Miss. Delicious #93 : The private dinner dream in Ayada, Maldives!
Dear Steemit Friends:
Today I take you back to Ayada Luxury Resort in the Maldives to explore more of the island and what the hotel and surrounds have to offer. The island resorts of the Maldives, in the beautiful turquoise Indian Ocean, are what draw millions of visitors to the country every single year. There are thousands of sand covered islands that make up the country of the Maldives but less than 100 have a resort built on them. They range in size and mine was quite small by some standards which I loved because it felt so much more intimate.
There were two choices of accommodation at Ayada Luxury Resort, some on the island itself and some, as you see here, that are built out over the water. I loved the idea of waking up to the sound of the ocean all around me so I chose a villa over the water. The board walks stretch out into the sea so you can reach your private accommodation, and are lined with beautiful lanterns. As the sun sets the lights come on and you're guided by these twinkling lights back to your bed. It was very special.
Even though the island is quite small they provide bikes for you to get from your private villa, to the mainland restaurants and other hotel facilities. There are obviously no cars or any other motorised modes of transport so cycling is the best way to get around if you want to get places fast. I loved cycling along the board walks with the wind in my hair, it felt like I was cycling on the water!
Even though the board walks were not high up, it did give me a little bit of vertigo. I knew I could cycle in a straight line but as soon as I had to make sure I stayed in the middle of the board walk, I started to feel a bit wobbly! Silly me. It was the hardest when there was another guest cycling the other way because you had to cycle quite near the edge to pass each other. When I saw someone else I just got off my bike and admired the view until they'd gone past so I didn't accidentally fall in!
My bike was really quaint, like something out of an old fashioned movie, with the little basket on the front. I loved that it matched my swimsuit as I was heading for a swim! I spent most of my time at the resort having to hold myself back from jumping into the beautiful blue ocean. The weather was quite hot but the sea water was so warm that it didn't always cool you off! It felt a bit like getting into the biggest bath in the world - obviously with a better view!
Exploring the hotel further
Though Ayada Luxury Resort is quite small, there's plenty of places to eat and drink on the island. You're really spoiled for choice, which is great because you have to take a sea plane to leave the island! Magu Restaurant is considered the main restaurant since that's where you go for the included breakfast. It is open for breakfast but also dinner. In the evening the buffet style restaurant changes its themes daily - there are different types of food every single night so that diners can enjoy a huge variety of different flavours during their stay.
Magu Restaurant's menu changes each night to include any of the following styles: Far Eastern, Chef's Special, Maldivian, Mexican, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern! As you can see, the main buffet area is undercover but the sides are open so you can still see the beautiful island and what is going on around you.
I found this sign quite funny but also quite sad. This is the highest spot on the island so they have called it Mount Ayada, just 2.5m above sea level! But this also shows the great danger that the Maldives face with the current levels of climate change. As the climate changes across the globe, the polar icecaps are melting. With thousands of tonnes of ice melting every single year, and experts predicting only further increases in icecap melting, sea levels will rise. They only have to rise by a meter or two and nearly every single island of the Maldives will be underwater.
I am happy to report that I meet more and more people who are doing their best to reduce their carbon footprint, though it can be really hard. I try to do my bit too but it's not always easy. I feel very lucky to have visited this beautiful place and I really hope that people will be able to continue to enjoy the islands for many years to come.
I thought this was just so funny! Ayada's very own weather station is very high tech. Of course you always need the most modern technology to know what the weather might be doing. Luckily the coconut is still there or else I might have been experiencing a hurricane! Fortunately, the weather during my stay wasn't like a hurricane though it was quite windy. The coconut weather station was moving slightly because of the wind coming off the sea and as you can see it was not wet - nice and sunny.
The Ottoman Lounge
Oh wow, yes! I found something Turkish! If you've been reading my blogs recently you'll have seen that I went to Turkey and I absolutely adore the country, the food and the culture. I was so excited to stumble across a Turkish themed lounge area. The Ottoman Lounge offers light refreshments and snacks. I wasn't that hungry but when I saw that they had baklava on the menu, I just had to get some because it is one of my absolute favourite foods.
The space is designed to be peaceful and have a relaxed atmosphere, and as you can see the sand from the island is even inside the lounge! Many people came here to chill out with a Turkish Shisha or Hookah which made it feel and smell very authentically Turkish.
