A new hotel just opened in the Maldives | Condé Nast Traveller India | InternationalJune 8, 2021
Emerald Maldives. Photo: Siddhi Mehta
The Emerald experience started the moment I arrived at Malé airport. A hotel rep drove me to the seaplane lounge in a luxury van, allowing me a few minutes of WiFi to text home that I was safe. At the lounge, staff from the Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa helped me download the hotel app on my phone. I browsed through the Wine & Dine section and ordered an in-villa meal—a healthy salad and a mushroom risotto that was steaming hot when I arrived. The villa host also used the app to check me in while I did my rapid antigen test.
As gorgeous as the 45-minute seaplane views are of the Indian Ocean blues, guests can also choose the hour-long route via domestic flight and speedboat. The resort is spread across 20 hectares, with 60 beach villas and 60 overwater villas, six dining options, two tennis courts, a gym, a spa and a diving centre. Bamboo, stone and langhi langhi leaves went into its construction, designed with a focus on energy efficiency and ecological preservation.
While all rooms face the ocean, the highlight of my overwater villa with a pool was the bathroom. It was pristine, all white and as big as the bedroom, with a bathtub and shower overlooking the Indian Ocean. A bonus of having a villa with a pool is the floating breakfast service, which serves everything from Maldivian specialities to the full English breakfast.
Families will appreciate the kids club and the babysitter service that’s available at a fee with prior notice. Couples, in particular, will enjoy the 15-minute photoshoot with a professional photographer, which is complimentary for all and can be extended for a fee. The resort is all-inclusive so, for example, while the spa and activities like scuba diving are not part of the deal, you can go free-hand snorkelling with the resort’s equipment. I joined 25 guests on a large, bright blue, traditional Maldivian dhoni boat one evening—we didn’t spot dolphins but it was a beautiful way to soak in the sunset.
While soaking in the serene view from my room, I browsed through the restaurants on the app for my next meal. Beach Club Grill is the place for seafood fans. Located on the main beach facing the clear lagoon, and open for lunch and dinner, it offers fresh seafood, meat and vegetables cooked on a stone grill. The perfectly instagrammable Sunset Pool Café is the spot for sundowners. Beside the aptly named Sunrise Café, an intimate bar for juices and cocktails, is Aqua, the all-day buffet restaurant that also has themed nights and a weekly gala dinner. Amazónico and Le Asiatique were my favourites: the first for its beachy laid-back vibe, and the other for its amazing teppanyaki dinner prepared by chef Eliya Rai, who also has the skills of an illusionist, keeping me entertained while he cooked my meal.
From vegan teppanyaki to sushi, there was a range of options across Asian, European and South American cuisines to satisfy a vegetarian traveller like me, and the culinary director, Aldo Cadau, made sure that I didn’t miss trying them all.
I was as spoiled for choice at their spa, which offers Thai and Balinese treatments in 10 bungalows, alongside a Jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish baths. My Balinese treatment was so soothing that I fell asleep during my session. It was the perfect break from a year of no international travel.
EMERALD MALDIVES RESORT & SPA Fasmendhoo Island, Raa Atoll, Maldives (emerald-maldives.com; doubles from US$800/ Rs60,340 per night)