Paradise. The first word that comes to mind when you manage to sneak a peek at the island cluster of Kaafu Atoll, from the swanky catamaran that ferries you from Malé International Airport. After a comfortable 20-minute ride, you are engulfed by ivory white sand and turquoise waters as you make your way to the stunning property of Ozen Reserve Bolifushi. It felt surreal to be in the Maldives in person after having enviously scrolled through countless photos of folks holidaying there on Instagram. We were warmly welcomed in true Maldivian style with traditional Bodu Beru drumming, hand-crafted palm leaf necklaces and a refreshing drink of coconut water.
After a quick check-in, we were introduced to Shujau, our hiyani (shadow), our point of contact at the resort for everything we needed. He escorted us to our gorgeous Private Ocean Reserve With Slide villa. The water villa is complete with two bedrooms, a massive deck, a slide, private access to the lagoon, an infinity pool and my favourite over-water hammock. It also houses a huge mini-bar (enjoy the oxymoron!) and a wine cooler stocked with chilled champagne, wines and beers. The resort offers a one-of-a-kind Reserve plan which is all-inclusive, giving you access to fine dining experiences, premium beverages, the amazing mini-bar, which is replenished twice a day, and spa (depending on the length of your stay).
The resort offers eight categories of room—along the beach and atop the lagoon. Every room has a private swimming pool, and a deck/sit-out. If you thought, the Maldives is only for honeymooners, Ozen Bolifushi will change that for you. It’s the perfect resort for family getaways. Most rooms have additional beds for kids. The resort also has one of the largest kid’s clubs in the Maldives—the Koda Kuli Club & Teen Lounge, and— wait for it—an eco-friendly ice skating rink!
After tiring ourselves silly on the slide, and watching the magical sunset, we headed to Origine, the fine-dining European restaurant which has wagyu, foie gras, octopus and other heavenly dishes on the menu—meticulously created by Chef Chaitanya Sharma. The four course meal is paired with a formidable wine selection from different regions of the world, curated by in-house sommelier Rohit Salunke. We also tried Vista Del Mar, which will spoil you for choice with fresh sushi, pizzas, noodles and paella on its menu complete with an abundant salad, cheese and dessert counter.
For those looking to eat Indian, there’s Saffron, where the highlight is an enormous thali featuring traditional dishes from different states. The Arabic beach restaurant and bar Sangu is also popular amongst guests. I was delighted by the ‘floating breakfast’ which allowed me to savour my croissant and coffee in water. Having seen this on numerous photographs on the internet, I was happy to tick this novel (albeit a little uncomfortable at first) experience off my list. Our ultimate favourite was the Ozar bar with a low-key beach club vibe. It houses a fine variety of spirits and the bartenders can shake some mean cocktails. They also have live music on weekends and belly dance performances which promise to leave you mesmerised.
Bolifushi is a diving island, and is known to have one of the healthiest and most beautiful coral reef. The Reserve package also includes non-motorised sports such as snorkelling, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and stand-up pedalling. Apart from these you can also pay extra and enrol for dives, whale watching and other water sports.
We spent our days swimming in the lagoon, cycling around the island and napping on hammocks. Sundowners were our favourite part of day, with magical sunsets shared with stingrays and sharks. Another highlight of the trip was the Elena Spa. The water villa treatment suites overlook the ocean and that itself is enough to put you into zen mode. The flooring is made of glass, which allows you to enjoy the underwater world while you’re getting a massage. The ingredients used in the treatments are locally grown and spa director, Elise makes it a point that you leave with a smile and glow on your face. On the morning of our departure we were treated to a delicious vegan breakfast which is part of their upcoming wellness menu. It was exactly what we needed after three days of non-stop indulgence. We came back with tons of memories, a calm, happy heart and loads of photos.
Make A Note
Travelling to the Maldives is really simple with multiple direct flights from India. Visa is on arrival and chargeless. You will need a negative RT-PCR certificate, issued no more than 96 hours before departure, along with confirmed reservation at the resort and a return ticket. Don’t forget to carry a broad spectrum sunscreen and a hat/ cap! The Maldivian sun can be very harsh on the skin. Lastly, stay hydrated.
Find ELLE’s latest issue on stands or download your digital copy here.