The romantic destination of Maldives is now famous for its turquoise blue waters and luxurious island resorts. Each island in the country has preserved its natural beauty, and its resorts have the most stunning views of the Indian Ocean.
One of the newest properties that opened in September 2021, Le Meridien Resort and Spa has something for everyone, whether you’re there to spend a few days doing nothing, or to soak in the local culture. Located in the secluded southern pocket of Lhaviyani Atoll on the natural island of Thilamaafushi, the property is brimming with indigenous flora and fauna surrounded by a shimmering lagoon, coral reefs and marine life. The luxurious 141 villa property is accessible by a 35-minute seaplane ride from Velana (MLE) International Airport, Malé.
Transport to the hotel is done in style. The breath-taking journey begins as soon as you land at the Velana airport from where you’re instantly transported to the seaplane lounge. From a special boarding pass to check in, the process seems similar until you reach the deck — only to be blown away by turquoise-coloured water and multiple seaplanes with white bodies and red tails that beautifully compliment the colours of the Indian Ocean. Once you’re on board, it initially starts moving in the ocean and flies at a low level above the sea. Looking out from the window, you can expect to see a never-ending expanse of dark blue and turquoise waters, lush green isolated islands constructed with overwater villas and a gorgeous skyline. Hues of blue take over the stunning Indian Ocean as they are interspersed with white clouds, almost making it surreal to tell the skyline from the ocean (think dark blue and turquoise interspersed with lighter shades of blue). 35 minutes later, you’re at Le Meridien Maldives Resort and Spa.
Staying true to the idea of conserving natural beauty, the resort is an eco-conscious hideaway, having one of the largest hydroponic farms called the Greenhouse, which spans over 430 sq m, and uses harvested rainwater for its daily functioning. If you’re lucky enough, you can even expect to spot marine life near the seashores at the beach.
Speaking about the popularity of the destination, Nilesh Singh, General Manager — Le Meridien Maldives Resort and Spa shared, “The Maldives has long been a popular destination for those looking to escape the stresses of modern life. With a selection of stay packages, our private island resort offers elegant overwater and beach pool villas with breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean.”
Upon your arrival, expect a warm welcome by the crew as they await you on deck. Experience the soothing sound of drums playing as you step foot into paradise. As you walk over the water on the jetty, get blown away by the beauty. With a mix of wooden flooring and sandy beaches, pick where you wish to sit and sip on the welcome drink as you check-in. Pick from beachside villas to overwater sunrise or sunset villas for a memorable experience. Spread across nine acres, there are buggies everywhere to make the resort accessible.
Water or beach?
As I sat on my buggy to head to my room, I was blown away by the grandeur and natural beauty of the property. Sandy walkways were covered with greenery and each side of the resort boasted of the pristine blue waters of the Indian ocean.
With a total of 141 villas, the property is a haven for honeymooners, a getaway with your significant other, a trip with your girls or a family vacation for which you can take the two or three-bedroom villa. For a delightful stay, we highly recommend the overwater sunset and sunrise villas to make the experience more memorable.
The bed overlooks the ocean, ensuring that you witness a sunrise on the ocean as soon as you get up. The key highlights of the overwater villa are the all-glass bathroom with a tub facing the ocean, the overwater mesh where you can lounge while getting a clear view of the water, direct access to the ocean from your room and finally the deck with sunbathing chairs. Sipping on a bottle of bubbly as you enjoy the unparallel view of the whitewashed beaches — or the turquoise lagoon.
Adding to the ambience of the room are the turquoise green shutter windows that lend colour to the otherwise contemporary white and wooden furnishings in a muted colour palette. Every aspect of the resort’s design takes cues from the Paris-born brand’s mid-century design aesthetic and European heritage inspired by the era of glamorous travel, presented through a Maldivian lens.
The walkway is serene and makes for a great morning run or evening post-dinner stroll. I would opt to walk to breakfast daily to take in the stunning morning view. During your stay, the buggies will be your best friend to take you from your villas to restaurants or the activity zones.
The traditional food in the Maldives is full of bold flavours and spices, much like Indian cuisine. According to the Head Chef Krish at Velaa Bar and Grill, Le Meridien Maldives Resort and Spa, tuna is one of the most savoured dishes in the Maldives. “The Maldivians love to eat lots of tuna. One of the traditional dishes of the Maldives is the Garudhiya which is like a soup made with curry leaf, pandan leaves, tuna, onion and Maldivan chilli. Tuna is not very strong and fishy in the Maldives, and it has a very light flavour. We also make a MasRiha which is a tuna dish. Mas means tuna and Riha means curry, and we use a special curry paste called hawado that is full of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and curry leaves, coconut and coriander. The paste is used with coconut, boiled with pieces of tuna to make the MasRiha.”
