Maldives — what can be said about a place whose beauty has been written about endlessly, or should we say, blogged about and documented on the ’gram. Our previous trip to this serene island was nothing less than magical. So, when we packed for a trip the second time around, we knew what we were in for.
We knew the COVID-19 protocol drill on the back of our hands this time, so that was smooth. What we also knew was the way to get to our resort. But what we didn’t know was that the azure blues of the water, the shapely islands from the sky and a ride through the cotton-like clouds would win us over just like they did the first time round. The journey was a smooth one all thanks to Aabee Holidays and Fetch India, who made this incredible journey, a smooth one.
We arrived at the Lux* South Ari Atoll resort after taking a 25-minute seaplane ride from Male. The resort, which has been listed as one of the premium properties of the Maldives, lives up to the great reviews we’d noted about it, right from the word ‘go’. The resort is set on the quaint island of Dhidhoofinolhu in the Maldives and has been known to be one of the most romantic destinations on the islands. Located near Maamigili, one can spot numerous whale sharks throughout the year that are found in this marine wildlife protected area. This makes Lux* South Ari Atoll one of the most favourable diving sites in the world. And if you’re not a diving into the ocean kind of person, then you can resort to the other water sport activities that are exclusively conducted at the resort.
We were warmly welcomed by the courteous staff, who made us feel at home for the next couple of days. We were escorted to our water villas after a hassle-free check-in. (Side note: A hassle-free hotel check-in and compliance procedure speaks greatly of a hotel and gives a glimpse of how smooth your stay ahead will be). On entering our villa, we were mesmerised once again by the ocean view and the little gateway that took us to the sea directly from our villa. We explored the luxurious rooms and were impressed by how well-planned the entire resort was! The property was equipped with top-of-the-range amenities ensuring a lavish stay.
What came next was the part where we explored the eight restaurants the resort accommodates, along with six bars. The restaurants are highly reputed for rustling up a variety of international cuisines. As vegans, travelling to any place gets us a little nervous about our food options. We either have to resort to a limited menu or stick to eating salads when there is no option. To our surprise and a hugely pleasant one, we found an endless range of food options for us that panned across various cuisines. For our first meal, we ordered their signature burger (vegan, of course!) which was utterly delicious, so much so that for the next few days, we ordered the same burger along with other vegan delicacies. What we absolutely loved was the fact that the chefs insisted on customising the meals according to our liking and preferences. Shaine, one of the chief servers, was one of the warmest and most interesting people we met on this trip. Such was his hospitality that we couldn’t help but ask for time to meet whenever he was visiting India the next time. A great meal makes the day great, and in our case, it made our trip great already!
After relishing our lunch, we lounged around the property and did an impromptu recce with our team before calling it a day and heading back to our villa.
The next morning, the entire team was pumped up to nail the shoot. And why not, we had the young and vivacious Ananya Panday, who makes shooting super fun and a breeze! We also had an amazing crew that worked as a catalyst in making this shoot an amazing one! The shoot did not feel like one, even for once. If we could sum it up, we’d say it was like a bunch of friends hanging out by the beach, shooting, chilling, eating, grooving to the music and soaking in the beach vibes. The shoot ended sooner than we could imagine and headed back to our villas only to later meet for a warm dinner at one of the restaurants by the beach with Ananya and the entire team. The dinner table lit up with conversations and drowned in seas of laughter.
After a fun-filled shoot, it was time for some laidback moments where we enjoyed the sea, sun and beach shenanigans. While the rest of the team headed back to India, we decided impromptu to stay back and stole a day for ourselves. It is quite rare that we are on a vacation because it somehow always turns into a workcation. We consciously decided to not do anything and did what we felt like at that moment. Most of our day went by lounging around, eating some more of the delicious vegan food and walking by the beach enjoying the sunsets. It was then that we realised the importance of doing nothing and rewiring our minds to our bodies! No agenda, no plans, only peace. Feeling rejuvenated and upbeat about taking on work till our next vacation, we set out to return with memories in our hearts and a little sand in our feet.