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MALDIVES


HIDDEN TREASURES


DON’T STAY IN ONE PLACE, URGES GEORGE CLODE AS HE HOPS HIS WAY AROUND THREE MALDIVIAN ISLANDS


azing down through the window of the seaplane – which is noisy, sticky and exhilarating – I spy a collection of Maldivian islands and reefs looking like giant stepping stones spread out across the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean. The tiny plane is being tossed about by shifting ocean winds and low cloud when the co-pilot turns to us, grinning, and flashes his open palms twice to indicate that we have 20-minutes until landing. The roar of the engine, the heat, the sun streaming in through the windows and the vast carpet of blue beneath us – it’s all quite overwhelming. I turn to my girlfriend to see if she’s as astonished by the whole thing as I am. She’s fast asleep. Many people head to the Maldives with the intention of staying in one place (and usually it’s a padded sunlounger with a glass of crisp, pale rosé in hand); after all, this place is renowned as a haven for visitors seeking relaxation and


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tranquillity. But with so many islands in such close proximity of one another, it would be a shame not to take a hop, skip and a jump and go island-hopping.


LUX SOUTH ARI ATOLL


Our Maldivian odyssey was six days long – just enough time to cram in visits to three island resorts. Our first stop was Lux


South Ari Atoll in the west of the almost rectangular archipelago. A line of smiling, waving staff greeted us on the jetty as we arrived, loaded us onto a buggy and escorted us to our beach villa.


These secluded properties offer a slice of


The unexpected personal touches will make you feel as if you’ve pitched up on a magical island


luxury beach living. Tucked away among screw pines and coconut trees, each villa has its own little stretch of sand leading out to the sea. Large screens in front of the bed open to reveal stunning views of the expansive ocean and neighbouring islands. The perfect way to start your day in this special part of the world. Lux certainly won’t disappoint affluent


travellers. As well as transporting you to higher plains of rest and relaxation, it’s the unexpected personal touches that will make you feel as if you’ve pitched up on a magical island. You may be ambling towards Lagoon Bar – a beachfront spot serving up delicious seafood to the sound of reggae fusion tunes – and spy a bottle by the side of the path with a message in it


aspire september 2017 — 55


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