Have you ever had your desktop background, set as a tropical island in the middle of jewel-toned emerald waters, surrounded by an array of tropical plants? After months of working from home, I’d find myself longingly staring at my computer screen background amongst the dozen of windows and tabs I had opened (a very stark contrast compared to each other). This was a case of the workaholic versus the daydreamer.
I knew that if I wanted to treat myself this year, my request would simply be ‘to go to paradise.’ My idea of the perfect getaway needs to have the perfect balance of both fun and plenty of time to zone out. And of course, what better way to close the year than a trip to the Maldives. It’s the ultimate bucket list destination and who wouldn’t want a little winter sun?
Fast forward a few days, I found myself hurriedly setting up my out of office: “Thank you for your email – I am currently OoO with no access to emails and soaking up the sun for the foreseeable future”, packing my bags with every sun hat I own and passport in hand ready to depart.
Touchdown in Paradise
After disembarking the plane, already the holiday vibes had kicked in. You’d think that after a long-haul flight I’d be ready for a nap, however, my energy levels never felt higher (must have been the impact of Vitamin D from the sun).
One thing to note with a lot of resorts in the Maldives is that depending on the area, you’ll likely need to either take a seaplane or a speedboat. What makes Kandooma so popular, is the ease of getting there. If you’ve travelled long-haul, I’m sure the last thing you want is the hassle of arranging transport or waiting hours for another plane.
Shortly after a trip across the waters, we arrived! Stepping off the boat, I had a ‘pinch me moment’ – am I really on holiday here? We could see the gleaming smiles at the reception and we couldn’t have asked for a more warming welcome accompanied by a refreshing arrival drink.
Sun, Sea, Sustainability and Squeaky Clean
Given current circumstances, Holiday Inn appealed to us because of their pledge to their’ IHG Clean Promise.’ Promising new health and safety measures, to allow you to fully relax and feel confident in booking.
The resort also understands the importance of sustainability and preserving natural resources. A resort being powered by Wave Energy and Solar Power? Sign me up! As a travel creator, of course, having an aesthetically pleasing hotel is a bonus, but one thing I always look out for with resorts is their efforts to go into becoming greener and doing their bit to help the environment.
There was barely any single-use plastic around the resort, and yet everything remained squeaky clean during our stay. Sanitiser was dotted around areas, no paper menus, all tables and rental equipment were disinfected thoroughly, and I can assure you that there is plenty of room to social distance.
Now, let’s get to the juicy part…accommodation. If there’s one thing you’ll notice if you Google “Maldives”, is the ever-so-popular Overwater Villas floating above the crystal clear waters. Of course, it wouldn’t be a true Maldives stay without visiting one of these. No doubt, the room exceeded all our expectations. A few feet away from your bed, and you can find yourself diving into the ocean swimming with all the tropical fish.
Let’s Get Physical
Whilst I do enjoy my downtime – I have to admit that naturally when I’m in a new environment, I like to keep active and adventure out. Holiday Inn Kandooma, combines both your relaxation and recreational needs.
The Kandooma Spa by COMO Shambala is nestled in between all the tropical greenery. The peaceful setting allows you to indulge in a treatment of your choice, setting the mood for your stay.
The resort provides a wide range of excursions from Turtle Snorkelling, Sunset Cruises and Swimming with Sharks. As well, there’s plenty of rental equipment to allow you to explore the marine life on the island. A morning snorkel soon became part of my routine and so was using the kayaks available to adventure a little further.
As a yoga teacher, I try to maintain my practice even when abroad. The resort features a shaded Yoga Shala overlooking the ocean, as well as an on-site gym. On our first evening, we had a yoga session which allowed us to flow alongside the sunset. It’s a perfect class for all levels to enjoy a stretch after travelling. Looking for a change of scenery? Well luckily, you also have the option to test your core strength in the waters with Stand Up Paddleboard yoga. Unlike previous SUP sessions I’ve experienced whereby you’d fall into cold lakes, this one was definitely a lot more enjoyable on the Indian Ocean.
And of course, after accomplishing a workout, the one thing you must always do – renourish! The resort offers a range of cuisines to suit all – whether it be indulging into something heartwarming or keeping it clean and healthy. Usually, I tend to struggle with eating at resorts because of the lack of vegetarian/vegan options. Yet here I could eat just about everything and they helped adapt the dishes to fit my dietary requirements.
Lastly, the highlight of the week – the Sunset Cruise. This included venturing out on a boat, as you watch the sky go from blue to pink. You have the option to wander around on the boat, or lounge on the boom nets that brush up against the water. We were so lucky on our trip, because not only did we get to see the beautiful ombre sun setting, we also saw dolphins! Happily swimming alongside the boat and jumping up to say hello. It was a truly magical experience that made the last evening unforgettable.
See you next on my next ‘Out of Office’!
Maiken is a digital creator focusing on travel, luxury, yoga, and wellness. A certified 200 hour Ashtanga & Vinyasa Yoga teacher, Maiken works with brands encompassing luxury travel and nutrition to inspire people to experience the beauty of the world. Check out more of Maiken’s work at her Instagram @maikenf