Dreaming of an indulgent trip to the Maldives this year? I don’t blame you. Nearly every Bollywood celebrity’s Instagram feed is bursting with stunning pictures from the Maldives. From Taapsee Pannu, Varun Dhawan, Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani to Mouni Roy... these superstars are giving travel motivation even during the pandemic. So, off I went to Maldives with my daughter, Akanksha, in tow when I heard about Vistara’s super amazing inaugural fares on its launch from Mumbai to Malé and booked the all-inclusive premium property Lily Beach Resort & Spa.
Glitzy overwater resorts, unspoiled powder white beaches, beautiful lagoons blessed with crystal clear waters and protected by reef structures and a remarkable underwater world make the Maldives the definitive travel terminus for the discerning traveller more so in covid times as being a one island one resort country and all resorts open have no Covid cases. Secondly, it’s a mandate to enter the Maldives with a Covid Negative report which means you do not need to quarantine either, it makes it less hassling.
Flying feels safe again
Vistara’s new route from Mumbai works thrice a week, on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. The flight is comparatively of less duration at just 2 hours and 45 minutes on both sectors. From contact less check in to profound cleaning at all touchpoints of the aircraft and safety gear for passengers and crew, all the essential precautions are taken to safeguard that one feels safe to fly again.
Additionally, each of the aircraft are armed with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, which renew the cabin’s air every 2-3 minutes and eliminate nearly all of any damaging airborne particles ensuring the air inside is fresh and clean.
Arrival at Lily Beach
Arrival by seaplane from Malé sets the tone; and from the award-winning Tamara by Mandara spa to a swim-up pool bar, this resort encapsulates ‘jet-set glamour’. All villas in the resort have a sea view and are a demeanour of ethnic culture in modern times with a focus on sensitivity, indulgence and efficiency. After a slick check in replete with the obligatory Covid safety measures and welcome drink, we are escorted to our Deluxe over Water Villa, which looks beautiful, warm and personal.
Everything about the villa thrills me, the big and plus king size bed, the stunning uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, the glass flower with fishes passing by beneath, the day bed, everything is as it should be. Being able to observe the stars from our private pool is just priceless.The beach villas are great for families, while the over-water villas offer more privacy; and those with plunge pools that face the sunset come with a butler who can whizz one around the island in a buggy. The signature restaurant, Tamarind serving Indian and Thai cuisine is a showstopper.
The cocktails and food are alluring, and there are also plenty of chances to detox here even if you are a non-swimmer. If you like subtle adventures like us do not miss the Sunset Cruise and Sunset Fishing. The swimmers can go for a snorkelling excursion too. And if you have young ones, no fret, the recreational centre replete with games, puzzles and activities will keep them enthralled. Akanksha and I absolutely enjoyed the Sunset fishing and she managed to catch a Red and yellow snapper and a trigger.
Lily Beach is small enough to get around without a buggy, so we put a little of the barefoot work back into the enjoyment of barefoot luxury. This is an unhurried, good-value island resort aimed at those who spend their day nomading between sunbeds and the ocean. The team is super friendly, they know how to make a good beverage, and there is always food around.
Meals in the package are buffet style at Lily Maa and A La carte Lunch at Aqva & Vibes Bar (for lunch) and can enjoy one dinner at the idealistic restaurant Tamarind on stilts and is our go-to place to get lost in the pulsating thumping of waves, while the sun falls behind the horizon – flawless for a pensive and valued dinner over exceptional service.
The decadent Indian and Thai, contribute to the great experience. You can always pay additional and go for other culinary experiences like a lobster dinner at the beach, a dhoni or a Teppanyaki dinner too. All in all, the convivial open water and blue skies and the quality time we spend together transports us to another world.
While we continue to take all obligatory precautions, I can’t help but also dream about cautiously planning my next escape and definitely on Vistara’s Premium again, for flying again feels safe with them.
COVID measures: Being a one island one resort country with all open resorts being Covid free and entering the country with a Covid Negative certificate you can be stress free and live an unmasked life for a few days.
Forms and processes:
Negative PCR Test Result is Compulsory for all Passengers arriving to and departing from Male.
Requisite to list at https://imuga.immigration.gov.mv/ 24hrs prior arriving to and departing from Male.
Register at https://haalubelun.hpa.gov.mv/
Register both ways within 72hrs to the flight regardless of the state/airport. https://www.newdelhiairport.in/covid19