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Scarf – Nazanin Rose Matin

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CoNrad maldives
Pt 2.
Rangali Island, maldives | www.hilton.com | Part 1

It’s difficult to write an account of an experience in the Maldives without an introductory flailing of the arms and a bit of gurgling, followed by something that’s spelt a little bit like this. It’s all very professional, really. In fact, the world should celebrate that I’m not on Youtube because it all looks and sounds like Tom Hanks in Cast Away with a bit of spirit fingers sprinkled in the mix. (I am on Snapchat however, making the same noises at brownies and puppies on Broadway Market: Sparkncube) Even re-living the Maldives through these photos puts me on a high.

As mentioned in Part 1, the main attraction at Conrad Maldives – once you’ve gotten over (warning: this may take forever) the milky-white beach, azure skies and the most translucent water since bottled Fiji – is the sense of privacy and isolation. I’d fully embraced this inside my Water villa (with thumping rap music on the first night), with a tinge of suspicion that perhaps it was to be expected given the nature of architecture, but was promptly proven otherwise as we moved into a Deluxe Beach villa two nights later. In theory, your neighbours are close by, but the minute the gates click shut, you feel like a homeowner. And it’s a big home – larger in fact, than most of my previous London flats, and I don’t recall ever having an outdoors bath-pavilion (unless you count the one where water leaked from the ceiling). So there, yet another reason to move to the Indian Ocean.

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Lingerie – Triangl. Serum – Estee Lauder. Sandals – Pour la Victoire. Watch – Daniel Wellington. Sunnies – Westweard Leaning

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Romper – ASOS. Necklace – EFFRA

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Speaking of reasons to move, add these too – ten restaurants where one is 5m (16 ft) under water, and another inside a wine cellar; an extensive list of DVDs and snacks that can be ordered through room service for rainy afternoons after lunch; and a spa that is set on stilts with glass floors so that you can drift off counting the stripes of a family of clownfish (“three”) while your back gets some much-needed TLC. So yes, I would jump ship and go Tom Hanks for/at Conrad Maldives any day, as long as Wilson can pour me some bubbly at pink sunset, I’d be happily cast away for ever.

Park & Cube was a guest of Conrad Maldives, all views and opinions are my own. Shots of me with the help of Mr Tripod.

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Caudalie Beauty Elixir. Sabon Body Lotion. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Cream. Skyn Eye cooling gel. Kiehls Avocado Eye cream. Pai Avocado & Jojoba Day cream

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Watch – Daniel Wellington. Ring – Elizabeth & James

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The over-water spa

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Kempinski
Soma Bay, Egypt | www.somabay.com/

Roadside Soma Bay is the postcard Egypt I have in my head as we near the end of the 45-minute transfer from the airport: sand, more sand and a camel-like creature in the distance that perhaps also is actually just a clump of sand. Abi, Carrie and I spill out onto the doorstep of La Résidence des Cascades, atop our bikinis-and-GoPro-laden luggage and realise, that we’ve possibly spent a little too long in that van (which was air-conditioned, if I’m not wrong) and ended up imagining one collective oasis.

Two nights later we have the exact same occurrence, except this time at the doorstep of Hotel Kempinski, two minutes down the Soma Bay strip on the shuttle and thirty minutes since a glorious buffet breakfast. Surely that isn’t enough time to cook up a heat-stroke? Here, the oasis is quite literal, complete with: a myriad of swimming pools, lagoons, bridges over lazy (swimmable!) rivers and a herd of gazelles by the watering hole (may or may not have been a water-acrobatics class…). It was clear, the five hotels of the Soma Bay  were gatekeepers of the amazing technicolour dream-coast, only accessible through a hotel lobby of sorts. The Kempinski ‘gate’ boasts a rather theatrical mix of Moorish fortress interiors with a tinge of influence from the East, with the unquestionable white Egyptian sun streaming through the dark wood lattice.

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Dress and straw bag – H&M. Fedora – Hoss Intropia.

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Sunglasses – Westward Leaning. Roll-on fragrance – Bjork & Berries. Phonecase – Casetify. Rings – Monica Vinader.

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The rooms are sufficient, decorated with familiar time-honoured ‘luxury’, with mint-blue soft-furnishing that cools the overall orange tones of the wood and tiles. Abi and I unlatch the door that divides the two rooms and I use her terrace door as a shortcut to the beach for the next two days. The real luxury of Soma Bay, I feel, is the bespoke nature of setting the day’s pace at your will. A slow morning by Kempinski’s white beach followed by adrenalin-fuelled kite-surfing afternoon at The Kite House, and star-gazing at the Cascades golf course – all five-minute shuttle-rides away. In fact, water sports at Soma Bay is reason I’d return in the future, the waves reportedly best quality in the region. For now, I am content riding a strawberry margherita wave on the sky bar singing surfbort, surfbort while watching the experts flaunt at sea.

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Great for: Couples. Fly & Flop with room for impromptu change in lifestyle (i.e couch potato to potential surfboard spud). Snorkelling in the Red Sea is interesting too, but watch out for sea urchins.

Park & Cube was a guest of Soma Bay, all views and opinions are my own.

Scarf worn as dress – Nazanin Rose Matin.

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