Travelling is once again part of our lives, and OHLALA’s Layal El-Mahmoud embarked on a trip to paradise – aka Amilla Maldives Resort & Residences – to fully embrace a relaxing mode.
A once-in-a-lifetime trip began at the new state-of-the-art Bahrain International Airport. With an impressive space turned into a labyrinth of duty-free stores, dining choices and comfortable waiting areas, our trip began at the Gulf Air counter with a surprise upgrade to business class; a treat from the national carrier. With warm, welcoming smiles, Gulf Air staff swiftly finished our boarding process despite the many procedures related to Covid-19.
After four and a half hours of deluxe flying, we landed at Velana International Airport in Malé to meet Adam. He’s a kind and helpful young Maldivian who assisted us with our transfer. A short drive later, we arrived at the seaplane lounge, and waited to board the tiny plane with a hot cup of jasmine tea in hand. A summer rain shower passed by and we boarded the seaplane, which is not ideal for claustrophobic travellers – but is incredibly safe and comfortable. Forty minutes of ocean views and we were landing in the middle of the water. A floating platform was our next step, moving from plane to boat. As we disembarked on the jetty at Amilla Maldives Resort & Residence on Baa Atoll, we finally breathed in the beautiful air and ambience.
We were greeted by the sound of local drums mixed with the crashing of waves and the smiles of hospitable faces. With no check-in required, Elena, our amazing butler, escorted us to our new temporary home. A spacious, newlyrenovated and luxurious over-water villa adorned in white and blue decor. Two bicycles were parked by the door.
Inside we cast our eyes over a giant counter that held everything you need, from a coffee machine to a minibar. As you walk through the living area, your eyes meet a blanket of blue, from your private infinity pool to the shallow sapphire water and the deeper azure ocean that looks as though it’s kissing the cloudy sky. There was an urge to jump right in, and everywhere we turned felt like a scene from a dream.
Back inside, behind the bed, which was utterly comfortable, there was a big space with a dresser on one side and a wide floor-to-ceiling cabinet that can accommodate a whole family’s luggage. Two smooth white seats offered comfort while getting dressed. A bathtub sat at the far end, hidden away in the corner, with a rain shower ready to wash the sand away. A narrow path connected this side of the villa to the entrance. To the left side, a bathroom. To the right, another cabinet.
You’ll want to take it all in and store it in your memory. Once you’ve done that, it’s easier to relax. We took a seat at the desk and listened to Elena while she explained our well-planned itinerary.
First things first, two gentlemen from the clinic arrived to perform Covid-19 tests via swabs. We stayed in our room for an hour until the results were confirmed negative (and we didn’t mind the down time).
With a confirmed negative result, we rushed out to EBC (Emperor Beach Club) Restaurant. Here, the delicious Sri-Lankan Chilli Crab satisfied our palates in a way that we feel we’ll never experience again. The halloumi brown rice salad was light and delicious, making lunch a success. The dining options at Amilla are widely diverse with a deep understanding and commitment to the concepts of sustainability and self-sufficiency.
Amilla plans for more vegetables to be grown on the island soil for maximum freshness. The garden currently produces basil and mint. Eggs also come from the resort’s chickens. All drinking water is purified in a special facility, and a special non-alcoholic Kombucha is prepared in the resort’s kitchen, using fruit leftovers and local herbs. The resort is also committed to the minimum use of plastic.
Throughout our three-night stay, every meal was as satiating as its predecessor, if not better. For breakfast, a buffet offered a great range of bread and pastries, and yoghurt and jams that are prepared in house. There was fruit, porridge, cold cuts and cheese, and an extensive hot food offering (sausages and hash browns, pancakes, waffles and more). You can get made-to-order eggs and anything of the à la carte menu. We ordered our favourite Maldivian tuna dish, Massuni, which is canned tuna prepared with freshly ground coconut, chilli, onion, and lime juice… so, so good! If you wish to try the Instagram-worthy floating breakfast in the privacy of your pool, all you need to do is book it the day before. The Japanese restaurant, WOK (taste of Asia), was exceptional. Amazing octopus salad, sushi, and catch of the day fish fillet all passed the taste bud test, coated in mouth-watering sweet peanut sauce. In the evening, you can chill out and enjoy a shisha if you wish, all surrounded by beach vibes with your toes in the sand.
Rainy days put a halt to our water activity plans, but unwinding by the pool was just perfect. Youngsters also have plenty of activities to choose from at the kids’ club. We tried recycled paper making at the Art Studio, which was fun! Entertainment was alive in the evenings. The resort organises culture-inspired shows as often as possible, and we had the pleasure of watching the talented fire show on our third night.
Javvu Spa offered us a long-anticipated treatment, a 60-minute aromatherapy body massage. From a variety of essential oils, we chose coconut; it smelled divine and was deeply moisturising! We felt completely Zen afterwards. Visiting the Maldives was a dream come true, and Amilla Maldives Resort & Residences certainly made it the picturesque and memorable escape that you imagine. As far as safety, seclusion, and luxury goes – this is the destination where you’ll find it all.
For more information and to book a reservation, please visit www.amilla.com