W Maldives Retreat & Spa Review Blog
The Maldives has been on our bucket list for the longest time so we were thrilled to finally get the chance to visit. It's a holiday destination most Singaporeans aren't that familiar with so in this blog we hope to share with you guys useful tips learned from our Maldives holiday.
We were delighted to be staying with W again, one of our favourite hotel chains. After having an incredible staycation at W Singapore, our expectations were at an all time high. It was time to experience the W Maldives Retreat & Spa - bring on the Korean honeymooners in matching outfits!
It has become a rite of passage in South Korea for couples to go to the Maldives for their honeymoon after their weddings. From all walks of life, Koreans would save up for this trip to begin their married life on a high, with a holiday they will remember for the rest of their lives. Four of Chloe's friends who recently got married all went to the Maldives!
For some reason you don't see many Singaporeans here and oh my are we missing out! I hope this changes because the Maldives is even more accessible to us Singaporeans, being just a 4 hour+ direct flight away.
Maldives Highlights Video
Getting to Maldives
Tip 1: It is essential to book your flight in advance so you get a morning flight and don't reach there at night and end up wasting a day. The resorts aren't cheap!
Because Maldives is 4 hours ahead of Singapore, taking a morning flight at 10 am means reaching there at about 11 am Maldivian time with a 4 hour+ direct flight. After reaching Malé Airport, you have to take a seaplane to the beach resorts. Add another 2-3 hours for luggage collection and seaplane travel and you should reach your resort at about 2 pm with a 10 am flight.
There are close to 1,200 tiny islands around the Maldives and Malé is no different, itself being one of the smallest capitals in the world, home to just 75,000 people. Every resort here has their own little private island surrounded by coral reefs and the clearest of turquoise waters.
Tip 2: We love travelling but Malé City is one of the rare destinations we recommend skipping - you probably don't want to stay there overnight.
The standard price for a seaplane ticket to the resorts is $400 USD for a round trip. Its run by a Maldivian company called Trans Maldivian Airways that has monopoly of the transport system.
W Maldives Airport Lounge
We were relieved to find W Maldives Retreat had their own cozy lounge at the airport. So we didn't have to stay in the crowded airport and could enjoy refreshments while waiting for the seaplane to be ready. W Maldives was just a 25 minutes seaplane ride away, located in the middle of the North Ari Atoll to the West of Malé.
W Maldives Retreat and Spa
Click bottom right button for full screen mode - you can also zoom in and out of the panorama.
In the Maldives, everywhere you turn a picture perfect sight greets you. Its like you've been consumed by a post card and you hope it lasts forever.
We were greeted by talents who came to the jetty to wave to us while we were still on the plane. A "Welcome to Paradise" and refreshing welcome drink later and we were soon on a buggy for a quick familiarization tour of the island. When we got back to our rooms, it was well cooled and our luggage was already there waiting for us. What a great first impression!
W Maldives is extremely exclusive, with just 78 rooms on their private island. To cater to your every whim are over 200 staff and their services greets you at the trademark press of the 'whenever, wherever' telephone button.
The main draw of any Maldives experience lies beneath its crystal clear oceans. The exclusivity of the islands have preserved the quality of water and coral reefs. Typical animal life you can spot are manta rays mingle, sea turtles, starfish and nemos and dorys. If you haven't gone diving yet, be sure to make use of this opportunity, they run diving courses here too and that's the favourite pastime of some talents here.
Your first stop will be at Down Under to pick up your complimentary snorkels and fins. Other freebie activities included in your stay are usage of the Molokini 100% transparent glass boats and Hobie pedal kayaks. They also offer complimentary Windsurf boards & sails and Kite rigs for the experienced.
All the rooms at W Maldives come with their own private plunge pool complete with jacuzzi jets. Other features include a healthy selection of alcohol choices, showers with glass floors, sun decks and a BBQ station where you can arrange for BBQs to be had right inside your villa. There are four categories of rooms.
These 146 square metre villas offer the quintessential Maldives experience. Imagine waking up in the morning then walking right off your balcony for a swim. That's actually what we ended up doing one day! We snorkeled under the villas holding hands all the way to the beach! Oh yes, hand holding is a very contagious thing here.
There were times where we just lazed around in our plunge pool looking out into the endless ocean. The rooms also have a glass porthole so you can look directly below the ocean from your room. The life vests are in your wardrobe so make sure you grab them before going snorkeling. Don't be a hero like me you will end up super tired after swimming for 2 hours above the corals.
Ocean Oasis Panoramas
The beach oasis rooms are slightly cheaper than the ocean villas and are impressive in their own way. These 188 square metre villas are located right on the beach so its literally a 10 metre walk from your plunge pool to the open ocean.
Head upstairs to the top level for a private viewing deck to enjoy unobstructed ocean views.
The Seascape Escape
This is like the Ocean Oasis but it comes with two bedrooms and its usually the choice of groups of friends who come here. We overheard a group of friends in our time here celebrating a birthday.
Finally, there are the Ocean Haven rooms we hear Tom Cruise and co have stayed in before that typically go to the super stars or super rich.
Top W Maldives Activities
Snorkeling & Diving - If you're going to Maldives, this should be your number one priority! We've been to a lot of 'good' snorkeling spots from Redang to Krabi but they all pale in comparison to what you will find here. You're lucky if you find one or two healthy corals there deep below the ocean so they can't be trampled on by tourists. Here there are endless rows of coral reefs just below the surface thriving with Nemos and Dorys. Its like you have an infinite S.E.A Aquarium all to yourself.
