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From white beaches fringed with lofty palms to sunset cruises and plenty of water sports, Club Med Kani Resort comes up as an interesting holiday destination.

Indian Ocean appeared as an enlarged blue jewel from the airplane. As I landed in Male, the clear turquoise waters surrounding Maldives were welcoming. White speed boats ferrying the tourists dotted the cerulean expanse. The winter morning appeared balmy as the sea breeze brushed my skin while I boarded the boat en route to Club Med Kani Resort that had invited me for a three-day fam trip. The water was so clear I could see the fins of the fish swimming. The blue-green waves refreshed me instantly after a long flight to the sun-kissed nation from Mumbai via Sri Lanka. And there I was in God’s own water body, where he poured all the shades of blue in, decking it up with coral reef colonies along with varied underwater flora and fauna.

Not many beaches in the world make for perfect dream destinations, but what Maldives offers remains matchless. In this island country of 26 atolls, a host of
premium and medium-budget resorts have mushroomed, attracting tourists from around the globe. The beaches that turn silver during daytime offer a host of activities ranging from water sports, parties to spa treatments. It’s quite an experience to enjoy your plate of smoked tuna with grilled veggies at the sit-down lunch table set on the glistening sand shaded by tall coconut palm trees.

Water, water everywhere
The Indian Ocean looks majestic when its aquamarine water sweeps the beaches the colour of powdered silver. And what better way can one soak in the serenity? Just laze around on the sun-beds under the shadow of dense palms with a cocktail or a glass of fruit punch.
While you are in the most beautiful island-nation, how can you not just splash water around on those jetties and surf-boards? There are options like scuba diving, waterskiing, snorkelling, parasailing and surf-boarding. (Price: `13,188 – `31,056.) Or you can just go for speedboat rides taking Gentle Organisers aka GOs around. GOs are the staffers who help and guide you on request.
As the tropical sun melts into an evening sky, you can go for a sunset cruise and even spot the jumping dolphins, while other species of aquatic creatures swim in the cyan waters. The patch of gold that sunset paints the blue ocean with is worth seeing. Don’t forget to try the overwater swing; it’s a joy to splash the waves with your feet while you rock to and fro.

Man and the sea
The transparent blue-green waters have a lively underwater world. Maldives is known exclusively for its coral reefs. From the glass boards in the boats, you can see the ecosystem housing colourful fish, sea turtles, and even octopus concealed in the flora. We took the boat after breakfast at 9 am. The boatman was sharp enough to tell us about the varieties of fish we saw underneath. From the glass-bottom boat, we had interesting underwater sightseeing.
We spotted blue sergeant fish, butterfly fish, sea urchins, parrot fish, Napoleon fish, eagle ray and blue fiscal. It was interesting to see butterfly fish moving in schools around the gaps and walls of the coral structure. We also discovered swarms of fish coming near the walkway at night. Sitting on one of the wooden benches over there was quite relaxing, as the gentle sound of water was soft on the ears. The lights dotting the wooden planks kept the fish near as did breadcrumbs thrown by some guests who enjoyed the serene hours post-dinner. We also spotted a grey heron that would sit leisurely on one of the corners of the boards. He was a regular. Wonder if he, too, was fascinated with bright lights like the fish.

Inside story
Getting up with the call of koels, hoopoes, Asian swifts and other birds was refreshing, while the ocean roared outside the glass windows. A barefoot walk on the beach energised me for the rest of the day. The resort is dotted with a variety of trees, both exotic and local.
Frangipani grows in abundance and their white flowers with lemony scent make for perfect hair ornament. Now, a bit about Club Med — it is a French public limited company, better known as Club Méditerranée, which specialises in premium holidays and related vacations offering quality services. Club Med Kani is their premium holiday destination. There are different categories of villas that this private island destination offers. The overwater suites are the most-sought after as they are built above water, complete with terrace, bathtub with ocean view and sun beds to relax. The other ones are: a beach deluxe room, a beach club connecting room, a garden club connecting room and a club room.

The rooms are air-conditioned, with teak furniture. There are facilities like hair dryer, security safe, wifi, kettles with choices of tea/coffee and more. I liked the way the room caretaker would refill the moisturiser or fold the towels into interesting animal shapes like an elephant or a peacock, and tuck in a blood-red hibiscus before arranging the same on the bed. The only minor thing that troubled me was that there was no toothbrush or toothpaste in the washroom. Thankfully, I always keep them in my travel suitcase. Prices are decided according to the demand and season. Details: +66 (0)2 268 8448. For bookings from India call 022 40052180.

Eat, drink and be merry
They have an alfresco bar and a sunset beach bar. You can relax on the round cane chairs watching the blue ocean gush towards the beach with your drink or fresh coconut water. I really liked having my lunch at Velhi — the 450-seater main restaurant. Other restaurants here include Kandu, Kaana and Iru, the open area bar. At the main restaurant, there were live counters for different cuisines like Japanese, Italian, Continental and Indian. There’s no ala carte, only buffet. Adjoining them were counters of desserts, fresh fruits and salads offering interesting dishes like Coconut Cream Cake, Apple Pie with Honey, short pastries, fruit cakes, and custard.
Being a foodie, I really liked their assortment of freshly baked bread, which is comprised of buns, bagels, ciabatta, baguette and more. I loved their focaccia even when I didn’t dunk it in olive oil. The chefs prepare fresh catch in different ways. Try the smoked tuna with salad or fish fillets. Prices: some of the gourmet choices are complimentary.

It would be better if they introduce a food counter that serves authentic Maldivian food, to give the guests a taste of the island cuisine. Post-lunch, I loved sipping on tender pineapple juice at one of the tables set in the open area. The evenings came alive with magical music, flow of drinks with a variety of finger food. Not to be missed is the glow party, where one wears fluorescent glow-in-dark face paint and accessories like glasses, headbands and sticks. Must-attend are beach parties with tables set close to the shores, while fireworks dazzle the evening sky. And when you feel drained the next day, head to Mandara Spa, nestled in lush green trees with relaxation treatments like a Balinese massage, warm stone massage, pure indulgence and more, inside the calmness of wooden cabins. Spa packages range from Rs 4,750–Rs 50,342.

Saima Afreen

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