‘Simply wow’: Toploader’s DAN HIPGRAVE says ‘I do’ to a wedding anniversary trip to Milaidhoo Island resort in the Maldives… where he ‘de-shoes’ for a stay-of-a-lifetime
- Milaidhoo Island is a 35-minute seaplane ride from Male. Dan and his wife are greeted with a glass of fizz
- Their villa had an ‘outrageously large’ freshwater infinity swimming pool and a private sundeck
- Dan went snorkelling in the reef and watched as Hawksbill turtles and schools of colourful fish swum past
- The ‘oh-so-romantic’ Ba’theli restaurant in the resort won them over – they dined on a ‘sublime’ lobster curry
It is 13 years since my wife and I enjoyed a perfect honeymoon in the Maldives. We had always wanted to return, but how to recreate those special memories? We succeeded by choosing ultra-swish Milaidhoo Island to celebrate our wedding anniversary this year, raising the bar to unimaginable levels.
Let’s get this straight, Milaidhoo is off the charts – a world-class boutique resort set over 13 acres atop the Baa Atoll’s beautiful Unesco Biosphere Reserve that whispers elegance with a laser-sharp eye for detail.
After a 35-minute seaplane transfer from Male we were warmly greeted by our personal ‘Island Host’ Oksana, who immediately placed a glass of fizz in our hands while urging us to ‘de-shoe’. ’There’s no need for those here,’ she chirped, and she was right. We found the barefoot ethos totally liberating.
Milaidhoo Island, pictured, is a ‘world-class’ boutique resort set over 13 acres atop the Baa Atoll’s beautiful Unesco Biosphere Reserve
Dan and his wife stayed in an Over Water Villa (pictured), complete with a private sundeck and an infinity pool
There are no golf buggies or bikes at Milaidhoo. A stroll from one end to the other takes less than 10 minutes either through the middle along a sandy path covered by lush jungle or round the powder-soft beach with the warm Indian Ocean lapping at your feet.
We played it cool, waiting for Oksana to finish her guided tour of our vast Over Water Villa before letting rip with excitement at the absurd lavishness. ‘Is this place for real?’ we cried.
The style is tropical beach house with splashes of bright fuchsia, extravagant high-beamed ceilings, a gigantic bed and nice touches such as Aqua de Palma bathroom products and a television neatly hidden behind a panel of local artwork.
Equal focus is paid to the outside living space. Foldable glass door panels lead to a magnificent private sundeck with plush swing chair, super-comfy sun loungers and an outrageously large freshwater infinity swimming pool that twinkles like the stars at night when lit. Simply wow.
The bedroom in one of the resort’s Over Water Villas. According to Dan, the resort ‘whispers elegance with a laser-sharp eye for detail’
‘Let’s get this straight, Milaidhoo is off the charts,’ writes Dan. Above is the view from one of the resort’s Over Water Villas
A stroll from one end of Milaidhoo to the other takes less than 10 minutes either through the middle along a sandy path covered by lush jungle or around the powder-soft beach
There is a rare glitch in the Milaidhoo matrix when we noted that beach loungers are exclusively available to the guests staying in the higher category Beach Residences.
These huge, thatched-roof pool villas look directly out onto the crystal clear ocean that is home to the magical house reef.
Water sports host Zaeem boasted that the reef was ‘the best in the Maldives’.
Above is one of the Beach Residences at the resort, each of which looks directly out onto the crystal clear ocean that is home to the ‘magical house reef’
A tub in the resort’s Serenity Spa. Dan’s wife, Lynsey, enjoyed the daily yoga sessions at this ‘dreamy overwater spa’
On our first snorkel adventure I choked on seawater when confronted by a reef shark (it was huge, honest), and we watched in awe as schools of hyper-coloured fish, Eagle Rays and Hawksbill turtles swam majestically amongst us. Each snorkel was a genuine privilege.
Each morning before breakfast I made use of the well-equipped gym while Lynsey enjoyed the daily yoga sessions at the dreamy overwater spa.
The consistently high-end dining experience starts with flashy al la carte breakfast options such as lobster and raclette omelette served with chilled pink champagne al fresco at Ocean Restaurant. Trust me, it really is the only way to start the day!
Guests can enjoy ‘flashy al la carte breakfast options’ such as lobster and raclette omelette served with chilled pink champagne al fresco at the Ocean Restaurant (pictured)
According to Dan, tucking into breakfast at the resort’s Ocean Restaurant, pictured, is an ideal way to start the day
The Shoreline Grill, pictured, serves up local reef fish, New Zealand lamb and Japanese Wagyu
Dan watched pink sunsets while sipping cocktails that were designed by talented mixologist Saji at the resort’s Compass Pool Bar (pictured)
Dan’s dinner at the ‘oh-so-romantic’ Ba’theli, pictured, was a contender for the best meal of his life
Dan and his wife feasted on ‘sublimely spiced lobster curry poached in coconut milk’ at Ba’theli (pictured)
Double rooms for two adults on Milaidhoo Island start from £904 per night. For more information visit www.milaidhoo.com.
Our evenings began with watching pink sunsets while sipping colourful cocktails designed by talented mixologist Saji at Compass Pool Bar, before unforgettable dinners at one of the three restaurants.
Shoreline Grill serves local reef fish, New Zealand lamb and Japanese Wagyu by candlelight with your feet in the sand and has an impressive wine room expensively stocked with more than 350 labels.
Our best meal (possibly ever) was at the oh-so-romantic Ba’theli, the resort’s scene-stealer set on two interlinked traditional dhoni boats. We gazed at reef sharks circling the glistening shallows while chef Ahmed Siwath served sublimely spiced lobster curry poached in coconut milk.
It’s difficult leaving a place like Milaidhoo, but we signed off in style with a once-in-a-lifetime sandbank dining experience. We were whisked 10 minutes by boat to a tiny uninhabited strip of sand that I measured at 145 by 18 steps where we ate sushi and fresh fruit under a giant parasol with just each other for company.
Milaidhoo’s intimate Maldivian setting and immense natural beauty makes it perfect for a special holiday. It was an anniversary we certainly won’t forget in a hurry.
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‘Each morning before breakfast I made use of the well-equipped gym (pictured),’ says Dan
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