Being thrust into the air as if you were attached to a jet pack is something everyone should probably experience at least once. Below, a hard body of water is the only place to break your fall and, while logically, I know I’m only a couple of metres in the air, trust me, when you’re up there alone and vulnerable, it may as well be 20.
It’s not just a fear of heights you have to contend with, either. Achieving and maintaining balance is crucial to survival: one wrong move and you can find yourself tumbling forwards or backwards, a split second the difference between collecting a mouthful of salt water or getting tossed on your tailbone.
Robert Downey Jr. makes this type of jet-propelled aerial acrobatics look easy in the Iron Man movies. I can assure you it’s not. And, as I’m quickly learning, it’s best not to make assumptions in this part of the world. I certainly didn’t envisage risking life and limb on a trip to the world’s most romantic holiday destination.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to find your rhythm and after several attempts to steady myself, I finally get flyboarding down-pat. The best part? After scaring yourself witless with highoctane marine hi-jinks, there’s no better place to calm frayed nerves than paradise.
COVER OF NIGHT
I land in Male, The Maldives’ capital city, in pitch darkness. Despite the late-night arrival, it’s warm. It’s all very James Bond-esque: the airport backs onto water and as soon as I arrive, I’m escorted straight to a getaway boat.
Unlike the iconic secret agent, I’m rolling into town unaccompanied. At least I don’t have to lug my girlfriend’s bags around.
We’re heading North to the LUX* North Malé Atoll Resort & Villas, a one-hour boat ride away. I’m not one for long trips on the water, especially at this time of night, but it’s quickly apparent this ride will be something else: the boat is equipped with leather lounges, I’m being served up fresh drinks and, most importantly, it has wi-fi (there goes my digital detox).
As we pull into a dock filled with the kind of light display you might expect at Vivid, a welcome party waves and smiles as the boat edges towards the jetty. It’s approaching midnight and with a busy itinerary planned, I’m quickly carted off to my room. Before my head hits the pillow I take a moment to marvel at the luxury of this oversized two-bedroom villa, complete with marble finishes and a high-tech fit-out. Let’s just say 007 would approve.
The sun burns bright in the morning. It’s like an Instagram filter, only this stunning vista requires no editing. Scores of fish swim around my overwater bungalow while the crystal-clear water exudes tranquillity.
The Maldives has long been known as a honeymoon destination. But it’s also an opportunity to fine-tune your body and restart your engine. Finally, I can tend to my aches, heal my wounds and mentally reboot.
And instead of having the pressure to come up with elaborate plans to surprise my non-existent partner with romantic gestures, my itinerary includes swimming with turtles, early-morning workouts and jet-ski safaris. It’s paradise alright . . . for thrill-seekers and ocean lovers.
Australia may be home to some diverse marine life, but LUX has a unique snorkelling experience in store for me today: swimming with whale sharks. It’s rare you get an opportunity to swim with a creature that resides at the upper end of the food chain, can grow up to 10m long and could pass as an understudy for Jaws. I ask if they bite and am assured I have nothing to worry about, but when you see a creature this mammoth within snapping distance, your heart races regardless.
My second brush with danger negotiated, it’s time to head over to LUX’s second property in the south of the Maldives.
LUX* South Ari Atoll is a different experience altogether. You still have the clear waters and warm weather, but there’s a busier vibe. The island is much bigger than its northern counterpart. It features eight different restaurants, each with its own twist on international cuisine. There are also three times as many rooms and you can hire nifty motorised vehicles to explore the whole island.
I take the opportunity to whiz around on one of these before returning to my luxury villa later in the day. As I look out on an impossibly translucent ocean from my deck, I can’t help reflecting on my time in this stunning paradise. It’s been action-packed and adrenalinefilled. The only thing missing to make this a true 007 adventure? That would be a Bond girl.
LUX* North Male Atoll Penthouse villas with private Sky-Lounge for next-level chilling. luxresorts.com
LUX* South Male Atoll Who doesn’t want a luxury villa on powdery sand above a crystal lagoon? luxresorts.com
Glow Restaurant & Bar Located right in the heart of the island, magnificent ocean views accompany exquisite international cuisine. luxresorts.com
East Market Prepare your tastebuds for a culinary tour of South East Asia. luxresorts.com
Watersports Looking for an adrenaline fix? LUX* offers diving, windsurfing, waterskiing, jet-skiing, kite surfing, parasailing, stand-up paddle boarding, whale-shark safaris and flyboarding among a host of marine adventure activities. luxresorts.com
Singapore Airlines Singapore Airlines offers connecting flights to Male via Singapore. singaporeair.com