Maldivian Gem

Perfect for honeymooners, families and adventure seekers alike, Jumeirah Vittavelli has it all.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
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Perfect for honeymooners, families and adventure seekers alike, Jumeirah Vittavelli has it all.

Spotting the ultra luxurious motorised catamaran from the Malé docks a mile away, it’s clear that Jumeirah Vittaveli is going to be an opulent experience. Twenty minutes later, barely enough time to finish the refreshing passion fruit punch, the warmest of welcomes awaits on the jetty. As the sun sets, we are whisked to a sunrise water pool villa with staggering views of the Indian Ocean, our home away from home for the next five sun-drenched days.

During this time, I have the pleasure of sampling the delights of island life, from swimming in sapphire waters and exploring the vibrant house reef to magical moments watching the sun turn from gold to orange and blood red on the horizon. The resort also caters to families with plenty to keep the little ones busy, instilling the value of travel as education.

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Thrill Seeking

Most days begin with a yoga class with the lovely Raina, which is perfect for those who prefer to start their day early and make the most of the gorgeous weather and time outdoors. Private sessions take place under the shade of trees overlooking the water and are sandwiched by meditation, pranayama and relaxation for a grounding, focused morning. For a more sweat-inducing start, Thai kickboxing classes at Talise relieve stress so you can relax into the pace of island life.

The stunning view eases the challenging workout, as you practise jabs, hooks, uppercuts and kicks with a personal trainer. Sit-ups and sprints punctuated with a series of punches ensure you leave feeling accomplished and ready to face anything – even if the most arduous task of the day is splashing about in the cerulean water.

A trip to the Maldives would be incomplete without exploring its abundant marine life. But be prepared for it to spoil any future snorkelling as this guided excursion is hard to top. Crystal-clear water makes the coral in every shape and colour imaginable more vivid, providing a close-up of powder blue surgeon fish, canary yellow forceps fish and pastel melon butterflyfish.

Our dive expert Elena pinpoints the optimum reef to visit and identifies peculiar inhabitants which could have otherwise gone unnoticed. To discover the thriving underwater kingdom, there’s no need to venture far from your water villa which is surrounded by the house reef. Jump in from your private deck to watch schools of parrotfish and needlefish chase one another.

And with any luck, you may even see a black tip reef shark or stingray which have been known to make appearances. In the afternoon, take a break from the action with a Swedish massage at Talise Spa. The long strokes and kneading are perfect to relive stiff, tight or tired muscles and joints if you’re still feeling the after-effects of kickboxing.

Even if not, it’s a relaxing way to improve circulation. Outdoor types will relish refuelling at MU Beach Bar & Grill, a casual eatery on the beach where you can dine by candlelight with the sand between your toes. The speciality here is surf and turf like Maldivian lobster and a hearty sirloin, just be sure to precede with the divine Asian seafood ravioli. The portions are generous, so homemade coconut ice cream is a light way to end.

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Nature’s Playground

From the wooden signs marking a treasure trail around the island to the family of ceramic doves with an intriguing fairy-tale past, children will appreciate the air of whimsy. With daily activities rivaling that of the grown-ups, the Kuda-Koli Kid’s Klub ensures that there is always something to do, be it a spoon and egg race, face painting or sand castle competition.

For child-friendly sustenance, Samsara’s extensive selection of international offerings will keep the clan happy. The evening spread is even more extensive than the breakfast offerings. From a live pasta station to roast lamb, curry galore, and a smorgasbord of decadent desserts, the fussiest of eaters is sure to find something that tickles their fancy.

One way to ignite culinary interest is through a cooking demonstration and tasting at Swarna’s interactive kitchen. In the evening, it’s the most exclusive and intimate restaurant on the island hosting just four tables. But during the day, the whole family can watch executive chef Francis work his magic as he introduces Indian spices and explains how to balance the cuisine’s rich flavours.

You’ll learn to make paneer tikka, marinated cottage cheese in yoghurt and tandoori spices, murgh lababdar, chicken in onion and tomato gravy, and enjoy them for lunch afterwards along with traditional Indian sweets. Coconuts feature heavily on Maldivian menus and demonstrations on the superfood are a hit with kids, who will learn about its plethora of uses and see how the fruit from the island is turned into oil after husking and cooking the meat.

