If there was ever a choice between hills and beaches, the first 50 minutes spent in the Maldives—ferrying from the airport to Sangeli Island—were all I needed to reaffirm my belief. The swirls of blue could have swallowed me whole and I would still be a happy camper, er, swimmer.
Where once there was an oasis of vivid, pastel blue, Sangeli cropped up like a tiny speckle of green and brown, more disturbing than reassuring. But our ferry bobbed across with renewed vigour, and the tiny blob turned into two islands connected by a string of water villas supported by stilts—it looked like two more arms outstretched, ready to welcome us all into the fold.
OBLU Select at Sangeli was surrounded by clear lagoons and pristine white sand that lead to quaint beach villas, each fenced by a bit of green to ensure privacy. On the other end, the smaller island, One Banyan, was an adults-only area, sprouting an arm that held the six, exclusive honeymoon villas. This kiddos-free paradise was also home to Elena Spa and Wellness, a swimming pool and two speciality restaurants: Simply Veg and Just Grill.
In the Maldives, time was meaningless. If not dictated by meals, any semblance of routine would cease to exist. I took long, relaxing baths in the afternoon sun, indulged in spa sessions and ate long, uninterrupted meals with only a book for company.
One morning, I went snorkelling in the nearby lagoon. I had only ever seen it in movies and was wholly unprepared by how mindblowing it could be. In a way, I was glad. Under the soft morning sun, the vibrant lagoon was motivation enough to get used to the intrusive breathing piece; my eyes remained trained on the seabed, seeking the differently-shaped corals and the schools of fish that whizzed by. Nothing could have prepared me for the sudden dip in the seafloor, where only the bigger fish dared to venture. But I was a big fish too. Floored by the sheer magnitude of the ocean, there was a sense of dissonance—I was content yet excited; floating yet unmoved. Like just how vast the world was, and yet, at that moment, I was the only one who existed.
LOCATION: Sangeli, North Malé Atoll, Maldives. It is a 50-minute ferry ride from Malé International Airport.
ACCOMMODATION: 39 beach villas, 14 deluxe beach pool villas, 7 two-bedroom beach pool suites, 45 water villas, 26 deluxe overwater pool villas and 6 honeymoon select ocean villas