THE MALDIVES has long been associated with the jet-set, the rich and famous, and is notably on many traveller's bucket lists.
After a week of snorkelling in the pristine Indian Ocean, spa treatments and fine-dining at one of its premier destinations, it's easy to understand why.
Most recently, Man City Treble winner Ederson enjoyed a holiday with his family on the island of Dhaalu Atoll.
Liverpool and England star Joe Gomez also enjoyed the hospitality at Kandima, and even joined the staff for a kickabout on their astroturf pitch.
When my wife Simone and I arrived, we were shown to our stunning aqua villa, where we stayed with the youngest of our brood, Tippi, 4, and River, 1.
Perched over the water, boasting sights of baby sharks, eagle rays, and plenty of colourful fish seen from a private sundeck, we were spoiled.
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The girls, Summer, 16, Blossom, 13, and India, 12, stayed in a studio suite, found directly on the beach, with a king bedroom, sofa bed, and fun balcony swings.
We came in September, the supposed rainy season, that lasts till November. But it stayed a reliable 29 degrees throughout and was mostly dry.
Dinner was enjoyed at a la carte restaurants, Azure, Sea Dragon and Smoked, while breakfast and lunch buffets by Zest and Flavour were flavoursome and filling.
Sea Dragon, an Asian fusion eaterie, is the pick of the bunch. But you have to work for your dinner.
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The restaurant has several water tanks, where you'll find lobster, crab, and plenty of other fish to choose from.
I was handed a net by the waiter, and was asked to snare a sea beast.
I attempted to catch a lobster, but its powerful claws were too much for me as it pushed the net away.
The waiter intervened, scooping it up with ease, before taking it off to boil.
The joy of Kandima is the variety of activities on offer.
We took a boat out to sea for the Turtle Quest Experience (£48-per-person), which was lacking in turtles but didn't disappoint with the colourful coral and marine life dancing in front of our eyes.
The group art class at KULA Art Studio (£32-per-person) was just the ticket to keep busy and creative minds active.
Simone and our daughters settled on pictures with suitable Maldives themes, think sunsets, sea, and eagle rays.
It's watersports, though, that gave this active family the greatest fun. Kayaking and paddle boarding are offered free for an hour every day on the Dine All Inclusive package.
The island is 1.8 miles long and is one of the largest in the Maldives, so there's plenty to explore.
There are also two pools at Kandima. Our favourite, the ridiculously large 100m pool, is one of the largest in the Maldives.
But who needs a pool when you've got the sea?
From schooling bannerfishes to blacktip reef sharks, it never got old witnessing such beauty under the water with our snorkels.
Needing some time away from the kids, Simone and I enjoyed 60-minute couple's massage (£98-per-person) at the esKAPE Spa.
With the sound of ocean waves crashing and the firm hand of a masseuse, it was beyond relaxing.
A sad goodbye
I can say rarely has anywhere made us feel like we didn't want to leave. We met our match with Kandima, where we we shared a communal experience with the staff and other guests.
With a tear in our eye, we were waved off by the Kandima team.
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As sad as it was to leave, it was an experience as a family we will never ever forget and the memories will live on.
Most importantly, we made a promise to ourselves to return again.
GETTING THERE: Flights to Male, Maldives in October start at £533 with three connecting flights, which excludes transfers. Direct flights begin at £866pp.
STAYING THERE: Kandima Maldives is from £448pp per night for the Dine Around All Inclusive package or £280pp half board per night.
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