Strictly Come Dancing’s Karen Clifton in the Maldives

  • Strictly Come Dancing star Karen Clifton recharged her batteries in the Maldives following the last season 
  • She and husband Kevin stayed at the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, a 52-acre resort set in the heart of the Noonu Atoll 
  • There she spent hours marvelling at the native fruit bats, while other highlights included a dolphin cruise 

After another amazing series of Strictly Come Dancing, followed by a month of travelling around the UK on the show’s live tour with my husband and fellow dancer Kevin, we finally had the chance to get away.

The Maldives is where we go to revitalise ourselves and this time we stayed at the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi. The 52-acre resort is set in the heart of the Noonu Atoll, a 45-minute seaplane ride from Male international airport.

After a long journey it was great to arrive at our over-water villa. It had everything, from an infinity pool to an outdoor private shower. There were also glass sections of the floor so we could see fish swimming underneath.

Karen and her husband Kevin enjoyed their much-needed break in the Maldives, pictured, following another season of Strictly Come Dancing

On the shore, palm trees danced in the breeze and the ocean shimmered as if covered in diamonds. 

On our first morning we jumped out of bed and ran to the beach. The sun kissed our skin and the sand gently massaged our feet. We just stood there, grinning from cheek to cheek.

After taking in our beautiful surroundings, we headed to The Spa by Thalgo. I love spas but nothing prepared me for this – every kind of treatment was on offer.

The aromas of iris and jasmine filled the room and calmed our hectic souls as we had the Iru Power Pack Deep Massage.

My masseuse had a small frame and was very delicate-looking but once she began the massage she was like a ninja. She moved stealthily from one area of my body to another, and her strength was mind-blowing. When she finished I felt as if I was born again, ready to take on the world – after a cup of green tea, of course.

As we laid there getting pampered, I looked across to Kevin and we had the same look of happiness in our eyes.

They stayed at the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, pictured, in an over-water villa which boasted everything from an infinity pool to an outdoor private shower

Kevin doesn’t usually have a massage but even he enjoyed this one and he looked stress-free for the first time in several months.

One day we had a great Maldivian cooking class by the beach at the Islanders grill restaurant. We prepared tuna bajias, Maldivian chicken curry and kiru boakiba (a creamy coconut custard). Even Kevin joined in and made a couple of samosas. 

Unfortunately, that’s probably the only time I’ll ever see him in a kitchen.

There were many incredible restaurants at the resort. We ate at a different spot every night – Indian, Italian, French, Thai, Japanese and Maldivian cuisines. There was also a buffet where there was everything and anything you could wish for. And I mean everything.

Our favourite place was Flavours, which serves Asian fusion. The Maldivian seafood cocktail, marinated lamb chops, and Maldivian white snapper were all delicious.

Karen, seen relaxing in the pool, had a deeply luxurious massage and took part in yoga classes and daily walks on the beach

Since we ate so much and needed to work off some of those calories, we tried some activities around the island. 

Every morning we would wake up around 8.30am and go for a 40-minute walk, then do some of our favourite exercises on the beach while having a good natter and taking in some early-morning sun.

Kevin went scuba diving for the first time. It was tough for him at first to get used to the breathing technique but he saw some beautiful fish and turtles in the crystal-clear waters. 

He also paddled his way around the island on a surfboard. We went fishing too. Kevin mentioned that his great-grandfather Jack had been a fisherman in Grimsby and that’s when I saw the transformation. Suddenly, Kevin turned into a rugged hero as he battled to land a huge fish.

But the best thing we did was a dolphin cruise. It was so much fun to see them swimming alongside our boat and splashing around us. On our way back to the resort we enjoyed a lovely glass of champagne while watching the sunset. It was one of the most romantic moments ever.

Karen was a big fan of the flying fruit bats, left, that popped up around the resort, while Kevin went scuba diving for the first time and witnessed sea turtles, right (stock images)

I had some yoga lessons and it was refreshing to breathe in and listen to the waves as I saluted the sun in my warrior pose. I loved every second of it and felt at one with nature.

Indeed, the resort was great for nature – one of my favourites things was spotting flying foxes. They’re fruit bats that look like teddy bears with really big wings.

I was transfixed and somewhat obsessed at finding them hanging upside down while munching on a piece of fruit. The bats help to create more fruit by dispersing the seeds. When they fly around they spit the seeds out all over the place – fortunately none landed on me.

Actually I think I scared the bats a bit because I loved them so much 

Actually I think I scared the bats a bit because I loved them so much. They certainly gave me some odd looks.

The holiday gave Kevin and I the chance to reconnect with one another. The tranquillity, peacefulness and privacy we enjoyed was exactly what couples need once in a while.

The gentle breeze and the sun recharged our batteries, and the bats kept me entertained for hours on end. That’s what I call a perfect break.


Trailfinders (020 7368 1200) offers seven nights at Sun Siyam Iru Fushi from £2,959pp, including return flights from Heathrow, seaplane transfers and all-inclusive accommodation.


Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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