A number of resorts feature treetop spas, but Soneva Jani’s was the first OVER treetops spa we ever visited. The location provides a breath-taking vista of the palm greenery and the tapestry of blues of the sea.
The de rigeur location for luxury spas are over the ocean, but OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli shows how distinctive you can make your spa setting over a different kind of water. They have developed a little spa oasis with rich greenery and seating cabanas set around a tranquil lily pond. One of the best renditions of the Zen garden concept of Seijaku (静寂) – a tranquility or an energized calm, stillness, solitude.
Forget cucumbers. Vommuli caviar facial combines the luxury of one of the most expensive ingredients per pound with the aquatic essence of fish to make a beauty treatment quintessentially fitting the Maldives luxury property.
Soothing music is a staple of the spa experience, but The Patina has taken audio’s therapeutic powers to new levels with its investment in IRIS “sound immersion technology”:
- As a key component of FLOW and catalyst to the Immersion menu, cutting edge biohacking applications allow guests to explore new ways of ensuring they look and feel their very best. Pioneering IRIS sound immersion technology triggers positive brain activation through audio, using an algorithm to split out and increase sound wave information to the brain. The process stimulates the brain- boosting high frequency Beta waves (13-30 Hz) dominant in our waking state and when we are alert, attentive and focused on a demanding task. This sound evokes an active listening brain state reflecting higher engagement and reward, and associated endorphin release – described by psychologists as a ‘flow state’. Immersive sound brings neurological benefits ranging from improved motivation and performance levels to increased learning and feelings of wellbeing and personal fulfilment. By inducing deep relaxation, it has been shown to improve cardiac health by boosting heart rate variability. The sessions are delivered through patented IRIS Flow headsets in the relaxation area, either before or after immersions, to prepare or relax the body and mind, or as a complement to creative activities. Curated to showcase this unique collaboration, an exclusive IRIS x Patina Hotels playlist is now available via the IRIS – Listen Well mobile app. Simply download the app for free via App Store or Google Play, click on ‘IRIS Library’ and select ‘IRIS x Patina Hotels’ under ‘IRIS-curated playlists.”
The sound track doesn’t just complement the treatment, but the sound is the treatment.
When we first started visiting the Maldives, most resorts didn’t have spas and a few had resident massage therapists on contract who would do a treatment on a table tucked in some makeshift area in the inner part of the island. Eventually, the resorts matured to the point where pretty much every one had a dedicated spa facility. As the resorts grew increasingly luxurious, new spacious residences often featured spaces where guests could get treatments in the comfort of their own villa. But for those who want that much more privacy for their treatments (even from their own fellow guests), JA Manafaru’s Royal Island Suite (which is more like a compound than a villa) includes its very own spa building. The personal spa facility includes a steam room, sauna and massage treatment room.
Today is June’s New Moon and it fall right in the middle of Amilla’s newly introduced “moon” of it own. There are “honeymoons” for starting the chapter of your life with your “honey”, “babymoons” for starting the family one, and now Amilla has introduced the first ever Maldives “menomoon” for ladies embarking on that “The Big Change”. Which is an especially apt name as the root “meno-“ in “menopause” comes from the Greek word “menos” meaning “month”, and the word “month” comes from the Old Norse word “menon” meaning “moon” (which is itself, coincidentally, “meno”). So really, it is a “moonmoon”.
And if my experience with Lori going through that “certain age” is any indication, then if there is ever a time a women could use an idyllic retreat, it is then.
- “Even though it is a natural stage in life, many women find it daunting to navigate changes in their hormones during perimenopause and menopause, and all that comes with it – hot flushes, mood swings, lack of sleep, brain fog, weight gain around the middle, anxiety and dwindling confidence. But help is at hand! Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences is the first resort in the Maldives (and one of just a handful of resorts around the world) to have created a women’s perimenopause and menopause retreat…The three Perimenopause/Menopause Retreats at Amilla Maldives Resort will run between June 23rd to July 7th, 2022. It will be led by renowned naturopath and wellness coach, Claire O’Sullivan. The five-day journey has been developed to give women the tools they need to adapt to the changes in their bodies in a healthy and positive way, enabling them to tune into themselves rather than fight nature. With these tools, they will address physical, emotional and lifestyle issues, improving their habits and renewing their energy.”
