The start of 2021 has been positive. January witnessed the official opening of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi – The Private Island, the largest private island in the Maldives and ultra-high-end luxury accommodation for the select few.
The Maldives is home to some of the most exclusive island resorts globally, and South Male Atoll alone has a stable of 20 island resorts dotting the atoll’s edges. Ithaafushi – The Private Island is an easy stand out in a busy luxury destination like the Maldives. Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi demonstrates that creature comforts always trump barefoot luxury. Essentially, the luxury factor eventually boils down to exceptional service levels that keep one loyal to the brand, the secret sauce for success in premium hospitality.
Ithaafushi, the Pearl Island
The name, Ithaafushi translates to ‘Pearl Island’ in Dhivehi, Maldives’ local language, and represents the isle’s positioning in Hilton’s luxury portfolio. Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi – The Private Island is the ultimate escape offering unparalleled levels of privacy and personalised service for guests seeking only the most prestigious and coveted accommodations.
“Ithaafushi – The Private Island is the crown jewel of our luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific, limitless in the level of privacy and unrivalled hospitality guests are promised,” said Nils-Arne Schroeder, vice president, Luxury & Lifestyle, Hilton, Asia Pacific. “Designed for the most discerning of travellers, the Ithaafushi – The Private Island is the epitome of exclusivity, perfectly placed within one of the most inspirational destinations in the world where a dedicated team anticipates every need and delivers the brand’s elegant and effortless service at every turn.”
“The launch of this unique resort offering represents a momentous milestone for the Waldorf Astoria brand and truly speaks to our commitment to redefining luxury hospitality around the world,” Schroeder added.
Stay At Ithaafushi – The Private Island
Ithaafushi – The Private Island spans 32,000 square meters and can accommodate 24 guests across two elegantly designed villas and one sweeping four-bedroom residence.
A two-bedroom overwater villa promises a unique ocean experience, with two spacious master bedrooms complete with double dressing rooms, indoor and outdoor rain showers, a shared living room, infinity pool and jacuzzi.
A separate three-bedroom beach villa, set within lush gardens and coconut palm canopies, has its own beach access and two swimming pools. Those staying in the four-bedroom residence will enjoy two king bedrooms, two queen bedrooms, jacuzzies and an expansive common living area, all with direct access to the beach.
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Experiences at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
From the moment you land on this piece of paradise, trust the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi’s Personal Concierge team to ensure every need is met with the utmost discretion. The team takes the brand’s iconic ‘True Waldorf Service’ to a new level, offering guests fully personalised service from day to night to guarantee curated experiences.
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“We are committed to making Ithaafushi – The Private Island a highly sought-after, world-class destination for the privileged few,” said Etienne Dalancon, general manager, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. “Our dedicated team is devoted entirely to ensuring every moment is absolutely personalised, with exceptional service and unsurpassed attention to detail. We will pull out all the stops to ensure the most memorable stay for our guests, every single time.”
The dedicated Wellness Concierge at the overwater spa helps organise customised therapies to indulge in while at the resort. The meditation and yoga pavilion along with fully equipped gym offer magnificent ocean views, with personal training and classes upon request.
Unwind on one of the sea swings, under the palm hammocks, sunken loungers, or bask in one of the five luxurious pools.
A dedicated children’s pool & gaming area, and the Young Discovery Park at the main resort features a water recreation area and various bespoke activities to keep the children engaged.
Dining Options at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
The private island’s dedicated culinary team take guests on a diverse culinary journey, offering bespoke menus to be enjoyed.
The two main islands, making up the rest of the resort, are home to 10 speciality dining venues. Dine at Terra, a unique bamboo pod-style nest set at a slight elevation among trees with views across the ocean serving haute cuisine with premium wine.
Other dining venues with an artistic interior design include ‘Yasmeen’ serving a gastronomic journey of Levant cuisine in a heritage Arabian village setting complete with antique décor and artefacts, and ‘The Rock’ – a cave-like dining room built from Jordanian limestone serving food and wine pairing menus that pay homage to renowned wine regions.
The Ledge by Dave Pynt features an elevated Australian barbecue experience in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The Waldorf Astoria experience is incomplete without a visit to the Peacock Alley bar, found in the 30 plus iconic Waldorf properties worldwide.
Experiences at Ithaafushi, South Male Atoll
Off-island experiences are also available, and the favourite tends to be heading to the private sandbank for a castaway experience where sunset dinner, a personal yoga session or merely being off-grid for a while is a pleasurable escape.
The underwater world in the South Male Atoll is ripe for exploration with a plethora of watersports, diving activities and yacht excursions at a moment’s notice. Experience spectacular views of the resort and nearby reefs by parasailing 200m above sea level or ride the underwater scooter Seabob.
Other activities to keep one engaged include windsurfing, catamaran sailing excursion, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, water skiing, wakeboarding, working on perfecting the moves in an X-Jets jetpack or exploring the resort’s house reef or nearby reefs. Explore the beautiful Victory Wreck, Alia Wreck, Muthi Wreck and Kuda Giri Wreck, abundant with healthy marine life, schools of reef fish and beautiful corals.
Staying Safe Protocols
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi operates with industry-leading standards of cleanliness and disinfection of the proprietary Hilton CleanStay program while adhering to the Maldivian health and safety guidelines.
The Maldives has a sensible and practical ‘one island one resort’ policy, making this the ideal island getaway destination for 2021 and beyond. Going one step further, spending your getaway at Ithaafushi Private Island, all 32,000 square meters of it, limited to just one’s entourage of family, friends, nannies and security detail, tops any international health policy on social distancing. Getting from your villa residence to Waldorf Astoria Maldives’s main island requires a speedboat.
Getting to Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
The Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is located at the South Male Atoll and is accessible directly from the airport via a 15-minute seaplane flight or a 40-minute ride on one resort’s six luxury Ithaafushi Princess yachts. To explore beyond the private island estate, direct access to the main island is available via speed boat. ◼
© This article was first published online in Feb 2021 – World Travel Magazine.