What a great way to start our adventure, our zest for travel, then honeymooning at one of the resort islands of Maldives. Maldives is a territory south of Sri Lanka, close to the equator, that consists of about 1200 islands, white sandy beaches, and just a “heaven-on-earth” feel to it. The capital of Maldives is Male; the country is conservative thus contraband such as alcohol is not allowed. The resorts on the different islands are of course a different case.
After planning a wedding, and actually going through with it, us newlyweds needed a break. Our wedding was a 5-day affair, and thanks to our foresight (more like my new bride’s) we made the honeymoon arrangements before finalizing the wedding details. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect relaxing stay. The weather was a balmy 80-90 degrees, the water crystal clear, the island immaculate, the staff courteous, and the food amazing. After landing at Male, going through customs and picking up our luggage, we were greeted by the boat transfer crew from the resort. The 15-minute boat transfer allowed us to freshen from our journey (more on that later) and take the sights of amazingly blue water. Once we reached our island we were welcomed by the hospitality crew, with great excitement taking our picture (which we now refer to as “before stay” looks). The hospitality crew offered us “welcome drinks” while we checked in to our room at the reception. We were also assigned a butler throughout our stay to help us plan our activities and make the most of our trip.
You can feel the ocean breeze at the reception
We booked an over-the-water bungalow, one of the best decision we’ve made on the trip. This was a new experience and it did not disappoint. The room was luxurious, catering and anticipating our every need. The housekeeping staff decorated our bed for the honeymoon stay and left us fresh exotic fruits. The room consisted of a private swimming pool with direct access to the ocean.
Not a bad view from the bed
What to do there
The Taj Exotica resort that we stayed in offers a blend of activities on your stay. The resort is centered around “relaxing”, allowing you to unwind from the troubles of the mainland. You won’t find any nightclubs on this resort, instead you can spend the time at the yoga facility, sunbathing in their infinity pool, have a deep-tissue massage in their spa, or start an adventure by snorkeling or scuba diving.
We started our day early in the AM, by taking a jog across the beach. As someone that isn’t close to beaches, running and walking early in the morning while the sun comes up and the waves softly come on to the beach, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. After a jog, we went to our yoga class. The yoga center is on one side of the resort, with the class being held outdoors with the sounds of the ocean. The instructor was world-class, warming up our bodies and gently waking us up to the day.
Getting in a workout in the morning really jumpstarts the day, and also makes you really hungry. After yoga, we would go to the restaurant for breakfast. We have experienced the best breakfast of our lives at Taj Exotica, starting with the morning juices or smoothies the kitchen makes fresh with every order. There is a rule at Taj Exotica, once a dish leaves the kitchen it is not taken back in the kitchen; meaning the chef makes the dish again from scratch if it did not meet your expectations. Talk about a 5-star service. Every morning we would try a different breakfast, such as a South Indian breakfast, consisting of Dosa, Uttapam, and Sambhar. Punjabi breakfast was my favorite because we had amazing Aloo Paratha with dahi. The only thing constant in our breakfast was the starting juices (though they were different fruits), my chai tea, and the amazing taste.
After breakfast, we would take advantage of the beach and the weather by either doing paddle boarding or taking a paddle boat into the ocean. It’s tough say no when the water is clear and cool and the sight beckons you to take off towards the horizon. The resort also allows you to rent out snorkeling gear and life vests.
The snorkeling gear came in handy since I needed the practice (being a first time snorkeler). We booked a snorkeling trip, and practice with the equipment in our pool and of course the ocean in our backyard. We got on a boat with another couple, and the guide took us a few miles into the ocean. After changing into the equipment, we jumped off the platform and saw some amazing sights at the bottom of the ocean. The afternoon light hit the level at such an angle that the fishes and the life on the ocean floor looked really vibrant. My snorkeling practice paid off the day before as I was able to suck in more air than the salty water.
I cannot write enough about the sunsets on the beach. My wife and I would sit at a bar by the beach, after a day of sunbathing or reading a novel by the infinity pool, listen to live performers, enjoy our drinks, and watch the sun slowly set into the horizon. We had scheduled a sunset cruise that took us deep in the ocean for about an hour and watch the sunset. Luckily we had some company as dolphins came across our boat and jumped along.
Amazing drinks to end the day
As part of our honeymoon package, the resort organized a candlelit dinner for two by the ocean. In the morning, we spent some time with our butler and the chef deciding our 3 course menu for dinner. Usually guests don’t customize their dinner menu, however we were not their usual guests. The chef was more than accommodating with our requests. I selected the wine that would pair best with our menu. After setting it all up for our last night: amazing food, amazing wine, great service, and just us by the ocean; we couldn’t wait to come back for our anniversary.
When are we going back to this?
How to get there
We were already in Gujarat, India. Which means there was no direct flight to Maldives, instead we had a 12-hour journey from Ahmedabad to Mumbai to Colombo to Male with a 15-minute boat transfer to our island.
No, you don’t have to make your trip this arduous. There are easier ports to get to Male, such as a direct flight from Dubai. Depending on the resort of your stay you may either have to take a boat transfer or a sea plane from the Male airport. Usually the luxurious and well rated resorts are closer to Male, thus a few boat ride minutes away. Excursions from the resort island to the main city can be booked, however they are expensive.
Where to stay
Our trip could not have been as memorable if we not had stayed at Taj Exotica. The resort lives up to the 5-star banner with the exceptional service and staff. US Dollars (USD) can be used on the island as well as various credit cards.
Hacking tip: book your Maldives vacation from travel agencies in India to get a steep discount. The agencies can customize your stay and find packages that suit your vacation expectations. Use the currency arbitrage in your favor, since booking from the United States will cost more.
Drop me a note if you need additional information about my trip as well as if I could help in booking your adventure. Do let me know if you’re planning to travel as well as how your stay was.
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