Maldives Holidays – Heaven on Earth?

What is it about the maldives? It only takes a few holiday reviews, a little bit of background research, and a glance at some typically jaw-dropping pictures to realise that people just love the Maldives. Anyone even vaguely aware of the place is likely to go ‘Ooooohhh…’ at the very mention of the islands, a sentiment echoed by the ‘Ahhhhhh…’ people emit when they arrive there and the majesty of it starts to sink in.

Palms in the Maldives

Visitors return with overwhelmingly good feelings for the Maldives, to the extent that most customer reviews of holidays there are so bursting with happiness that readers could suspect they were written by a travel rep. But no, look around, and the evidence mounts for my case – are the Maldives really heaven on Earth?

Whether you call it a tropical paradise, the perfect island fantasy or a picture-postcard dream, everyone can relate to these powerful mental images.

Shipwrecked in the Maldives? Yes please

For many people, finding heaven on Earth is all about peace and quiet, solitude, and getting away from the stress, dirt, pollution and chaos that characterise our surroundings in modern life. Just like the classic Robinson Crusoe adventure, the Maldives are a place where you could be shipwrecked forever and never miss home. Your supermarket would be the bountiful seas, coconut palms and fruit-laden branches. The odd barrel of Rum would float ashore, and who knows, maybe even a companion.

Relaxing Indian Ocean luxury

Other kinds of traveller can think of nothing more heavenly than lounging year-round in the perfect tropical climate, with kind, attentive hotel staff bringing fine food and drinks at the ring of a bell. Days would pass in bucolic satisfaction, gazing at the sparkling sand and glittering waves, taking a dip, reading, living like royalty might in a better world. As the sun sets over a calm ocean, fine dining, flickering candles and good conversation feels all the more natural knowing that your refuge is just metres away, and there is no work in the morning.

Coconut on beach

Intrepid adventures in the Maldives

For those with a more adventurous spirit, all 1000sq.km of the Maldives island chain becomes a sun-drenched tropical playground. Exploring the hundreds of uninhabited islands by boat could be a lifetime’s work, and no-one can claim to have seen every spectacular reef, teeming as they are with tropical fish and exotic sea life. In their vision of heaven on Earth, days are filled swimming with Dolphins, scuba-diving into the fantastical submerged realms of the Indian Ocean, claiming undiscovered coves and sunken ships.

Boat and Atoll

Are the Maldives all things to all people?

Whichever of these visions of a Tropical heaven might suit you best is largely unimportant; most travellers to the Maldives enjoy a combination of all of them. The luxury market orientated, high-quality resorts and facilities in the Maldives are testament to the local understanding of why we love their islands; tourism is by far the largest industry, and with the ‘high season’ being almost all year round, providing a great experience for visitors is at the heart of many people’s lives.

As for what kind of package – the choices are vast. I for one love the freedom of live-aboard accommodation; waking up to a new view every morning, navigating the reefs and lagoons, and putting ashore wherever catches your eye is a fine way to experience the stunning beauty of the Maldives. If a resort, well-appointed villa or even a private island is more your style, all inclusive packages can be a great idea as you never have to count your pennies.

After all, who needs their wallet in heaven?

 

Gerry Bern is an independent writer who loves travelling, music, food and all the finer things in life. Gerry is currently getting excited about getting away this year, watching out for the best Maldives holidays deals, and counting the days…

Are You A Reluctant Green Traveller Or A Glamour-Puss In Denial?

If you travel frequently you’ll know the true value of a decent hotel. Sure hostelling and staying in budget hotels or motels is fine when you’re in a jam or you’re still young and travelling’s the objective in itself. Once you get older though, you start to realise that a quality mattress, clean sheets and decent food really are important, as is waking up without the aches and pains you’d normally associate with sleeping on a bathroom floor. (don’t tell me you haven’t, I know different!)

Different people have different core expectations from what they regards as a ‘good’ hotel. Some people expect five stars, some just want a comfortable bed and your own coffee maker for $200 per night. One problem with star ratings is that there is no universal standard for stars besides five being the very best. Unless you decide that you want to give yourself six.

But What Do You Expect From The Best Hotels?

Wherever you stay, if you’re paying your hosts good money, you should expect to be treated almost as if you own the place. The customer is King and you do pay the bills after all. It shouldn’t be too much to ask to receive a friendly smile from anyone on the payroll and for all of them to be customer service oriented, you don’t want to meet some-one who would ever reply to a query or request with the attitude that it’s not their job, even if it isn’t?

With service like that everything else just falls into place. But you should also be honest with yourself about what you really want from a hotel. Do you find that you have a terrible time every time you go away to an eco-friendly spiritual retreat? Do you long for Egyptian cotton towels and sheets instead of the hemp fabrics which scrape your skin? Is your idea of communing with nature looking down on it from the porthole of a private jet? Admit it, you’re a glamour-puss and you’re not cut out for the overtly green lifestyle.

If you’re honest about what you want, it’s nice to think that your hotel is honest about what they can provide too. A hotel might have a fantastic review but is that backed up by real holiday makers experience? If they’re honest about what they can and can’t provide you’ll know exactly what you are going to get and set your expectations accordingly.

The Luxury Holiday Paradox

If you’re looking for the kind of holiday where you can get away from it all you’ll want somewhere that’s off of the tourist track. But if the destination hasn’t a history of dealing with travellers and tourists how can they be expected to provide the quality of service that your luxury self needs? So you go somewhere that has a reputation for knowing how to treat its guests in an A1 fashion but  you find yourself in a premier class hotel room overlooking a tourist trap.

The trick is to find somewhere that’s a couple of years old. It’s not so on trend that no-one’s heard of it and it has yet to develop and yet it’s not so well known that the developers have spoiled it by building over the aspects which made it so attractive in the first place.

Manage that and you might, finally, find yourself on the holiday that you really wanted all along!

@DanCash lives by the seaside in the south of England but still appreciates a holiday abroad. He’s had enough of broken beds and thin sheets. Now he likes aircon, humidifiers and a thread count of at least 400.