I have returned from paradise.
A place so spectacular in every way.
Crystal clear waters stretching as far as the eye can see.
A place of silence and tranquility to rest our weary souls and escape from the rushed reality of our lives.
|Little queen Kate|
Time stood still as we lazed around and soaked in the beauty of our surroundings.
We stayed at The Residence, a luxury resort on Falhumaafushi, a pristine island in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll. It is one of the largest atolls in the world.
To get to this exclusive resort in the middle of nowhere, it was a four and a half hour flight to Male followed by a 45-minute domestic flight to Kooddoo airport.
We were pleasantly received at the airport by a resort staff who led us to a lounge for lunch while they handled the flight check-in. Good thing they had wifi and a shower room for Kate to freshen up and the 2 hours went by quickly enough.
After a short stop over, we disembarked and hopped into a mini bus to get to the nearby jetty. Luckily Kate found it rather amusing to go from big plane to small plane to bus and then boat.
We were served a refreshing bottle of chilled watermelon juice on the speedboat, which signalled the start of their charming service.
|10-minute boat ride|
Finally, after an 8-hour journey, we stepped into the lobby of our resort and this magnificent view greeted us.
We were warmly welcomed by the staff and informed that we had a personal butler to see to all our needs.
A butler? Wow. We could surely get used to that.
|The Residence Maldives|
A buggy was waiting to take us to our 1-Bedroom Deluxe pool villa. We had the corner villa, with sunset view.
|Can’t wait to see the room|
We entered the living area, and walked right out the glass doors to see this breathtaking sight.
|Private pool villa|
Being in the middle of the Indian Ocean is an experience that cannot be described.
|Our large bathroom|
During the hot part of the afternoons, we opened the bathroom sliding doors and enjoyed soaking in a warm bubble bath listening to the sound of the lapping waves.
Kate and her daddy spent a lot of time in the infinity pool, while I sat on the deck to read, think and relax.
Our stretch of villas was the best place to snorkel. We climbed down into the clear blue water and right below us the water was teeming with marine life.
I felt like a child once again, spotting different fishes darting in front of me.
A blue fish! Green! Bright colourful ones! Tiny ones, big ones, snake-looking ones.
A small shark! My favourite was a smart-looking school of black fishes with a white strip between their body and tail which looked like they were wearing tuxedoes!
The hubs didn’t snorkel for long as he had to hang on to Kate and she was a little fearful of being in the huge ocean.
When I had enough of fish spotting, I flipped over on my back and floated around with my life jacket, gently being rocked by the waves.
That was such a surreal experience, being a small speck in the vast ocean.
You have no cares in the world, everything just fades away.
|Chilling by the beach bar|
We had most of our lunches at the beach bar, and became familiar with the staff.
One afternoon, we came out late and Kate asked for the same seafood pasta we had the day before. However it was past the lunch hour and they were serving tapas.
Kate looked crestfallen and the lovely lady called the kitchen to ask if they could prepare it for her. Of course, they obliged. Nothing seemed to be too much to ask at this resort.
When we returned to our room, 2 staff were just leaving and they wished me happy birthday.
Just as we were wondering how they knew it was my birthday, we saw this decoration laid out on our bed with fresh flowers!
It is the little details and the staff going the extra mile that our stay was made so memorable.
In the evening, we went back to the beach bar and happened to chat with the lovely wait staff again, and lamented that we had wanted to try the BBQ seafood dinner but was informed that it was full when I tried to make a booking that morning.
She made a call and they set out an extra table for us. After our dinner, they came over with a birthday cake. Don’t ask me why I was surprised.
2 bicycles were parked outside every villa and it was a nice change to cycle around instead of hopping into our cars.
The buffet breakfast spread was very good and made all the more enjoyable by the impeccable service.
We were the first to arrive every morning at 7am as we were still on Singapore time, which was already 10am.
The ever attentive wait staff even helped Kate to cut up her food and brought her a magna doodle magnetic board to keep her entertained after she finished her meal.
|Family baking session|
They have a simple Kids’ Club, where Kate did some art and craft. As this resort does not receive many children, their activities were organised on an ad hoc basis.
One of the days, there were about 10 kids around, and a cookie making session was arranged in their industrial kitchen.
We all had a blast, and an 11-month old baby got into the fray and made imprints on the dough with her cute little feet!
It seems like the happiness of the guests are priority and anything is possible.
We explored the island on bicycle and took lots of pictures. I think Kate had enough of posing for her daddy.
We also took Kate out for her first kayaking experience, as guests are given complimentary usage for an hour.
The both of them spent long hours in the main resort pool playing, having snacks and watching the sun go down.
It was the best yoga class I have ever had in my life. The spa is situated at the other end of the resort and the water was calm and quiet.
As we did our back bends and turned directions with the various poses, we were treated to the full grandeur of the setting sun.
I have never enjoyed watching a setting sun as much as this. While we faced one direction, you can see the muted hues of the beautiful sky.
As you turn to the other direction, the mesmerising reds and oranges awaits you. And with every pose, the colour changes as the sun retreated slowly.
I felt so calm yet so alive.