Esther Lim's Travel Black Book

Esther Lim (above).
Esther Lim (above). PHOTO: COURTESY OF ESTHER LIM

Leave the city behind and relax in a Maldivian resort, enjoying the sun, the beaches and rich marine life

Who: Singaporean Esther Lim, 42, is the chief executive of Phantom Management, a model and talent management agency that manages adult and child models and offers casting and event management services.

Favourite destination: The Maldives

Why: The Maldives is a very quiet retreat that is untouched by the hassle of the city.

It has the most stunning beaches in the world - the sand is bright white, the blue waters of the Indian Ocean are vivid and the coral atolls offer amazing underwater experiences.

The Maldives boasts unrivalled luxury and is one of the best places for me to unwind. I have visited it four times.

Favourite resort

The Amilla Fushi (Baa Atoll, Maldives; tel: +960-660-6444; www.amilla.mv) is one of my favourites. The rooms are very spacious and of top-notch quality, with stunning views of the sunset.

My husband, our two children and I stayed in the Ocean Lagoon House, which has a pool on the deck and direct access to the ocean.

Amilla Fushi also has plenty of child- friendly facilities if you are going there with a family.

A room at the Ocean Lagoon House costs US$1,560 (S$2,081) a night, including breakfast.

If you are looking for a more romantic place, the Sunset Water Villa at the Hilton (Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island, 20077, Maldives; tel: +960-668-0629; conradhotels3.hilton.com/en/hotels/index.html) is a good option.

The package includes a private boat to take you to the villa as well as a glassbottomed hotel room floor to admire the marine life right beneath your feet.

A room at the Sunset costs US$5,370 a night.

Favourite restaurant

The Baazaar (www.amilla.mv/restaurants/baazaar) in Amilla Fushi is one of the best places to dine at.

It provides selections from six different menus - breakfast, fish and chips, Joe's Pizza, wok, fresh and grill.

My favourite dish there is the yakitori skewers, which are absolutely delicious. They consist of scallops, prawns and chicken, and are usually eaten with teriyaki sauce.

The cheapest kebab of the lot is the teriyaki chicken thigh with shallots at US$8. The more expensive versions would be the unagi glazed with sweet soya or beef and shitake, which are US$15 each.

I like to order the scallop kebabs, which are about US$14, or the chicken kebabs.

I usually get a couple of kebabs together with a main course, such as the grilled steak (US$42 to US$46) or seafood (US$30 to US$45). A full meal can come up to US$80, depending on what you order.

Favourite breakfast place

I take my breakfast in the Baazaar restaurant as it is included in the price of the resort stay.

It has a good breakfast selection, from sashimi to smoked salmon to eggs cooked any way you like.

My choice is usually the eggs benedict, poached eggs with smoked ham, spinach and hollandaise on an English muffin, or blood sausages with brie, fried eggs, jalapeno and tomato salsa on brioche.

It is a tasty combination that you don't usually get here.

Necessary day trip

When in the Maldives, you must take a fishing trip. You can hire a boat (about US$50 a person) to take you out to the Indian Ocean and catch fish such as mackerel, grouper and other local breeds. The chef will cook the fish any way you like.

The boat trip itself is a breathtaking experience, with an amazing sunset blazing as you stand on the boat.

Aside from fishing, you can also enjoy scuba diving or spa treatments, while the children can participate in the kids' club activities or go snorkelling.

For those with active children, there is also a marine biology programme where they can visit an assortment of coral bays and learn about marine life.

Best place to watch the sunset

The main pool area of Amilla Fushi gives you a splendid view. The resort's management usually sets up a nice sunset canopy in the evening for guests to enjoy cocktails and mingle.

Another fantastic place to see the sunset is on the fishing boat. You can arrange for a boat to take you out around 6pm for a 45- minute ride.

Best souvenir

Maldivians are very passionate about their curries and spices, which is something food lovers should try if you find yourself on the Maldives mainland.

A souvenir I would recommend is the coffee table book Dreaming Of Maldives, a beautiful photo book of the Maldivian scenery that will remind you of your holiday there. The book costs about $30 and can be found in most souvenir shops.

Ideal length of stay

Eight days is perfect as you will need to take into account two days for travelling and unpacking.

Six days is just the right amount of time for you to sit back and forget your troubles for a while.

Best advice

Take along lots of sunblock and make sure to rest and unwind when you are there.

The Maldives is a place to relax rather than shop. Although they have a couple of souvenir shops, you will find yourself preferring to sit back and destress.

samgohwy@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 21, 2015, with the headline 'Unwind in the Maldives'. Print Edition | Subscribe