In the words of Belinda Carlisle ‘Heaven is a place on earth’ and The Maldives are the closest to heaven I’ve found. Sun, sea and serenity: if that’s what you’re after, Meeru delivers first class
As our speedboat gently bobbed over the Indian Ocean on its final leg of the journey to Meeru, suddenly on the horizon a line of trees and an extended arm of water bungalows projecting into the turquoise sea set my heart racing with excitement and gave me butterflies. We were soon docked at the jetty with the sun gently kissing our bodies and the white sandy beach beckoning to us. After a refreshing cool drink and cold flannel we were quickly checked in and in our room on the beach in less than half an hour.
We chose Meeru Island to celebrate 30 years of marriage. We wanted a place where we could be on our own or with people, somewhere to relax and escape. We wanted good food and our every need catered for. We wanted the honeymoon that we couldn’t afford way back then and Meeru delivered spectacularly. Meeru is an island of celebrations, for honeymoon couples, people getting married on the island and people like us celebrating togetherness.
We stepped out of our wooden beach bungalow and less than a stone's throw away was the sea and our sun beds. You don’t have to get up early to bag a sun bed here and some days we were the only people on our stretch of the beach. We wondered where the people were and discovered that if they weren’t on the beach or snorkelling in the clear shallow waters, they were in the restaurant or bar.
Meeru is one of the larger islands. Walking around it takes about twenty minutes but our walk took longer, stopping off at conveniently located bars on the beach. We soaked up the sun's rays, while quenching our thirst ready for the next leg of the journey and felt like we’d at least had some exercise.
I ventured ankle deep into the sea and was amazed as rays and black tip reef sharks passed close by, especially as I have a phobia about fish, something that stems from being the daughter of a fish and chip shop owner and being used to seeing dead slimy fish. I plucked the courage up and ventured further to see shoals of blue fish and a cheeky little chappy who looked like he was wearing a Union Jack flag. He was quite endearing and I looked for him and found him everyday.
The open air bathroom is a surreal experience. I wasn’t keen at first but the two lizards that lived behind the mirror and appeared when the light was switched on became my friends, gobbling up the mosquitos and there were a lot of those. A tip is to take plenty of repellent. As you go about your business in the bathroom gazing out at the trees the fruit bats come to life. Although the mention of bats made me squirm I found myself fascinated and searched for them roosting in the trees each morning, along with the herons.
The food on Meeru is superb. Water is expensive and all-inclusive is the best option, even if you don’t partake of alcohol. The rose wine is like nectar and the choice for every meal is extensive and would suit even the hardest to please. On Sunday there’s Sunday lunch and the desserts are more than enticing with coconut bread pudding and custard, towers of profiteroles and cakes of all descriptions. If you don’t go home a few pounds heavier then you aren’t trying. If you want something special and romantic choose any location on the island and a colour scheme and a table will be set up and your meal served under the stars. This is home from home comfort with gourmet food and drink.
After wining and dining it’s time to relax and listen to a local group playing a range of modern tunes or perhaps try the crab racing evening or listen to the local islanders performing a traditional Bodu Beru.
Meeru does offer something unique, a cruise on a yacht at no extra cost? The yacht sails to Kaggi Island for some exceptional snorkelling. A tip is to do the cruise at the end of your holiday. Pack as if leaving, placing only essentials at the top for your last few days, saving you from repacking again. The service on the cruise is exceptional. We met people from Germany and New Zealand on board and enjoyed their company. Before leaving for Kaggi for our evening meal there was night fishing from the yacht. A simple line with bait tied to it was all it took to land some real whoppers. Unfortunately my husband landed a tiddler in comparison but the huge smile on his face at the accomplishment made up for it. After a quick shower we landed by speedboat on Kaggi and were greeted by fairy lights and a banquet fit for a king. We ate and talked and danced as the crew sang to us. This is an experience not to be missed.
We all know that the world we live in is round but this is the only place that I have travelled to where I was truly aware of that fact. As I sat on the beach and watched the colours around me change as the sun began to set, I felt as though I was sitting inside a globe of the earth, truly remarkable. Meeru has a lot to offer and it tantalises your senses. Have you ever filled in a questionnaire about your holiday and had a reply about what you said? Meeru even delivers on that. I made a simple suggestion to add to the maps on the island ‘you are here’. A few days after I arrived home I received an e-mail saying that they take on board what people say and if I visited in the future I would see that they do take notice. If you decide to visit Meeru take a look at the signs and see if they have changed. If they have I am truly impressed.