On a break from filming, Rosamund Pike, the British actress escaped to the remote Patina Resort with her family.

I’ve always wanted to be

…someone who travels mindfully and respectfully but have never been very good at it. While I aspire to leave on time and in a state of calm, I rarely achieve either goal.

Then Covid added a whole new dimension to travel. The decisions we make about where to go and how to get there began resonating with new frequencies – not least, awareness of environmental impact, fear of contagion and wariness of the very mingling that used to make travel exciting.

When a rare window appeared in my schedule

…on the back of a week of night shoots on The Wheel of Time, I seized the opportunity to travel to the Maldives with my partner and our two sons, aged nine and six at the time, vowing to myself that finally, I would travel mindfully.

We were bound for Patina, an hour’s speedboat trip from the Maldivian capital of Malé. An unpretentiously luxurious, family-friendly hotel geared towards laid-back, design-savvy travellers, Patina inhabits one of the tiny archipelago’s four islands.

Being a road-trip kind of family, a destination like this is a departure for us. If I’m honest, as the plane took off, I worried that however much they have lured me with the promise of paradisiacal pristine water and white sand, when I get there the Maldives might engender a sense of placelessness; a beautiful hotel room that could be anywhere. This fear is swiftly allayed by Patina. 

We were staying in

…one of the resort’s 38 stilted over-water villas, enormous, elegant, rattan-filled wood-and-stone spaces, each with its own pool, where inside spaces flow into outdoor ones. Walking around it, I felt like the villa honours the sea and that, like me, it is a temporary visitor to this place which will, one day, return to nature.

The beds at Patina are the comfiest any of us has ever slept in and on the deck is the most heavenly outdoor tub. But what no photograph will ever be able to capture is the villa’s relationship with the sea and the way the water laps at its stilts. 

The beautiful Patina in the Maldives is a welcome escape.

I had never imagined… 

…marine life could be so close at hand. Sitting on the edge of our outdoor pool on our first afternoon, I watched a stingray glide gracefully under the house and back out again.

It’s these moments and other, often tiny, details that delighted me at Patina. 

The bicycles, perfectly proportioned for each of us, that were waiting for us on arrival (“But how did they know our sizes, Mum?”) have solar-powered flashlights on their elegant handlebars; the bath water is heated by the energy used in the air conditioning.

Then there are the skincare products in the bathrooms and in the spa, from the seaweed soap wrapped in brown paper to the algae-based antioxidant serums and a rich marine cream in a glass pot, all produced by sustainable, cruelty-free British company Haeckels and made locally at a production plant set up in Sri Lanka. Water, in glass bottles, comes from the resort’s own filtration plant. The resort plans to be 50 per cent solar-powered by 2030. I really liked the fact that all these touches are just there, without fanfare.

The aesthetics of Patina reflect the tranquil nature of the surroundings.

One of the highlights…

…for my eldest was the kids’ club, where PlayStation 5 takes a refreshing back seat. The club has been designed to awaken young minds to marine life, the planet, the ocean, sustainability and slow thinking, through activities in and out of the water. So there are talks with marine biologists and snorkelling and diving sessions, but also climbing walls, Connect 4 tournaments and island-wide scavenger hunts. There’s even a 3D printer which he used to design and produce a Yoda-shaped toothpaste cap and a turtle, made from plastic waste washed up on the beach and recycled.

My youngest prefers less-structured play, so was happy hanging out by the pool with other children from all over the world. At one point, I heard him chatting about religion with a group of girls of a similar age from Saudi Arabia.

It is here that…

…I finally acquired my open-water diving certificate under the calm and expert tuition of the Fari Dive Butlers. My previous diving experience has been limited to escaping from a sinking car in a water tank in Pinewood Studios while filming <I Care A Lot> – a large part of which involved not using the mask or regulator.

A memorable moment for me…

…was when I took my eldest into the sea for a snorkel. We were not more than 15 metres away from the villa when colours beyond our wildest imaginings started to appear as flashes before our eyes: we were in an aquarium! Yellows, blues, stripes, shimmers, black fish with unicorn horns, parrot fish… the variety was abundant and mesmerising. 

Emboldened, we went further, over the coral, to the edge of the reef – where the sea drops away to the magnificent deep – and saw larger and more mysterious fish. If you are a parent, the wonder of doing this with your child cannot be beaten – seeing their eyes open to a whole new underwater world, and widen further as colourful clams squeeze shut to the wave of a passing hand.

Water therapy continued…

…in the spa, where I tried an unusual treatment called ‘watsu’. In a specially designed pool, a therapist, Mo, guided my body in a kind of underwater dance, then stretched me under the water, allowing my body to behave in a way it never could on land. Other guests I spoke to who had tried it whispered of feelings of rebirth and total abandon.

Patina is a family-friendly setting with plenty of activities for the kids.

There are several boats for trips… 

…the beautiful trimaran, Adastra, took us out to a sandbank for a picnic, where we experienced the strange sensation of feeling like we were standing in the middle of the ocean. We took the children fishing on a traditional Maldivian boat called a <dhoni>, catching our dinner on reels and hooks baited with little chunks of tuna.

Food is a huge part of the experience

…from the chocolate truffles I made with my children – under the supervision of the resort’s wondrous pastry chef, who makes the best croissants I have tasted outside France – to the Wagyu beef tacos served by a young Mexican chef at the Veli Bar. The red snapper we caught on our fishing trip was cooked by the chef of Wok Society, the island’s Japanese/Chinese fusion restaurant. 

The lovely tranquil setting of Patina
The lovely tranquil setting of Patina

The greatest luxury for us…

…has been the independence and freedom the island has given our children, which of course has allowed us to properly relax and switch off. The number of times they tore off out of sight ahead of us on their bikes when we went for a meal or an excursion turned the whole week into a spectacularly relaxed and successful confidence-building exercise.

A discreet notice requested…

…that we use a bag they gave us to take any single-use plastic waste away from the island with us. When we left, I found myself clutching the bag with an empty bottle of sunscreen, several empty blister packs from daily contact lenses, and those environmentally unfriendly dental sticks. I contemplated the absurd trappings of a plastic-filled life, and vowed to buy better back home.

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