The Maldives has definitive luxury resorts and spas each with the aim of fulfilling every possible desire of their guests beyond expectations. Private butlers, private pools, gourmet cuisine and world famous wine cellars are just a few of the items to be expected at these luxurious hotels on perfect white sand beaches. The spas offer the best treatments found in the world from India, Thailand and other places for well-being, relaxation and beauty.
Dhoni Island resort offers ultimate indulgence. It is on North Ari Atoll, a tiny island, and only has six bungalows, each with a plunge pool for perfect privacy. Guests are met at the airport by hotel staff on a dhoni, which is a traditional wooden sailboat. It is fitted for a house boat and guests have the choice of remaining on the water or going to the island. Either way they have a personal butler who will look after their every need. Those who opt for the luxurious island bungalows, have the boat at their disposal and can go to deserted islands for lunch, take sunset cruises or go fishing.
The boat has a king-size bed, LCD TV, Bose DVD Surround Sound theatre and a galley kitchen with minibar. On deck, guests can lounge on huge cushions or sunbathe.
There is no menu or meal time. Guests discuss their culinary likes and dislikes with the master chef and are served what they want at their convenience. There is optimum diving and snorkelling in close proximity, and the private boat can take guests to other sites to see the sharks, whale sharks, mantas and more.
Perfect spa treatments are also available including several kinds of massage.
Huvafen Fushi offers luxury in every area of the resort. Haute cuisine, world class spa and designer interiors of the bungalows are just a few of the enjoyments available. All rooms, whether over the water or on land have a plunge pool, plasma TV and Bose Surround Sound. The only difference is the size.
Three different restaurants as well as five private dining venues are unique. There is a main dining room that offers buffet and a la carte, a restaurant with fresh seafood and Mediterranean style and Southeast Asian food as well as a restaurant for juices and salad options in coordination with the spa. The wine cellar has 700 labels.
The spa is one of a kind. It is underwater, and guests can see the reef and colourful fish swimming all around that are magnified by the thick glass. The therapists are from Thailand or Bali and offer treatments for well-being, beauty and rejuvenation. There is also a meditation pavilion over the water.
The Cocoa Island Resort is designed to blend indoor and outdoor living. The restaurant and bar only have one wall and the colour scheme is the natural green, turquoise and white of nature. The guestrooms have walls, but the full-length windows on three sides give the impression of open space. All the rooms are over the water, and the island is pure, unspoiled sand with the Shambhala Retreat at the sunrise end and the bar, restaurant, swimming pool at the sunset end of the beach.
The sea life around the island is plentiful with parrot fish, Napoleon wrasse and eagle rays. On the opposite side of the island from the lagoon, snorkelers can see large trumpet fish, sharks, pelagic marine life and turtles.
The Shambhala Spa is a sister spa to the best spa in the world according to Conde Nast. It is on Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This is one of the few destination spas in the Maldives.
The Soneva Fushi is the most eco-friendly luxury in the Maldives. Before guests arrive by seaplane on the island, their preferences for room amenities, music and films are noted and their shoes are taken. Once on the island, they are escorted to their room by their private butler where their favourite music is playing. The rooms have a very organic ambiance as if they had grown their balconies, pools and daybeds naturally.
Snorkelling on the house reef is with the resident biologist, who also leads nature walks and will take guests to a beach where sea turtles lay their eggs. Other activities include a planetarium and watching movies under the stars on the beach.
Fresh fruit and vegetables for meals are grown on the island and there are several dining options with a charcuterie and fromagerie that are the best in the country. They even offer 40 flavours of homemade ice cream. A new fire pit cooks meat to perfection and there is a Japanese-Peruvian cuisine restaurant on the deserted side of the island. Sometimes there are celebrated chefs and wine-growers who visit the resort.
Along with the array of massage styles there is a resident Ayurvedic doctor and professional acupuncturist where guests may be cured of specific ailments. The resort also invites masters of meditation, reiki, Pilates and personal growth for the benefit of their guests.
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa
The Taj Exotica is one of the top luxury resorts in the country. Not because it is particularly unique, but because it offers first class accommodation, good food and good living. It is just 15 minutes by luxury speedboat from the Male airport, which is far enough to be secluded and close enough for a historical tour of the capital city.
The resort has a huge, shallow lagoon on the narrow island of Embudu Finolhu. There are land and water bungalows as well as a swimming pool, bar and two restaurants.
The cuisine and spa are the high points of this luxury resort. They both are listed in the top three of the country. The Taj Group Spa has Indian-based treatments with an Ayurvedic doctor that include exercise and diet. Treatments include relaxation, cleansing and beauty with clay, essential oils and showers. The environment is al fresco under a thatched roof in a beautiful garden. There is a glass-walled gym next door.
There are ferries to take guests to the good snorkelling and diving spots, but this is the best resort for honeymooners and people looking to pamper themselves.
The restaurants and bars are also recognized as the top in the Maldives. With al fresco dining over the sea, one restaurant is the only one in the Maldives that has been featured in Conde Nast magazine. The bar and library also have first class offerings.
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Located on the Bas Atoll, the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru has 102 spacious villas that are spread across a jungle wilderness on the edge of the turquoise Indian Ocean. The area is a bio-reserve and the resort has a catamaran, which takes guests to dive sites, uninhabited beaches and secluded islands as well as to inhabited islands where the welcoming locals are happy to display their handicrafts and offer their home cooking.
The resort offers complimentary orientation for diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, catamaran sailing and kayaking. There is daily morning yoga, internet access at computer centres and complimentary meals for children under four years.
The Bas Atoll has manta ray and whale shark feeding sites where guests can tour underwater, a spa and Ayurvedic retreat, a conservation station Marine Discovery Centre that is fascinating for children and adults.