Lying on my back for the final shavasana of our paddleboard yoga class in the perfect waters of the Indian Ocean, I was pretty sure I had never felt more relaxed.
That is until a few hours later when I found myself again floating on my back, this time on a mattress of warm water while getting a "Healing Waters" massage at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa in an open air, overwater treatment room while the ocean lapped gently beneath me.
Deck and private infinity pool of one of the overwater villas at the Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at Kuda Huraa. Photo Credit: Jeri Clausing
As I was lying there, I was hard pressed to think of a trip where I'd ever experienced every element of modern luxury at one time, or at least in such a short time: adventure, relaxation, authenticity, wellness, gourmet cuisine and, of, course impeccable personalized service to my large overwater villa complete with a private infinity pool. And all in a resort that is a model for sustainability for social responsibility.
Just two days into a six-day trip sponsored by Cathay Pacific and the two Four Seasons resorts in the Maldives, a fellow travel writer and I have already had an action-packed but still relaxing time. Besides the yoga and spa, we've had surf lessons in the lagoon; a crazy time on some jetpack-type device called a Sea Bob that carries you above and below the water; snorkeling with more colorful fish, turtles and reef sharks than I have ever seen; an evening cruise to watch spinner dolphins; and opportunities to meet and watch the feeding of injured and baby turtles being nurtured at the on-property Marine Savers conservation center.
Those are just a sampling of the more than 200 activities, many complimentary, that are offered every day at the Four Seasons Maldives resorts. Yoga, sunrise kayaking, scuba diving, off-shore surfing, marine conservation briefings, trips to a Maldivian village, even nightly crab races with prizes -- there is something for travelers of all ages and activity levels.
It's my first trip to the Maldives, and I came with high expectations that have been more than exceeded. And we still have one stop to go.
Perhaps most impressive has been to see the resort's true commitment to sustainability.
Besides following the popular trend of using only bamboo or paper straws, there are no single-use plastics, save for an occasional wrapper. The bathroom amenities are in refillable ceramic containers, and all the filtered water is bottled only in reusable glass containers.
While such practices have become common across conservation-minded beach destinations like the Maldives, it's a stark reminder of just how far most luxury hotels and resorts still have to go to be truly green.