An archipelago spanning across 1,200 islands, the Maldives is a country of tiny specks of land with snow-white sand in the vast Indian Ocean. Amidst the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maldivian government mobilised the enforcement of mandatory testing and safety protocols for inter-island transfers to create open-border policies for tourists. Every island embodies a unique culture of its own, which is why my boyfriend Sean and I recommend visiting the Maldives with an itinerary that allows the space and freedom to explore its diverse atolls.
We began our island-hopping excursion in the archipelago’s southern reaches. Boarding our seaplane from Malé, in search of connection: to ourselves, each other and nature.
COMO Maalifushi is the first resort to open in the Thaa Atoll. With over 65 island villas and over-water villas, the property offers the intimacy and seclusion that we have come searching for in the Maldives to begin with. Pared down with cool creamy interiors and the warm comfort of home, our over-water villa overlooks the cerulean water, as clear as a looking glass into the world under the sea. In this all-action retreat, there is an endless number of activities—from surfing, diving and water sports to holistic therapies. Play or rest, the choice is yours.
At the end of a sandy avenue lined by towering palm trees stands COMO Shambala Retreat, with an open-air yoga pavilion and breath-taking massage therapy rooms perched above the water. On our first morning, we casually went from scuba to spa. With an approach that blends ancient wisdom with science, COMO Shambala is renowned for its ethos of wellness that offers guests a prism to see themselves in a whole new light. We retreated into silence as our massage therapists with their healing hands worked their wonders on us, ridding us of Zoom fatigue knots. With our stiff calves restored back to regular programming, we hopped right on the sunset dolphin cruise. Pods of spinner dolphins leaped into the air with their playful essence, the way dolphins were meant to be, wild and free.
The sea transforms into liquid silver as the day draws to a close. Sunset yields to the lavender fleece of twilight. Stars blink awake.