Pinch me, I’m dreaming! Surely this is heaven on earth? Flying over coral atolls strung like pearls on a necklace, and sandbanks that sparkle in the sunlight, I knew we were in for a treat long before we arrived. By the time we stepped onto the jetty to a phalanx of staff welcoming us to our ‘island home’, I was head over heels in love. The Amilla Beach Villa Residences really are very special. This is an ultra-luxe destination with a relaxing island vibe and a generous heart-and-soul spirit.
We kicked off our shoes and kicked into the island groove (even the seaplane pilot was barefoot): swaying in the hammock alongside the hypnotic lagoon waters, listening to the serenade of the koveli bird; feasting on the many treats procured from the complimentary Providore grocery list, that filled our fridge as if by magic. (Turns out the villa came with its own magician – Munaadh, our hugely engaging Katheeb (house manager) who enriched our stay immeasurably. He proved to be a mind reader able to anticipate our every whim, and shared his unbridled passion for the island with us.) He also organised a fabulous seafood-and-champagne barbecue at home – one of the many culinary highlights of our stay.
Sauntering along sandy paths through coconut groves, past ancient Banyan trees, we were amazed by the number of activities available across the island. Sure, you can have the laziest, most relaxing vacation ever – I would gladly have spent my entire time at the sensational Javva Spa – but the chance to go dolphin watching and swimming with mantas was too tempting.
A shout-out for the astonishing array of restaurants with mouthwatering menus can’t be forgotten. Sunset cocktails followed by a fresh-from-the-sea meal at the over-water Feeling Koi fusion restaurant is an absolute must; I admit to piling on the pounds during my stay.
It’s easy to lose all sense of time at Amilla Beach Villa Residences. In fact, ‘island time’ really does exist here, as the Amilla visionaries set their clocks two hours ahead of Male so guests can enjoy extra hours of daylight; how’s that for above-and-beyond service! A sign at the resort’s Empire Beach Club claims “Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life”. What a perfect epithet for our stay!