I know that I am prone to hyperbole, (please see ALL my previous blog posts) but I really did just return from Paradise. Stereotypical, white sand, turquoise sea, strawberry daiquiri type Paradise. Or Baros Resort Maldives for short. The Husband and I had ten idyllic days there for a belated honeymoon. It was worth the wait.
We found the resort through pure chance. I was looking on the Kuoni website at the beginning of the year to see if the Husband and I could cash in on sale deals. I saw Baros and was immediately impressed by the glossy, too-good-to-be-true pictures and what seemed to be a better than I would have expected price. Over the next three months, the husband and I managed to procrastinate booking anything through in depth research that I recorded in one of my all important spreadsheets. (Including colour coding and advanced filtering. I stopped short of a Macro.) Over researching the Maldives and its hundreds of resorts is an incredibly easy trap to fall into as it is very difficult choosing between so many fantastic looking places. However, we ended up where we started, at Baros, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World, and found a good deal on the website Amoma and flights with Emirates. (On the note of flights, be careful when booking any Maldives holiday that you are aware of any transfer costs. Ours were included, but some sea plane trips can cost $500 per person on top of your final bill.)
Ten weeks later, and five months after originally clicking on the Baros website for the first time, the husband and I found ourselves on a speed boat travelling to the island itself. Whilst I failed in trying to get the alpha male that I married to squeal in anticipation of arrival, the Manta ray that he saw breach the water on our twenty commute from the airport certainly came closer.
The rest of our trip continued on the same trajectory of incredible experiences and sights. Not least our welcome. After being dropped off on the resort’s pier, and given the first of many cold towels, we were taken to the main bar/lounge and were given a (bubbly) drink whilst talking to one of the welcome party about the history of the island. He discreetly passed us on to Sharufeez, are dedicated room attendant. Before reaching the island, I checked the hotel amenities, under which said dedicated room attendant was listed. Given that it was listed next to Ipod docking station and Nespresso coffee machine, my expectations were not high of what this ‘amenity’ actually entailed. It turns out Sharufeez was one of the means the island used to extend its exceptional customer service.
He took us around the island’s other facilities other than the Sail’s bar we met him in. For the Maldives, Baros is a medium sized resort, but it left us wanting for nothing. It has three excellent restaurants that vary on the price scale, a beautifully designed swimming pool and sun deck, an (unused) gym with (used) table tennis table, boutique, business center and all the usual 5 star trimmings, but also a Marine center staffed with enthusiastic and knowledgeable biologists who rave (quite rightly) about the house reef and a museum that houses interesting history of the island, especially given its short tenure. (The resort is about 40 years old). After being shown the main hub of the island, Sharufeez took us to our room to complete check in and show us any nuances that the room provided. Such nuances included real life hardships, like a private beach, an elegantly designed inside outside bathroom, a huge bed with whatever pillow firmness we required, and a walk through wardrobe complete with fluffy white dressing gowns and yoga mats. I think it is perhaps predictable which of these two were used by the almost new Mr and Mrs L. The overall feel of our ‘deluxe villa’ was that it was airy, chic and sympathetic to Maldivian style without being forced or kitsch. It is perhaps worth pointing out that the husband and I stayed in ‘the cheap seats’ though it was definitely one of the best seats I have ever had the fortune to sit in.
After his thorough welcome, Sharufeez left the husband and I to nap away our jet lag, before we embarked on the first of many beers at the Lime Bar and Restaurant. We met the delightful Ali for the first time, whose dedicated service enabled the husband and I to put on 2kg between us in 10 days. One of us was more guilty of adding to this weight gain than the other. I won’t say which. But I had fun gaining it.
And who wouldn't on an island such as this? You can be as active or as inactive as you like. Surprisingly, given the previous numbers just given, my husband and I were moderately active. We snorkelled every single day. Again, who wouldn't? The snorkelling at Baros is better than any scuba diving I have ever done and it is simply mesmerizing. The coral reef is stunning and just teeming with colourful, tropical fish. And sharks. Baros's coral houses black tip reef sharks as well as nurse sharks. Thankfully no Great Whites. Just these harmless types. It also houses turtles, which were my preferred sighting of the holiday. Harmless or not, to me, logic tends to go out the window when you see something four to five foot long swimming towards you with the Jaws theme tune going through your head.
Whilst our main activity was shark spotting, (indeed we even went on a night dive, which was fascinating.), we also went fishing for our supper on a boat put on by the hotel. The husband has several Scottish fishing holidays behind him so he was in his element and was the first on our boat to catch a fish. I, however, have never been fishing bar a couple of token rock pool outings when I was a child. I like to think I was a natural and caught a 15lber which was about three times the size of any other fish that was caught that evening. The helpful crew informed me I had caught a Job fish, and later on that evening my tastebuds informed me that a Job fish is delicious. Our fishing by twilight was one of the highlights of our trip - it was exceedingly peaceful being out on the ocean and very satisfying catching my own supper. We ate our fish that night, three hours after catching it. I don't think I have ever eaten anything fresher.
Other highlights of the trip were a candlelight dinner put on for us by the resort to say congratulations on our marriage. It was so incredibly kind of them and again, the food was delicious. Our table was beach side so the husband was in his element - eating well, drinking amply and watching for reef sharks and rays that were coming close to the shore. Whilst this was complimentary for us, there are other locations that guests can pay for to have an unforgettable dinner. Baros has a sandbank, a beautiful Dhoni boat and a remote deck about 500metres out at sea on the reef that can be privately rented for meals, as well as yoga for the more health minded.
That is not to say that the restaurants themselves are to be overlooked. Far from it. The previously mentioned Lime restaurant serves a selection of cuisines to serve most tastes. Cayenne next door serves grill type food, as well as having a Teppanyaki table that has to be booked in advance. Every other night, this restaurant puts on a themed buffet. The husband and I opted for the Maldivian evening, which I think was the main perpetrator of our weight gain. The Lighthouse and its bar, are on another level both figuratively and literally. We ate there just the once as it is fine dining, which sometimes goes over the husband and my heads, but we opted to go on a Friday night as there is live jazz being played. We had the wine pairing menu and had a totally idyllic time. The restaurant is on the end of a pier, with tables precariously close to the edge so diners can look down into the sea to see any marine life swimming by. There is also live music every other night at the Sail's bar, which has easily made it into my favourite bars of the world. The ground is pure sand, the drinks menu is extensive despite the husband's stereotypical Englishman ordering of a Hendrick's & Tonic and the bartenders are so unbelievably attentive and friendly. And not in that bad way. I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to Vijay and Mumthaz at the end of our holiday.
But goodbye we did say, and I now have prints as a little momento of paradise. As usual they are available to buy in our usual shapes and sizes at My Etsy store, but please do contact me if you have any questions or customization or commission queries