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An Unexpected Week in the Maldives

*I do not give my permission for any words, opinions or photographs in this post to be re-published or paraphrased by any other media or news corporation or outlet without prior written permission and consent.

 

Our recent trip to the Maldives definitely taught me more than I expected, especially as I expected simply to learn the plots to a few new books and maybe the names of a few new tropical fish. The main lesson being how lucky shitty situations can strangely make you feel and what silver linings really look like. I posted an instagram on this so don’t want to repeat myself and ham it up even more, but while it definitely wasn’t the week we were expecting, we definitely ended on a high.

I can’t talk about our time in the Maldives without touching on the fire that happened on our first night at the beautiful Gili Lankafushi. We’d planned to be there for the whole week and I’d posted insta story after insta story when we got there because it was just so magical, a watery-wonderland of rustic, luxurious over water villas and residences circling the most perfect powdery sandy island. So after a sleepy, lazy first day and early dinner, we headed to bed excited to properly start our holiday the next day. Only a few hours later, our villa was burning down while we watched from the beach. While it was very scary and traumatic in the moment (getting woken up by hotel staff knocking on our door telling us there was fire’ while sleeping naked is kind of stressful to say the least – never sleeping naked again for what it’s worth), ultimately we and everyone else thankfully were very lucky. When we were woken and taken to safety via boat to the beach (the fire was a few villas over from ours at this point), I thought it was something like 3 A.M but turned out it was only 30 minutes after we’d gone to sleep and we’d gone to bed relatively early because we hadn’t slept on the plane. I was really stricken when we first jumped on the boat and saw how big the fire was because we didn’t know if the people in those villas had got out ok. But as soon as we knew everyone, guests and staff, were unharmed and we felt safe on the beach upwind of the fire, I was able to relax. I’d grabbed my handbag with passports, wallet and phone so I knew we could get home ok and we were safe and that was all that mattered. Sitting on the beach watching our villa burn down, it’s amazing how little you feel for all the stuff in there and all you really care about is being thankful you and everyone else is safe and well. At that point we thought all our stuff was gone and as we are insured and we were fine, I really couldn’t have cared less. But when we were leaving the island by boat a few hours later (Gili had liased with another hotel Huvafen Fushi to re-house some us) we were told some of the staff had managed to get our luggage out of the villa before it caught fire. We had no idea how much or what and decided to anticipate nothing and then anything was a bonus. Late the next afternoon, a boat from Gili Lankafushi arrived at Huvafen Fushi and we were overwhelmed to learn the hotel staff had managed to grab most of our stuff and cases so it was just clothes and a few incidentals we ended up losing. I couldn’t believe it. They’d even grabbed my book from our bedside table which was amazing (Curtis Sittenfeld American Wife for anyone interested) as by that point I was so ready for a bit of escapism and zoning out. We met some great people who moved from Gili to Huvafen with us and it was so nice having a sense of comradery between other guests and sharing smiles and laughs with each other when we all arrived looking pretty dishevelled to breakfast. Huvafen Fushi looked after us so well, working closely with Gili to sort everyone out, kit us out with everything we were missing and generally look after us. 

Our main feeling after the fire was that of sadness for all the team at Gili Lankafushi after the fire. It’s such a beautiful island and an amazing resort with the loveliest ethos and the nicest people. While selfishly we were of course gutted not to get to experience the place properly, we just hope Gili gets back on its feet as quickly as possible and rebuilds and reopens as soon as they can and hopefully we’ll be back there one day to experience it again.

