While the water is key here, how you interact with it is entirely up to you. The watersports centre has all the latest toys including flyboards which send you up into the air in a pair of boots supported on a jet stream of water, for the full Iron Man effect. The children went out on jet skis with their dad, snorkelled alongside baby blacktip reef sharks with the resident marine biologist, and tried paddleboarding, waterskiing and scuba diving.
There are several boats you can take for trips; the beautiful trimaran, Adastra, took us out to a sandbank for a picnic, where we experienced the strange sensation of feeling like we were standing in the middle of the ocean. Here, we watched the tidal patterns under the expert eyes of men who have lived in this area all their lives. We took the children fishing on a traditional Maldivian boat called a dhoni, catching our dinner on reels and hooks baited with little chunks of tuna.
Food is a huge part of the experience here, from the chocolate truffles I made with my children – under the supervision of the resort’s wondrous pastry chef, who makes the best croissants I have tasted outside France – to the Wagyu beef tacos served by a young Mexican chef at the Veli Bar, who decamped to Patina after his restaurant in Mexico was forced to close during the pandemic. There are no fewer than 12 places to eat.
The red snappers we caught on our fishing trip were cooked by the chef of Wok Society, the island’s Japanese/Chinese fusion restaurant, where the dishes, from dumplings to wok-fried medleys, are flavoursome, fresh and light. At plant-based Roots, the chef conjures imaginative and playful dishes from ingredients mostly growing in the island’s vegetable garden. At Arabesque. meanwhile, you can feast on dishes that deftly negotiate between North African, Lebanese and Indian cuisine.
As the week drew to a close it occurred to me that the greatest luxury for us has been the independence and freedom the island has given our children, which of course has allowed us to properly relax and switch off. The number of times they tore off out of sight ahead of us on their bikes when we went for a meal or an excursion turned the whole week into a spectacularly relaxed and successful confidence-building exercise.
On arrival, a discreet notice requested that we use a bag they gave us to take any single-use plastic waste away from the island with us. When we left, I found myself clutching the bag with an empty bottle of sunscreen, several empty blister packs from daily contact lenses, and those environmentally unfriendly dental sticks. I contemplated the absurd trappings of a plastic-filled life, and vowed to buy better back home.
Red Savannah offers a seven-night trip to the Maldives from £6,412 per person. Includes seven nights half board at Patina Maldives Fari Islands, return flights from Gatwick to Malé in economy, shared speedboat transfers to/from resort and all taxes. The above price is based on a special offer if booked by 19 December 2021 for travel in March 2022 and includes a
30 per cent discount (01242 787800, redsavannah.com)