New Openings: Drift Thelu Veliga Retreat
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve done this before, the excitement of travelling by seaplane, seeing the sparkling waters below never gets old. Speedboats whizzing past emerald green islands leave behind white foamy trails, safaris cruising on the velvety blue waters takes my breath away every time. Thirty minutes of such blissful scenery and I arrive at my destination.
Drift Thelu Veliga Retreat sits peacefully in the midst of a vast crystal clear lagoon. As my flight descends I can see the bright yellow beach umbrellas and a few sun loungers set up on the long stretch of otherwise empty beach.
At the jetty, I am greeted by front office manager Thaufeeq and a few other members of his team. I am already in awe as I walk over to the reception area for my check-in. As I sit on the wicker chair and sip on my welcome drink (a traditional coconut) I dig my toes into the welcoming warmth of the pristine white sands. Already I am falling in love with the island.
My stay for the two days is a beach villa – a simple but stylishly built setup facing the beach. Everything from the bed to the abstractly designed chair and tall lamps are built using the same wicker material, giving the room a completely rustic vibe. I run my fingers along the smooth frame of the tall mirror standing in the bedroom. Rustic simplicity at its finest, I muse thoughtfully.
The bathroom, with cement floors, is a ‘half open-air’ space. Closed wooden windows around the bathroom gives privacy while the roof cover only half the bathroom and shower area. Tall trees loom over head, lush and green.
This small romantic getaway island consists of thirty rooms in total. That is, 10 beach villas, and 20 water villas. The beach villas all built in the exact same fashion are cozy and intimate. The water villas, built over the lagoon are fitted with an indoor bathtub with an uninterrupted view of the endless horizon.
I walk to the beach right in front of my room. The crystal clear lagoon stretches out as far as my eyes can see. It is almost evening, but I cannot resist the inviting cool waters. I dive in and come up inhaling the salty, fresh air.
That evening, the sky puts on an amazing display of colorful art during sunset. I sit, mesmerized for hours. Even after the sun hits the edge of the horizon, and the first star comes up, I sit watching, completely transfixed.It starts getting a little chilly, so I head back to dress quickly for dinner. I walk over to the restaurant on the island. Retracing the steps from earlier when my hostess escorted me to my room, I walk slowly, taking in the beauty of the island. As I walk I can hear crickets in the distance, the leaves bustle gently against the soft breeze. Little orange lights flicker in the shrubs, showing the way. A turn here and there, and I arrive at the beautifully lit restaurant.
The open air restaurant sits facing the beach. I choose a table outside. A few guests are already enjoying their scrumptious looking dinners. A friendly waiter asks me how my day was, as he smiles and hands me the menu. I choose a garden salad, tandoori chicken with a side of steamed rice and boiled vegetables, and one small scoop of ice-cream for dessert.
Since I did not have anything planned for the night, I go sit in the bar for a little bit. In line with the rest of the decorative theme at the resort, the bar is also designed in complete rustic simplicity. The chairs are comfortable, made of wicker with small tables to match. I go and get comfortable on one of the more couch-type chairs.
Above the bar, empty green bottles, are hung up as decoration. When the orange lights hit them at the right time, the bottles glisten as they dance softly in the cool breeze.
A bartender, a young fellow hailing from Korea comes over with a menu and smile. He recommends a list of mocktails and fresh juices, coffee and tea. I go for a warm cup of peppermint tea. The wind seemed to be getting chillier anyway, and a tea will keep me warm, for a while. I retire to my room shortly afterwards.
The next day is beautiful and bright. As I have my breakfast, Thaufeeq comes to sit with me for a bit. Chatting about the resort, Thaufeeq explains that the management pays special attention to maintaining the natural beauty and greenness of the island. He spoke about policy of plastic bottle crushing, re-using glass bottles as little lamps, and other eco-friendly projects they carry out.
The tiny thirty roomed resort was opened in December 2015, where the rooms instantly filled up with guests, who are even now, booking their second stay at the resort. Winning the hearts of honeymooners and couples looking for an intimate getaway, Drift Thelu Veliga Retreat promises visitors a romantic experience like no other.