Undeniably one of the world's most luxurious resort destinations, the Maldives sits high on many a list of dream travel destinations — and rightfully so. With 26 atolls awash with crystal clear waters as far as the eye can see, it's the perfect escape from the daily grind of city life. So when the opportunity arose, I booked my next flight out to Malé and checked into my resort of choice — Maalifushi by COMO.
Maalifushi is the first and only resort located on the Thaa atoll, offering travellers a view of unspoilt beaches and tropical greenery. There's no shortage of luxury properties to choose from in the Maldives, but few can surpass the lofty standards of even the most jaded traveller. Here, I've rounded up the reasons as to why Maalifushi by COMO is where you'd rather be.
Redefining the idea of privacy
While the resort consists of 65 villas and suites, it is the only resort on the entire island, giving ample room for everyone to roam. Home for us during our stay was a 120m2 Water Villa complete with a private pool and sun deck. Designed by Japanese architect Koichiro Ikebuchi, it was spacious and modern on the inside while charmingly rustic on the outside. With such a comfortable residence to kick back in, leaving it felt unnecessary. There were days where we only saw other guests when we headed out for meals at the resort's restaurants.
We were also told upon arrival that COMO Hotels and Resorts owns the neighbouring islands. With that in mind, we commandeered a kayak and spent an entire day on the closest one without encountering a single soul. All we had for company were baby reef sharks circling in the shallow waters. Perfect for playing Crusoe.
What good would a luxury resort be without a warm, personal touch? At Maalifushi, the touch was highly personal and staff delighted us with COMO's signature brand of hospitality. I was on a first-name basis with most of the staff after a couple of days. We were always greeted with a smile, and the affable staff were eager to cater to our every whim and fancy.
The resort also provides a butler service to guests staying in the Beach Villas, COMO Villas, and Maalifushi Water Villa. On our third night, we were simply too lazy to head to the restaurants and opted to dine in-villa with the fiery sunset as our backdrop. I was expecting a member of the staff to wheel a trolley into our villa and was prepared to eat from the sofa, but he proceeded to lay out a full dinner setting on our outdoor deck. Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised. Talk about surpassing expectations.
Unwind and recharge at a world-class spa
Seeking a spot of pampering during your stay? You're in luck as you'll find the award-winning COMO Shambhala Retreat on site. The treatment rooms sit over the water and are backed with gorgeous views of the Maldives. While the spa specialises in a variety of different massage styles from around the region, you can also get a facial done here as well, all against the backdrop of the iconic COMO Shambhala scent - one layered with invigorating hints of eucalyptus, camphor and peppermint.
While Tai and Madi, the two main restaurants in Maalifushi, have a fantastic menu that will appease even the most selective of taste buds, you'll find the most healthy options available from the Shambhala menu.
I get restless easily and there was only so much relaxing I could do before I started itching for some action. Thankfully, the resort proffered a rotating list of activities for guests to engage in daily. This included sunset fishing, wakeboarding and of course, guided snorkeling excursions. I would highly recommend the snorkeling excursion even if it requires you to take a boat ride out to other reefs. However, if you're not keen to venture out, Maalifushi is blessed with two fantastic house reefs for you to explore at your leisure. Do look out for Aki-san, the resident stingray that frequents the shallows near Tai, the resort's Japanese restaurant.
All photos apart from the aerial shots of the property and COMO Shambhala Retreat were taken with a Leica M-P
For more information about Maalifushi by COMO, click here.