Reviewed: 3 luxury Maldives resorts
I have just returned from the most wonderful 11 nights in the Maldives. This was my first visit to the islands and my itinerary consisted of a stay at three different hotels and a luxury cruise.
I began my holiday with a seaplane transfer to the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru. This is the ultimate luxury chic resort with the most amazing beaches I have ever seen. Blu restaurant is the prime location for sundowners, with your feet in the sand and chilled out tunes creating the perfect ambiance. I also dined at Fuego Grill on their barbecue night; the flavours and choice of food were fantastic, an absolute must if you visit! After our meal I headed to Seabar; a funky over-water bar complete with a DJ playing superb music…you can just lie back and relax watching the stars above and hear the waves crash beneath you. From the moment you arrive at Landaa Giraavaru you feel completely relaxed and never want to leave. The service here was truly first class, all the staff were genuinely happy, knew our names from the minute we arrived and looked after our every need.
The Four Seasons Explorer is a three-deck luxury catamaran which sails between the two fabulous Four Seasons resorts in the Maldives. I decided to book the 4-night southward cruise and was not disappointed. The staff onboard were exceptional, nothing was ever too much trouble, they were very attentive and professional but most of all personable.
I was blown away by the creations from the kitchen; every night the theme was different but equally delicious. This ranged from the captain’s seafood dinner party to an Arabian feast to a barbecue beach dinner under the stars. This itinerary is aimed at competent divers however I would highly recommend it also for clients who are happy to snorkel. With up to three dives/snorkels a day I had the chance to see an amazing variety of marine life from a manta ray to a white tip shark.
The two highlights of the trip were swimming with a whale shark, initially a daunting experience, which quickly changed to an amazing day. I am not the most confident in the sea however the staff made me feel at ease and helped me to enjoy this magical moment. The second highlight was when we stopped at the Four Seasons private sandbank island. The rest of the passengers decided to go diving so my husband and I (plus one very discreet member of the crew who was on hand to provide ice cold drinks) had a whole afternoon to sit back and relax in paradise. The waters were crystal clear and the sand melted away at our feet...ultimate bliss!
The Explorer also has a sun deck for those who wish to take an afternoon enjoying the sunshine and the stunning views of the ocean. After dinner all the guests congregate in the lounge where we watched a highlights video created by the onboard cameraman of the day's activities. Although we were the youngest couple on board, I would recommend this for all ages that have a passion for exploring the wonderful reefs the Maldives. This is a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget.
After our stay onboard the Explorer we arrived at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. This is a smaller island in comparison to its sister property but just as stunning; typically more Maldivian in style but with all the Four Seasons touches. The choice of food at breakfast was incredible with numerous healthy options as well as all the naughty treats you want to indulge on when on holiday. I enjoyed the sunrise yoga and my husband had a few sessions in their extensive gym.
Kuda Huraa now has two swimming pools, both equally enjoyable, the family pool has a swim-up bar, double day-beds, as well as sunbeds, and offers a more relaxed but lively approach, whereas the adult-only pool was über chic, chilled and peaceful, located next to the Reef Club restaurant. This is a great family-friendly resort with an abundance of activities for children but it’s also well suited for couples too. I tried a surf lesson in the lagoon, sunrise yoga and visited their marine conservation centre to learn about the turtle and coral programmes. Four Seasons also provide lots of little extras, such as poolside treats, and is great value for money as there are no restrictions on the half board dining as all restaurants are included.
Before heading home we ended our holiday with a few nights at Jumeirah Vitavelli. This is a relatively new resort and a great choice for a short transfer; as it’s only 20 minutes from Malé airport onboard their new stunning luxury yacht. The villas are huge, each with their own private pool, and the resort has an excellent house reef just footsteps from the water villas; perfect for those lazy mornings in the pool followed by an afternoon snorkel with all the tropical fish.
The food at Fenesse, their signature French restaurant, is gorgeous but due to its popularity I would recommend you ask our Concierge to pre-book your table. Mu is also amazing - this is their beach bar and grill with delicious food, perfect for a candlelit dinner under the stars coupled with chilled out dance music. A real ‘feet in the sand’ dining experience that’s not to be missed. Each villa has its own bicycles for getting around the resort; however there are also golf buggies readily available if you prefer to be chauffeured. We stayed in a lagoon villa with private pool and loved the privacy, space and stunning views. The resort also has an over-water fitness centre to work off the delicious food and the Talise Spa that’s the perfect place to unwind and switch off.
I had the trip of a lifetime…a truly special holiday which I will remember for the rest of my life!