Radio 1 DJ Matt Edmonson and his new wife Bryony got to grips with a luxury kind of life on the magical Maldivian island of Baros...
For our honeymoon, we hoped for the cliché of a sun-drenched paradise isle and in our search for the perfect destination we visited travel agents, asked friends and scoured the web.
We kept coming across the Maldives as a picture-postcard location, but when we saw Baros we called off the search. It’s a tiny island resort with individual Water Villas sitting over the ocean offering complete privacy, amazing scenery, great beaches, vibrant marine life and speedy transfer time from the airport. Every box was ticked!
No sooner had we landed on the island of Malé, than we were greeted and escorted to a boat which brought us to the Baros shore in just 20 minutes, the coolest and possibly most seamless arrival on holiday we’d ever had. From the moment we arrived, it became clear this was the most beautiful place we’ve ever visited in our lives.
The island itself made us think of those dream sequences in movies of what heaven looks like – where everything is in soft focus. Except we really were in paradise.
LIFE'S A BEACH
Walking along the jetty to our Water Villa, we looked down to see crystal-clear water with a turquoise shimmer and stingrays and tropical fish swimming around above a pure white sandy bed, it was like nothing we’d ever seen before. Inside the villa, the décor was in-keeping with rustic Maldivian style, but with all the luxuries of a honeymoon resort: an enormous twice-the-usual-size bed, air con, iPod speakers and a television.
Our bathroom had a huge bath with a little window looking out over the ocean and a blind for privacy – but no need since the view was one big expanse of sea. Stepping on to our decking we discovered another double bed which formed the most luxurious sun lounger we’d ever laid on, and an infinity pool which seemed to stay at the perfect temperature all the time, as well as steps down into the sea.
At certain times of the day we could see a tiny sandbank, almost like a little desert island, just a short walk through the water away. We discovered other larger sandbanks dotted around the island and one day went on a boat to one for breakfast before a sunrise yoga session.
I’d never tried yoga before, but I figured if I was going to learn how to bend over backwards, a remote island in the middle of the Indian Ocean was probably the place to do it. Luckily, we had a very patient instructor!
It was the first of many firsts for me; I had never been scuba diving before so a tour of the reef by the resident marine biologist was a real eye-opener. She talked us through the varieties of fish and their homes; showed us a cleaning station where smaller fish clean the big fish; we saw sharks and at one point a turtle even came up to say hello. It was the most incredible experience.
The resort gives you your own snorkel gear when you arrive on the island so you can literally snorkel everywhere from your villa to the restaurant to the spa. We also went on a dolphin sight-seeing cruise where we travelled out on a speedboat, which felt very James Bond-esque given the location. The dolphins came and jumped out of the water doing flips, swimming alongside the boat.
Although we did some form of water activity most days, the rest of our time took on a blissful schedule of eating and relaxing in the sun. As each day faded into sunset we would head to the beach bar where there were double bed loungers on the waterfront. There we sat back with a game of Bananagrams, sipped cocktails and studied the ocean.
One day we saw a stingray come up to us and on another we watched crabs making a home in the rocks. That’s the beauty of this island, even when there’s seemingly nothing to do, there’s always something to see.
The food was mouth-watering with lots of fish fresh from the ocean, as well as something for every taste bud. Baros hosts visitors from all over the world, so the breakfast menus are really diverse, with anything from curry to pancakes on offer. Likewise in the evenings we sampled from a seafood or a barbecue buffet, or chose to eat at one of the three restaurants.
The Lighthouse had to be one of our favourite experiences, you can eat on the top deck looking down at the sea which they illuminate so you can see all the fish. After dinner we'd head back to the beach bar where there would be entertainment in the form of a singer, drummer or band.
It can be hard to find a holiday where you forget about your life at home, slow down and completely disconnect with the outside world, but Baros is so beautiful and relaxing with friendly, attentive staff and such a sense of privacy and peace that all you can do is lament on the fact that a place like this really exists and then savour every second of it.
The island was apparently close to full capacity during our stay, but somehow it felt like we were the only people there. We have a fantasy now where we go back and see all the staff, sit on a sun lounger and look out over the ocean.
Even if we don’t physically make it back there I know we’ll always remember its magic. Although, our honeymoon pretty much ruined every other holiday we’re ever going to go on with its greatness, it was so good I’m sure nothing will ever compare.
A seven-night stay at Baros Maldives costs from £1,779 per person, based on two adults sharing a Deluxe Villa on a bed and breakfast basis, with return flights from London Gatwick, airport lounge access and transfers. Book through Sovereign Luxury Travel (0843 770 4526, sovereign.com). Package includes one free night with a saving of £876 per couple. Based on departure in September. For more details on Baros Maldives, visit baros.com.