Lead Review (The Island)

  • Book: The Island
  • Location: The Maldives
  • Author: Catherine Cooper

Review Author: tripfiction



The wealthy Cadwallader twins have set up a portfolio of small and exceptionally luxurious hotels. Ketenangan is their first venture beyond ski resorts and it is a byword for wellness and attention to detail. Everything is well thought through, the rooms are carefully designed (not too many overwhelming and irksome switches to work the lights and shower), and the facilities are next to none, from an underwater restaurant to quad-biking to visiting the turtle sanctuary. Plus food to tease the palate, like wagyu beef and puffer fish (that’s the one with a lot of deadly poison in it). There is even a cryotherapy chamber on site. The staff second guesses a guest’s every need and nothing is too much trouble.

The ecological credentials of the resort are perfectly crafted, everything is sourced locally and sustainably (so it says in the hotel blurb), and now the very first guests are influencers and journalists, who are being given a tour of the facilities and will be spreading the delights of this amazing place. Among them is Malia, through whom we experience this indulgent set up. She is the least experienced of the social media influencers and is surprised by the invitation but determined to give it her best shot – who doesn’t like a sumptuous and worthwhile freebie?

The chapters take the reader through each day of the guests’ schedule and some chapters are devoted to events that took place in 1990, which offers a backstory to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Cadwallader twins. Their school era venture proved to be a disaster, yet here they are.

It soon becomes clear that something untoward is going on and that revenge is the motive behind the accidents that start to happen…

This is an enjoyable read that takes the reader to the Maldives, gaining entry to a privileged echelon of traveller experience. The story is well put together and came to a well rounded finalé.

As an interesting aside, we watched Amazing Hotels: Beyond the Lobby recently (Series 5, Episode 2 on BBC iPLAYER) and the presenters spent time at Joali Resort in the Maldives, a super luxurious resort which transported me back to the book. The level of luxury, guest/staff ratio and facilities and attention to ecological detail were just as described in the novel. Apparently 10 new luxury resorts are opened in the Maldives every year. Who knew! (The actual setting of the novel was inspired by Huvafen Fushi).

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