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HOT SPOT: FOUR SEASONS MALDIVES

Martine Bury concludes that three resorts are better than one.

T

he first morning I arose in my over-water bungalow at the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa in the Maldives, I walked straight out to the deck to drink in the surreal view. There was water as far as my eyes could see, crystalline and turquoise blue. A few feet directly below a graceful, solitary blacktip reef shark glided through the tranquil waters lapping at the structure’s wooden beams. Home to over 30 species of sharks, including the elusive, gentle whale shark, the Maldivian archipelago is a designated sanctuary for these fish spanning 35,000-square miles of Arabian Sean in the Indian Ocean. Suffice to say, I didn’t spend much time contemplating the swath of nature that spread out before me. I grabbed my iPhone, took a shot and promptly posted it on Instagram and Facebook—the modern-day postcard. The immediate reaction of scores of friends and acquaintances overwhelmingly expressed that this breathtaking range of 1,200 coral islands, dotting this intimidating spread of ocean, is at the top of most people’s bucket list. “Dream trip,” “Bucket list,” “Wow, wow, wow.” Scientists have grimly speculated that the chain of Maldive Islands—name derived from mālā, the Sanskrit word for garland—will soon disappear, and succumb to rising sea levels. With a sense of excitement and urgency, I wanted to get the most possible out of the experience on every level. Comprised of three unique resorts, The Four Seasons Maldives made it easy. Inspired by the region’s singular, aquatic sense of place, it was time to really see the sea. Faced with hundreds of islands, over 110 resorts, more than 50 additional resort projects in the works in this delicate

ecosystem and the desire to get to know this uniquely mixed native Indo-European culture, one can be plagued by the tyranny of choice. A stay at the Four Seasons allows guests to explore many special environments in the Maldives in a seamless experience combining two private island resorts and a luxury liveaboard yacht. The 12-acre garden island Four Seasons Kuda Huraa is a diminutive destination compared to the 44-acre jungle island Landaa Giraavaru, its more remote sister property in the Maldives’ only UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Baa Atoll. Docked at Kuda Huraa, the 11-cabin, three-deck yacht Four Seasons Explorer is literally a floating luxury lodge for die-hard divers complete with staff, dive pros and a boat tender following on a traditional Maldivian vessel to cater to every need. In the details, the resort’s highly curated experiences always remind you that no matter how lavish life can be on the surface, you are there to experience what’s underneath it. You have to take the plunge. From the moment I disembarked Cathay Pacific Airways’ new direct flight to Malé from Hong Kong for the late night, 25-minute speedboat ride to Kuda Huraa, I had to get my sea legs. With its Island Spa, four great restaurants and stretches of white sand beach, the resort was the perfect entrée to my Maldivian journey. I soon discovered that this very special grouping of properties offers inspiring opportunities for all-out luxury, high-adrenaline adventure, centering mind-body experiences, as well as meaningful conservation. Here is my ‘bucket list’ some life-changing things you can only do at Four Seasons Maldives. KER & DOW NEY

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QUEST Magazine Issue 3  

Explore France, Italy, China, Maldives and some of the best places to travel this summer in Ker & Downey's Summer issue of QUEST magazine.