The property features multiple restaurants and bars offering a truly indulgent experience. Start your day with a lavish multi-cuisine breakfast at Turquoise where you must try the local specialities including egg tuna cutlet and tuna curry — if you’re non-vegetarian — and they even have fresh produce from their harvest garden for vegetarians. Head to Tabemasu — a fine dining Japanese restaurant — for a live teppanyaki meal that is only open for dinner on all days except Wednesday and Sunday. Being an exclusive restaurant is highly sought-after and we suggest making a booking in advance.
No matter whether you’re a non-vegetarian or vegetarian, the fine dining restaurant offers dishes that are perfect to satiate your refined palette. Find a range of dishes, from the Seared Salmon to the Hinadori Gyoza, Tambemasu Salad to the Miso Gindara and finally the Yuzu Lemon Tart.
Make your way to the Velaa bar and grill, to savour some mouth-watering steaks, or try their must-haves like the Lobster Bisque, Crab Cake, Australian Beef Steak or the coconut and lime ceviche. Swing by Velaa for lunch and dive into a cooling, refreshing salad that boasts of freshness — the watermelon (soaked with cinnamon overnight) and feta salad topped with pine nuts or savour the wooden oven pizzas — we’d recommend Tuna Pizza topped off with curry leaves. What’s more? They even have an ice cream truck within the restaurant!
On days when you wish to enjoy a few tipples, Riviera — an adults-only bar overlooking the ocean — is just the spot to head to. And if you’re health-conscious, Waves café is here to save the day. Light, healthy and wholesome, try the avocado toast, salmon toast and Roasted Quinoa Mexican Chicken Bowl. Each dish boasts freshness and a burst of flavours courtesy of the use of fresh ingredients straight from their harvest garden at the greenhouse. And if coffee is your first love, try the flavoured iced lattes from Mango to Strawberry, take your pick. From avo toast to fresh juices and immunity boosters there’s something for everyone at Waves.
Finally, make your way to the PDR at the Greenhouse (one of the largest ones in the Maldives) for a private beachside dining experience that is all about dishes prepared with freshly harvested produce. Before entering, take a trip to the greenhouse to see the fresh produce that you will be served from lettuce to bok choy, herbs and fruits. The fully automated hydroponic garden is one of the largest in the Maldives. Staying true to their eco-conscious approach, the water used in the hydroponic plant is rainwater.
Situated amidst of greenery, the place comes alive with bamboo furniture and earthy lights. With a lavish-down dinner table set up, savour your meal with wine. Start with a fresh salad move to freshly made beetroot ravioli, grilled prawns for mains and a sugar-free jaggery pandan crepe with coconut ice cream to finish.
No resort experience is complete without a therapeutic massage at the spa. Built over water, each room at the Explore Spa gives you a stunning view of the ocean. What’s more? When you lie (face-down) the see-through floor tile gives you a direct view of the fishes in the ocean below as you experience the relaxing massage. Book yourself the 60-minute abhyanga massage for a deeply relaxing experience. Once your massage is over, head to the relaxing room and take a moment to yourself. Sip on jasmine tea and fresh coconut before you’re comfortable making your way out.
Recreation and relaxation
From a specially created fitness calendar throughout the day to water-sports and diving, culinary classes, an infinity pool, outdoor movie night on Sunday and an art session; there are plenty of ways to spend time at leisure. On your arrival, the hotel hands you an itinerary that is filled with activities throughout the day all seven days of the week.
Burn a sweat and start your day with sunrise yoga, or wind down with sunset yoga. Each yoga session is a blissful experience filled with stretches breathing, vinyasa flows and savasana. Upon completing the flow, the yoga instructor also makes you indulge in aroma oil therapy.
Yoga at Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa
But if you’re a gym person, the beach-facing gym at Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa offers daily workout sessions, from Boot Camp to pilates, and even beach volleyball. For a more tropical beach-oriented workout, you can opt to run along the beaches at the property. For a laidback workout, the walk on the walkway up to the villa is more than just breath-taking. Hues of white, green and shades of blue come together in harmony making it straight out of a painting.
And for all you water babies, head to the diving centre to experience a range of activities. Let the beauty of marine life captivate you as you snorkel through the water, book a sunset dolphin cruise or set out on a quest to find a few turtles. Or head to the infinity pool to unwind and relax.
On days when the water is rough, spend your time at the Art Jam centre and indulge in a therapeutic painting experience. Maldivian artist Saeed Ahmed will guide you through the painting session to help create your very own masterpiece.
When the night sky is filled with stars, watch a movie outdoor with Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa Twilight Cinema (only on Sunday). Sip on wine and enjoy a bucket of popcorn as you immerse yourself in the movie.
There is even a special Kids Hub on days when you want to enjoy some time to yourself and maybe head to Riviera for a drink.
With each side of the resort connected to the water (and beach), Le Meridien Maldives Resort and Spa is as soothing as it gets.
Sand in your feet and hair, an unending expanse of crystal clear blue and turquoise water, marine life, a whisp of greenery and nature at its best, Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa gives you the perfect reason to bask in the picturesque view all day.
*Rates start from 600 USD ++
To know more click here.
Address: Lhaviyani Atoll Thilamaafushi Island, 07040, Maldives
Phone: +960 400-8888
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