I even spotted a small reef shark! Even though I'm told they are more scared of us than we are of them, I am quite sure that wasn't the case for me. Look how clear the water is!
AWAY Spa - Tucked away at the other end of the island is the AWAY Spa which offers massages, ayurvedic therapies, facials and natural healing body treatments. You can also take private yoga sessions on the pavilion that overlooks the ocean.
I was so tempted to take a picture of my Vrksasana (Tree Pose) but decided I will be kind to the eyes of my readers. This is actually the best snorkeling spot in the resort. Due to the tide, the best snorkeling times are from 8 am and from about 5 in the afternoon.
Parasailing - This was our first time parsailing and it was an exhilarating experience! The ascend is lighting fast, within 10 seconds you're 100 meters in the air and soon you're so high up nobody can hear you. So you have to communicate with hand signals. There are really just two - "Good" and "No Good, take me down!"
When you're up there its a lot like you're looking out of an airplane. But here the only thing you'll feel are your feet dangling in the air and your heart beating wildly. You reach the highest point just before the descend then you smoothly land back on the boat again. The execution is very clean and the ride lasts about 15 minutes.
You stay completely dry so place your camera around your neck and bring it along to take pictures! It gives you a beautiful aerial view of the resort and the surrounding islands. Wait, islands? The islands are so far apart the only one you be able to see is the island they call Gaathafushi. Parasailing starts at $95 USD.
There are heaps of other water activities here from scuba trips to underwater video courses, overnight sailing, big game fishing and sightseeing at Hammerhead Shark Point. There is even the James Bondesque Seabob up for rental. A personal watercraft that goes underwater and on the surface.
Gaathafushi - Say the word and be whisked away to your very own private little island, about a 10 min boat ride away. It does not get more romantic than that. If you choose to stay overnight, breakfast gets served to you in the morning from the main island. There are also sunset packages.
Yes that's the Gaathafushi in the picture below!
Candlelight Dinners - This innocuous patio serves a very specific purpose. Couples may request for special candle light dinners, with an illuminated walkway round your table.
Sweet Spots - There are a total of 6 of these around the island where you can get your unlimited fix of ice cream, water and soft drinks. Time for some midnight sweet spot runs!
Other Activities - Other faculties include a swimming pool, jacuzzi, library, computer room, DVD collection, pool table, table-tennis and 24 hour Gym. In fact, they even have a schedule of activities arranged daily to take part in.
Their 6 F&B options are aptly named Kitchen, Wet, 15 below, Fire, Fish & Sip.
Wet is their lounge seating poolside bar that serves up pizzas, sundaes, ice creams and other treats. Its where you can chill with some alcohol and tan yourself to views of the ocean. Or perhaps in their Jacuzzi / Swimming Pool. Just above Wet is the Gym (SWEAT), library and pool / foosball tables.
Kitchen is where you have your buffet breakfast and it's their all day casual dining area, with lunch and dinner being a la carte. The juices here are literally 100% fresh juice so order them instead of the coffee / tea. I had to request for ice because they were too rich!
They serve international cuisine with a bit of Asian and a lot of greens and fruit. Still, my plate managed to consist of my "man's diet" aka meat much to Chloe's annoyance. They also have a cool outdoor dining concept where you can immerse your feet in the water while eating.
Fire - There's a carnivorous jungle BBQ theme going on at this all you can eat buffet, which features an open kitchen and charcoal gril, tandoor oven, Mongolian and open-rotisserie. The food here is incredibly raw and fresh and with so many meats to choose from it was my favourite dining place.
Basically you pick your food and they BBQ it for you and send it over. Your table is on the beach under the stars, with a dimly lit gas lamp adding to that romantic atmosphere. The tables are widely spaced apart and the whole vibe of the place just makes you want to cuddle when you're eating.
Prices start at 110+ USD / per person.
Fish would be their high end seafood dining option where the chef can whip up a custom menu for any occasion. The ambiance here is turned up another notch with tables intervaled by tribal torch lights and you half expecting your partner to go down on bended knee and propose (again) at any second.
Its kinda a degustation menu so expect your course by course meal to last a good 2-3 hours while indulging on the freshest of seafood straight from the ocean.
Meals here typically cost minimum $150++ USD per person.
Sip - Located just next to Fish is this casual bar where people some times head to for pre-dinner drinks. Its a great place to catch the sunset overlooking the villas.
15 Below is their club. Yes, you read that right. This little island has their very own club of their own! Dance the night away to beats of their international DJ or chill out to concoctions from their mixologists. The club runs party theme nights from the Swedish Princess to East of Manhattan.
If you're making the journey to the Maldives, is important to select a resort that will make your trip worthwhile. From in-room BBQs, romantic patio dinners, transparent canoes and the beautiful rooms - W Retreat & Spa captures the essence of the Maldives experience so perfectly. You will find yourself spoilt for choice on what will be your new best holiday experience.
Sometimes Singaporeans go to Redang, Krabi or Langkawi to get their snorkeling fix. We've been to all these places too because of their affordability. In hindsight, it may have been better to save up for that one big trip. The Maldives experience is on a completely different level and well deserving of the acclaim it gets.
As usual with W, be sure to go to the offers page on their homepage or in the link below for the best prices which are significantly cheaper than the default prices listed on their website.
Full Photo Gallery
This time we have way too many photos to include - 179 to be exact. So to view our full W Maldives Photos you would have to go our facebook gallery!
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