It was my husband, Vibhor’s, 30th birthday and I was planning a surprise for him. After months of research I came across Anantara Veli resort in Maldives and I must thank and appreciate its manager Ms. Claudia Pronk for her help in planning a perfect birthday surprise!
Maldives is a perfect destination to plan a romantic surprise trip – main reason being visa on arrival. All Vibhor knew was that we are going away for 3 days at a distance 3-4 hours from Mumbai. Poor thing thought we are going to places like lonavala, lavassa or Ambey valley. It was perfect for my surprise.
The night before he thought we are leaving, we decided to have dinner with family at ITC Maratha (which is next to the International Airport where we had to board that very night and he was obviously clueless). Sometime during the dinner, my Mom accidentally blurted out something about our flight timing and Vibhor realized this dinner plan is to spend time before we take off. He dint even realize that there were suitcases in the car and why I insisted to pick him from office instead of him driving to work.
After some drama about the surprise, he got excited and thrilled. The excitement was tremendous at the airport where he kept asking about the hotel we are staying at, the kind of place it is, whether I packed his swimming trunks, etc. etc. I still recall his facial expressions and it still brings a smile to my face! I’m so happy I did that. It was one of the first realizations how traveling can fill your life with priceless memories.
And then we finally landed in Maldives, hand in hand, looking forward to our romantic getaway. In Maldives, you either travel by a boat to your resort or you take a small water plane to it. Since our resort was close by, we went by a hotel pick-up yacht. The holiday started right then when the winds kissed our face as we headed to the resort.
The resort was beautiful with spell-bounding scenic locations and white sand. For the first time I can say for a resort that the picture gallery on the website of Ananatara truly captures the beauty, with no need of any filters or instagram/photoshop effects. We stayed at the Over water Bungalow and regularly had snorkeling sessions around it. The snorkeling gears were offered complimentary for the entire stay unlike in other resorts where they are charged on daily basis. We were snorkeling day in and day out exploring the under water species around us.
We celebrated Vibhor’s birthday during dinner and the staff made it memorable with a delicious birthday cake and birthday song. There was more surprise awaited back to the room which was beautifully decorated with rose petals and more! It was paradise.
Another island resort of Anantara Group called Dhigu is located next to ours and there is a ferry available for those seeking a trip to the other. We also made visits to the Dhigu island and loved it equally. This was more family friendly resort offering beach villas, etc.
The bon-fire by the beach at night accompanied by a perfect guitarist was one night to remember! I remember dancing the most on those romantic and soothing numbers. When he played an Indian song, we went crazy! Imagine this – bonfire by the beach, sound of the waves accompanied by your favorites romantic tracks by an extremely talented guitarist, dinner surprise by finding “butter chicken” on the menu and gazing upwards at the starry skies. Couldn’t ask for more!!
Theres so much to write but I would like to end here saying that Claudia and the entire staff at Anantara (ever-smiling, helpful and generous) made our trip truly memorable! Thanks for a wonderful experience! I hope to visit again!