Why Maldives seems to be a tourist-favourite destination during the pandemic

JW Maldives Resorts & Spa
JW Maldives Resorts & Spa

Dubai - What is making tourists whisk off to the paradise islands?



By Haifa Zakaria Arora

Published: Thu 19 Aug 2021, 2:57 PM

Last updated: Fri 20 Aug 2021, 4:05 PM

It’s been a while since we’ve been confined to our homes, no matter where in the world we live. My husband and I spent months with bated breath, waiting for some semblance of normalcy — rather the ‘new normal’ — to return to our lives.

So, when there was a close possibility, we jumped at the idea of packing our beachwear, sunnies and hats, and head straight to the breathtaking archipelago of the Maldives for a dreamy holiday, albeit amidst the pandemic.

With 1,192 coral islands set within 26 atolls, the Maldives is spread across 35,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean, offering an abundance of sunshine, surrounded by its talcum white beaches and crystal-clear waters. Upon landing on the serene island nation, we were awestruck by the turquoise waters at the dock, slender palm trees, house reefs and lush greenery. The silver lining, however, was the onset of monsoon season in the Maldives that made the destination even more picturesque, making us feel like we had transported ourselves to paradise.

It took around four hours to fly from Dubai to the airport in Male, the capital of the Maldives, and from there, it took another one hour twenty minutes to reach the island on a seaplane. It was our maiden flight in a seaplane, and the experience was beyond comparison, flying over the ocean for a one-and-a-half hour flight.

We landed on Vagaru Island, Shaviyani Atoll and headed over to JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa, which was going to be our abode for the next three days. We checked-in to our beach villa, built on stilts in the ocean, with a stunning view of the blue waters, exquisite spreads of local and fresh food, accompanied by a very personal service.

The whole of Vagaru Island is around one km square foot in area, so walking up to our breakfast venue everyday felt like a soothing stroll in the lap of mother nature. After a sumptuous breakfast, it was time for our snorkelling experience at the magical coral reef in the blue waters. It was my first time snorkelling and while I was a little anxious before trying it out, all my fears vanished soon after, all thanks to our snorkelling guide, who made it a seamless experience.

But the Maldives is not limited to snorkelling alone. It is a paradise for water-sport lovers. From diving, jet skiing, kayaking, parasailing, to activities like dolphin-sighting or simply sitting back and catching the Maldivian sunset in its fiery red hues, there is something for everyone — even if you’re not a very adventurous person.

The Maldives is also known to be a lovers’ dream, and rightly so. How could anyone miss a romantic dinner, by the beachside? On our last evening, we made our way to the beach, to have a candle light dinner, as we watched the magical sunset, illuminating the sea.

The next morning, we hopped to another island but not before getting a negative PCR test report, as travelling from one island to another requires tourists to take a Covid test. We embarked on our second seaplane journey from Male Airport to reach the W Lounge, which was our next stop, to spend three nights. Just as we were landing, I caught a glimpse of the heart-shaped W Maldives island located in North Ari Atoll, A luxury 5-star private island resort.

The sound of waves whistling against the infinity pool felt like music to our ears and we decided to walk up to the beach with a view of turquoise lagoons and breathtaking reefs. This island had a completely different vibe — very vibrant and jubilant.

Both the resorts are known for its private beaches and overwater villas that have private pools and a wide range of amenities. Eclectic dining experiences are offered throughout the resorts’ five dining venues — their floating breakfast experience is a must-try, not only for the ‘gram but also to satisfy your morning cravings and get that caffeine fix.

In spite of a surge of tourists visiting the Maldives from around the world recently, the place continues to strive for sustainability by incorporating ways to conserve the marine life, reefs and their pristine blue waters. They refrain from dumping plastic and other waste into the ocean and instead, burn it to discard the waste. Most resorts serve water bottles made out of glass and all private islands have beach cleaning days as a regular activity to undertake on the islands.

The Maldives is more than just tranquil beaches, turquoise waters and enthralling marine life. It is an ideal spot to unwind and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our daily loves, making it every bit worthy of being our first trip since the onset of the pandemic. We came back rejuvenated and with vigour that would last at least a few more months, until we head to the island nation again!

wknd@khaleejtimes.com


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