The seaplane I was traveling in glided effortlessly through the air, honing in on a small island in the middle of the glimmering Indian Ocean. It was a faultless landing, and smiling faces greeted passengers on a stretch of white sand beach. After the 30-minute flight from the capital, Male, I was taken to the five-star resort Constance Moofushi on the south-western edge of the South Ari Atoll in the Maldives. The view is breathtaking.
When compared to the stunning, idyllic photos of the Maldives, the ocean proved to be as blue as the images and the sand just as white. My accommodations during the trip was one of Moofushi’s 56 water villas (there are also 24 beach villas and 30 senior water villas) situated along a lantern-lined long wooden pier which juts out from the island. The thatched bungalow is surprisingly spacious. Inside boasts a comfortable king-size bed, luxuriously high ceilings, a separate bathroom area with a double sink and a semi-outdoor shower. The room also has modern conveniences like air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, and a Mac mini.
The pièce de résistance is the villa’s large private terrace, with two sun-loungers and a seating area. It overlooks the seemingly unending, glistening Indian Ocean, with steps leading down into the warm shallow water. It was too inviting not to dive in and we used the snorkeling equipment provided by the hotel and splashed around, investigating the beautiful sea life including reef sharks and rays underneath the villa.
Moofushi encourages barefoot exploration of their resort and provides water jugs along the pier in case the ground gets too hot. A tour around the island only takes 15 minutes and guests can sink their toes into the cake-mix-soft pristine sand. It’s a great place to snap pictures and because of their Wi-Fi, travelers can quickly update their social media platforms with postcard-perfect snapshots.
The island is home to two restaurants, three bars, a swimming pool, dive shop, water sports facilities and a spa. Manta, the property’s main restaurant and bar, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It offers a spectacular buffet, with freshly prepared foods from around the world and has plays music into the night. You can be as healthy or indulgent as you wish! Choose from cooked-tableside fish and meats to an array of salads, pizza, pastas, and cheeses to sumptuous chocolate desserts.
The quality of the food is outstanding. And as Manta is situated on the beach, there’s no need to wear shoes. With a full plate, I sat on the raised terrace, overlooking the lagoon, where scores of cute baby black-tip reef sharks played.
Spa de Constance offers an abundance of pampering in its seven stilted treatment rooms. If you choose a body treatment, a friendly masseuse will lead you along the short pier to your hut, where you can relax during a full-body massage. While I rested, the hypnotic colorful fish underwater swam across the window in the floor directly below my face.
After a relaxing afternoon, head over to the elegant Alizee restaurant, which is situated just feet away from the shimmering ocean, with twinkling stars overhead and palm trees dotting its location. It’s the perfect place for honeymooners and couples, offering privacy in a romantic setting. The menu is filled with delicious-sounding dishes, from grilled seafood and fresh meats, to salads and pizzas. The helpful staff are happy to recommend items and wines to accompany. And there’s no rush, you can take as long as you like over dinner.
The instructors for the hotel’s onsite scuba diving company, Bluetribe, are also fantastic. Calm and experienced, they look after the group regardless of your level of expertise. After a 20-minute boat ride, divers will be able to kit up jump into the tranquil, crystal-clear water. Before long, you’ll be swimming around in an oasis of sea life. Large grey reef sharks (which are harmless) snooze on the seabed, while schools of yellow snapper dart in and out of the colorful coral.
There were Puffer Fish, sharks, cleaning shrimp, and groupers among the sea life and at one point, the instructor directed us toward a huge manta ray swimming straight for us. Almost flying through the water, it diverted at the last minute, turning off, before coming back around. The instructor clapped his hands in joy; this is something divers wait years to see.
Back on land, there are a number of activities to partake in. At one of the island’s jetties, a late-afternoon yoga session can be taken before heading back out to sea for a sunset cruise. Onboard the medium-size boat, guests can relax on the top deck’s cushions with a glass of bubbly in hand while watching the magnificent 360-degree view as the sun sets.
Before departing on the seaplane back to Male, past some of the 1,190 islands that make up the Maldives archipelago, any reservations about visiting the island are long-gone. The sign leaving Constance Moofushi sums it up all too well: “Back to reality beyond this point.”
Audley's Hidden Beaches offers a week at Constance Moofushi from around USD $3,759-$4,990 per person. Low end is travel in May, high end is travel in March/April. The price includes return flights from London to Male with British Airways, seven nights all inclusive accommodation and return sea plane transfers. Further details can be found at Audley's Hidden Beaches or by calling 01993 838 250.