Emirates Airline has made The Maldives a popular escape for Gulf residents with eight flights a week. But the opening of the Reethi Rah hotel and resort this May has raised accommodation standards to the super-luxury category.
Just four hours' flight from Dubai, The Maldives is an excellent escape from the heat of the summer sun or for a winter break. The islands offer peace and tranquility in a beautiful Indian Ocean setting with friendly and efficient service.
Yet until the opening of the One & Only's Reethi Rah hotel this May, five-star hotels were good but not in the super-luxury category. The One & Only has created an island paradise in a class of its own – rather like the iconic Burj Al Arab in Dubai – and redefined the hospitality of The Maldives.
To start with the island itself; Extensive land reclamation has created a much larger than usual island, thus able to accommodate far more spacious facilities than its neighbors.
Guests stay in 130 villas, either on the beach or over water, with room sizes that start at 130 square metres, spaced at least 20 metres apart. The interior of each villa is a designer sensation – as if Robinson Crusoe had qualified for a platinum Visa card and shipped in supplies from the finest manufacturers in the world.
There is a bath large enough for two, with a view out of the window to open water. The walk-in shower also has a view out to sea. Then there is a seating area with the same sea-view and LCD television and DVD with disks available from an extensive library.
Your every comfort is aided by a villa host who takes care of things like on-terrace dining or breakfast which are superbly organized. Needless to say every villa has a private beach with sun-loungers thoughtfully provided with fresh towels for post-swimming convenience.
If you want an infinity swimming pool of your own, then some villas also have them. For the more socially orientated – although this is a quintessentially private place – the infinity pools by the main restaurant complex are equally pleasant, and there are 12 beaches for general use, a diving centre and every type of water sport.
Three great restaurants
But you do need to exercise in order to truly do justice to the three restaurants of this resort – which are located at different points of the island – and offer Japanese, modern Western and Asian dishes and Middle Eastern cuisine. Each has splendid views of the Indian Ocean alongside the very highest standards of fine wining and dining, with 50 chefs working to satisfy even the most demanding guests.
A work-out in the ultra-modern gym with the latest in exercise technology is therefore not a bad idea unless you wish to pile on the kilos. Or visit the lavishly appointed spa for a treatment program.
If you are flying to the Reethi Rah from Dubai then Emirates Airline has eight flights a week and Business Class flights on this route are priced very competitively due to the absence of business traffic. Emirates' fine service and modern aircraft are a nice complement to the Reethi Rah's standards, and the hotel's launch will pick you up from the jetty which is a few metres away from the airport.
For the ultimate in luxury and privacy the Reeth Rah sets new standards for The Maldives which now has its own iconic hotel, the sort of place where if you walked past Tom Cruise on the beach it would seem unremarkable.