The Maldives by Heather Lowrie

The Maldives by Heather Lowrie

I have always loved the Maldives. To me each little island sprinkled like gems across the Indian Ocean is an unique slice of paradise...and none more so than Ozen at Maadhoo - the plushest, most gorgeous, friendliest, luxurious, down right idyllic resort I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

I had looked forward to this holiday like no other, pouring over pictures of its beautiful beaches and villas, drooled over the menus from its five restaurants and bars and dreamt of finding Nemo in its ridiculously stunning azure waters. I knew this was going to be the most amazingly fantastic holiday, in the most amazing, fantastic resort we were ever going to have.

It was helped by the fact we were getting there in style too, travelling with the wonderful Turkish Airlines in their award-winning business class. I felt like I’d won the lottery stepping inside the spacious cabin with it’s lie-flat beds and restaurant quality food. No way was I going to sleep during this trip - not with that much pampering on offer.

From the moment we touched down, Ozen staff were there to look after us like Royalty but not in a stuffy, impersonal way. No, Ozen doesn’t do posh or pretentious. This place oozes genuine warmth and friendliness. In fact the staff are the star attraction here - even beating the stunning surroundings.

They have a mantra - the joy of giving - and every single staff member lives and breathes it. You are greeted like a long-lost member of the family. All day long the island sings to the tune of them saying hello, always accompanied with a cheery smile.

Our villa was a mere 10 feet across the sand to the ocean on the sunset side of one of the two slivers of islands that make up the resort. It even had its own eight-metre long fresh-water pool for just for the two of us, talk about indulgent.

Inside the villa was just as stunning. The bedroom was HUGE with a massive canopied bed. The TV with sound bar kept movie-mad hubby happy. And the drinks never ran dry either thanks to the fully stocked mini- bar complete with champagne, beer, soft drinks and snacks and a wine fridge full of a selection of red, white and rose. Both came as part of the inclusive package and were restocked TWICE a day.

The bathroom was straight out of a style mag and double glass doors led to an outdoor shower and huge oval stone bath, awash with Asprey of London toiletries. There are villas on the other side without pool and also what they call Wind Villas, built out over the sea, with steps down into the lagoon. some even have their own pools. Very swish.

Everyone gets a butler and ours was Arif, who was simply awesome. Never intrusive and, like all the staff, not just ready to please but delighted to do so. Want a lift to the restaurants or the Joie de Vivre bar at the main pool? Be there in two tics. A reservation at the spa or the Indian or Chinese a la carte. Consider it done.

At the bar there’s a full cocktail list and each restaurant also does its own signature ones. The food on offer was amazing at all the restaurants but our favourite without a doubt was Indocylon at the Traditions, where I had the best prawn curry ever.

This was a lovely romantic setting out at the end of a pier with one side serving Indian and the other tasty Chinese. Again the staff stole the show, friendly, helpful and just downright lovely.

M6m is Ozen’s jaw-droppingly beautiful underwater fish restaurant. Everyone gets one trip here, either lunch or dinner. If you like fish and seafood you will be in food heaven with five amazing courses, paired with wine. The staff were fabulous but it is the underwater life on view that stole the show at this place.

Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style in the huge Palms Restaurants where even the fussiest eaters would find something to suit. You can also get dinner here with ‘buffet’ starters and desserts, but a menu of mains, including beautifully cooked steak.

Ozen has all sorts of activities from paddle boarding, to jetskis and of course diving, all of which unusually for the Maldives, comes as part of their top notch all-inclusive package.

There isn’t a house reef but they organise twice daily snorkelling and diving trips, as well as trips their semi-submersible, Subzen. You can also choose from sunset champagne dolphin cruise (again part of the package) and a trip to a neighbouring inhabited island.

Even the spa is included at Ozen. The number of visits depends on the length of your stay. While most so-called ‘all-inclusives’ always have little hidden extras, Ozen reckon they have failed if any guests manage to rack up a bill.

Turkish Airlines fly to Male in the Maldives via Istanbul from Edinburgh with fares in economy from £664pp and £2262pp for business class. See turkishairlines.com Villas at OZEN by Atmosphere on Maadhoo Island start from £475pp per night approx on the Atmosphere Indulgence all-inclusive plan. See ozen-maadhoo.com. For more on planning a trip to the Maldives see visitmaldives.com.

Heather Lowrie

Travel Editor

The Scottish Sun

Twitter: @heatherlowrie2

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