Those of you that read our recent blog introducing the Waldorf Astoria, Maldives Ithaafushi, will already be familiar with the unparalleled luxury that awaits at this new Maldives resort. Despite only opening in July 2019, this spectacular resort has already been making waves worldwide. To get a first-hand feel, we sent Jackie Sampson along to check it out…
I was delighted to be returning to the Maldives – I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many times during my time with Inspiring Travel Company and it’s truly one of my favourite places to travel. Plus, knowing that I was going to experience the newly-opened Waldorf Astoria resort that I’d heard so much about – I knew I was in for the trip of a lifetime.
In order to reach the isle of Ithaafushi, I needed to take a transfer by boat from Male International Airport. This wasn’t any old boat transfer though, this was a luxurious crystal-white yacht that pulled up right outside the airport terminal. A beautiful 30-minute journey later and I was delivered to the shores of the resort where I was greeted by a waving team, ready and waiting with a cocktail and cold towel in hand.
My room was the Grand Reef Villa which was set half on land and half over the water. I was astounded by just how extensive the place was. In addition to a sumptuous en suite king-sized bedroom, there was a spacious living area set beneath a high vaulted ceiling and a huge outdoor living area with overwater hammocks, a dining pavilion and an infinity swimming pool, which is featured in all the accommodation on the isle. And, all backdropped by panoramic views of the lagoon – what more could a girl ask for?
Keep an eye out for the Stella Maris Villa! This was without a doubt the best and most spacious accommodation I saw on the island. Set on stilts over the water and secluded from other nearby accommodation, this villa not only offers the utmost privacy but also provides two floors of unparalleled luxury with everything from a hot tub, a BBQ station and a private chef to floor-to-ceiling windows and direct access to the ocean. If you’re looking for something special – you can do no better than this villa!
That said, I also had the opportunity to take a peek at the Ithaafushi private island which can be hired out exclusively to accommodate up to 15 guests. The island really had everything you could possibly ask for: four infinity pools, an entertainment pavilion, a spa… even a fleet of private staff! It really is the cherry on the cake of what is already a magnificent resort.
Another feature that had me reeling was the extensive range of dining options available. There are 11 in total and each have their own unique charm. Take the Rock, for example, a dining retreat hidden in a cave-like room carved from Jordanian limestone. Or, Terra, a dining experience like no other set high up in the trees within domed bamboo nests. I enjoyed everything from fabulous Shanghainese/Mandarin cuisine at Li Long to more informal dining at Yasmeen, which is inspired by a traditional Syrian village.
The best meal I had was lunch at the Ledge. Whatever you do, do not miss it! You might have already heard of Dave Pynt, the Michelin-starred chef that’s famous for his Burnt Ends barbecue joint. Even if you haven’t – just one look at photos of the ribs he prepares on his woodburning stove and you’ll be desperate to get a taste of his culinary creations. At the Ledge, you can! Within the beautiful timber-framed restaurant beside the beach that felt more like a hip London bar than a desert island restaurant, I got the chance to try the tasting menu which offered a tapas-like selection of treats all prepared on Pynt’s famous custom-built oven. I can tell you – it’s just as good as it looks. Butter-soft and grilled to perfection, I’d simply never tasted food like this before.
I was also really impressed with the options for children. The Waldorf Young Discovery Park keeps the children entertained for hours with a full programme of activities as well as their very own water park. With all this and more, children are sure to have just as much of an incredible time as you will.
On top of all of this, there was also an unending amount of facilities. Highlights included the spa, where I tried out a glorious sunrise yoga session (what a way to start the day!) and snorkelling on the house reef which I could reach directly from my overwater villa.
What a great stay.The Waldorf Astoria, Maldives Ithaafushi is the definition of a luxury resort and can only get better and better.
Can I go back?
If you feel like heading to the Waldorf Astoria, Maldives Ithaafushi too, get in contact with one of our Travel Specialist to tailor-make your luxury escape.