Believe the hype. There’s a reason every Instagrammer worth her Light and Airy filter wants to head to the Maldives to fill her feed with picture-perfect content. The white sand beaches, turquoise blue water and thatched cottages provide a dreamy backdrop that doesn’t need any Photoshopping.
The only catch? The (blue) sky-high pricing. That’s where the Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa comes in. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, this new five-star property serves up all the indulgence at one set price so there are no nasty shocks at check-out.
You can eat and drink to your heart’s content, order that extra mocktail while sunning by the pool, hop on a Hobie-cat or even clear out the mini-bar – replenished daily – as it’s all part of the package, save a few extras like motorised sports or diving instruction.
Another plus point in COVID times? Easy – and multiple – access to this remote paradise. You have the choice of taking a scenic 40-minute seaplane or hopping on a 30-minute domestic flight to Ifuru Domestic Airport once you’ve landed on Male. From there it’s a speedboat away.
With 120 villas, whether you are a beach fanatic or want to be lost in the lush island’s fauna and flora, there’s a stand-alone villa – some with private pools – for you.
But we suggest you opt for the full Maldivian experience and check-into a stilted over-water villa (ideally with a Jacuzzi for complete decadence), set along wooden walkways with sunset or sunrise views. The endless blue vistas from your free-standing bath will have you transfixed day and night.
Four restaurants – including the Latin American Amazonicó tucked away amid the greenery and specializing in sizzling open-fire grills – provide a plethora of dining options.
All-day dining with plates spanning the globe are on the menu at buffet-based Acqua while Le Asiatique serves up sushi, dim sum and theatrical teppanyaki. Our undoubted favourite was The Beach Club Grill facing the lagoon; you won’t regret ordering the grilled catch of the day. There are also two lively bars are where guests mingle or unwind after tearing themselves away from the sanctuary of their spacious lodgings.
You won’t be disappointed if you want to get up close and personal with marine life as the water is positively teaming with fish even if you just pop into the sea at your doorstep.
Head off further afield on one of the activities arranged by the Diving and Water Sports Centres – also included in your schedule – and you’ll spot dolphins frolicking on sunset cruises or see majestic manta rays feeding on the sea bed.
If you’re looking for rest and relaxation, then you’ll be making a bee-line to the Balinese spa. And luckily, this is one of the highlights of the resorts with nine treatment rooms tailoring treatments to satisfy your every beauty-based whim. There’s even an Indonesian-style pool, steam bath and sauna so you can luxuriate post-pampering.
The Maldives is a dream destination – and justifiably so. Yet the costs of this luxury adventure can be daunting. Thankfully, this elegantly executed all-inclusive island retreat gives you the opportunity to tick this paradise off the bucket list without compromising on the decadent experience.
- Beach Villas at Emerald Resort & Spa start at Dhs3,125 (US$850) per night, based on two people sharing on a deluxe all-inclusive basis.
For more information, visit emerald-maldives.com