In the paradise called Maldives

Luxury! So, what does the word really mean? An ostentatious display of wealth, gold fittings in rooms, ultramodern sound systems or expensive cars at your disposal. It could mean any one or all of the above but a recent trip to the Six Senses Laamu, Maldives introduced a whole new world of luxury to me. We were greeted with broad smiles as we reached the resort. Our GEM (guest experience manager) handed over a cotton bag with the words “down to earth” written on them and advised us that we would not be needing our shoes on the island at all. The island followed a barefoot policy and everyone from guests to the hotel’s general manager walked around barefoot. I wasn’t convinced! Determined to use all the three pairs of shoes that I had packed; one for the beach, one for the day and another for the evening, I kept my shoes on. The ground is too hot was my excuse as the sun was right above our heads. As the day progressed my shoe resolve diminished and I found myself making way towards the restaurant with naked feet happy to touch the powder soft sand. By the next morning I had packed off all my flip-flops and sneakers (I had hopes to hit the gym in Maldives!) and found myself enjoying the barefoot walking. I thought of all those years of abuse from tight shoes, stilettoes and wedges inflicted on my poor feet and dodging potholes, dirt and rubbish on the road and dodging broken tiles on pavements ensuring I reach my destination safely each time you step out to walk in our city! And here I was without a care in the world walking barefoot inside and outside the rooms on grass, on sand, on wooden decks and in the crystal clear lagoon waters with happy feet and a happy soul! Wasn’t this true luxury for a city bred soul such as myself?

Being born a Mumbaikar, you are used to taking certain comforts for granted and I am no different. Five star luxury brings with it certain expectations in the room décor and amenities and all the images that I had seen of eco-friendly resorts had made me skeptical of this entire concept. With thatched roofs for decoration, can you really get the comforts of a luxurious resort here? One step into my room and this debate in my mind was laid to rest forever. A pretty four- poster bed and a very attractive vanity greeted me but I couldn’t take eyes off the inviting deck in front of my water villa offering a staircase to the heavenly turquoise blue waters. With superb privacy and not a soul in sight I could have rented the entire ocean for myself for those three nights. Well, they could have used the tagline that the lagoon came free with the room to lure skeptical customers such as myself! All the remaining days and nights were spent on the deck wishing every time I saw a shooting star in the star studded skies and jumping into the lagoon at every given opportunity. You simply were reminded of your location from anywhere in the room. No need of google maps here! With a glass bathtub placed on a glass floor and a glass cutout even in the toilet you knew that you were in the paradise called Maldives. There was no time to enjoy the bath tub for now as I had to make my way towards the beach for a candle lit beach barbecue followed by a large screen cinema under the stars. I was living the good life and this was a luxury I couldn’t afford to miss !

Sunila Patil
(Director - Veena World)