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June 21, 2024

A bit of everything at Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru

On World Tourism Day recently, we took a throwback to the gorgeous, protected area Baa Atoll in the Maldives. This would be one of the most popular images of anyone’s happy place or the picture of paradise that anyone could conjure up.


Photo courtesy: Landaa Giraavaru
Bright blue skies, shades of aquamarine, teal and blue, pristine white sands interspersed with the brightest corals, and other sea treasures hidden underneath.
Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru Maldives falls in UNESCO Biosphere reserve of Baa Atoll, one of the more precious places to experience marine wildlife in the coral and complex reef systems rich country. Located in the central western part of the Maldives, the resort’s marine biology centre and conservation centre at the Four Seasons Maldives has consistently been rated for its conservation efforts.
Photo courtesy: Landaa Giraavaru
Called the Reefscapers, if you’re a conservation enthusiast (and who isn’t once they have gone diving and seen the world underneath?) The surfing patch around the island is good enough for world-level competitions, which are regularly held at the property, if you’re a bit of a surfer yourself.
But if you were to ask us, the true bang for a buck is the Four Seasons Maldives private island Voavaah, that can be privately booked out for 45 million dollars. Fitted out with five private suites with attached private pools, a grand drawing room, decorated in the Balinese style, a tropical forest outside, its fit for an intimate wedding venue, or the most memorable party with friends or family.
Photo courtesy: Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Maldives has three properties in the country, their initial property Kuda Huraa, done up like a traditional Maldivian village, the newer, swankier Landa Giraavaru, in the World Conservation Reserve South Ari Atoll, and the private island Voavaah, accessed from Landa Giravaaru via boat. If you want to arrive in style, the Four Seasons has its dedicated lounge at the airport to receive you, with good coffee and WiFi access, and their own seaplane called “…” in a bright yellow to greet you at the airport, much more comfortable than the government operated sea planes used otherwise. Once you arrive, prepare for a true immersion into paradise, with their island spa, the wellness resort called AyurMa, if you are in the mind-frame for an advanced Ayurvedic holistic programme including dietary, exercise and mindfulness activities.
Sandbank parties & surfing
Photo courtesy: Landaa Giraavaru
 How gorgeous is the dream of awakening your kundalini to the sound of the waves breaking nearby even as the sun rises in front of you, filling the sky with a coral hue as bright as some of the corals you may find below? AyurMa, a retreat at the resort, is built around the four pillars of yoga therapy, ayurveda, wellness and planetary wellbeing, and it is a great excuse to connect with your true self. I came back believing in an alternative lifestyle, one in which was possible to use innovative techniques to ancient wisdom on a journey to health and happiness. AyurMa in its essence, believes in reconciling ancient practices with modern lifestyle, strategies that would help us cope with the stresses of modernity by using their approach without having to live the life of a sage. Says Dr Arun, “Meaning “mother of life,” AyurMa invites you to reset your awareness and embark on a path to health, harmony and happiness, where the emphasis is on loving the earth as you love yourself. Alongside a multi award-winning team of Ayurvedic doctors, naturopaths and yoga therapists, challenge and overcome whatever issues are holding you back during tailored therapeutic programs that draw from many alternative systems of holistic medicine. Discover individual and shared The gurus at the retreat do not believe in the same old traditional ways to finding balance in life. Their anti-gravity yoga makes you believe you can ‘fly’, doing gravity defying poses from suspended hammocks. Then they have the beginner friendly saltwater pool aqua yoga, with hatha postures. The aqua float yoga is for those with floating mats, which helps challenge you and improve core strength, balance and range of motion.
Marine wildlife and conservation
Phot courtesy: Manta Rays at Landaa Giraavaru
Phot courtesy: Manta Rays at Landaa Giraavaru
The Baa Atoll is widely popular for the largest manta ray population in Maldives, over 1600, and it isn’t uncommon to find them in schools of hundreds swimming in the area. Landaa Giravaaru has a programme during manta season called manta on call. Upon arrival, divers are provided with small phones which then can be utilised to contact them whenever mantas are spotted by the dive centre who keeps a watch. Otherwise, there are plenty other marine animals that may be spotted, such as dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales, among others.
Photo courtesy: Landaa Giraavaru
If you’re a conservation enthusiast or have a child who’s interested, they run special programmes with marine biologists on-site. Children can spend the day shadowing the marine biologists on site which makes for a scenic summer vacation project, while adults can learn how to conserve corals with the projects ongoing at the dive centre. They also run a serious turtle conservation project at Landa Giravaaru.
The Sea Bar is where the resort has a ritual ‘shark feeding’ session. Believe me, when I say, those sharks don’t look like they need feeding. Unlike many resorts that you would find in the Maldives, the sharks of the Baa Atoll, around the property are huge, and the diversity in reef fishes that swim around the property has to be seen to be believed, from groupers, boxfish, triggerfish, snappers, sting rays, parrotfish, to others. While a thing or two can be said about the sunset, sitting on the hammocks over water, it is far more thrilling to come see the fishes come and dance around in an attempt to get away with the maximum meat.
The Maldivian resort life
Photo courtesy: Beach Villa at Landaa Giraavaru
Photo courtesy: Beach Villa at Landaa Giraavaru
Photo courtesy: Beach Villa at Landaa Giraavaru
Photo courtesy: Beach Villa at Landaa Giraavaru
Two-to-three-bedroom beach villas, done up in the most indulgent ways, are light and bright to reflect on the environs outside, but that’s not all, they’re stocked with enough amenities for large families that Asians and Arabs are wont to travel with. Children have their own space, the private beach outfront, a proper pool to spend their energy at, while the parents can afford to get away for just a little bit. Alternatively, it is perfect for a group of friends travelling down for a little lark, some relaxation to calm those worry lines. The bedrooms are thickly walled to afford enough privacy to all parties in question, with shared spaces like the beach and pool area to come together when needed.
The private island’s Voavaah is decorated to feel like a home away from home. With beautiful art hanging everywhere, indulgent splash pools running from room to room, Balinese architecture, and a spa therapy room in the middle of the ocean, it is indeed a true escape if there was one.

