So where are we off to?
Tropical Paradise AKA The Maldives. One night on the private island Coco Privé Kuda Hithi (ooh la la) then the rest of the week on Coco Bodu Hithi, (*squeals) to celebrate its first food festival Savour 2015.
How are we getting there?
London to Dubai, then Dubai to Malé, the capital of the Maldives then a boat. Yep, it sounds exhausting but trust us, there's nothing like a 40 minute speedboat jaunt to wake you up after a long-haul flight. We jumped on our flashy private speedboat (moored just outside the arrivals hall), were handed fresh icy water and cool handtowels, then told to sit back and enjoy the ride. Whizzing across the Indian ocean towards Coco Privé, the boat was pretty silent as everyone just gazed at the view - an endless stretch of vast ocean - dazzling in the sun - from aquamarine blue to jade green.
Private island, sounds very A-list...
It is, sleeping up to 12 people in total - there's one master residence and five additional villas. It's all earthy hue coloured furnishings, bouncy king size beds, Acqua di Parma products, and enough white orchids to make you feel like you're backstage in J-Lo's dressing room. Not to mention the individual butler assigned to each guest! Although we did our best to find out exactly what celebs had hired it, the staff were endlessly professional and refused to spill. But if the rumours are to be belived Queen Bey and Jay-Z regularly put the private helipad to good use. I stayed in the Gecko villa (read palace) which had it's own relaxation area, huge pool and the deepest outdoor bath tub which was a dreamy spot to stargaze from come nightfall. The day was spent hopping from pool to sea to sun lounger on the villa's slice of private beach, meaning come supper time I realised I hadn't seen or heard anyone else for at least seven hours!
Talking of supper time, what's on the menu?
Like all proper islanders, we had a BBQ on the beach. But forget singed sausages and limp salads, this was a feast under the moon all whipped up the island's chef. Think lobster, juicy steaks and to finish the zingiest of mango sorbet. After that (and several glasses of champagne later) we upped the volume on the beach sound system, blaring Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Rita Ora (no neighbours to worry about here) and danced until jet-lag kicked in.
Ok, nap time is over, what's next?
The resort has it's own full time marine biologist, so we headed for the reef for a snorkelling session with the experts. It didn't disappoint, teeming with colourful plants, the brightest coral, huge manta rays, baby reef sharks and yes we even found Nemo. An hour later, we returned to shore to rehydrate with tropical cocktails. After soaking up the last of the day's rays we island hopped to Coco Bodu Hithi.
What's the difference?
Well, as we said Coco Privé Kuda Hithi is private, while Coco Bodu Hithi is not. We know, tough right. To be honest, we were kind of dreading leaving our private paradise, and spending time with strangers but we need not have worried. Although, it has 100 villas, ranging from island to water, they are all BIG on privacy. The Coco Residences, pretty much look like a dream interiors Pinterest board. Think a huge villa on stilts high above the crystal clear water with its own sitting room, dressing room, huge bathroom with the deepest tub ever, plus two showers, one indoor, one outdoors because you know, why not? The view from the bed (kingsize natch) was of the private pool, that backed onto the ocean, unobstructed, apart from the occassional heron flying by. There was even a further decking area, with a ladder that led down to the water, meaning that you can jump from bed to to Indian ocean in five seconds.
So did you ever leave the villa?
Tempting and all as it was to become a Maldivian hermit, the three Michelin chefs, the resort had brought over from their UK based restaurants for the Savour 2015 festival managed to persuade us to be more social. There was a lobster salad masterclass with Lanchashire's Northcote Nigel Haworth, (top tip? champagne makes an excellent addition to a citrus dressing,) a cocktail tasting class with Rogers Benham (mojitos taste even better in the sunshine) and the rest of the time was spent indulging in signature dishes from tasting menus whipped up by Aktar Islam, from Birmingham's Lasan (we're still dreaming of that creamy mango 'Bombay Mess,') and York's Andrew Pern, from The Star Inn at Harome.
One night, we headed back to Coco Privé Kuda Hithi where all three chefs, were put to work creating the ultimate 10 course menu paired with matching wines. Now, 10 courses in the 30 degree heat, is pretty challenging but when those dishes are British inspired I'm not going to lie it did get a bit Man versus Food, albeit Michelin style. However, we powered through. Stand-out dishes have to be Andrew Pern’s foie gras toad-in-the-hole, which also led to a lengthy and hilarious conversation with some German guests into what exactly a Yorkshire pudding was - a giant pancake YAH? plus Haworth's "Egg n Bacon," scrambled and truffled, and served in the shell alongside a brioche soldier it was just begging to be Instagrammed.
Wow sounds mega. How can we beat the bloat?
We put in a session at the resort's gym. With floor to ceiling mirrors it overlooks the ocean which definitely makes the time on the treadmill whizz by. There's also plenty of watersports to do, so you can totally cancel out the calories. And if that sounds like too much of an effort then head to the spa for a sports massage. It's almost the same thing right?
Are there any other must dos?
Get a boat ride to the local's hidden sandback at sunrise. Our crew even supplied us with a decadent picnic. There's nothing more surreal than eating cheese for brekkie at dawn, surrounded by an endless stretch of sea as you watch the sun come up. Also keep your eyes peeled for turtle tracks. One evening while on way to dinner, the hotel groundsmen called us over bursting with smiles, to tell us they had found a nest of eggs that had started to hatch and could we help catch them so they could safely be returned to the water. The marine biologists were fetched and we spent the best part of an hour rescuing the tiny reptiles. #DreamComeTrue
Amazing, how do we book?
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi prices are available on request http://cocoprive.com.
The Coco Residences at Coco Bodu Hithi are priced from $1,428 (£938) per night based on two people sharing on a B&B basis http://cocoboduhithi.com
Fly from London Heathrow to Malé International Airport economy class from £787 For more prices and availability click here
Savour 2016 is set to take place next Spring. Click here for more information.