Best of the Maldives: Wellness Concierge – Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi

Waldorf Ithaafushi - wellness concierge

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.”

Best of the Maldives: Over-Water Beauty Therapy – Jumeirah Maldives

LUX North Male Atoll - overwater Beauty

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.

I’ve realized with this post that I need an “Over Water” tag for all those over water treats (but keeping the overwater villa features separate).

 

Best of the Maldives: Water Villa Sauna – Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani - water villa sauna view

I’d actually been on the lookout for something like this my latest “Not Yet Seen” draft when I came upon an outdoor sauna pod doing Christmas shopping. Not a sauna, but a steam bath at Soneva Jani with a bonus twist of being perched on the deck of one of their water villas. The room was sensibly designed with two large floor-to-ceiling walls facing the turquoise vista of the lagoon (I didn’t get to try it out to see how much the steamed glass affected the view). Still, I love the idea of relaxing in the soothing heat coming from something other than rays of sunshine while still taking in the outdoor scenery (as opposed to being sequestered away in some nook of a spa facility).

Steamy room with a view!

Soneva Jani - water vill sauna

Best of the Maldives: Aesthetician – Vakkaru

Vakkaru - spa aesthetician

Many top Maldivian resort spas host visiting yoga instructors and others who run special classes, but visiting practitioners are less common and I’ve not yet come across a resident aesthetician like Vakkaru’s Merana Spa is featuring:

  • “Vakkaru Maldives welcomed UK-based aesthetic practitioner Daisy Whitear to the resort for a short-term beauty residency. With over 30 years of experience within the medical aesthetic and beauty industry, the founder of Wilbury Clinic has a lifelong professional mission to help people feel beautiful both inside and out.”

You’ve come all this way for the perfect selfie backdrop so it makes sense to have yourself just as striking. Why use Instagram filters when you can refresh the real thing?

Best of the Maldives: Spa Alchemy – Amilla

Amilla - alchemy bar 1

For a scent that is not just reminiscent of the Maldives experience, but evokes your Maldives experience, Amilla’s Javvu spa features its own “Alchemy Bar”. There you can concoct your own magic potions to conjure up the golden moments from your visit. You are guided by a recipe book that shares its properties and other information about it (see sheet on “Moringa” below). Many of the ingredients are grown right on the island.

Travel Trade Maldives featured an interview with Spa and Wellness Manager, Laura Pagano, who developed the concept:

  • “It’s an interactive laboratory where we teach our guests to make their beauty potions and bath products, so it brings a special touch to their experience. During lockdown, the first thing we made was a bath sachet from herbs like lemongrass and neem growing on the island, then we started making our own sea-salt. Then from the dried herbs we realised we could make powders. From there realised can make face masks, teas and more – the possibilities are endless. There were only seven of us ladies working on the island, so we used to have our own girls’ nights with our own homemade face masks, moisturisers, hair masks etc. We even made our own deodorant because we were running out of it in the shop! It’s the best deodorant I’ve ever used, I swear. I’ve been using it since my garden work and it really works, nobody was running away from me!”

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Best of the Maldives: Maldives Inspired Beauty Range – LUX North Male Atoll

LUX North Male - Maldives spa range

The sense of smell is supposed to be the most evocative of all our senses for memory and emotion. The Maldives itself will provide an olfactory smorgasbord from salty sea breeze to tropical coconutty delights. LUX North Male sought to distil and bottle these scent sensations by enlisting “world renowned aromatherapist” Shirley Page to develop a special range of essential oils for the resort. Page had a residency at LUX for three months where she refined the collection testing the oils for the Maldives conditions and alignment with feel. The end results are provided to all guests in their rooms. Also, the spa offers a range of signature treatments using these oils perfumed with the essence of the Maldives.

Best of the Maldives: Bubble Escape – Amilla

Amilla - bubble escape 1

The Amilla Bubble Escape is the ultimate indulgence in the best of both worlds – indoors and outdoors. The two worlds of natural splendour and sheltered creature comforts.