The fine dine experience


Photo courtesy: Al_Barakat, Landaa Giraavaru
The property boasts of plenty fine dine options, from the much-photographed kilometre long stretch at the end of the island, called the Blu Beach Club to Al Barakat, the Mediterranean restaurant, elegant by the sea. The Blu Beach Club, done up in shades of the ocean, aquamarine, deep blue and white, has a set Italian menu at night by Michelin-starred Chef Gaetano Trovato, while the all-day dining options include light dining options including fresh seafood which has been locally sourced, cooked in Italian style.
Photo: Chef Gaetano Trovato, Landaa Giraavaru
Chef Trovato’s menu draws upon his Sicilian childhood for a delightful degustation menu. While Chef visits for a week-long residency twice a year, his protégés at the property serve his specials to two tables for upto four diners every night. Sicilian Branzino seabass, Caciocavallo Ragusano and Pantellaria capers will join island-grown herbs and Landaa-laid eggs in dishes driven by the “zero waste” philosophy.
Photo courtesy: Al Barakat, Landaa Giraavaru
At Al Barakat, named after the 12th century African scholar who visited the Maldives, delights from Egypt, Armenia, Lebanon and Morocco are served over water in the most romantic ambience, including traditional breads, dips, Armenian meats, Lebanese wine and more. Its lower level includes a shisha bar, perfect for a sundowner, as you wind down with a gorgeous pink and purple sunset, let the waves lap your feet, with some wine, shisha, or Turkish coffee.
And when sadly, it is all over, you still have the joy of flying across the sea in their custom planes, the triggerfish or the boxfish, brightly coloured and identified from a distance, where one can sit down and enjoy a relatively quiet ride, only to be escorted upto their beautiful lounge, to make up for the fact that the vacation is indeed over, and perhaps, until next year?
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