Imagine this—pristine blue waters, beautiful sunsets, indulgent spas, delectable food and bubbly mimosas—just about a perfect holiday, isn’t it? Serene island-living combined with a Maldivian village charm is how I would describe Four Seasons’ resorts. The international hospitality group has four options in Maldives that caters to various types of global travelers. Their offerings include, resorts at Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Explorer (their chartered yacht) and a private island at Voavah. At Maldives, no two experiences are the same and it is this very quality that makes it extremely popular with travelers who are seeking some down time and relaxation.
I started my trip with Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. A 25-min speedboat ride from Malé airport, Kuda Huraa is located on the North Malé Atoll, in the tranquil turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Gently rising from a sheet of turquoise, it’s hard to tell where the ocean ends and the sky begins here. The minute you step onto the island, you are transported in a world of its own. A little bit of Oriental drama combined with modern aesthetics, is what defines the vibe of the resort. Apart from a beautiful welcoming lagoon, Kuda Huraa also has flower gardens, a private spa island and spacious new Beach Pavilion hideaways in a charming village setting. The resort offers its guests the best of beach-facing villas and lagoon-facing accommodations. Each villa comes with its own private pool that ensures privacy and yet gently connects one to the rest of the island. The Sunset Villas are especially charming here. The beauty of the setting sun with the infinity pools, makes it for a perfect romantic and calm spot. Inspired by the architecture of Kerala, Baraabaru is a fine-dining Indian restaurant at Kuda Huraa. With a dramatic lagoon-top setting, dinners here are under the stars, surrounded by water on three sides and enhanced by live Indian music. For the ones who love Italian or global cuisine, the resort has options in the form of Reef Club and Café Huraa respectively. The resort also has Kandu Grill that specialises in steak and seafood. However, my favorite spot is the Sunset Lounge that overlooks the lagoon. Refreshing cocktails and a classic Maldivian sunset, evenings here are one-of-a-kind and have to be experienced first-hand.
The Island Spa Sanctuary is a distinctive experience at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. Located at a slight distance from the main resort, one has to sail across the blue waters, and step onto a green island to soak up the ethereal whites. A haven of peace and purity where architectural details and geometric lines dance with the light and sit in contrast to nature’s surrounding free from flow, one can indulge in over-water suites for ocean-inspired treatments or enjoy the moonlight magic with the Night Spa on a treetop terrace. The resort also offers a plethora of recreational activities. Home to some of the world’s incredible marine habitats like dolphins, turtles, sharks and varied types of sea animals, embark on specialised cruises to enjoy the marine life. One can also opt for scuba diving, surf cruises and water sports activities to enjoy the thrill of the sea.
My next stop was Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru and I have to admit, it was love at first sight. A 35-minute seaplane flight ensured spectacular views of the crystalline waters and remote islands and though this was my second Maldives trip, this resort’s beach is one-of-a-kind and makes time stand still. I am not exaggerating when I say, I could live at Landaa Giraavaru forever. But only if! A natural UNESCO Biosphere Reserve wilderness, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is where iridescent blues, jungle greens and dazzling whites meet innovation, conservation and wellness. From the Marine Discovery Centre, Michelin- starred Blu Beach Club to world-class wellness at AyurMa, the resort has something for all age groups and interests.
The guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation at Landaa Giraavaru. There are beach villas with private sanctuaries with a secluded access to the beach, and lagoon villas with massive infinity pools that make one feel at one with the ocean. Each of the villas is beautifully designed with a contemporary vibe, ensuring that it instantly becomes a home away from home. In addition to being a holiday destination, the resort is also known for its Ayurveda programs. AyurMa, their quaint wellness spa, is situated in the heart of the island surrounded by dense greens. In order to keep up with its wellness ethos, this is the only area on the island that has no WiFi or cellular coverage. Personally, I couldn’t have asked for more! The therapies and programs at AyurMa invite one to reset one’s awareness and embark on a new path to health, harmony and happiness, where the emphasis is on loving the earth as you love yourself. Supported by the four pillars of Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, Wellness and Planetary Wellbeing plus a multi award-winning team of Ayurvedic doctors, naturopaths and yoga therapists—one can beautifully discover a new path to a healthy, holistic self here.
The 44-acre resort is situated in Baa Atoll, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and hence conservation of marine life is an important aspect here. Led by a team of passionate marine biologists, The Marine Discovery Centre is an on-island research center that allows one to experience a variety of marine creatures while learning about their life and habitat. Guests can also participate in some of the resort’s conservation projects to show their support and love. Just like Kuda Huraa, the resort also offers a wide range of marine recreational activities. You can take a dip in the only Olympic-size pool in Maldives or cool off at the Seawater pool, or enjoy a beautiful sunset over a lagoon pool.
Global cuisine takes centre-stage at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru. Whether it’s Italian, Arabian, Indian or Asian, a world traveller is spoilt for choice! The Blu Beach Club, is a beautiful airy-beach facing restaurant and all-day hangout with unbeatable sea view. Enjoy poolside cabanas with classic Neapolitan pizza, authentic gelato and menus crafted by Michelin- star Italian chef Gaetano Trovato. For authentic Arabian food, Al Barakat is definite experience. Named after a North African scholar who made the Baa Atoll his home in the 12th century, it offers stylish, indoor and outdoor-rooftop seating and offers flavours from Lebanon, Morocco and Armenia. In addition to these, there is Seabar, Fuego Grill and Café Landaa that guests can pick and choose from.
MORE AT FOUR SEASONS
While these two resorts cater to a large number of people, if you are someone who appreciates privacy and the ultra-luxe, then there is always Four Seasons Explorer (their chartered yacht) and a private island at Voavah. The five-acre UNESCO haven of Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah is a private retreat, which can accommodate a group of 21 guests in all. With its 19-metre (62-foot) yacht, dive centre, spa, beach house, seven bedrooms and a resident pod of dolphins, it redefines luxury.
Four Seasons Explorer is an extraordinary experience and should be a must-do on every traveller’s bucket list. A private three-cabin yacht, it takes guests across five Maldivian atolls and includes dives, snorkeling, barbecues and indulgence in spa treatments on uninhabited islands. Four Seasons has something for everyone. And each experience caters to different needs. If you are a large group of families and kids, then there are the two resorts and if you are the extravagant kinds then there are options that promise privacy, romance and indulgence. With summer just right here, the Maldivian beaches could be your next calling.
Images Courtesy Four Seasons
Find ELLE’s latest issue on stands or download your digital copy here.