Part of the fun of having visited the Maldives for two decades and written about them for over a decade is seeing the dramatic changes. As someone who studied development economics at university and first cut his teeth in travel writing posted in Togo, West Africa who were trying to build their economy with tourism dollars, the Maldives has been a brilliant and diverse case study of this evolution. For example, I first encountered the charming “Birds Nest” swing at Lily Beach years ago. In a matter of years, it seemed like standard fittings for the luxury properties. Now Waldorf Ithaafushi has pushed even higher (literally) with elaborate birds nest lounges for people to sip their sundowners in while enjoying an elevated vista over the ocean.
When you see effusive PDA in the Maldives, it’s not just “get a room”, but “get an island”!
At current count, the Maldives Complete has over 900 room categories (909 to be precise), but Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi’s “Private Island” is the first dedicated room type you can book (as opposed to booking the whole island like Coco Prive). Maafushivaru has its Lonubu villa, but this is booked more as an “excursion” than a room category.
- “For those who want added privacy, the Stella Maris Ocean Villas will do just the trick. Accessible only by boat, these one-bedroom duplexes also come with chef’s service, an alfresco barbecue station, and a hot tub. But if you’re really looking to be sequestered from everyone, there’s also an exclusive-use island up for grabs. The 32,000-square-foot sanctuary boasts a two-bedroom overwater villa as well as a three-bedroom beach villa and comes with a personal concierge team, dedicated chef, its own spa, an entertainment center and five pools.”