By now, it’s no secret: the Maldives is the modern man’s Eden, with Instagram-worthy backdrops credited to the swirling sapphire waters and lush tropical vegetation that flourished under the sun-kissed sky. There’s always a crowd here, constantly swooning at the spread of marine life, the spectacle of gorgeous dive sites, the expanse of sparkly white beaches whose sands glitter under the light. One could book a flight here and immediately expect magic; everything, at most, has been said and done. Thankfully, a few surprises still exist, for the Maldives, in its many facets, can be enjoyed in many ways.
Fifty minutes from Male finds an 18-hectare stretch of paradise called Pullman Maldives Maamutaa, viewed at a spectacular angle at the world-famous Gaafu Alifu Atoll. There is no mediocrity in its 122 villas, many of them perched by the beach and churning out a delicate view of sunrises and sunsets over the waters. Peering out of the villa’s windows is sublime, but the real wonder is the Aqua Villa. Bedrooms are plunged deep beneath the waters for a front-row gaze at the marine diversity swimming by the tides. Take note: only two of these rooms exist in the resort, but there are many water-inspired escapes all around–starring a natural lake, plus a trip to the region’s massive lagoon, the biggest and deepest of them all. The grand watery navel is a superior spot for befriending sharks—Jaws is a myth. More than ten species, other than the charming turtles and reef fish, swim their way through the waters. While a bit of expertise is required, brushing off with the local marine conservationists and scuba divers may give enough learning for a session.
Revel past the waters
There’s the sea, but a pool is a must, and in Pullman Maldives Maamutaa, this giant swimming area is a social space, thanks to The Hub, a sunken pool bar that serves signature cocktails for daytime libations. Food is abundant. The Souq Oven stirs the atmosphere with the scent of Middle Eastern cuisine, while Saffron Affair teases with tapas. Sol Rising is a quaint cafe that presents treats crafted with visual alchemy; food, after all, is nothing less than an experiment. But for the earth-grounded eaters, Phat Chameleon charms with its garden setting, offering plates heaped with organic numbers that can satisfy every picky vegetarian.
The Maldives is all about the setting, and spirituality tends to kick inhere as well, constantly inspiring bodies to stay in shape or to heal inwardly. The resort has a Fit Trail, with an island jogging track comprised of five fitness categories that challenge various physical exercises. Those who are ready to get down can enlist in the boot camp of Raayeriya, with callisthenics sessions cap off with a sprint by the beach. For moments of rejuvenation, Spa by Phytomer beckons with its treatment rooms nestled over a white sand lagoon for an immersive beach experience. all.accor.com/hotel/9924/index.en.shtml ◼
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© This article was first published online in Jan 2020 – World Travel Magazine.