The pandemic COVID testing has introduced at least medical testing procedures to most resorts, but Heritance Aarah has extended medical grade procedures to its spa menus with an innovative range of diagnostics (see photo at bottom) and treatments.
A few examples include:
- “Aesthetics – State of the art diagnostic scanning to pinpoint problems, allowing effective prescription of remedial medical aesthetic treatments. Reverse signs of ageing, reduce appearance of fine lines and resolve pigmentation problems. When you want to feel younger than the mirror is telling you, we have the solution.”
- “Medical Assessment – Unique predictive software provides the most comprehensive medical assessments test to detect current health conditions and evaluates future disease risk to drive prevention that will increase your health span, as well as your lifespan.”
Other procedures include “nanoneedling” and “microneedling” for facials as well as “HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound)” for skin conditioning (“HIFU” is indeed a medical technique and in one of my previous day jobs heading up a med-tech company, we worked with HIFU for prostate cancer ablation).
The “Non-Surgical Facelift and Contouring” is also distinguished as possibly being the most expensive spa treatment available in the Maldives:
- Upper Face Lift 60 min – $ 300.00
- Double Chin Reduction 60 mins – $ 500.00
- Mid Face Lift 90 mins – $ 800.00
- Full Face Lift 120 mins – $1000.00
- Full Face and Neck Lift 150 mins – $1500.00
Aarah is certainly putting the “treatment” into spa treatments.
While the Maldives is renowned for its flatness, when a bit of elevation does poke its head into the air, the vistas are extra dramatic. Especially, with the destination’s signature tapestry of blues mottling the tranquil ocean below. Soneva Jani’s Soneva Soul Yoga Champa is perched above the palm tree canopy proving a breath-taking view for taking your Ujjayi breathes. Just the perfect place to channel your “yogi sitting on top of a mountain” spirit.
DiscoverSoneva’s Instagram feed has also shared its own panorama of this striking vista.
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One of Maldives Complete’s initial objectives was to help people sort through the myriad resort options. Options which have only expanded with the resort growth and the profusion of diverse room types. It’s almost like Maldives Complete is a “resort concierge” (or “room concierge”). When we first started visiting the destination in the 90s, spas were an anomaly, but now they are standard fare. And spas at the luxury properties have as many bewildering choice of treatments as the Maldives has resorts. So Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi has introduced its own “Wellness Concierge”:
- “Aqua Wellness Centre, featuring a brand-new Hydrotherapy Pool, Maldives first-ever wellness concierge as well as unique spa treatments, all surrounded by a lush botanical garden facing the Indian Ocean. The brand new 7,735 square-foot elaborate Aqua Wellness Centre features a custom-built Hydrotherapy Pool, ice fountain, steam room and sauna. Set atop the crystal Maldivian waters, the 2,906 square-foot outdoor pool is designed in zones, where each station of the pool targets a different part of the body. The zones – which include jet bath, air jets, shower jets, and massage lounger.”
In the early years, the “spa” was relegated to some small rooms in sequestered in the middle of the island. With the rise of wellness tourism, resorts brought the spas front and centre to the main stage of the destination – over water. Now, an over-water spa common fare among the five-star Maldives properties. And yet, within the spas themselves, the massages are the main event and most of the treatments rooms are designed and reserved for the treatments. The spas will often feature beauty treatments – eg. facials, manicures, pedicures – but they are most often found near the entrance with a limited ocean view. But, the Jumeirah Maldives spa gives the aestheticians the same pride of place as the masseuses with an over-water room with floor-to-ceiling windows on 3 sides. Good looking out for those getting their looks good.