Going solo in the Maldives was life-affirming

kirtey verma in the maldives
Going solo in the Maldives Kirtey Verma

The Maldives are heaven on earth – and seemingly conjured from the middle of the Indian Ocean. While the archipelagos of 1000+ islands are often seen as a playground for honeymooners, there are many more thrills to be found, even for solo holidayers (like me) looking to never lift a finger.

All you have to do is turn on your OOO and put yourself into hands of the team pulling the strings at Atmosphere Kanifushi. With so many Maldivian resort islands to choose from, it can be hard to pick exactly which resort deserves your hard-earned cash, but Atmosphere deserves a spot right at the top of the list.

Yes, this luxury five-star resort comes with all the amenities you’d expect – but it’s also a sanctuary, offering a tight-knit community where your wellness is the priority. Feeling a little strung out from a particular bleak London winter, I jumped at the chance to escape from the city, unwind and reset my energy for the year ahead.

I’m interested. How long does it take to get there?

Your first stop? Malé. A 10-hour direct flight from London Heathrow takes you straight into the capital. When I arrive, the sky is clear, and the saturation turned up. At the airport, you’re immediately met by a member of the team who swiftly usher you through to a VIP lounge, where you can prep yourself for the seaplane ahead – your ticket to Kanifushi, a tropical island tucked away in the Lhaviyani Atoll.

Barefoot in board shorts, the sea pilots exude a casual confidence that instils an easy trust – despite the barely head-height contraption you’re about to step into. Nonetheless, if you’re lucky enough to get a window seat, you’re immediately distracted by the wild, breathtakingly blue sea, a pristine paradise that you’re about to enjoy, as the plane lands smoothly in under an hour.

arriving my seaplane at atmosphere kaunfushi maldives
Seaplane is amazing way to arrive! Atmosphere Kanufushi Maldives

The arrivals team are hands-on, greeting you at the jetty by beating boduberu drums, handing out hand-woven bamboo necklaces – and aligning themselves to your every need before it even arises. That could be a cold hand towel to cool down or a glass of Champagne to start your holiday on the right foot.

Right. Why is this resort so special?

atmosphere kanufushi maldives
Atmosphere Kanufushi Maldives

Well, aside from the friendly team who greet you everywhere you go, this island escape comes with private beach, lagoon and over-water villas. I stayed in a one-bedroom sunset beach villa, and it was dreamy vibes. Your luxury villa is fully stocked on arrival – and replenished daily – with all the snacks and drinks you could possibly need. With a private decking and pool overlooking the sea, I could rest in peace, admiring my little slice of Indian Ocean. In the afternoons, I’d lounge with my book on the swinging hammock before enjoying a quick swim in my private pool, followed by cool outdoor shower. The free-standing bathtub was also a joy to find – the ideal set-up for unwinding in the evenings.

beach villa at atmosphere kanufushi maldives
Kirtey’s beach villa Atmosphere Kanufushi Maldives

It’s easy to get around the island, too. Bikes are provided with every villa – and personalised with your room number, in case you’re so blissed out you forget. You can also hop on a buggy cart to get where you need to go. Simply download an app and you’ll see a map, highlighting where all the shuttle buggies are hovering around the island. You could walk if you want – it takes about thirty minutes to get from one end of the island to the other, but you’ll work up a fair sweat under the Maldivian sun.

If you’ve brought your children along to paradise, you’ll find a very handy kids club on site. Drop them off in the morning and they’ll be kept safe and entertained with the roster of daily activities. And with a fully equipped games room, sports centre and flood-lit tennis courts, older teens won’t be left out either. Simply put, no one will be bored here.

Sounds dreamy. What other activities are on offer?

a sunset cruise at atmosphere kanufushi maldives
Sunset fishing cruise Atmosphere Kanufushi Maldives

Interested in the world beneath the water? Hire some snorkelling equipment – you can keep it for the duration of your stay and go on unlimited underwater excursions, swimming alongside sharks and shoals of fish. Or if you’d rather spy nurse sharks from a more respectable distance (ie, above ground), step aboard the sunset fishing cruise. My attempts at catching anything were laughable, but once I surrendered my rod, I sat on the deck of the boat and leaned into the moment, taking pleasure in watching the sun set over the day.

But no pressure if you don’t want to rock the boat. You’re here to relax and there’s no better place for serenity than the spa. Enter: The Akiri Spa by Mandara – a one-stop shop for healing Ayurvedic therapies, signature body treatments and rejuvenating facials. Once you’ve arrived, your therapist leads you through a lush, tropical garden to a sensual space overlooking the ocean, offset by tranquil music in the background. You might drift off – I’m certain I did – but you’ll wake up feeling like your muscles are jelly, your skin soothed and your mind calm. To build on those peaceful feelings, you could also book on to an early morning sound healing or yoga session. Fair warning, though: the soothing sounds of the ocean in the backdrop could send you to sleep in savasana.

I’m getting hungry. What options are there?

Foodies, rejoice – for an island, you have a surprising amount of choices, and you’ll never go hungry. Depending on what you fancy, head to the Spice – it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an international buffet featuring favourites from Asian, European and Maldivian cuisines. There are live cooking stations (great if you want a charred roti hot off the pan) and grills. Make sure you leave room for second helpings (and dessert), because you’ll want to try everything. But you’ll want to visit all the other restaurants on site, too – and there are many.

a plate of food at the sunset pool bar at atmosphere kanufushi maldives
A dish at the Sunset Pool Bar Atmosphere Kanufushi Maldives

For lunch, you might go the Sunset Pool Bar, which offers an a la carte menu, sandy floors and a view of the lagoon. Drinks and nibbles are also available at The Liquid, which comes alive at night with live music, DJs, dance shows – and even karaoke if you dare. Situated in a hut by the ocean, Ceylon Bliss is more of a rustic choice – and ideal for a pre-dinner bite. Sip on an icy-cold beer while snacking on spicy Sri Lankan street food. Expect bold flavours, complex spices and a few unexpected guests – the tiny hermit crabs scuttling on by the waterfront.

pier six at atmosphere kanufushi maldives
Pier Six Atmosphere Kanufushi Maldives

If fine dining is more your style, head to the Pier Six. Designed in the shape of a native manta ray, you can sit inside or outside, but I’d suggest the latter if you want the breeze of the ocean to compliment your dinner. Try the dim sum – it’s the perfect comfort food – or the seafood, the lobster is particularly striking – perfectly tender and full of flavour. The restaurant also features an authentic Japanese Teppanyaki grill where the chef brings all the heat to the kitchen, showing off his knife tricks, whirling and swirling raw ingredients into a delectable dinner. Just move your chair a few steps back – it gets hot in there.

just veg at atmosphere kanufushi maldives
Just Veg Atmosphere Kanufushi Maldives

However, for star quality, the jewel in the crown is undeniably Just Veg – the first à la carte vegetarian restaurant in the Maldives, whipping up gourmet cuisine inspired by Arabic, Indian and Mediterranean regions. The menu is pure soul food and curated by acclaimed Italian chef Fabrizio Marino. It’s home to the Just Veg festival, too – an exclusive event taking place on 21-26 June, this year, hosted by Marino. This five-course dinner features ingredients hand-picked from the restaurant’s own garden – it’s a foodie’s dream.

How to get there:

Guests can travel to Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives for 7-nights from £4,571pp with Kenwood Travel. Includes flights, transfers and a Sunset Beach Villa and with all the benefits of the all-inclusive Kanifushi Plan. BOOK NOW

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