Skylark Travels

Just back from The Maldives

By: Paul Tumpowsky

Paul Tumpowsky, Skylark's ever-exploring (but always-on-the-job) CEO, recently returned from a stay in the exotic Maldives. This wasn't any old vacation, however—it was Paul's honeymoon with his lovely wife, Desi. Here is his report.

Velaa Private Island

Our personal butler greeted us as the seaplane glided up to the dock. During our stay he was our guide and major-domo—and also the person whose dedicated pampering left us unfit to survive back in the real world. Velaa Private Island struck us as one of the world's hidden gems—a place that's truly exceptional but not yet overrun.

IN A NUTSHELL: The motto of Velaa Private Island is "beyond luxury,” and that didn’t feel like hyperbole. There are 40 villas on property—these villas are the best room product I've seen. Their intelligent design ensures both complete privacy and a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. And the activities! We were like kids in a tropical candy store: windsurfing, scuba diving, rock climbing, manta ray and dolphin excursions, a submarine (!), even golf—all on a 50-acre island.

I Can't Stop Talking About...

The spa, oh the spa. One of seven My Blend by Clarins spas, you're covered from sauna to snow room, but the massage table is what you want. Thanks to a porthole Velaa has set into the floor beneath the headrest, I could watch turtles swim by as the tension was kneaded from my back.

Fun Fact

For years, turtles have come to the island to nest. To ensure that the ritual continues, Velaa started a turtle hatchery and an extensive conservation program. (In fact, the island is actually shaped like a turtle—hence Velaa, which means "turtle" in the local language.)

One&Only Reethi Rah

It’s close to the international airport in Male, so getting to One&Only Reethi Rah requires only a 45-minute luxury yacht ride—much appreciated after flying for 16 hours. Once you’re there, you can really spread out: it's on one of the largest private islands in the Maldives—meaning you won't see more than a handful of other people.

IN A NUTSHELL: The size of One&Only Reethi Rah's island means that the 128 villas are far from one another, there are multiple coves with private beaches and special events and entertainment are possible—and through all of it, the level of style and luxury remains exceedingly high. Each guest receives a schedule of the week’s special experiences: snorkeling excursions with sharks and turtles, sunset catamaran dinners, dolphin cruises. There’s a whole roster of regular activities on top of that.

Fun Fact

Reethi Rah uses all 100 acres of the island. How do you get from the tennis courts to snacking on mezze platters on the other side of the island? The bicycles that are waiting at your villa.

What to Eat:

Reethi Rah has the best food in the Maldives, hands down. Go to Botanica, take a seat underneath the giant Banyan tree and get prepared for the best "farm-to-table" dining possible.