Best of the Maldives: Largest Water Villa – Soneva Gili

Gili Lankanfushi - Private Reserve aerial


The Summer Solstice brings us the sweet longest day of the year today. And in the Maldives, if not the world, the longest suite of all is the Gili Lankanfushi Private Reserve at a whopping 76 metres.

The Private Reserve is also long on its own distinctions.

  • Largest – Not just the longest, but the largest water villa in all of the Maldives (1,400 square metres)
  • Long Stays
  • Longest Glass Floor (see below)
  • Largest Bathroom – the 100 square meter bathroom is larger than over a quarter of the entire villas in the Maldives

A water suite of Stonehenge proportions.


Gili Lankanfushi - Private Reserve glass floor

Best of the Maldives: Shower – Naladhu

Naladhu shower

Given their prominent in escalating arms race of luxury at Maldives resorts perhaps ‘bathrooms’ should be called ‘showerrooms’. In the beginning there was the en suite shower. Standard and effective. Then, a resort got a bit adventurous and decided to locate the shower outdoors so one could go au naturel al fresco (to mix my languages a bit there). Then, more recently, a simple shower head was not sumptuous enough and ‘drench showers’ became de rigueur for the super premium properties. Now, actually, drench showers are yesterday’s fashion and the latest are waterfall showers for the leading edge.

Several of the top resorts splash out for the waterfall showers, but none quite so extravagantly as Naladhu. They have placed their marble (again, pretty standard for super-luxe class) shower in the middle of its own reflecting pool.

A little showering island on your island of paradise.

Best of the Maldives: Indoor Bathroom – Adaaran Vadoo

Vadoo bathroom



As I’ve added a whole category for ‘Bathroom’ Best-Ofs, seems appropriate to call out Adaaran Vadoo which from my research is simply one of the best Indoor Bathrooms in the Maldives.

Indoor, at least.  I limit it to ‘Indoor’, because ‘Outdoor’ ones are so popular and distinctive that they have a whole different set of possibilities and considerations. That said, the Vadoo bathroom does open up to an outdoor area as well.

The luxury bathroom includes the always eye-catching glass floor (see pictures). Most water villas who have these feature them in the main room which makes sense providing a prominent visual feature in the most prominent part of the villa. Actually, a number of water villas do have small glass portals in the bathrooms…but by the toilet. When I first saw this at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, I thought that it would be a unique feature, but on investigation, I have found several toilets so equipped (sure beats a newspaper). Vadoo is the only villa I know of that has a prominent glass floor (8 feet by 2 feet) in the main area of the bathroom.

The bathroom includes the obligatory drench shower and the not so standard Jacuzzi. More distinctively, it has a television you can watch from the Jacuzzi. Now normally, I don’t see much need for a TV in the Maldives. Part of the ‘get away from it all’ charm is to avoid turning on the TV or even having one around. But when it comes to the Jacuzzi, it’s actually a nice complement. It can get a little boring just sitting in the Jacuzzi for an age. You can’t really bring magazines or books or iPads into the tub with you especially as the bubbling means lots of little splashes which get all over any reading material you try to bring.

One of the most curious aspects to the Vadoo bathroom is that it doesn’t feel like a ‘bathroom’. It is one of the larger ones I have seen even in the Maldives super-luxe resorts. The TV I mentioned contributes to the feel, but also there is a sizeable comfy sofa! The whole ensemble makes it seem more like a mini-personal spa than a bathroom. A place where you enjoy hanging out, not just visiting for necessary hygiene and primping.


Vadoo bathroom 2

Best of the Maldives: Make-Up Table – Velassaru

Velassaru make up counter


The award for “Best Make Up” might have gone to ‘The Iron Lady’ last night, but the Best of the Maldives Award for ‘Best Make-up Table’ goes to Velassaru. All too often the ‘make up table’ is stuck away in some alcove or hallway typically between the bathroom and bedroom. Sometimes it is in the bathroom itself, but often facing the wall in order to face the mirror. Velassaru’s waterv villas positioned the make up table front and centre by one of the prominent windows in the room. Now getting ready for the day or evening is not a chore relegated some corner of the room, but a truly delightful setting. Velassaru makes becoming breathtaking a breathtaking task itself.