Lori and I adore spending time outdoors 24 hours a day in the Maldives. The obvious sun-bathing and lounging by the pool during the day. But also, star-gazing at the Milky Way swashed sky and looking for falling stars (during our Amilla stay, we hit the jackpot with a clear sky and a barrage of meteors that were flying by at a rate of about 3 per minute). Finally, we love to fall asleep with the sensation of the gentle ocean breezes wafting across us and the sounds of the water lapping the shallows beneath us.

But such al fresco devotion comes with compromises. Most villas’ loungers have cushions not quite as comfy as proper bed mattresses (sometimes you only get the narrow loungers and have to push two together). And if you get surprised by a late night squall, then you are awakened by literally a splash of water on the face and a mad scramble to get inside. And of course, there is no AC so some nights it is uncomfortably hot and humid, while others it can be downright chilly.

The Bubble Escape lets you intimately experience the sights and sounds in 360 degrees with all in the comfort of a queen-sized bed surrounded by all sorts of handy things like treats, drinks, books, etc. But the luxury doesn’t stop at inside the bubble. Amilla has moved it to its own little private beach-side nook behind the spa. The outside area includes a sink, table for eating (we had dinner and breakfast served to us there), a Maldivian-style swing.

When Amilla first came out with the “Bubble Tower”, I obviously just had to write about it as it was so unique and curious. But the resort has now updated the concept and added a number of new features which make it a more than a feature and turns it into a true experience.

We arrived at the spa mid-afternoon where they gave us a tour of the facilities and the various features of the Bubble (you have access to the spa bathroom and showers throughout your stay in the Bubble). After settling in, the therapists arrived to give us a waterside couples massage. We were then so chilled that we relaxed in the hammock and swing there just swaying and enjoying the seascape vista. In the early evening, the chef and server arrived to prepare our dinner over a beach BBQ served at a waterside table. We lingered over our remaining wine until deciding to retire to our Bubble bed for some star-gazing. We drifted off to sleep under the swish of falling stars shooting across the heavens. In the middle of the night, we were awoken by an unusual pluck-pluck-pluck sound of raindrops hitting the clear plastic. It was a soft, rhythmic patter which sent us quickly back to sleep (grateful for our polyethylene protection).

The Bubble Escape rates right up there with my two other favourite “Wow” types of features in the Maldives: (a) underwater rooms, and (b) discovery centres. All three provide a striking fresh window to this enchanting paradise.

Postscript: The only resort encourages people to “switch off” during their Bubble Escape. When we went, we decided that the only ipads allowed were “eye pads” (see photo at bottom).

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Best of the Maldives: Light Therapy Shower – LUX North Male Atoll

LUX North Male Atoll - light therapy 2

Fourth of July and the day to paint the town Red, White and Blue (for American Independence Day). Or you can simply bathe in red, white and blue (and purple and green) light therapy at LUX North Male Atoll’s “Me” spa’s light therapy shower. A stream of different combinations of different coloured lights illuminate under the stream of water. And if the different wavelengths don’t do it for you, then maybe the disco vibe will at least put you in a good mood.

  

Best of the Maldives: Edible Spa Menu – Coco Palm Bodu Hith / Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

Coco - edible spa

For a taste sensation you can literally feel, check out the “Edible Spa Menu” at Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Dhuni Kholu:

  • Coco Collection is excited to announce an exclusive Edible Spa Menu, created in collaboration with UK-based Chloé Morris, the Creative Experience Director and founder of Edible Stories…All treatments in this menu use homemade spa products created entirely using edible ingredients such as coconut, papaya, kiwi, turmeric, avocado, honey, and yoghurt, to name a few. With treatments such as Chocolate Cake Scrub, Papaya Panna Cotta Mask, Banana Ice Cream Wrap, and Coco Rice Pudding Scrub, this menu offers a truly unique and tempting experience.”

Coco treatments put the “cure” into “epicurean”!