How cute is this. This is typical of Ayada Luxury Resort that they make little touches to make your stay more special, everywhere you go. They've made this picture frame and decorated it with shells and coral found right there on the beach. It made for some beautiful photos and I pretended like I was on a movie screen in a cast away island film. It was very fun posing for a few silly photos in the frame. What a great idea!
I have found my own luxury island resort in the Maldives! I haven't started building yet, but it will be the smallest resort in the country and it will be all for me. I call it the Sweetsssj Luxury Island Resort!
OK I'm joking. This is called a sandbar, and there are quite a few around the island. This is an area where the sand has drifted in the ocean's current to form a little raised area of sand. Because the water around the island is so shallow, you can walk through the water to reach the little sand island. Standing out there was a completely new experience. I knew that the water was shallow around me, but this sandbar was actually quite far out in the sea. It took me quite a while to wade over there! So when I looked around, it felt like I was marooned in the middle of the ocean, or perhaps walking on top of the water itself. I don't think there's many places in the world where you could do this!
The next place I explored was the lobby and hotel lounge. I had seen it briefly when I checked in but I was too excited to go and see my room at the time so I forgot to look around properly. I notice that everything here is low down to the floor. When you sit down, you feel almost like you're lying down on a bed. The sofas and other seats are all super relaxed and just invite you to melt in to them.
There were also some really lovely pieces of modern art in the form of metal palm leaves. As with most of the buildings here at Ayada the lobby has no walls so that you can always hear the ocean, feel the breeze and see your surroundings on this sandy island.
Friends, take a closer look at the bottom left picture here. Can you see it? That's my drone! I have to tell a bit of an embarrassing story. I brought my drone with me because I wanted to be able to show you some aerial shots of the island resort. I spent a bit of time getting it all set up and ready to go but just a few seconds after I launched it, the wind took it and blew it off course and stranded it on this roof! The breeze coming off the ocean was quite strong.
I must say I was so embarrassed when I had to go and tell the hotel reception what had happened. But then it got even worse! Because of a big rainstorm that was coming in, the hotel weren't able to get someone to retrieve my drone for hours. Unfortunately, by the time the drone was rescued the rainstorm had completely soaked the drone and there ended my hopes of getting you some aerial footage. I was quite upset but I wouldn't let it ruin my beautiful time here.
Lastly on my exploration of the island I found the fitness centre. It was very well equipped and I'm sure that the view would have been most inspiring for exercise, but that wasn't what I was interested in. I was most interested in the parrot! Right next to the fitness centre was the island's resident pet parrot.
I almost walked straight past him without seeing him until he started talking! 'Hello! Hello! Hello!' he said to me! I just burst out laughing because this parrot was talking to me. I replied to him, 'Hello, how are you?' and he said, 'Hello, how are you?' back to me! I couldn't believe it. He was so intelligent that he seemed to be able to repeat most things that I said to him.
I knew when he was looking at me that there was a very strong intelligence behind his eyes. I watched and talked with him for ages. He used his beak to kind of hop around his enclosure, using it almost more than his feet! It was like he had three feet, one of them being his beak. Obviously he had to let go with his mouth to speak! I tried to make him say my name but I don't think he quite understood.
Lunch by the pool
After a long morning exploring the island, I found another restaurant called Zero Degree. The restaurant is located right next to the swimming pool. Though ocean is the only swimming pool you'd ever need most of the time, sometimes the weather made swimming in the sea unsafe so the resort would put up red flags. At this time you could come and swim in the pool beside Zero Degree. As you can see, the pool also served as some of the dining and lounging area for the restaurant so you could sit and have a drink while paddling your feet in the warm water!
By now though, I was quite hungry so I got a lovely fresh Greek style salad with olives and feta cheese for a starter. Even though it can be hard to grow certain produce on the sand islands, I was impressed by how fresh all of the food was at the resort and I think this picture really shows that.
You can see how freshly everything is cooked. The steak with mash potato was cooked freshly in front of my eyes and it was cooked to absolute perfection. The club sandwiches were lightly toasted giving a very pleasant crunch and of course were accompanied by more salad.
