Five of the best new Maldives Resorts
A stone’s throw off the coast of southwest India lies the smallest Asian country in the world – the Maldives. Small it may be but consisting of 1,190 islands peppered throughout the Indian Ocean - 200 of which are inhabited - these isles of paradise offer much more than striking sunsets and gorgeous sandy beaches, as the balmy seas are a haven for those looking for some relaxed water sports. You will see plenty of water in the Maldives as the islands are made up of 99% sea, and with beautiful coral reefs with thousands of fish and other tropical marine life aplenty, snorkeling is a favourite amongst visitors to the islands.
If you are after luxury then luxury you will get in one of the many lavish lodges that have been cropping up within the past year, and you may be in good company – stars such as Beyoncé and Jay Z are known to have taken their yacht around the islands, whilst Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes famously honeymooned in the idyllic archipelago in 2006. So with miles of white-washed sand to sink your toes in and the sound of soft waves to wake up to, which of these new luxurious lodges might you find yourself in, sooner than you think?
Viceroy Maldives – Opened: April 2012
First on our list is Viceroy Maldives, located less than a one-hour flight from the island’s capital of Malé and situated on the private island of Vagaru. Spread across 17 acres of palm-lined sand with 61 deluxe bungalows nestled on the beachfront surrounding a serene blue lagoon, this new resort not yet a month old offers private plunge pools, en-suite bathrooms and intimate gardens that allow for the finest in privacy and comfort for its guests.
Featuring five dining restaurants that serve the finest in Middle Eastern, Asian and European cuisine, including its refined East African-inspired ‘Tree house’, Viceroy Maldives has a wealth of facilities that include a spa and wellness centre where guests can relax and rejuvenate with a massage or a yoga class, as well as a PADI-licensed dive centre.
Special feature: Viceroy Maldives features a three-bedroomed ‘Royal Villa’ which is an innovation in the islands as it is the largest of its kind, featuring a 60m2 plunge pool, a Jacuzzi, a split level deck and a fully stocked bar.
Niyama Maldives – Opened March 2012
A mere couple of weeks old, Niyama Maldives is located in the southwestern Dhaalu Atoll, a 40 minute flight from the capital city. Situated over two islands, Embudhufushi and Olhuveli, this new resort features over 80 secluded beaches and water studios, and it balances tranquility with a fun sense of stimulation with its contemporary and edgy design.
Niyama has five restaurants, including the cosy campfire setting of Tribal, which comes complete with sand floors, open flames and tiki torches. The resorts signature restaurant, Edge, is tucked away in seclusion 500 meters offshore and is only reachable by boat. Other facilities include Nintendo-Wiis and weekly movie nights which help keep any children at the resort entertained, and sunset cruises for those seeking romance are available aboard a luxury traditional Dhoni.
Special feature: Niyama Maldives will soon assert to have the world’s first underwater club, located beneath the offshore Edge restaurant. Hidden six meters below the surface, Sub Six is set to open soon and will feature emerging and established music artists from throughout the world. By day, the space will be used as a marine biology lab for coral rehabilitation and education, as well as an art studio for kids.
Dusit Thani Maldives – Opened February
Located in the Maldives’ first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa Atoll, Dusit Thani Maldives is just a mere 35 minute flight from the capital Malé. The resort encompasses 100 modern and elegant villas, all styled with a touch of Thai visuals.
Features of the luxurious resort include the largest infinity swimming pool in the Maldives with a beautiful centerpiece of a Cyprus tree, and the Dusit Thani spa, Deverana, boasts six tree-top treatment pods that are elevated above a grove of coconut trees – heaven whilst sitting in and looking across the vast emerald lagoon of the sea. Other highlights to the resort are its five dining venues, which include its signature Thai restaurant Benjarong, as well as its dive centre, tennis courts and yoga classes.
Special feature: Dusit Thani Maldives is special in that it has an onsite marine biologist to accompany guests on trips within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and opportunities abound to explore the reef at night, monitor sea turtle nesting habits and join reef clean-ups whilst staying at the resort.
Jumeirah Vittaveli – Opened December 2011
Situated in the South Malé Atoll on Bolifushi Island, a 20 minute boat ride from the international airport of the capital city, Jumeirah Vittaveli is comprised of 91 suites and villas, which offer panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. The resort is designed to make the most of the natural sunlight that the Maldives receives and the accommodations are built around the values of sustainable development.
Featuring three restaurants and one bar, including the Mediterranean eatery Fenesse which is infused with class, Jumeirah Vittaveli also features a beachside bar and grill. The resort’s Talise Spa offers a wealth of wellness and fitness programmes and uses organic ila treatments. A fully equipped gym and a host of water sports are also on offer.
Special feature: The Talise Spa has introduced innovative treatment programmes for families wanting to spend quality time together whilst being pampered - ‘Aala Time’ (family time). Jumeirah Vittaveli also boasts two children’s clubs with exciting educational activities that include stingray feeding, marine life and traditions of the Maldives learning sessions, as well as water sports and junior lifeguard lessons.
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi – Opened April 2011 - Image at top of page
The last resort on our list is the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi. Located in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll of the islands – furthest away at a 55 minute flight from the capital of Malé to Kaadedhdhoo Airport in the south, the luxury resort was designed by the influential Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa, and comprises 22 villas on the mainland and 15 on the unique water village name ‘The Ocean Pearls’ – a short boat ride from the main island.
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi features three restaurants and one bar, including the casual beach grill Mumayaz where guests can dine under a blanket of stars in majlis-style seating. The Ocean Pearls’ restaurant Johara offers succulent and fresh seafood with dreamy sea views.
Other facilities at the resort include the Talise Spa, over-water gym, yoga pavilion and PADI-licensed dive centre. A host of water sports are on offer including snorkeling, sailing, kite-surfing and water-skiing.
Special feature: Staying at one of Jumeirah Dhevenafushi’s villas situated in The Ocean Pearls offers the ultimate in seclusion, as the accommodations are only accessible by boat. A 24-hour personal butler is just one of the features that guests here can enjoy.
New visitors to the Maldives will be happy to learn that the islands are malaria-free and visas are easy to obtain – most travellers gain a 30-day visa free on arrival. Flights to the Maldives’ capital city of Malé start from £621 per person with Qatar Airways for May 2012, with one stopover at Doha International Airport. This price is based on flights from London Heathrow on www.Opodo.co.uk. For further information on these islands of paradise, please visit www.visitmaldives.com
Written by Alice Bzowska. Alice Bzowska is a London-based writer who has written for various travel, theatre and London websites. Keep up to date with her travels on http://aliceinwondaland.blogspot.co.uk/
Sign up to Escapist Traveller Magazine
Sign and receive our newsletter to keep up to date with Escapist Traveller Magazine.