Arrival at Landaa Giravaaru, Maldives

Landaa Giravaaru is a totally extraordinary resort!   Travelling in by seaplane and speedboat is actually a very fitting way to arrive –  It’s certainly not the norm!    But then, nothing about this hotel is the norm.

the name's bond...
A refreshing drink on arrival…

I don’t think I’ve ever been shown to a room that made my jaw drop more than this one.

In fact you couldn’t really call it a room.  It was more like a house.   Parked outside were a pair of his and hers bicycles, with our initials monogrammed on the front!  I guess, when you have an island to explore, the most scenic way to go is by bike!

bike 2
One of our trusty matching bicycles…
not a bad pad...
Not a bad pad I suppose…

front doorarrival and landaLandaa swimming pool

The room was situated on a HUGE plot with lushly planted front and rear gardens – much bigger than our back garden at home –  with the added benefit of a path that meandered down to a secluded beach!  We had a large swimming pool all to ourselves.  The room also came with a pavillion style ‘outhouse’.  Underneath the canopy were a myriad of chairs and loungers plus a table for snacks or a game of cards.  A winding staircase took you up to a mezzanine balcony, complete with large sunlounger and hammock – just the place to curl up with a good book, or be lulled to sleep by the hypnotic rythmn of the sea.

Crows Nest
The ‘outhouse’
the cat that got the cream
Cat that got the cream…
and relax
Well, it was bound to happen…


Our home for 4 days
Our ‘Room’ with a view!  Incredible.

The only challenge we seemed to be faced with over those fleeting few days, was choosing exactly where to relax…there were just so many options.

Although we knew there were other guests at the hotel, somehow it felt like you had the whole island to yourself.  The beach was a stretch of pristine white, powdery sand, gently caressed by the calmest of turquoise waters.

The restaurants and eateries were amazing – the highlight being an incredible Italian, called Blu, which gave you the feeling of being suspended over the ocean.  I’ll never foget eating one of our meals in the middle of a tropical downpour – giggling at the frantic race of the waiters to batten down the hatches and shut up all the shutters!

Nobody about…
Just before dinner
Just before dinner…

For a mother of four, who spends her busy days running the kids here, there and everywhere, doing school runs, countless trips to the supermarket, cooking meal after meal and wading through endless piles of laundry – it felt as though I’d just been given the greatest gift!  Four days of total relaxation.  I will always be grateful that I had these moments.









Puking in Paradise

After unpacking our things, we couldn’t wait to explore the island.  We hadn’t eaten much on the plane, and I was feeling a little peckish.  We came across a relaxed looking Italian restaurant, where we were shown to a table-for-two, situated on a sweeping deck beside a lagoon.  To our left was a large open pizza oven, to our right, the irridescent Indian Ocean.

When Nathan suggested that we share a pizza, I realised immediately that something was up.  Since when had my husband been into sharing pizzas?  Admitedly, he had looked a bit off-colour since we’d got off the aeroplane, but in my mind, it was down to tiredness – after all we’d missed almost an entire night’s sleep.

“You ok babe?” I asked. “You don’t seem yourself.”

“I dunno.  I don’t feel great,” came the reply.

By now, Nathan was looking positively clammy and distinctly green around the gills.  Nevertheless, he managed to eat some pizza, and even down a beer or two, and we spent the rest of the afternoon investigating all the hotel’s ameneties, hoping that this sicky spell would soon pass.

But it wasn’t to be.

All through that night, Nathan was up and down like a yo-yo, tossing and turning, unable to sleep.  Then finally, the throwing-up commenced.

Now I must confess, I wasn’t much help.  Apart from a few words of comfort, I pretty much slept through his whole ordeal.  I was exhausted.

Suddenly, at around 6am, I sat bolt upright in bed, flung back the duvet, and with no prior warning, had to make a dash to the bathroom.  Now it was my turn.

We thought back to our daughter, Emily, being sick the night before we flew out.  There was no doubt about it – we had arrived with some kind of sickness bug.  It was our first full day in Paradise, and there was absolutely no way we could leave the room.

We both slept fitfully for a few hours, before deciding that our best option was to spend our ‘sick-day’ lolloping on the cushioned sun-loungers in the shade of the garden.  We spent the day chatting, reading books and trying to work out whether puking in paradise was a bum deal or a blessing!  Well, I suppose if you’re going to be sick, then you may as well do it in style.

Not a bad place to spend the day…?

Later that evening, when the sicky feeling at last subsided, Nathan gingerly trudged towards Reception to inform the hotel staff that we wouldn’t be eating dinner.  He returned laden with various forms of medication, bottles of water and fluid replacement sachets.  He also came back with the best surprise – A copy of Roman Holiday for us to watch on DVD!  There’s nothing like a bit of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck whizzing around the streets of Rome on a Vespa to lift the spirits and restore a bit of romance to the occasion.  The hotel staff were incredible – later that evening, there was a knock at the door.  In came the hotel chef who insisted on preparing us a deliciously light, restorative broth – it was just what the doctor ordered.  Before too long, we began to feel like our normal selves again.

just what the doctor ordered
Just what the doctor ordered

With any luck, our holiday would start afresh in the morning.










Maldivian Welcome


The island Spa
The Island Spa, accessible by a traditional Maldivian boat called a ‘Dhoni’

You know you’re on a special kind of trip when you walk out of the airport and jump straight into a speedboat.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen sea that colour.  Not really blue…turquoise.  Startling.  I couldn’t stop smiling, despite all the worry of leaving the kids, despite it being six o’clock in the morning.Speedboat

The Maldives is made up of  a long, narrow chain of 26 natural Atolls, which are a bit like islands of Coral.  The Four Seasons Kuda Huura Hotel is all that can be found on the North Male Atoll.  No cars.  No roads.  No neon lights.  No hustle or bustle.  Just staggering beauty and serenity all aound.  As the speed boat approached the jetty where we would disembark, a group of people stood and serenaded us – a traditional Maldivian welcome.  We climbed up onto the jetty and a beautiful smiling lady, with a flower in her hair greeted us:


“Welcome Mr and Mrs Jelf.”

The Jetty

We had no name tags on and we weren’t the only guests to arrive.  How on earth did she know who was who?  It seemed every single member of staff, from the Manager, who mingled with guests practically incognito, to the omlette chef, knew us by name, and everywhere we went, we were always greeted hospitably whenever we walked past.

Our suitcases were whisked away while we were greeted by our smartly dressed Concierge, who gave us a refreshing spiced drink.  She told us about the various restaurants we could eat in and informed us that we’d been given two complimentary excursions of our choice, plus a massage!  Nathan and I kept looking at one another in disbelief.  This was crazy!


When we were shown to our room I was overwhelmed. Surely this was not just random chance. This was a blessing from heaven!  The rooms were not so much rooms… Each one based on a traditional Maldivian style house, complete with garden and private pool.




20161031_113242At the end of the garden, a winding path, hedged on either side with lush greenery, led out to a secluded beach.

at the end of the garden path (2)
At the end of our garden path…


Emotions began to surface as I drank in the beauty of the room, the garden, the views.  This place was completely out of this world!  Paradise. I had been so reluctant to leave the children. But it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, this was meant to be!  I knew in that moment, a choice lay before me. I could  spend the week worrying about the kids. Or I could let go and entrust them into the hands of the One who made the turquoise sea that lay before me…