A tribute to the Maldives
It’s clever, really, how nearly every building or villa in The St. Regis Maldives is inspired by some kind of aquatic element, though never in a too-literal way. The most obvious, if you look at it from an aerial view, is the lobster-shaped spa. The architecture, designed by Singapore-based firm WOW Architects, won the resort an award at the 2017 Prix Versailles.
Other aquatic references: The overwater villas look like the gaping mouths of manta rays (see featured image), the on-land villas resemble chic versions of tropical fisherman huts, and the sunset bar was designed to mimic the sleek physique of a whale shark. We suggest prepping a lot of memory space in your cameras or phones before going.
Rooms you won’t want to leave
The St. Regis experience started right from the airport, where we were greeted by our airport butler and escorted to the car that took us to the St. Regis seaplane lounge for check-in and light refreshments. The journey to the resort via the Trans Maldivian airline takes an hour. And then of course, upon arrival, we were only too keen on seeing our own ‘manta ray’ villa.
Resisting the urge to immediately sink into the ocean-facing king-size bed, we walked around our Overwater Villa and found there was nothing we didn’t fall in love with. (Is it just us or does the Maldives do this to everyone?) Inside, a cosy living room facing the ocean, a walk-in closet and a bathroom with an oversized bathtub you’d spend an ungodly amount of time in if you weren’t also excited to jump into the sea.
Outside, a small swimming pool on the patio, which is fringed by overwater hammocks over clear turquoise water – the Indian Ocean itself. If you choose the Sunset Overwater Villa, you’ll be able to enjoy the sunset from there. Unfortunately, there were very few fish immediately below our villa, as we were told the reef would take a few years to recover after the construction in the area, but we swam a little further out and found more ocean life there. Most of the villas at The St. Regis are overwater, located in a semi-circle further out in the reef surrounding the small island.
We frequented The St. Regis Maldives’ signature restaurant Alba during our stay, digging into the extensive à la carte menu, which featured foie gras, Maldivian lobster omelette and duck confit. Exquisite food for the exquisite view of the beach and ocean. That is not to say you should pass up the food and ambience at the other restaurants, Oriental (Chinese, Japanese and Indian delights), Crust & Craft (pizza and draft beers), Cargo (Middle Eastern cuisine) and Decanter (bespoke menu with wine pairing). All in all, the service we experienced was worthy of the stars the resort boasts and our food, prepared with fresh ingredients, was always worth the wait.
Tip: Do not skip the buffet breakfast! It’s a huge spread of amazing food and there’s even morning drinks. We’re talking bubbly and Bloody Marys for those who don’t believe in drinks o’clock.
And then there’s the pretty Whale Bar, where you can enjoy the Maldives sunset with a drink in hand.
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The Maldives life
When in Maldives, snorkel! The resort offers snorkelling trips further out from the island, where you’ll find beautiful coral life. The beach on the island is a little small, and swimming there may be a little uncomfortable as broken coral litter the sea bed. We’d definitely recommend doing some of the water sports activities that take you a little further out onto the reef if you want to spend time in the ocean.
There’s lots to do at The St. Regis Maldives. If you’re not getting a relaxing treatment at the aforementioned spa, you could take to the jogging trail, enjoy the outdoor infinity pool, rent a bicycle, shop at the boutique, treat yourself to a makeover at the salon, and even go jet-skiing, parasailing and fly-fishing. Some of these excursions are available at a separate fee, but it’s some of the best ways to experience the Maldives while you’re there. We spent some time at the anti-gravity yoga class, where our teacher was very attentive and took the initiative to get each participant by name.
Even if there’s bad weather and you can’t live out your mermaid dreams in the big blue, it would be easy to find something to do. Plus, there’s a children’s club if you’re staying as a family with little ones. Bookworms will enjoy the unique library, which looks like a spiral shell.
We left our heart in the Maldives
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is still less than 2 years old, but wears that old luxury hotel charm with a flair we noticed even as we arrived at its metaphorical doorstep. Will you be raving about your experience there to anyone who will listen? Definitely.
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