I don't just mean the weather, either. After a really thrilling 10 minute speedboat ride from Gan airport, which felt nowhere near long enough even after the best part of a day traveling with two small children, we arrived at our island home for the next eleven days.

The staff who efficiently collected us from the airport and escorted us by car down the road for five minutes to the speedboat set the tone. They were friendly, charming and intuitive around our anxiety over luggage, pushchair and the possibility of a toddler going overboard. A reassuring safety check was run through briskly and they passed welcome bottles of ice cold water around. At the other end, we stepped onto one of those picture-postcard wooden jetties everyone associates with the Maldives and walked into a reception area that, enchantingly, had a floor of fine white sand. Some *extremely* fresh coconut juice (as in, coconuts with straws sticking out of them) arrived instantly.
Our hideously bulky luggage evaporated, and we were driven by beach buggy to our two wonderful villas, of which more later.

Summer 2012 170

A great start!