I had NO idea what to expect when I went to the Maldives for the first time last month. I am a huge scuba diver and I knew that the islands were known for their amazing dive spots and snorkeling with whale sharks and crystal blue water, but this random sprinkling of 1200 islands that make up the archipelago of the Maldives was completely different than I ever imagined.
First off, “island” is a loose term here. Basically, the Maldives are hundreds of sand bars out in the middle of the Indian Ocean and most of them have their own luxury hotel on them and are only accessible by boat or sea plane. You can drive on these islands, because most of them have no roads and are just made of sand and huts on them. When we were arriving on our sea plane, we made multiple stops to drop off people at their own hotel/island and it was like we were on a luxury flying bus route to get to our destination! So trippy.
Once we landed at the Conrad Maldives, I knew we were in a very special place. Our island was actually two sand bars connected by a floating bridge just wide enough for our room service to be delivered via golf cart. We have one island that felt more like jungle where we stayed in our overwater bungalows, and the other had the spa and restaurants, shops, the world’s world Underwater restaurant, Ithaa, and the most excited revelation of all…what is about to be the World’s first underwater villa!!
What I loved most about the Maldives was just how chill it was there. In fact our float plane pilots both were barefoot and maybe it was subliminal, but I ended up losing my shoes the first day I was there and never finding them again until I was packing to go home days later! The fact was, no one REALLY needs shoes here. Everything is pure white sand walkways and water to get anywhere. The restaurants and lobby are all open air and have sandy beach floors and we were even asked to be barefoot in the underwater restaurant, so there was no need ever. You could wake up every morning and just jump off your deck into a spectacular coral reef, or go to the spa where you can watch sharks swim by while you are going to the bathroom!, or you can just lay in a hammock and read taking in the serenity of this remote place in the middle of nowhere.
What struck me the most though was the variety of shades of jeweled blues in the water that I didn’t even know existed! I have never seen such pristine clear water and even the diving was perfectly clear. I call that BLUE therapy…just looking at it, soaking in it, being surrounded by it calms your soul and is the main reason romantic couples and people looking to get away have flocked here for decades! It is true that some of the islands are disappearing due to ocean levels rising. Not to worry though, most luxury hotels here like the Conrad Maldives are pumping sand to combat the beach erosion that naturally happens every year, so they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon! And they are already looking ahead in to the future and building underwater villas, so you don’t even need to be PADI certified to see sharks and schools of fish…in fact you won’t even need to get out of bed to do it!