If you were to ask Ryan, the Maldives is one of his favorite places that we’ve had the opportunity to visit. Rest assured that it IS everything that you have ever dreamed of. We are truly fortunate to have been able to visit the islands, but it came at a price. We forwent our annual company paid flights home to see their families. We knew that our time was limited in Qatar and luckily we have such understanding and loving families who were willing to cash in on with regular FaceTime dates in order for us to make the most of our experience abroad. So, for our second and final Eid Al Fitr in the Middle East we headed off to Maldives for a relaxing week in paradise.
By far, this was one of the easiest trips to plan thanks to Michelle at Koamas Luxury Escapes . Michelle put together a travel package that best fit our needs and desires. If you’re ever looking to book a trip to the Maldives we would highly recommend contacting Michelle. She was incredibly resourceful, diligent in her work , and able to provide insight on the properties based on her own personal experiences.
There are several resorts throughout the Maldives, but her suggestion to us was a resort called Ja Manafaru which is located on one of the northern most Maldivian Islands. A large portion of this was attributed to Ryan’s request to ride in a sea plane. Although our flight time to Ja Manafaru from Male was around an hour, the birds eye view from the sky of the various resorts and bright blue water was breathtaking and our pilot just happened to be a bit of a local celebrity known as “The Barefoot Pilot.”
Upon arriving on the island, we were greeted by the Ja Manafaru staff including our onsite suite concierge, Jameel, who let us know that he would be available 24 hours a day. We were hasty to let him know that would absolutely not be necessary and not to worry about us. Regardless, Jameel did make sure to take amazing care of us and if we ever had a question or needed suggestions he was always ready to lend a helping hand with a smile on his face.
Jameel showed us around the island which is exclusive to the resort. We were able to get a view the various other rooms the resort showcases, the resort’s various pools and restaurants, and get a run down on the numerous excursions available like deep sea fishing, snorkeling, jet ski rentals, and a trip to a local island where the Maldivian people welcome you into their homes to learn about their way of life and culture. I would love to say that we took full advantage of all of those, but I only partook in a jet ski ride with Ryan in which he nearly threw me off the back of. I wanted to try to snorkel in what I’m sure was the purest that I have ever seen, but I realized then more than ever that I truly had ichthyophobia aka a fear of fish and only managed to get about knee deep in water from the deck off of our room before the sudden urge to toss my cookies kicked in when little fish started brushing against my legs. There is certainly not shortage of activities to partake in, but even more you have the opportunity to truly disconnect yourself from reality and relax.
Jameel then led us to our room which was one of their sunrise water villas with a private infinity pool. The window across from our bed looked straight out onto miles of nothing, but blue ocean. Inset on the floor of our room was a window with a light that turned on at night for a floor view of the water below our villa where you could catch glimpses of an endless fish swimming. Our bathroom included a stand alone tub grounded in the center of the room with a clear view of the ocean and infinity pool, and the toilet and shower were encapsulated in each of their own rooms by glass and wood paneling which allowed for fresh air to consume you and give you the outdoor shower experience.
If you’re like me you’ll take full advantage of the opportunity to relax. I won’t lie and I will blame it partially on the weather because I rained a good portion of our week stay, but I used part of my downtime time to catch up on much needed sleep and laying by the pool. Ryan on the other hand, took full advantage of snorkeling when he could. I did manage to take a shot at snorkeling in our fish free pool.
As I mentioned before, Jameel gave us suggestions on things to do on the island including where to eat. There are at total of 7 restaurants on the island: White Orchid, Ocean Grill, Kakuni, The Cellar, Infinity Bar and Pool, Andiamo Bistro and Pool, and Horizon Lounge. In our week long stay, I don’t believe we managed to dine at the same restaurant with the exception of Kakuni where breakfast was held more than once. The one restaurant that Jameel did highly recommend was The Cellar. It is one of Ja Manafaru’s hidden gems. As they describe it on their website, ” it is set in an underground volcanic stone cave and located 2 meters below sea level.” The Cellar seats a maximum of 12 people at a time. Your dining experience is complete with a private chef who prepares and walks you through a five course meal with each course being paired with the perfect wine. Hands down this was probably one of the best dining experiences that we have ever had. One of the greatest things about the experience is, that if you really make the most out of the underground experience you will resurface to sea level with new friends. Having an exclusive group of people in such a confined area, sharing a large table, mixed with constant flow of alcohol and great food truly made it very easy to make friends. Between the experience, wine, food, and friends I would give The Cellar a 10/10.
If I were to be honest, I don’t believe that we, as Americans compared to many other cultures, take enough time to ourselves to really enjoy the fruit of our labors. Even if it’s not a place like the Maldives, make time to travel, live carelessly, and truly enjoy yourself.
My hope is that this post inspires you to explore, to love yourself, and to live freely. So tell me… if you could pack a bag at this very moment and head off on your dream vacation, where would it be and what are you waiting for?