. Starting with an exciting and at times bumpy 15-minute speed boat ride from the airport to the resort, Oblu catches you off-guard with its exciting and adrenaline-pumping highlights just when you think nothing can top off the last attraction.
My first impression, after having stepped on the white sandy beach was that I must have dozed off on the plane and needed to pinch myself to wake up. Having opened in 2022, the newly opened OBLU Xperience Ailafushi made an immediate first impression on us as we made our way to our villa which opened out to the beach itself. These living arrangements are for those who enjoy lively, comfortable, and rooms full of appeal. These two-bedroom and two bathroom villas are in the heart of the Ailafushi Island. They feature modern amenities, smart storage, comfy furniture, and contemporary décor. The chic master bedroom is linked to a children’s bedroom to suit family life. The storybook children’s room has a bunk bed and playfully decorated ambiance to delight kids and make them feel at home.
My eight-year old daughter was won over as soon as she saw her separate room, which had bunkbeds —something every kid dreams about. It took a lot of convincing and goading to get her out, but once she saw the inflatable castle bouncing on the waves, she changed her mind.
After soaking up the sun and revelling in the clear blue waters, we were enthralled to experience fine dining like no other at Only BLU, the resort’s under ocean restaurant. There was something surreal and out of this world in the air as we tasted savoury delights while being surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, teeming with sea creatures that seemed straight out of a natural life documentary. Over the next couple of days during our stay, we came to realise that at OBLU, mixing the extra-ordinary with the usual is part of their forte. Other experiential highlights included some impulsive retail shopping at the fabulous La Promenade, which had conveniently located café’s to boost our flagging energies.
However, no mention of Maldives is complete without the water villas. They are part of the quintessential Maldives experience. And if you are one of those who want to tick off the experience of walking out your patio and climbing down into the pristine turquoise waters, the Oblu has just what you want. With 106 units, stretching into the dazzling lagoon, the water villas accessed by a wooden jetty. Each overwater retreat is shaped like a traditional Maldivian Boat – a ‘Dhoni’, creating a feeling of an intimate, romantic hideaway. While we did not stay at the water villas, my significant other made it crystal clear in no uncertain terms that we were not leaving without the ‘absolutely necessary’ selfie infront of the villas. So, yeah, we made our way to the villas, which were, to be fair, completely mesmerising, making me wish that we could relax on the private deck or step down the staircase to enjoy a refreshing swim in the warm water which lapped gently against the villa.
The next few days went by in a blur of activities and experiences, each more fulfilling and soul-cleansing than the last. And just like that, it was time to go home. But while we were sad, we came away with a new realisation, which was a microcosym of the whole experience, what would you do if you could do anything? The Oblu Xperience Ailafushi asks that question of each visitor. And like one of those choose-your-own-adventures stories of our childhood, there are no wrong or right answers, just endless adventures and thrills, waiting for us to be experienced. Hundreds of picture-perfect memories that will last us a lifetime. Or until we come back the next. For, who are we kidding? No one goes to Maldives just once.
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