Closed for a full two years after the tsunami of December 2004, the original Four Seasons in Maldives came back with a resort that promises the best of elegant living combined with a relaxed, village feel.
The 25 Beach Pavilions, 32 Beach Bungalows and single Royal Beach Villa each have walled tropical gardens surrounding their open-air shower, courtyard and pool. Bougainvillea, Bird of Paradise flowers and Frangipani blossoms across the island give the whole resort a garden feel.
The 32 Water Bungalows, 4 Navaranna Water Bungalows and 2 Two-bedroom Water Bungalows have untrammelled views to the sea from the bedroom and bathroom. While the deck can only be seen from the sea so is perfect for sunbathing.
All the rooms are designed to compliment their surroundings with a modern tropical style of openness and impeccable simplicity.
The resort rightly prides itself on its marine research projects and community projects. There is an exceptionally wide range of activities and excursions for the enjoyment of the guests. A quite unique offering is the surf school, running courses for beginners, surf clinics and escorted surf excursions for the experienced.
Perfectly in line with the homely, village feel the resort is very family friendly. Several of the rooms have interconnecting gates and verandas and there is an extensive Kuda Mas Kids’ Club. On top of that you have a staff that is as effortlessly helpful as is possible to imagine. I found the legendary Four Seasons service to be just that.
It must be said that the beach is mostly man-made, though it is now fringed with powder soft white sand. The lagoon is also very large and shallow, which is usually fine for swimming but guests must take a boat to enjoy some snorkelling.
The huge infinity pool is a great asset with its clear views and its swim-up bar. Nearby is the Café Huraa serving contemporary Asian, Western and barbecue food al fresco. Here too is the dinner-only Baraabaru Restaurant serving fine Indian cuisine. Away from the buzz, the Reef Club serves up Italian fine dining. All this is complemented by a wine cellar of finest handpicked vintages. Finally but far from least, the Island Spa occupies its own private island a minute or two away by dhoni.
Reviewed by Adrian Neville