TheGreatEscape: Little Piece of Heaven

A stay at six senses laamu is good for the soul, and the earth.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

A stay at six senses laamu is good for the soul, and the earth.

My Reading Room
My Reading Room
Opening page : Lagoon beach villa shrouded by lush greenery. opposite page : Spectacular water villa seascapes; vibrant colours of the reef. THIS PAGE: Aerial yoga is a great way to start any day
Opening page : Lagoon beach villa shrouded by lush greenery. opposite page : Spectacular water villa seascapes; vibrant colours of the reef. THIS PAGE: Aerial yoga is a great way to start any day
My Reading Room

Arriving in the Maldives late at night heightens anticipation. The domestic flight to Kadhdhoo and speedboat ride in complete darkness apart from the Milky Way above, you get a taste of the beauty to unfurl at sunrise. Surrounded by the water of Laamu Atoll and not much else, this is the definition of getting away from it all.

Stepping onto the speedboat you are given a cotton bag to retire your shoes for your stay – barefoot is the only way to go at Six Senses Laamu. Once on shore, the walk to the palm-fringed villa over soft sand and still-warm timber hints at long balmy days. Sinking into plush sheets in the villa, morning can’t come soon enough as the sound of the waves lapping below lulls you into slumber.

Hello Paradise

As the light peeps in through the curtains, the azure water is every bit as alluring as it looks in postcards. From the over-water shower and transparent bathtub to a viewing window on the floor in the loo, nature is on display in its full glory at all times, and a typical morning can entail being spectator to schools of fish playing catch. Each haven has a minimalist chic vibe comprising sustainable materials. With 360-degree views of the mesmerising seascape from the private pool and treetop deck, nothing stands in the way of you and the horizon.

After breakfast admiring island perfection from a variety of angles, it’s time for a wellness screening with Dr Jitenrdra Varshney, the resident Ayurvedic doctor who performs an hour-long health assessment using electrodes to provide measure cellular health, metabolic rate, stress levels, inflammation and hydration, highlighting areas which could use improvement.

Knowledgeable and compassionate, Dr Jitenrdra makes recommendations on diet, fitness and a holistic approach to health encompassing yoga and breathing exercises which could easily be implemented even in a hectic lifestyle. After identifying circulation as an area requiring extra attention, he changes my spa treatment from a deep-tissue sports massage to a 90-minute Oriental massage focusing on acupressure points. He also prescribes ashwagandha, a restorative Ayurvedic herb he has also taken for the last decade, to help quiet the mind and promote focus.

The spa has serious substance to match its inviting surrounds, appropriately rustic and natural in line with the overall resort vibe. Amnash is a top-notch therapist who pays close attention to your consultation form, ensuring temperature and pressure are just as they should be. Massages you wish would go on longer have become increasingly rare, but this was certainly one of them.

The clocks have been pushed back an hour after capital Malé at Six Senses Laamu so guests are can wile away the day and make the most of time in the sun. After a few hours at the pool, dinner at Longitude awaits. Chef creates a wellness menu consisting of raw avocado and spinach soup, raw spring roll, salad and flax crudité followed by steamed lobster and a vegan mango cheesecake, a nourishing yet indulgent spread. Savoured in a sunken table by the water’s edge, smack bang in the middle of the Indian Ocean, it is truly a pinch-yourself moment.

For green foodies, there is also a zero-carbon gourmet menu called Deck-a-dence served in the same over-water splendour featuring raw ingredients sourced within the atoll, so no energy is used in preparation. In line with the goals set by Agenda 21 and Green Globe Benchmarks, a recycling corner has been created to separate paper, plastic, metal glass and organic waste. A shredding machine turns garden scraps into pathways and compost. And rather than importing bottled water, guests are provided reusable glass ones filled with fresh water produced on site through reverseosmosis desalination.