They can eat it fresh, nibble on it raw and sample it toasted before slathering the oil on body and hair. Good for a host of skin conditions, and a most fitting fragrance for this tropical haven. Another great family activity is sunset line fishing on a traditional Maldivian boat.

After 20 minutes chugging towards the horizon, the seasoned team will select a spot, in our case a flock of birds circling above the reef indicate that mooring will be fruitful. Within minutes of dropping anchor, guests and crew are reeling in gigantic triggerfish and snapper much to the delight of the children, who watch with excitement as species in wildly different sizes and colours are hauled into the boat in time for supper.

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Opening page : Ocean suites are a lavish choice, accessible by a 24/7 boat shuttle. this page : Sitting pretty at MU Beach Bar & Grill; Water villas provide an enviable view of the Indian Ocean and marine life. opposite page : Just 20 minutes from Malé lies luxury and exploration

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This page : Discover an underwater world of exotic sea creatures. Opposite page : Fenesse delights the senses and the taste buds with French fine dining; sticky mango rice with coconut ice cream is a must at MU Beach Bar & Grill

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Just for two

The Maldives is a favourite destination for lovebirds for good reason. Jumeirah Vittaveli delights couples with little touches that set the scene for a romantic getaway, many of which can be enjoyed in the utmost privacy. In-villa spa rituals are designed to treat the senses and the coconut milk bath with rose petals, served with two orchidgarnished coconuts in the exceedingly oversized tub is a wonderful way to unwind.

Every night our attendant Zahir makes painstaking efforts to set the mood, be it through towel swans, rose petals on the sheets or a bubble bath. For a real taste of decadence, the in-villa champagne breakfast means literally rolling out of bed to bubbly, fruit, bircher muesli and pastries. And that’s before the salmon scrambled eggs and chocolate pancakes...A glass of Moët while overlooking the seascape first thing is how holidays should be.

Start as you mean to continue with an equally indulgent treatment at Talise Spa. The signature health and vitality offering, Island of Life, combines Swedish, Lomi Lomi and aromatherapy techniques in 90 minutes of complete bliss. Beginning with a scrub using Maldivian coconuts, followed by a full-body massage using coconut oil, and a warm sand press to soothe tired muscles and eliminate stress.

Prolong the blissed-out feeling with a sunset cruise on the resort’s sleek Windy Xanthos 52 yacht. The crew will take you out for a spin, where you can enjoy even more champagne and canapés, admiring the changing light of dusk with your other half and the wind in your hair. It’s the perfect prelude to a dreamy evening.

With such a stunning setting, romantic dining happens naturally. Back on land, fine French restaurant Fenesse has a gorgeous ambience set over water with lapping waves to provide the soundtrack. Signatures include foie gras, barramundi with champagne foam and linguini and succulent Welsh lamb chops.

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For something extra special, perhaps a treat for the last night, splurge on a private beach dinner. A path lit by candlelight leads to a circle of glowing lanterns surrounding a table for two covered in votives and rose petals with soothing tunes to set the scene. Feasting on Maldivian specialities under stars gleaming like diamonds scattered across the black sky, it’s sure to be a favourite memory in the making.

Flight Centre’s Jumeirah Vitavelli packages start from HK$18,999 and include:

• Return economy class airfare to Maldives flying Singapore Airlines; excludes taxes.

• Three nights’ accommodation at Jumeirah Vittaveli in a Beach Pool Villa.

• Return airport transfers by speedboat.

• Half board (breakfast and dinner)

About Flight Centre

Flight Centre Travel Group is Australasia’s best-known travel agency group and now boasts more than 2,500 shops and businesses in 11 countries. As Hong Kong’s leading expat travel agency, Flight Centre offers unbeatable service and the benefits that only personal experience can bring. The highly trained travel consultants have a genuine passion for travel and first-hand knowledge of destinations around the world. Find out more by visiting or call (852) 2830 2864.