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J'AIME SEPTEMBER 2019

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into the sea plus other

into the sea plus other water sports. My final resort stay was my favourite of all the luxury resorts. We travelled onboard a very swish speedboat which set the scene for this impressive destination. Champagne and strawberries were handed to me while I took the short walk to reception. There was not a single cloud in the bright blue sky above, I had to wear sunglasses looking at the sand, it was bright white and the sea was clear enough to see fish close to the shore. I immediately felt like I was in a five-star hotel, the attention to detail was excellent. My home for the next couple of nights was a onebedroom pool beach villa, the best of the entire trip. It was extremely spacious, warm and inviting, a little dark - which offered respite from the bright sky and sand - but once you opened the doors, I was only a few steps from the sea… absolute bliss! This was the Maldives of my dreams and it was not disappointing at all. Although at other hotels I could see the sunset from either the bar or my room, at Ozen I really got to experience it on three occasions. It might sound trivial, but there is something so beautiful about watching the sun go down on the horizon in a place like the Maldives. I would sit on my bean bag, no music, no books, just the sound of the gentle waves. I can still feel the warm breeze begin to cool as the sun went down, I never wanted that moment to end. For me, they were the highlights of the whole trip. I found white sand that I thought was reserved DELICIOUS MALDIVIAN CUISINE only for dreams, it was like talcum powder, so soft. I walked to the other side of the island, which was only about 500 feet away and the sea here was like a pond, I could see the fish all round my feet. Just before bed, I would walk along the beach in the dark and have a moment to think on my own. I’m a huge fan of space and what is beyond this world, so when I looked up and I could see a black cloth full of white lights, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The stars were out in full force, and what gave it the wow factor was when I looked in the distance, I could see them curve in the sky. Ozen is an ultra-all-inclusive resort, so you will struggle to spend your money. Even some spa treatments are included. They have a huge array of water sports, sunset cruises, tennis courts and you can even visit local islands and see how the locals live. The dining options here were excellent, a real step up in terms of quality and number of places to eat and drink. You could have anything from sushi to Indo-Ceylon which offers Maldivian, Indian and Sri Lankan fusion dishes, and they even have an underwater fine dining restaurant; a real food and dining experience for all your senses. Like all great trips, they have to come to an end. For me, the Maldives is definitely the ultimate beach destination, the best I had ever experienced. It offers great weather, clear blue sea, white sand and the resorts appeal to both couples or families. For me, it will make you reconnect which in today’s fast-paced, digital world is the most important aspect of such a trip. What made it so special for me is that for someone who can’t relax and is always on the move, this place makes you take stock, it slows you down without you even paying attention, and you leave with your stresses left behind. 44

My top tips for the Maldives If travelling with a family with small children, we can advise how shallow the water is. On some islands, I found the water was quite shallow for longer, and in other parts, it went quite deep rather quickly. THE STUNNING MALDIVES FROM THE AIR I visited during the rainy season and I was lucky to have one day of rain. During this time, my pool in the villa came in very useful as certain islands do not allow swimming in the sea for safety reasons. Find a good book that you want to read, and a pack of playing cards. They will come in useful! Sun cream! Make sure you cover up well. Even when you think you can’t get burnt; the UV rays can be high due to the lack of air pollution. Seek advice of a specialist. With so many resorts and islands to choose from you can quickly make a bad decision. It will no doubt be a special trip of a lifetime and so no one wants to waste their money. This is where me and my colleagues can help at RB Collection. Nathan and Nicola have also visited so you are in very good hands. LUXURY TRAVEL SHOW 9 T H O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 S W I N F E N H A L L H O T E L J’AIME reader offer Limited tickets: 01543 258631 - rbcollection.com/events MENTION J’AIME FOR YOUR COMPLIMENTARY ROOM UPGRADE AT CERTAIN HOTELS WHEN BOOKING BEFORE SEPTEMBER 30, 2019. APPLICABLE TO NEW BOOKINGS ONLY, SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY, TERMS AND CONDITIONS. TO BOOK, CONTACT SAM ON 01543 258531 OR EMAIL VIP@ RBCOLLECTION.COM TO PLAN AND BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY TO THE MALDIVES. 45

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