The COVID-19 pandemic until few months ago had forced the world to cancel vacations, reunions, and business trips. Now, as countries cautiously reopen after many months of lockdowns, people are looking for safe ways to return to some semblance of normal life.
In the ever-buzzing Maldives, construction is booming with countless resort and hotel sites as tourism is picking up with footfalls aplenty. And here’s a little secret we’ll let you in on. The latest property adding to the must-visit list is Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, nestled on Thilamaafushi Island, the southern pocket of Lhaviyani Atoll. Spanning nine hectares, the island is a true castaway experience abundant with indigenous flora and fauna surrounded by coral seagrass meadows, mangrove forests, and coral reefs teeming with marine life, including pods of manta rays, turtles, barracuda and other fish in every shape and colour.
The 141-villa resort’s design takes cues from a mid-century design aesthetic and European heritage blended with the fabric of the Maldives, its people, nature, and art. Guests can easily access the resort by a 35-minute seaplane journey north of Velana (MLE) International Airport, Malé. There are one, two, and three-bedroom villas. An iconic Maldivian experience comes with a Sunset Overwater Villa. Mornings are blissful at the Beachside Pool Villa; take a dip in the private pool and enjoy the serene vibes. The Lagoon Villa is the best of both worlds, with the beach and lagoon at your doorstep. The two-bedroom villas, with private pools and your choice of on the beach or overwater options, are already becoming a preferred choice. Step off your terrace onto a whitewashed beach from one of the Beach Villas dotted across the island
Embark on a gastronomically satisfying journey at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa. Cuisines from around the world are celebrated here, right from authentic Japanese to Maldivian cuisine. At Turquoise, soak in the ocean breeze as you dig into chef special local delights, along with Asian favourites and modern European cuisine. At Tabemasu, where art, design and food meet together to offer a unique dining experience, featuring regional tastes that meld modern and traditional techniques with a haute-French mise en place. For mindful conscious eating and drinking, Waves Café is the place to be. Feed and nourish the soul with wholesome, organic, and sustainable ingredients presented in a simply light uncomplicated fashion. Lovebirds will love the open-air pavilion where you can watch a magical sunset. Meanwhile at Velaa Bar + Grill, enjoy laid back evenings as you gorge on grilled seafood, meats, and woodfired delicacies paired with smooth wines and handcrafted cocktails. The social hub of the resort, Latitude transitions from a relaxed café by day to a glittering evening ambiance. At Riviera, the resort’s adults-only bar, guests are served freshly shucked oysters and petite plates complemented by sparkling wine, rosé and crisp spirits. As part of the weekly culinary events “Au Soleil” at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa encourages a summer state of mind at golden hour, where guests can enjoy European-inspired dishes, specially designed rosé cocktails and handcrafted gelato or sorbet.
Connect with nature with the resort’s special initiative called ‘Thilamaafushi Marine Masters’. Spearheaded by Sub Oceanic, the resort’s dive partner and in-house marine biologist, guests can book modules where they will be trained in subjects such as atoll topography, coral health monitoring, and turtle, ray and shark identification. The programme is available in modules or as a full curriculum for everyone from young children to adults. One of the most exciting topics is Mangrove 101, where guests visit the mangroves on the island and learn about the vibrant marine life thriving there. Another one is Seagrass Hopper where participants venture into the seagrass meadows with the marine biologist.
There’s plenty to do on the island, and there’s something for everyone. Families can participate in coral restoration projects, traditional fishing, dolphin watching, private island explorations and lots more. At the Le Méridien Family Kids’ Hub, guests can learn about the rich flora and fauna of the archipelago. Plus, there are guided nature walks, lectures on the underwater world at the Marine Hub and gardening in The Greenhouse. The Lhaviyani Atoll holds some of the best dive sites in the Maldives, including the resort’s house reef that features a thila or a sea mountain, brimming with green and hawksbills turtles, stingrays, shoals of colourful fish and lots more colourful reef dwellers waiting to be discovered. For certified divers, there are night dives where you can witness the magic of the underwater creatures that only come out at night. And for those more comfortable over water, there is sailing, jet skiing, wakeboarding and so much more!
Invigorate the senses in a haven of natural beauty at Explore Spa. Full of magnetic energy fused with artistic expression, avail services such as ayurvedic treatments, body scrub, body wrap, couple's massage and more. The Waves Lifestyle Hub includes a fitness studio and yoga pavilion; a creative arts studio focused on local contemporary art that also includes a retail shop.