The next day started early on the balcony overlooking the sea, feeding the fishes and swimming amongst the resulting dense shoals that appeared, as if by magic. Again not a soul to be seen, just the infinite clear water stretching out in all directions, from this utterly private retreat.
The trampoline that hovers six feet above the sea takes some getting used to, but once in, is relaxing and peaceful, just the splash of the soft waves against the wooden pillars lulling you into a daytime reverie.
As well as eating your own weight in delicious healthy food there is the sports hut and diving centre run by Dolphin Base that provides a long list of water sports; boat trips, water skiing, kite surfing, diving, kayaking, paddleboard, jet skis and even jet boots. First, I took out a windsurf, subsequently a three to four-hour staple of each day, a tranquil way of keeping fit. And ideal to admire the atoll from all angles, sailing from one beach to another and out to the tip of the boardwalks, admiring the other islands just a couple of miles away. The sheer beauty of gliding over the shining water, with a vast untrammelled vista of sea, just the bleached white sands in the distance, was resplendent.
My favourite lunch spot was R.A.W, the sushi bar set on the northeast side of the island on a terrace that is an architectural marvel. You approach via a small path through palm trees, over black granite steps bridging gorgeous ponds filled with giant lotus blossoms, and enter a white sculptural canopy, complete with sofas, that resonates peace and tranquillity. This overlooks another tiny and perfectly formed bay, next to the beauty and massage villas. The decor is divine, combining sailing elements, glass jars, mahogany tables and brown, green, and yellow sofas to impressive effect, set against the blue sea and white sand. There is a spot here on the beach with a single umbrella and supremely comfortable lounger that may be one of the nicest views in the world. The sushi is fabulous too, served with fresh juices, such as beetroot and watermelon, prepared by the sushi chef comprising fresh salmon, tuna, squid and nori maki on black slates.
That afternoon we went on the sunset dolphin cruise in the Maldivian Dhoni and within 15 minutes were surrounded by 30-40 dolphins dancing around the prow. Not only did they race with us, but leapt enthusiastically into the air, twisting around, before splashing down. Never has an animal taken so much joy in boasting its acrobatic abilities. Plus, they plough through the sea at speeds of up to 20 mph. They’re essentially just vain creatures, rubbing it in that two legs are pretty useless in a country that is 99% water. Wonderful to see them in the wild. There’s also a sunset fishing cruise, for those that like to catch their own meal.
Dinner that evening at IndoCeylon, purveying Sri Lankan, Indian and Maldivian cuisine, was delightful, a beguiling array of soft, subtle fish, beef, chicken curries and chutneys, often laced with coconut and a creative assortment of themed cocktails, though we stuck merrily with the house champagne, Moët Chandon.
Bright and early the next morning we met up at the water sports hut for our jet-ski tour of the islands further north of the atoll. We shared a Yamaha Waverunner and followed our guide out by the IndoCeylon, ramping up the speed as we bounced past the water villas. As the sea changed from pastel indigo to a dark sapphire we opened the throttle further, hitting 65 mph, jumping two or three feet in the air over the waves as we skirted the islet of Villingillivaru.
Next came the island of Biyaadhoo, then we turned back and slalomed past Guraidhoo, a local island with schools and a hospital. Our jet-ski Safari finally took us back along the water villas and the Residence, the palatial exclusive water villa at the end of the boardwalk, opposite the underwater restaurant M6m.
The Residence is the crown jewel of this desert island paradise, larger than all the others with a grandiose lounge, private dining room with a bar, three bedrooms, a substantial dressing room and en suite bathrooms, plus separate entrance and room for the maid/nanny. The terrace spreads out along three huts with a capacious pool, view of the sunset, and a personal gym. It is often reserved by a Russian family for up to three months at a time. This is the one to book when you exit that tech company or win the lottery.
The rest of the day was spent lounging in one of the four wooden poster beds in the main pool by the Joie De Vivre bar, admiring the pristine white muslin floating in the wind against the cobalt sky. The Joie de Vivre bar is the social centre of the island, with an infinity pool facing the arrival pontoon. It’s the place to have your first glass of champagne or cocktail of the evening before choosing from one of the restaurants. There’s even a specialist cocktail bar upstairs, Gin Is In, that serves exotic gins concocted by professional mixologists from all over the world. Whatever it takes to get the party started. Lunch at Joie de Vivre is a relaxed affair, pick a lounger or four-poster bed and just enjoy the scenery, before venturing out again to the sports hut for your next feat of derring-do.
Ours was parasailing at sunset. Two of the sports chaps took us out to sea, west of the island, where we were strapped in tandem beneath a multi-hued parachute from the back of the boat and raised gently into the sky connected only by the cable. As the skiff moved forward, we rose gently into the air. The height we reached was absolutely mind-blowing, the boat was a tiny dot in the distance, we could barely make out the two pilots at all. The entire island of Maadhoo spread out in front of us, encircled by the atoll like a lapis lazuli frame.
The horizon dominated the setting, a glaring intense light, in stark contrast as the sun fell swiftly to meet the sea. A saturated tiger orange seeped out over the water, morphing into a fiery red, accompanied only by the wind whistling through the parachute. Fear and fascination mingled together as we tried to remember every iota of the landscape. Then we were reeled solicitously down to the boat, landing snugly in the back. That night we dined in the Peking restaurant on succulent slippery won tons washed down with more chilled champagne.
We also stayed at one of the Earth villas on the beach, set literally a few metres from the sea. This has its own entrance with private pool, double room and king-sized bathroom with garden bath and shower. It is a tranquil paradise; watch the waves tumble on the beach, through the palms and tropical flowers, from your bed or the porch.
It is almost impossible to choose between the two so I suggest booking both. The Wind Villa for yourself and partner, the Earth Villa for the family, that way you get privacy and they get the beach. Or do what we did, take the Wind Villa for the first week and the Earth Villa for the second, as both are fantastic. They also have an Earth pool Pavillion which is a two-bedroom suite on the beach.
Ozen by Atmosphere at Maadhoo Island in the Maldives is exquisite, the service is sublime, the island is stunning and the staff are the apotheosis of kind, caring professionals whose sole mission is your enjoyment of the finest possible luxury experience. Ozen is the quintessential, utterly relaxing, paradise.
You may find different, but never better. Though be warned, the return to normal life is that much worse for the comparison. Maybe we all need butlers on a desert island once in a while. It gets our top recommendation and we advise everyone to put it on their bucket list. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled all over the world, but Ozen By Atmosphere At Maadhoo Island in the Maldives occupies a special place in my memories as an exceptional, idyllic island that gets everything right. The balance between luxury, warm welcome, genuine service and quality food is absolutely top-notch.
Ozen By Atmosphere At Maadhoo Island Indulgence Plan includes everything, there are no extra costs. You get access to all restaurants, a selection of fine champagnes, a free scuba dive and spa experience every 4 nights, free boat transfer, snorkelling boat trips twice a day, plus wine and spirits such as Glenfiddich and Courvoisier in your room.
M6m Underwater Restaurant https://www.ozen-maadhoo.com/dining/
Holiday Extras provided the airport car parking and our lounge. https://www.holidayextras.com/
Dolphin Base diving centre and water sports https://www.ozen-maadhoo.com/activities/
Dolphin Base dive rates https://ozen-maadhoo.com/documents/dive-rates/
Click on the link below to read the first part of this article. https://internationalexcellence.co.uk/luxury-magazine/travel/cars/lifes…