From my stilted water villa at Constance Halaveli, I step down into the beryl-blue of the Indian Ocean. In shallow water, I snorkel with iridescent tropical fish, resting whiptail rays, blacktip reef sharks – harmless to humans – plus schools of Blue spotted trevally on the hunt.
Emerging from the saltwater, I rinse off under my outdoor shower, revelling in the sunshine, the view of aquamarine sky, seamlessly blends with the sea. With glass of champagne in hand, I step into my private plunge pool, anticipating one of the glorious sunsets that perfuse the heavens without fail here.
It could take ten minutes for a stroll around the island – barefoot in fine coral sands that encircle the resort – but I am distracted by nimble Sally Lightfoot crabs, scurrying Ghost crabs and a Land hermit crab that is moving into a new dwelling place; an empty seashell. A Variable Lizard scuttles up a coconut palm tree, while a White-breasted Waterhen loudly instructs her two grey chicks to settle into the undergrowth below a Beach Gardenia. Black-naped terns flying low over the water scrutinising for fingerlings or squid, begin to gather on an isolated spot on the beach. As the moon casts a lambent light on the gently rippling water, I amble to Jing Restaurant and Bar, a fine dining space that curves out over the lagoon.
On the terrace, under a profusion of stars, I meet the Executive Chef who helps me to select from the Asian fusion à la carte menu. I can’t resist the Seared Saku Tuna with salmon roe and wasabi sesame; followed by today’s catch of Yellowfin tuna with soft shell crab and a sake broth. For my personalised wine pairing, the sommelier chooses from over 22,500 bottles sourced on many continents, introducing me to memorable varietals. With Valrhona Dark Chocolate Balloon and mascarpone mouse, I sip Two Rivers Altitude, a luscious dessert wine from New Zealand, of Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. Violet lights under Jing’s balcony simulate bioluminescence, attracting sting rays and Whitetip reef sharks. I linger, mesmerised by the ambiance.
Set in the North Ari Atoll, TGI Divers Halaveli offer some of the best scuba diving in the Maldives. In a traditional Dhoni-style boat, we reach Bojamadi, a renowned site to swim with Reef Manta Rays. These gentle dancers queue at a cleaning station, patiently waiting their turn for the Bluestreak cleaner wrasse to nibble off any parasites, bacteria or dead skin. We fin pass Grey reef shark, a Hawksbill sea turtle and shoals of Great barracuda.
After a relaxed al fresco lunch from the at Jahaz Restaurant, I enjoy a Balinese massage at the Halaveli Spa. As the ergonomic bed is set on a patch of glass floor, I view sea-life below, including colourful parrotfish biting off bits of coral and a Blue spotted ray. In a thrilling end to this equatorial idyll, I return to Malé in 25 minutes, on a seaplane that swoops low over a cobalt ocean, dotted with islands.
Images by: Constance Hotels and Resorts and Gillian McLaren