When it’s time to celebrate something truly special, breaking out the champagne and toasting to life’s joys sometimes just isn’t enough. There’s always a time for a big, jam-packed dinner or soirée, but it doesn’t always feel quite feel right for the occasion; rather, my favourite way to celebrate a significant milestone is with a fantastically fabulous trip. When I recently had the joy of celebrating both my 30th birthday and anniversary with my adoring partner within weeks of one another, we knew it was time to splash out and splurge on a truly indulgent, once-in-a-lifetime and extraordinarily memorable trip together in the magical Maldives.
When picking a place to post up, we decided our dream destination was at Velassaru. A quiet slice of paradise, this private island boasts some of the region’s best beaches and lagoons, and are world renowned for their insanely vivid, turquoise and calm waters and powder-soft white sand. After landing at Male’s international airport, we were immediately warmly greeted by resort staff who treated us to iced coffees while our luggage was loaded into a private speedboat. A short 25-minute ride later, we arrived at the lush, tropical island and were met with all-encompassing splendour and beauty.
After checking in to our overwater bungalow complete with a private plunge pool and steps leading out to the jaw-droppingly bright Indian Ocean, we were immediately elated and already feeling spoiled thanks to the gorgeous fruit basket and champagne welcome gift awaiting us in our room. An enormous, plush bed, silky soft and high-quality bedding, a super spacious living space and closet, and luxurious bathroom complete with an enormous soaker tub and rain shower, both with expansive views of the stunning water, elevated the sheer and immediate bliss and delight.
With our complimentary snorkel gear, we wasted no time jumping straight in the sparking ocean right from our deck. Plenty of coral and sea life stretches around the island, and it’s easy to cruise around snorkeling for hours, admiring all the natural wonders and beauty. When we were ready to dry off for lunch, we didn’t need to miss the ocean too much: the al fresco dining options ensure your feet stay in the sand at a table on the beach, and the never-ending aquamarine ocean is always in sight. At the resort’s tremendously expansive infinity pool and bar built on the beach, there was always room for an in-house made soft serve ice cream cone and freshly baked waffle cone for dessert. On sleepier afternoons, the house-made fresh coffee and coconut blended slushie hit the spot like none other.
Most evenings, we’d walk a lap around the island — which only takes about 20 minutes — before heading back to our bungalow to shower up and get ready for the evening. We almost always started each night with a cocktail at the appropriately named Chill Bar, which boasts a large sundeck built over the water and was the perfect place to watch the sun set while snacking on the delicious house-made spiced nuts and olives and share plates. When a storm rolled in one evening, we grabbed a bottle of wine and soaked in the gigantic tub a little longer instead, feeling amazed to watch lighting strike right from the luxuriously relaxing bath.
When dinnertime rolled around, there was never a lack of choice for tempting cuisine choices, but when we wanted it all, the buffet at Vela boasted an incredible array of everything from local fresh seafood to a large variety of perfectly prepared meats and roasts and every side dish and flavour imaginable, from appetizers to dessert. When craving a little dinner action, we dined at the overwater Teppanyaki restaurant, which was as impressively entertaining as it was enjoyable. One the evening of my birthday, we had a special, romantic and truly memorable meal at Sand. With a private table right on the beach, it’s hard not to have a pinch-me moment while toasting and tucking into lobster and other Pan-Indian Ocean specialties. The incredibly thoughtful staff treated me to a rich, luxe and decadent chocolate birthday cake (complete with song and cheer) for dessert that was so good, truth be told, I kept scooping from my partner’s side as mine was all gone.
Celebrating our anniversary at Velassaru was a supremely romantic way to enjoy each other’s company and our surroundings, too. Elevating appreciation for each other and for our location, the spa and its treatments were another delightful way to indulge. The spa itself, which features an overwater hydropool and steam room, as well as each treatment room, is built over the water, enhancing spa time with its soothing sound and stunning view. It’s inarguably the most magical place on earth to soak up all the love and affection of your partner and give it right back in return; honouring our relationship in such an exquisite place felt truly exceptional and significant.
The especially attentive, warm and genuine staff made our stay extra special, too. Remembering we loved to share everything (mainly so I can sneak bites of every dish off my adoring huz’s plate), no detail was overlooked or request too big or small. We felt like royalty during our entire stay, and loved making that connection with one another and the wonderful staff alike. At the end of the evening, we always loved having a laugh together playing board games in the lounge where live music was performed, and cocktails and hookah were available to enjoy. Every moment in paradise was truly relished and revelled in; Velassaru very well may be heaven on earth.
Aimee Wice, TLSE Travel and Wellness Contributor