30 September 2016

 
An island paradise: The Olhuveli Beach Resort
Moneypenny in Paradise!
With her iconic part in the new Bond film, Naomie Harris is use to glamour - but she was bowled over by the style of the Maldives
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ilming keeps me away from home so much that when I get time off I usually stay in London near to my family and friends. But when my family decided to go to the Maldives, I found myself caught up in their excitement and agreed to go along. It ended up being one of the best things we’ve done. Everybody was so relaxed while we were away. We all had such a laugh together away from the normal stresses and strains of everyday life.

We stayed at the Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort. The journey involved a direct flight to the Maldivian capital Male and then a 50-minute boat ride. We felt as if we’d been plucked from grey old Britain and dropped in the middle of Paradise. For myself, my mother, stepdad, brother, 15, and 12-year-old sister, the first impression was the hot sunshine and beauty of everything. And I was overwhelmed by the level of service. There were four people waiting for me to get off the plane and put me on the boat. When I got to the resort I found we had two villas on stilts over the sea. The villas were things of beauty in their own right. They were finely constructed with wooden floors - all very traditional and very spacious.

Every day someone would arrange flowers on the bed. Lovely. What made the holiday so special? The food was fantastic. What my dad liked was the fact that on the first day, we were assigned a table in the restaurant and that was our table for the duration of the stay. We had the same waiter who became ‘our waiter’ and he really took care of us and got to know all of our likes and dislikes.
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The Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort is perfect for couples
Relax in your overwater room at the Olhuveli Beach Resort
There was always a pasta bar and a choice of a hot-meat dish - lamb or chicken, for example - which is griddled in front of you. And there was always a salad bar. The food was so varied with something for everyone. I particularly liked the huge spread on offer for breakfast with tons of fresh fruit and everything from rice pudding to wonderful sugary doughnuts (my brother is a big doughnut fan). My ideal breakfast is what many people would have for their lunch so this sort of choice was perfect for me. Many mornings I had chicken and vegetables.

Because dinner in the evening is always a big set-piece meal, you might have expected lunch to be a light affair, but it wasn’t. I usually tried to restrict myself to a salad but the buffet was vast and tempting. Thank goodness I don’t have a problem of putting on weight. My brother and I can eat whatever we like and not pile on the pounds. When you reach the island you quickly realise that this is a place where you can just completely relax and get into a different rhythm.
And on a warm night he would move the table outside so that we could eat under the stars by candlelight, the sea lapping away beneath our feet. The Maldives is just so incredibly romantic. Another thing we loved about the restaurant was that every night they served a different cuisine: local Maldivian food one night, Italian the next, followed by Chinese.
"We ate under the stars by candlelight, the sea lapping away beneath our feet."
If you do want some excitement there are different trips available. We had fun on the banana boat ride, we went out on a catamaran and we did a dolphin excursion. We also had the chance to visit another island for what they called ‘a culturally authentic experience’. I did have my mobile phone but I never switched it on.

My brother had his laptop so he could check my emails to make sure I wasn’t missing some amazing film role. There is a weekly party for all the guests on a beach illuminated by candlelight under a canopy of twinkling stars. My mother said it was like being in a movie it was so lovely - and everybody was dressed up and glamorous. We would love to go back. It appealed to all our family. It was great for the children because they could be more independent.
"When you reach the island you quickly realise that this is a place where you can just completely relax and get into a different rhythm."
Enjoy a drink by the pool
Dinner at the Olhuveli is a luxurious affair
Enjoy a soothing hands massage
The island is so small you felt sure they couldn’t come to any harm. I’ve been travelling quite a lot recently. I went to Kenya to film The First Grader, the true story of an 84-year-old Kenyan villager and ex-Mau Mau freedom fighter who battled for his right to be able to go to school to get the education he had been denied as a child.

I was in Kenya for about six weeks, and I loved it. We got to know the local community. I’m not sure how much travel will be involved in filming the new Bond film, Skyfall. There will certainly be some exotic locations, but as Miss Moneypenny I’ll probably get no further than Pinewood Studios! But if we had the chance, we would return to the Maldives in a heartbeat.


Original article published in Mar 2012. All info and prices correct at time of publication.
 
 
 
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