The thrill of unraveling a shiny new treat has always had a big influence on my sensory stimulated self. Whether it’s the creamy softness of those calfskin seats on that sumptuous new sedan or the intoxicating scent of a book fresh off the press, I’m in heaven.
During my recent visit to the Maldives in August, I came across another stimulant. It’s the pure thrill and joy of probably being the first person to enjoy the opulence of my overwater villa. With beds we’d never slept in before and the paint still fresh. Because, you see, my home for the next three days, the Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort and Spa, was as new as it could be. It’s been just over a month since this luxury property in the Maldives’ North Malé Atoll opened its doors to paying guests in early July.
Everything and everyone at the resort sparkled at its best. And it is precisely for this reason that I had chosen to stay in this ultra luxurious complex. But there was also another reason, its location.
Like almost all other resorts in the Maldives, this one is also located on its own island. Make it a long, slender island of modest size, and from where the twinkling lights of the capital island of the Maldives, Male, are clearly visible from some vantage points.
Speaking of which, not only does the resort’s layout give the illusion of being confined to a secluded island, but it’s also just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Male International Airport. No need to deal with those super expensive plane tickets to get here.
Guests dock directly on a pier which is attached to the lobby pavilion which features a thatched roof and many decorative pieces by local Maldivian artists. Awaiting each new arrival, the guest experience team whisks you away (after welcome drinks, of course) in an eco buggy for an in-room check-in and briefing on its amenities and features.
With a total of 109 villas, including the Beach Villas and the Maldivian Overwater Villa Base, the accommodation options here are lavish to say the least. Each villa has a private infinity pool and is furnished in a refreshing color palette that reflects the warm hues of the sky and the shore. Locally inspired accents and considered amenities are complemented by sweeping views of the waterfront and surrounding lagoon.
I was lucky enough to have the experience of staying a few nights in each of the two types of villas offered by the resort. Although I had my eye on the large six-bedroom Amingiri Residence, this one is a haven for large groups, set in a private cove with its own arrival jetty.
Picturesque spaces for indoor and outdoor entertaining, including an overwater terrace, set the stage for memorable celebrations, while the residence’s fully equipped gym and spa treatments, media room, outdoor swimming pool and beach ensure a feeling of exclusivity.
Led by the resort’s executive chef and fellow Indian Praveen Shetty, the food and drink offering here was another highlight for a food-obsessed person like me. At the Amingiri, guests can explore an array of dining experiences at six distinct restaurants and bars.
Located on the same pier that houses a collection of overwater villas, the twin spaces of Origin and Eden are the perfect places to admire the magnificent sunsets. While the former showcases the best in seafood through sustainable sourcing and a waste reduction approach to conscious dining, Eden is an adults-only bar and offers a selection of champagne and gin presented through highly ritualistic personalized.
Aura, on the other hand, is a sophisticated pool bar with the first cocktail lab dedicated to mixology in the Maldives, while Sip Tea Lounge offers a diverse range of organic teas, as well as tea-based cocktails, mocktails and kombuchas. My favorite was Beach Shack where I spent many nights enjoying grilling. An upscale but unassuming venue serving pizza fresh from the oven that day and flame-grilled specialties under the stars for dinner, it was clearly a hit with the many couples enjoying a romantic evening.
For a more laid-back, easy-going vibe, I’d suggest the lively all-day dining Habitat. From local Maldivian to Western, Asian, Italian and Indian, a multitude of flavors are presented here.
And if you wish, Chef Praveen will be happy to give you a lesson or two in cooking up local Maldivian dishes. In particular the kopee fai mashuni tuna and vegetarian salad tharukaaree riha curry that his assistant and local Maldivian, Chef Mufeed very kindly (and patiently!) taught me how to make.
Set in its own overwater area, the Amingiri Spa caters to all sybarites who are sure to find the perfect treatment to suit them from the extensive therapeutic menu. Besides its flower-themed therapy rooms (mine was called hibiscus), where one can enjoy a relaxing Balinese massage or a more intense sports massage, the uniquely designed hammam rituals are the highlight. peak here. The spa also has its own terrace facing the sea to relax after being pampered.
But for those more health conscious, the resort will have you sorted. Wellness programming for families includes yoga sessions and retreats, as well as a selection of lightly formulated vegan and gluten-free products for children and teens. A fully equipped fitness center and yoga pavilion ensure fitness enthusiasts stay active while on vacation, while a salon offers professional treatments and grooming.
Prepared to welcome multi-generational and festive travel, the resort offers inspiring experiences for seasoned vacationers and young explorers alike. Here, best-in-class amenities include the Krakengiri Kids’ Club, one of the largest in the Maldives, with an outdoor children’s pool and mini water park. Re:Fuel, overlooking the sparkling Indian Ocean, is a tranquil rooftop lounge serving zero-proof drinks and light snacks exclusively to teenagers.
Other finds include workshops led by a Maldivian artist-in-residence at the Art Centre, a huge range of water sports and sea excursions (like the incredibly productive dolphin-watching sunset cruise I took been taken away!), a lifestyle boutique, a jewelry store and photo studio. The latter, a particularly popular haunt of those with a penchant for social networks. How breathtaking the opportunities for that postcard-perfect photo at the Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort and Spa are to say the least.
In a word
Steeped in that quintessentially Hilton promise of decadent luxury and breathtaking opulence, this brand new island getaway resort seems to have it all. What makes the Hilton Amingiri Resort and Spa a great option for those who love the finer things in life is the scrupulous attention to detail the staff puts into making your stay memorable.
From personalized recommendations from their Guest Experience Manager on excursions and dining options to endless opportunities to rest and relax, whether at the spa or simply lounging on your private villa deck. Or perhaps, picnicking on the resort’s white sand beach, the sky’s the limit here!
The Maldives archipelago, made up of over 1,000 islands, is widely connected to most of Europe, Asia and Australia by a number of direct and connected daily flights serving the airport Velana International. Located on its own man-made island called Hulhulé, the airport is adjacent to the main capital, Male Island, and next to the island of Hulhumalé, the satellite town of “New Malé”, which is also reclaimed.
Typically, you have to take a fairly expensive seaplane flight from the airport to reach the other resorts, but given Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort and Spa’s proximity to the airport, it’s a 20-minute speedboat ride via own complex. Luxury boats equipped with Wi-Fi and stocked with drinks dock right next to the airport’s arrival hall.
Overwater Villas and Beach Villas start from GBP 1,458++ (including breakfast and dinner)
Address: Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort and Spa, North Male Atoll, 08540, Maldives
Call: +960 6646364
E-mail: [email protected]
Photograph courtesy of Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort and Spa