Best of the Maldives: Biggest Beach Towels – Kandooma

Kandooma beach towels


A big shower calls for a big towel. And the biggest towel I have ever seen, in the Maldives or elsewhere, are the Kandooma beach towels. They are longer than a king sized bed (more than 2 metres) and nearly 5 feet long (see above). That’s me holding it up and I’m an not a small guy (I stand 6’ 4”). They were also soft and fluffy (I hate stiff, thin hotel towels) and quite a fetching shade of Maldivian blue.

Also, especially good for claiming large swathes of beach loungers.

Best of the Maldives: Shower – Anantara Kihava

Anantara Kihavah shower

Some prefer the bath, some prefer the shower. If you prefer a drenching standing up rather than lounging in a gargantuan pool amidst the sprawling expanse of water, than Anantara Kihavah is the place for you.

Their water villas showers feature the latest trend in the super luxury bathing fixtures – waterfall shower. It was just a few years ago that Rain/Drench showers were introduced for a more sumptuous showering experience (the previous innovation to that was the variable, pulsating shower Massage fixture). In the ever escalating arms race of 5-star-plus decadence, waterfall showers are the new 6-star thing. I first experienced one of these at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru (see below). To cap off the experience, Anatara have added a glass floor so you get the whole water surround experience.

Just don’t scare the fish away with your singing.

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru drench shower

[UPDATE NOV-14] As the waterfall drench showers grow in popularity among the super deluxe properties, Kihavah maintains its distinction with the widest of all drenchings...

Best of the Maldives – Tub-Pool Combo: Naladhu

Naladhu pool tub combo

Forget your underwater spas, restaurants, bedrooms and night clubs. I’m on my honeymoon and I don’t want to be looking at a bunch of Brown Spotted Groupers. I want to look at my gorgeous bride. And that includes my underwater viewing fun. Here in one of Naladhu’s private villas, they have combined the outdoor pool with the outdoor bathtub. Relaxing in a soothing tub while watching my gorgeous bride taking a dip in her ‘skimpiest’ of suits. Now that’s a treat.

Best of the Maldives: Tub – Dhonakulhi

Island Hideaway Tub 1


One popular feature that I do adore is the al fresco bathing. It is not an uncommon luxury feature of tropical resort, but they are typically secluded to a sheltered back garden. But if you want the experience with elegance, style, comfort and a view, the Island Hideaway at Dhonakulhi has really nailed it with their Hideaway Water Suite. The tub is perched right on the best view of the ocean.

It reminded me of our stay at Londolozi Game Lodge in South Africa where the designers had smartly put the elegant tub by a big window overlooking the river down below. You could watch the elephants bathing while you had your own scrub.

And if you can’t or don’t want to spring for the posh Water Suite, you still can partake of a lagoon-vista’ed soak at their Mandara Spa (see below).

Dhonakulhi Island Hideaway Mandara Spa

Best of the Maldives: Toilet – Holiday Inn Male

Toto Washlet C110    Toto Washlet C110 2






If you are looking for an even shorter ‘pit stop’ in Male than a day stay, then the Holiday Inn Male offers distinctive facilities (to use a common euphemism) for that too.

Many of the bathrooms are distinctive with outdoor facilities or perhaps a water bungalow with the bath over the water, but the Holiday Inn Male actually has a distinctive toilet itself. It features the ‘Toto Washlet C110’ toilet which is the gadget lovers commode with NASA-like capabilities. It is the only toilet that I have ever used with a Control Panel.

“With the touch of a button, a nozzle extends from under the seat for soothing warm-water cleansing, virtually eliminating the need for toilet paper. The nozzle, which self cleans before and after every use, can be set to move back-and-forth for maximum comfort and optimum cleansing. The specially designed contoured seat is also heated to provide maximum comfort.”

Holiday Inn Male - Toilet



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