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THIS page : Pictureperfect backdrop for morning yoga. OPPOSITE page : The oustanding spa is a resort must; breathtaking Laamu Atoll
THIS page : Pictureperfect backdrop for morning yoga. OPPOSITE page : The oustanding spa is a resort must; breathtaking Laamu Atoll
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

The Perfect Day

A private morning yoga session on the beach with Kunchok has been designed with a specific focus on breathing which Dr Jitenrdra advised would help strengthen my respiratory system. A one-onone class is enough of a treat but having a health goal in mind is a particularly nice touch. A series of sun salutations, balancing poses with that head-turning ocean as a view makes for an energising start the day. Kunchok calls meditation ‘food for the mind’, the organ we tend not to nourish nearly enough.

The body is attended to with the slumber-inducing Ayurveda Abhyanga massage. Expert therapist Priscilla begins with a foot scrub, followed by a calming head and neck massage, before taking her time to work through the rest of the knots and kinks. Finally you will be slathered in an invigorating mung bean scrub and bundled into the steam room to allow the green concoction to draw out toxins and purify the skin.

Afterwards a poolside lunch at Sip Sip consists of crispy tuna, goat cheese salad and fish tacos. Between the villa and snorkelling at the house reef, a lone turtle pokes its head up for air before plunging back into the depths of the sea, its fleeting appearance making my trip complete. At Chill Bar, spectacular marine life can be found merely 20 metres away, a dazzling array of colours you have probably only seen in an aquarium. Rainbow hued Parrotfish, pointy unicorn fish and everything in between, dart through coral unalarmed by my presence. What a relief that places like this still exist in the world.

Dinner tonight is at Leaf, the resort’s organic fine-dining restaurant. Fronted by garden beds spilling over with basil, mint and lemongrass, you get a sense of the wholesome goodness even before crossing the rickety suspension bridge to taste it. The breezy eatery’s ocean side is the perfect place to watch the sunset, as enticing aromas waft from the vibrant open-kitchen.

Delicious bread and dips featuring the fresh herbs grown right outside are served with a broccoli soup amuse bouche. Highly recommended is the decadent prawn and scallop bisque and pumpkin tortellini drizzled with the moreish pesto. I was also given strict orders not to leave without trying the crème brûlée and gladly obliged.

Cinema Under the Stars on the main beach ends what can only be described as a blissful day. Settle onto a beach lounger with fluffy towels and buttery popcorn for a screening of Love Actually. It’s surreal to do something so ordinary in a natural setting so extraordinary, the cloak of night only interrupted by gorgeous gleaming stars.

Island High

Chances are you will sleep like a baby thanks to sun and sea, primed for a private aerial yoga class. On this windy morning, the silk flaps around wildly. The smiley Nailir takes me through sitting, standing and lying postures incorporating this new prop, which makes you feel weightless. The lighthearted session and fun movements take you back to childhood, much like hanging from monkey bars and swinging in the playground. Relaxation at the end involves simply being swayed in this makeshift hammock, a most comfortable cotton cocoon.

The last breakfast of rich Ceylon milk tea, homemade granola and a grapefruit roasted with brown sugar, pecans and mascarpone is followed by a final spa visit, this time for an Indian head massage with the excellent Amnash again. The elements become part of a sensory performance, not only because of the treatment, but the outdoor pavilion is alive with the sound of dancing wind, the smell of the ocean mingling with the Maldivian coconut oil on my skin.

Take advantage of the last few hours on the pristine beach, with sand so velvety that walking on provides a mini foot massage. There’s not a minute to waste with wild beauty in every direction, and a kayak around the island to take in the gorgeous water in every shade of blue imaginable, a necessity. Boarding the speedboat with the same cotton bag with my sandals, I wait until the last minute to put them on again, delaying reality as long as possible. Never have I put on shoes with such a heavy heart.

Visit Sixsenses Website

Flight Centre’s Six Senses Laamu packages start from HK$23,199 and include:

• Return economy class airfare flying with Singapore Airlines

• Four nights’ accommodation in a Lagoon Water Villa

• Return airport transfers by domestic flight and speedboat

• Complimentary daily dinner for two

• Complimentary combined dolphin cruise for two (including champagne and canapés)

* Direct flight flying Cathay Pacific available at HK$26,399 Visit Flightcentre Website

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 Flightcentre or call (852) 2830 2864.