Having been to Soneva Fushi at the end of 2017 with one of my best friends, I’d been dreaming of returning ever since. I hate myself for admitting this but being newly single at the time I was last there, I couldn’t help but think how romantic it was (the outdoor bathrooms at Soneva are mega!) and kept thinking how I’d love to come back one day with a boyfriend. The feminist in me hates me right now but you know, I’m only human (who’s probably watched one too many Romantic Comedies in my time). So now me and my boyfriend found ourselves in the Maldives without any concrete plans for the rest of our time out there, I couldn’t think of a better time to go back to Soneva Fushi and thankfully they had room for us and generously offered to host us for our last three days. I mean, talk about silver linings. So after three nights at Huvafen, we were en route to Soneva Fushi. As soon as we were in the hotel’s little airport lounge, I felt on cloud nine. I really do LOVE this hotel. No news, no shoes is the island’s mantra (Soneva’s signature), and while it is the most luxurious, spoiling place, it’s all done in a barefoot, understated way which I love. Our villa was amazing and exceeded all expectations yet again. The bathroom is like a Swiss Family Robinson fantasy with stepping stones that lead out to a jungle covered outdoor shower and an a tub that looks up to the stars. Soneva and Gili are really similar in terms of decor, attitude and environmentally-friendly credentials, but the main difference is that while aLL of Gilis villas are water-based, Soneva’s villas are all on the beach nestled between palm trees. If you’ve never been to the Maldives, you picture being on a water villa and while they’re super fun and unique, I do love having direct access to the sand for a stroll down the beach first and last thing. I loved being able to show Soneva to my boyfriend, over-excitedly pointing out the ice cream room, the breakfast hoppers and the wild domestic bunnies hopping around in the light of our bikes at night (if you make it to the ooutdoor cinema watch out for them stealing your popcorn). One of the things I love about Soneva is how big it is compared to lots of islands; there’s plenty of room to cycle and walk so you never feel cooped up or claustrophobic ( a potential side effect in the Maldives if you’re on a tiny island). We didn’t get a buggy once, cycling barefoot everywhere which I absolutely love; it really makes you feel like Soneva is home, for a hot minute at least. A few highlights include the resident astronomer complete with monster telescope based at the Fresh in the Garden restaurant who we pestered not once but twice after dinner for an up-close look at stars and galaxies; sushi, snorkelling and sliding at the newly opened Out of the Blue restaurant and all-round daytime and nighttime playground and last but by no means least, heading out to the private sand bank by ourselves at sunset on our last night for a bottle of champagne on our very own island. Each week they have a cocktail party on the sandbank for guests but our stay didn’t fall over this day so they really kindly offered to take us out there on our last night so we got to experience it.

 

Needless to say we definitely ended the trip on a high (you can probably tell from the leading picture for this post!) and despite my raging insomnia all week, I think we ended up having more of an amazing time thanks to feeling grateful for being safe and lucky on an hourly basis. You can listen to all the podcasts and TED talks on gratitude and all that, but sometimes it takes an real life experience to really make you get it. It’s funny when things don’t work out at all how you planned but then something great comes out of it and for a perfectionist like me, that’s a really great lesson to remember. While I’ll admit I was actually super happy to sleep in my own bed when we got home after the trip, I have great memories of every place we ended up staying in the Maldives and each and every time I go, I realise the Maldivian water and icing sugar sand has yet to be beaten. Although I’m always up for a challenge so if you have any suggestions where might beat it let me know!

Anywho, as always, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves (meaning, I’m about to bombard you with visuals) and hopefully inject a little virtual Vitamin D (and sea) into your day.

 

 

*I do not give my permission for any words, opinions or photographs in this post to be re-published or paraphrased by any other media or news corporation or outlet without prior written permission and consent. 

(A couple of pictures of Gili I managed to capture on our first day – so beautiful)

Bikini
Hat 


Dress 
Sunglasses
Bag – Mango 


Bikini 
Shirt 
Hat 


Dress | Realisation Par 
Bag | The Attico 
Earrings | Gucci 


Dress | Realisation Par 
Earrings – Vintage


Shorts | Faithfull the brand 
Bikini
Hat 


Bikini 

Swimsuit
Necklaces 

Bikini top 
Bikini bottoms 


Dress
Bag
Sunglasses 


Bikini – Rixo
Necklaces – my collection for Missoma 

 

 

All photos my own. 

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