Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa is the perfect island getaway

Deep blue seas, sparkling turquoise lagoons and sunny days spent on the beach surrounded by luxury — The Maldives has all the ingredients for a magical getaway. The Indian Ocean island country is renowned for its ultra-luxurious properties, each offering a little piece of paradise.

The National checked into Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, to see what sets it apart from the rest.

Home

Landing at Velana International Airport in Male, we meet Imadh, the hotel representative who secures us a seat on our seaplane transfer to Thilamaafushi Island. Soon we were taken to the newly opened seaplane terminal in Male, where we waited in one of the lounges (the Meridian lounge should be completed in December) for a few hours, before we could board the plane for the island. . Once in the air, the trip takes about 35 minutes, and when we land, a welcome party awaits us.

The neighborhood

Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa is the only property located on Thilamaafushi Island in Lhaviyani Atoll. The nine-hectare island has golf carts, which are available upon request for easy travel.

Bedroom

We are staying in a sunrise overwater villa, which at 100 square meters is incredibly spacious. The pink walls are complemented by splashes of turquoise – reflecting the lagoon outside – by way of a window and the dressing room door. There is a fully stocked mini bar and tea and coffee making facilities. To minimize plastic waste, all rooms have glass bottles filled with purified, sparkling water, and these are refilled daily.

The toilets and the bathroom face each other, a dressing table separating them. The bathroom has his and hers sinks, while a glass door separates it from the shower area, where there is a large free-standing bath that offers stunning sea views, with blinds for those times when you prefer privacy. Malin and Goetz toiletries are stored in refillable bottles to minimize plastic waste.

The main living area houses a large television which can be swiveled out to watch from the bed, the lounge chair or the seating area in the corner of the room. The incredibly comfortable king-size bed faces the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, which bring in plenty of natural light and look out onto the terrace and the sea beyond.

Outside there is a seating area, two lounge chairs, a hammock on stilts and steps that lead down to the lagoon. Housekeeping is provided twice a day — and comes with personal touches such as a fashioned turtle with towels and handwritten notes left by staff.

There are a total of 141 villas in 11 categories on offer at the resort, including basic beach bungalows, lagoon villas (ideal for families with young children), beach pool villas, beach villas stilts at sunrise and sunset and Villa Thilamaafushi, which with its three bedrooms and private swimming pool, is perfect for large families and groups.

The service

The hotel’s multicultural staff are warm and friendly, promptly attending to all requests and checking in on guests intermittently, never feeling like they’re high.

The food

There are six dining outlets at the property offering varied dining experiences. Tabemasu is the on-site Japanese restaurant; Velaa Bar and Grill is a beachfront spot that offers meat and seafood dishes; the poolside Riviera offers a menu of refreshing drinks and light snacks; Turquoise serves an international menu; The Waves Cafe offers a selection of healthy meals and shisha; and Latitude’s menu features deli-style bites and specialty coffee.

There are also two private dining experiences: an exclusive experience at Bodu Finolhu — a private island 10 minutes from the resort — and Harvest Table, located next to the on-site greenhouse, where up to eight people can dine in privacy.

Breakfast is served at Turquoise and is genuine international cuisine, with options such as porridge, sausages, fish in black bean sauce, local options such as Maldivian masala and ladyfingers curry coconut, Indian options and a live egg station. You also have the option of making your own salad using fresh produce harvested from the hotel’s greenhouse, one of the largest hydroponic farms in the Maldives.

Apart from that, you can also enjoy fresh fruits, juices, chia puddings, muesli, cold meats, cheeses, breads, croissants, as well as cereals and nuts, with options of non-dairy milk available. Children have their own breakfast, which includes treats such as cupcakes and sprinkles.

The food and ingredients at each restaurant are fresh and, as a picky eater, all of my dietary requests are catered for. My favorite restaurant is Tabemasu, where every dish on the five-course ($120) Omakase menu is outstanding. Another highlight is our experience at Harvest Table, where the set menu ($80) ensures the brilliance of ingredients grown locally in the resort’s greenhouse.

The scene

Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa offers all kinds of amenities for families.  Photo: Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa

The property offers plenty of activities for all ages — for the little ones there’s the kids’ club, where they can enjoy lots of free activity sessions and games. A paid baby-sitting service is also available if the parents want a date.

There are also a number of activities for adults, such as beach movie screenings, yoga, and Pilates. Guests looking to do something a little less active can try their hand at art classes, learn how to make pizza, or up their coffee game with a barista lesson, with sessions starting at 30. $ per person. We get to try the art and barista classes, and despite our negligible skills, the friendly, patient, and talented instructors make sure it’s enjoyable and educational.

Elsewhere, the Explore Spa offers a number of relaxing and rejuvenating massages. The treatment rooms offer sea views, while various blends of spicy oils are used for the services – I tried the abhyanga massage and was ready for a siesta after a very relaxing experience.

To really enjoy the sparkling waters of the Maldives and explore the marine life surrounding the resort, there are guided diving or snorkeling excursions, and guests can also borrow snorkeling gear to swim in the lagoons and reef at the resort. -of the. If a dip in the ocean seems too daunting, there are two large pools on the property.

Highs and lows

The hotel stands out for its incredibly friendly staff who always stop by to chat, its varied culinary offerings, and the ability to descend directly into the lagoon from our private villa.

The hammock on stilts, where I spend hours reading and spotting the occasional stingray, is another undeniable highlight.

Although it is beyond the control of the property, if I have to nitpick, the only downside is not being able to do any of the guided water activities due to unstable weather during our stay.

The insider tip

Book your flight to arrive in Male early in the day – this will help reduce your waiting time for the seaplane, giving you more time on the island, which can only be a good thing.

The verdict

Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa is an ideal destination for those seeking a luxurious getaway. There are enough options on the island to enjoy the vacation at your own pace, whether it’s trying out several of the activities on offer, relaxing on the white sand beaches, indulging in the various culinary experiences or explore the sparkling turquoise waters.

The bottom line

Rooms start at $450, excluding tax, for a beach villa in low season. Seaplane transfers are $495 round-trip; www.marriott.com.

This review was conducted at the hotel’s invitation during the global coronavirus pandemic. It reflects hotel standards during this period, services may change in the future.

Updated: November 12, 2022, 09:07

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