I enjoyed my very relaxed lunch at Zero Degrees and afterwards I felt really quite full so went to enjoy my villa a little more, relaxing by the sea with a book. I needed to make space for dinner, because I had booked a private dining experience for that evening which I just couldn't wait to go on!
My private dining dinner by the beach
You can see that I was about to have a very special evening. My private butler for the evening's dinner picked me up from my villa in his electric buggy, ready to take me to the secret dining area where I could be having a private dining experience by the beach. I had been exploring the island quite a lot and I couldn't think of anywhere that I had seen that looked like it would be suitable for a private dinner.
And I was right, he took me somewhere I had never been before - how did they hide this from me? I was quite surprised because I had done a lot of exploring and the island was not large. They obviously know the best place to give you the most privacy. I felt completely looked after and special to have this lovely table by the beach, with the little pavilion to shelter me from above.
To start I had a very simple salad with grilled scallop, and freshly grilled peppers. Anyone who has ever had scallops will know that it's very easy for them to become rubbery if they are overdone, but this one was just perfect and the portion was just perfect to wet my appetite.
My butler was excellent, bringing the food and explaining each dish but then disappearing so that I felt completely alone with the beauty of nature and the sounds of the sea. It must be very difficult to prepare the food in this remote area of the island, I wondered if they brought it all the way from the main restaurant kitchen - but that seemed just as difficult!
I then had roasted lamb chops with roasted baby carrots, asparagus, courgette and potato. As you can see, the chefs at Ayada Luxury Resort are quite exceptional and their presentation was beautiful. The real defining feature of this dish was the succulent and tender lamb and the exceptional gravy which was rich and thick. I believe it had been made with some red wine because it was very flavoursome and had plenty of deep flavours. It was one of the best gravies I've ever had!
I also had fresh seafood. Here I had lobster and massive king prawns which had been grilled to absolute perfection. My butler told me that these had been caught the very same day so they were as fresh as possible. As you can see, the portions were very generous and by the end of this seafood course I was feeling positively stuffed! I think these were probably the best prawns I've ever had.
I'm not sure if it was a mix of the location, the sound of the ocean or the solitude but everything just tasted better and more vibrant. Perhaps being alone I was able to truly sit and enjoy the tastes and remember how fresh this food was being caught straight from the sea in front of me.
Just when I thought I couldn't eat another bite, dessert came. It was absolutely perfect. With the flavours of chocolate, cheesecake and strawberry my sweet tooth was well satisfied. I enjoyed every single mouthful but I was glad that the portion wasn't too big. The presentation of the desserts was probably the best of all of the dishes and clearly a lot of work had gone in to making each and every mouthful burst with different flavours. My favourite was probably the cheesecake but they were all amazing.
I thought my night was over as my butler took my back to my villa. But I had a couple of little surprises still in store for me. The first was I saw these little creatures running around the edge of my villa. The top photo is the tiniest little gecko. It's hard to see without perspective but it can't have been much bigger than my little finger, it was so so cute! And just above here was one of the smallest crabs I've ever seen, running around on the beach just before I got back to my villa. You feel so in the middle of nature on this island, it's really special.
As I stepped into my room my mouth fell open with surprise as I saw my bed. While away at my private dining experience the hotel staff had come and made the bed and decorated it beautifully. Have you ever seen such creativity? Using pieces of coconut palm, fresh flowers and fresh towels they'd created me a little garden on my bed. How long did they spend on this while I was away? I was a bit teary because this was a really lovely thing to return to.
As I thought about getting ready for bed I looked over and saw that they'd also provided me with a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket! This was just so good. Ayada completely went over the top to make me feel completely special in my stay and in my evening. Of course, I had to pop the cork and have a drink!
I hope you've enjoyed my exploration of Ayada Luxury Resort. I certainly did! Though small, the island has so much to offer with different restaurants, places to relax, fun little touches like the coconut weather station and of course, excellent service and staff.
I had so many favourite parts of the exploration because I saw so many things but of course the private dining experience was the most special. Sitting by the ocean, with no one else around, is not something you can easily do in our busy world. The service was lovely and the food was even better. To return from that lovely night of food to find champagne and art on my bed just topped everything off.
Have you enjoyed spending time with me today? I really hope so because I've loved it! If you want more then please vote for the post and follow me. I always love talking to my Steemit friends so make sure you're commenting so I can keep in touch with you all.
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