Idyllic island dining

BBC Good Food ME|January 2020

Idyllic island dining
We journey to Anantara Kihavah Maldives to discover this stunning island’s unflawed beauty, culinary delights and unforgettable experiences.
Glesni Holland

It’s the glimmering turquoise waters - their colour as bright as cerulean blue, that first catch my attention as we begin our descent into Malé Airport. It’s only then that it finally hits me that I am in the Maldives for the first time (and, naturally, I let out an involuntary squeal of excitement on the plane.) Islands of all shapes and sizes with snow-white sands and luscious pockets of greenery are dotted along our flight path to the mainland - just a mere selection of the Maldives’ 1,200+ islands.

After a 35-minute seaplane journey north of the capital, we arrive at our home for the next few days - Anantara’s stunning, private Kihavah island. Translating as “young coconut”, it seems only fitting that our welcome to Kihavah - which includes a performance from bodu beru drummers - also features a thirst-quenching coconut, cut from the towering trees above us just moments earlier. Following a super smooth, faultless check-in process, we’re soon whisked off by our personal butler via golf buggy in search of our private villa.

Checking in

It’s golden hour on the island when we arrive, and as we wind our way through its sandy pathways to the beat of the bodu beru drums - a sundown ritual that takes place daily at Kihavah, we arrive at our home for the weekend. Of the 80 villas available on the island, which range from overwater pool villas with direct sunset views to beach villas with a private pool and direct access to Kihavah’s shores, we’re staying in the latter during our visit. Suitable for both couples and families alike, accommodation options are aplenty to cater for various party sizes - from one- and twobed beach villas, to four-bed overwater residences.

Privacy is paramount throughout the island, but particularly in the beach villas. Each villa is enclosed in its own private oasis - sealed offfrom the public pathways with walled gardens and a large wooden entrance door. Inside and down the garden path is a shaded terrace, private pool and a swinging chair big enough for the two of you to laze on with a morning coffee. We spot the tree-lined pathway through the opening in the hedges, scattered with miniscule geckos by day and low-flying bats by night, which leads us directly onto just one of Kihavah’s many beaches. A few more steps, and we find ourselves paddling in the waves and catch a quick snap of the beautiful sunset. So gorgeous, that I now have the very photograph on my bedroom wall - a stunning scape of fluffy lilac clouds contrasting the sky’s burnt orange rays.

The villa’s interiors are just as spectacular as its exteriors; inside, you’ll find an ultra-comfy king-sized bed, a well-stocked Nespresso machine for fuelling those sunrise seekers, and a sketchpad and pencils for those looking to recreate these magical moments on paper.

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January 2020