“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Stepping off the seaplane onto the dock, I was greeted with a warm welcome and cold fruit juice, and knew I was in for a holiday a cut above any I’d taken before.
A short meander through tropical grounds took me to my detached wooden beach villa, opening on to a private section of shaded beach. A few steps took me in to calm clear waters, home to a ribbon of reef teeming with fish and coral of every colour, my own picture perfect paradise for the week.
My villa felt like a tropical sanctuary. The huge bathroom was open to the elements at one end so showers were taken surrounded by plants and geckos. A fruit basket of pineapple, banana, apples and oranges provided perfect midday snacks when I returned to my villa to escape the heat on the shaded porch overlooking the beach. The safe was the perfect home for my phone which wasn’t used the entire week.
A waiter assigned me a table in the restaurant for the duration of my stay, at a table by a reef feature in the middle of the restaurant, home to several lobster. The restaurant was open to the elements, bringing in fresh air and killer views, and the buffet was faultless – the mix of western and local food was delicious and the service calm and personal.
My days soon slipped into a pick & mix of snorkelling, diving, reading, sunbathing, windsurfing, socialising…. The majority of visitors were much like myself – stressed out IT executives who were quite happy to just be for a week or two. The pace of life slowed right down on the island and the days passed by in a flash.
One night I treated myself to a meal at the a la carte restaurant on the beach, I dressed for the occasion in a cocktail dress and bare feet. From my candle-lit table I watched baby lemon sharks cruise the shallows looking for their own evening meal.
Although there is a ‘behind the scenes’ on such islands, I didn’t see it – the illusion of perfect was complete. Each morning staff would arrange the beach furniture outside my villa and sweep their footprints away with a palm frond. Sometimes on my way to and from my villa a gardener would offer me fresh coconut, he’d split it open, chop up the flesh and serve it to me in a half shell with the milk served in a glass. You can’t beat that for fresh, healthy and local!
Royal Island (Horubadhoo) is just 800 by 220 metres, a beach walk around the island takes half an hour. Despite being so small, the island has everything you need; two restaurants, spa, shop, bar, dive centre and various other sports. There’s no need to carry anything but your room key as everything is charged to your room, it’s all so easy, there’s simply nothing to stress about.
Some may not take to the small space and lack of shopping malls and city tours, but for relaxation, peace and quiet in one of the world’s most beautiful settings, you can’t beat it.