“Landaa Giraavaru is the first resort in the world to launch DeepFlight Adventures: piloted submarine excursions for up to two passengers in the DeepFlight Super Falcon 3S, enabling once-in-a-lifetime sub-aquatic explorations of the Maldives only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Individual viewing domes provide a 360-degree view of the Baa Atoll’s incredible underwater world. Skim over coral formations; fly through shoals of brightly coloured fish; encounter creatures like turtles, sharks, dolphins and rays; and explore the Maldivian waters down to a depth of 37 metres/120 feet – all without getting wet! Battery-operated, the Super Falcon 3S features minimized electric and acoustic emissions so as not to disturb the marine life and never lands on the seabed or reefs.”
A one-hour trip for two costs $1,500 (£1,100) plus tax.
Most visitors to the Maldives was to just switch off and that includes all the stress inducing electronic devices, but at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru you just might look forward to that phone ringing in your room. If it is their signature “Manta on Call” service.
“Sign-up for this thrilling adventure, that sees you contacted wherever you are in the Resort and whisked away by speedboat to snorkel with these elusive gentle giants”
Creatures in the wild sort of follow their own whims and there are never any guarantees of seeing the critters you want to see when you want to see them. Even in a place like Baa atoll renowned for its population of Mantas (and even the occasional whale shark. That said, even Baa Atoll or the even more confined Hanifaru Bay part of the Baa, is a big place and the mantas could be anywhere. You can spend (and we have spent) an entire day just trawling around in the dhoni looking for signs of mantas. That is why Landaa keeps in regular contact with dive boats through the day to keep updated on the latest manta sightings. If a large group has decided to collect at some point, the resort calls your room and can have you on a speedboat in minutes to take you to the gathering so you can enjoy a view of these majestic animals and even join them for a swim.
For fatigue and sun protection, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru peloton of bikes includes a special child carrier for those who might just find pedalling up and down the sand trails a bit tiring (hmmm…I wonder if they have one big enough to hold me?
The Queen’s Birthday today. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru’s palatial Landaa Estate features a truly regal Jacuzzi fit for a visiting queens with its Aegean brown marble. I also love the disappearing wall French doors to give bathing Maldivian monarchs a maritime view.
I’m always surprised there is not more brioche served in the Maldives at the high end resorts. It is a truly elegant bread. A staple with the delicacy of foie gras. And often the way the trendy London gourmet burger bistros decadently dress up their ground beef in order to charge $30 for it.
Or for breakfast – well, any time really, slathered with Nutella. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru’s breakfast features a brioche French toast garnished with candied orange peel. More “Pain Doré” than “Pain Perdu” (Both are the French words for “French Toast – I guess they don’t call it “Our Toast”. “Pain Doré” translates to “Golden Bread” while “Pain Perdu”, the more prevalent name, means “Lost Bread” referring the dishes ability to resurrect old or stale bread). Maybe just a little dollop of Nutella…
A bit of research found that Gili Lankanfushi also serves brioche French toast, but I will give this nosh nod to Landaa for their mouth watering treat tweet.
In the opulent designs of the Maldives resorts, the pools themselves can be objets d’art themselves. One of the most spectacular is Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru’sThree Bedroom Estate’s pool. A two-tier construction with the upper pool sheltered under a thatched roof (see above) overflowing to form a waterfall to the one below (see below). Sort of a tropical variation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water”.
Maldives Complete also doesn’t do boats in its profiles or ‘Best of’ reviews. I’ve shied away from getting into the whole ‘Live Aboard’ segment of Maldives holidays because, like Guest Houses, I’ve never been on one so I wouldn’t know which criteria to feature or how to write about it.
But, this post’s distinction is sort of a resort/cruise hybrid so it just passes. It’s sort of the ultimate water villa. A mobile water villa.
We have always fantasized about taking a cruise boat actually as a way to see lots of nooks and crannies of this mystical archipelago. Having been to many resorts and enjoying the discovery of new gems, the notion of touring along a stopping at all sorts of little islands off the beaten path and then retiring to the ultimate in ‘water villas’ sounded entrancing.
We can see the appeal of such a floating holiday…
If you ever wanted to try out the mega-yacht life for the experience of your very own (ever see those gigantic yachts parked in swish harbours with ports of call on their bow for ‘C.I.’ and ‘V.I.’ and wonder what staying on them would be like?).
If you’ve ever thought of going beyond even the picnic island excursions of resorts to the most secluded and far flung hidden parts of the Maldives strung together like your own customised ‘virtual’ resort.
If you are thinking of an extended (time and budget) holiday over say two weeks and definitely want to split into two resorts
Well, any of these have crossed your mind, then the Four Seasons has an offer for you with their Four Seasons combo offer on the exquisite Four Seasons Explorer offers a brilliant option.
10 state rooms
Wi-fi (this surprised me…I thought I would have to forfeit my digital connection for the tour)
Kayak, snorkel, water-ski
Spa therapist on board
Another possible title for this post is “Billionaire for a Week”. Like my “Billionaire for a Day” post. The price of chartering the Four Seasons Explorer is $16,000 per day (last I checked) for whole yacht. For 22 people that’s a bit over £500 per day which isn’t exactly billionaire price bracket. But it certainly is the billionaire lifestyle.
The Four Seasons have always had a website that allowed you to look up your Reefscaper coral frame and see how it was progressing, but now they have just relaunched a special website, Marine Savers, to provide not only frame update lookups, but also detailed information and updates on the ever broading range of their Maldives-leading conservation initiatives.
Above is our frame (KH0327) we planted in November 2010 at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. Toddler-sized growths are looking pretty attractive compared to the collection of broken pieces that we affixed to the iron frame. Curiously, our frame (LG0729) planted during our visit to Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru that same week is doing notably less well, but still clear healthy growth from the fragments first affixed.
The arrival jetty is a just one step of an august procession of anticipation when arriving at a Maldives resort. It starts with spying the first splotch of turquoise out your airplane window. It continues boarding your transfer boat/seaplane where you spy a few colourful fish frolicking around the jetty. Your heartbeat picks up when you see the green dot of an island emerge on the horizon. You pull up to the resort jetty welcomed by cool scented cloth, refreshing tropical concoctions and warm smiles. Then you make tke the long walk down the jetty towards reception seeing even more lively and colourful fish circling beneath you.
At most resorts, the reception greets you at the end of the jetty. But a Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, the expectation builds further as you first arrive to their entrance boulevard. A grand avenue of coconut tress planted by the previous Maldivian owner leading into the island interior. Dubbed ‘Coconut Corridor’, it adds even more buil up to the big arrival. Along with Club Med Kani, one of the great palm corridors of the Maldives.
The Maldives are sort of pioneers in the ‘Windows’ department. Underwater windows, but also Overwater windows. Also, known as ‘glass floors’. These features have become so common and popular, that I added a field for them in the ‘Room Type’ database.
Resorts feature glass floors in many of the top water villa rooms as well as spas and restaurants. But perhaps the most unusual place is the bathroom. Maybe not so surprising. With the prevailing ‘no shoes, no news’ ethos, there’s no daily newspaper for your morning constitutional. So a front row seat to watch the aquatic wonders below is a decadent alternative.
When I first saw this feature in a toilet, I thought it would be unique, but my research has uncovered several like the one from Six Senses Laamu below. But I’ve given the wipe of the squeegee to Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru whose footside window is larger and the largest I have found.