Taste of the New Wave
With its many upscale resorts, one would think Maldives would settle down. But there is no stopping on experiencing extravagance; after all, with a thousand and two hundred islands, there is always space for luxury.
The 250-acre long Fasmendhoo lends a sense of whimsy to Emerald Maldives which occupies the private island with thatched-roofed pavilions, towering palm gardens and a stretch of stilted bungalows that drape the turquoise beach. Set to open in August, the modern island resort is packed with four upscale restaurants quenching a variety of palettes, from the South American-inspired Amazònico, the live cooking teppanyaki showcase at Le Asiatic, and international al fresco beach dining, Aqua. Traditional Thai and Indonesian massage specialists preside over its exclusive spa, offering traditional treatments for a holistically revitalising holiday. And, not forgetting the children, the resort has installed a large outdoor playground, The Dolphin Club, to cater to the little ones’ jungle-and-seaside dreams.
Atop a seaplane, Raa Atoll glimmers with speckles of light on its jewelled blue lagoons while heading to the Intercontinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort. Sleek Maldivian huts are laced together by a slithering wooden bridge, looking as if it was perfectly hewn on the water. Blessed with a bounty of manta rays swimming within the proximity, the resort, set to open on 1st September, is more than an indulgent island escape, but a chance to open the ocean’s sacred chest and peek into its many wonders with home to manta sanctuary right in the Resort’s own lagoon. A trip into Hanifaru Bay becomes an opportunity to swim with grey sharks and stingrays. One can even adopt their own manta.
With a grounded sense of escapism, Intercontinental Maldives sets itself apart with its exclusive Fish Market, offering the day’s fresh catch from its charming pier. Along its sandy paths is a Lighthouse, a dinner-only dining menu serving Mediterranean cuisines while enjoying drinks at the highest peak on the island with 360-ocean vistas.
Above the surface, Maldives is a breath-taking wonder, enthralling with man-made architecture that seamlessly marries into the sapphire waters and glittery white sand. But more than an Instagram-able destination or an essential luxury joint, there are many more sides to Indian Ocean’s best gift – most of them, beyond its visual appeal. Underneath its surface is an untouched paradise that thrives with breathing gems, a peek into the liquid curtain where many of the earth’s majestic creatures thrive. Waiting by the shore is an affectionate community of sun-kissed locals, courteously responding to every beck and call, eager to please and thrilled to satisfy. Maldives, thus, is best embraced for its entirety: the character, the culture, the humid air, the glorious beach. It is an indulgent discovery that fills the heart and heals the soul, a euphoria to be savoured.
Top image: Repose under the hammock at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. ◼