Why The Maldives Should Be Your Number One Destination for Winter Sun
Undeniably, they’re the most beautiful small islands on earth. Crystal clear lagoons, no distractions, no taxi tours, just endless white beaches and turquoise waters – the idyllic Maldives hold a special place in my heart and there’s truly no greater place on earth to enjoy some Winter sun.
The Maldivian islands are made up of 26 coral atolls, which span a long chain that crosses the equator. Within the 26 atolls, there are around 1200 island, although only 200 are inhabited, and less than half of that are resorts. These resorts are amongst the most sophisticated holiday destinations in the entire world with a new standard of service, incredible room design and exquisite cuisine which has only got even more outstanding over the last year or so as each resort seriously ups its game. The latest Maldivian island that I had the true pleasure of visiting was Park Hyatt Hadahaa, where barefoot luxury and sun-lounger snoozing was always at the top of the agenda.
The Park Hyatt hotel is a private island (as most of the resorts are) about 35 miles north of the equator, and the resort is of minimalist, modern design. There are just 50 villas, some nestled amongst the tropical trees on the island, mere steps from the ocean, and the rest elevated above the water, accessible via a long wooden jetty.
It’s possible to go an entire day on the Park Hyatt without bumping into another person, the privacy of the villas makes it a wonderful romantic retreat, and yet a stroll around the island will allow you to meet the other inhabitants also enjoying the postcard worthy beaches.
One of the greatest parts of the Park Hyatt was below the sea – with one of the most beautiful and unspoilt reefs I’ve ever seen. Having gained my Advanced PADI scuba license almost 10 years ago and travelling the world since then to dive, it still blew me away to see the underwater marvels on Hadahaa island – the house reef (as they’re known – the reef that surrounds the resort islands) was colourful and teeming with life, but also fairly shallow meaning that if you fancy popping on a snorkel and mask, you’ll still get to see the best bits of the Indian Ocean.
For avid scuba divers, the Stay & Dive discovery package could be a perfect option; before December 15th you can book to literally sleep, eat, dive and repeat for only $550 USD per villa per night which also includes orientation dives, and other bonuses such as dive luggage allowances.
As well as the spectacular house reef, the island itself is one of the smaller islands in the Maldives – so small that it takes just fifteen minutes to walk all the way round the almost perfectly round island – and is home to the most breathtaking stretches of perfectly white powdered beaches you’ll ever see. That vista of the white beaches and the crystal clear lagoon is almost so perfect, you’ll think the view before your very eyes has been photoshopped; but a dip of the toes into the temperate water will remind you that paradise is real.
How do you build a resort to match the beauty of the island? Well, the decor of the Park Hyatt fits in well with the brand’s modern design – an award winning Singapore based architecture company have created sleek and contemporary villas which have a striking design to contrast the natural setting, and yet they work perfectly. The communal areas including the reception are also incredibly designed; with the arrivals area inspired by a Dhoni boat – instantly recognisable if you’ve visited the Maldives before.
Also modern in design is the Vidhun spa, tucked away amidst the lush green gardens, the spa village includes five private treatment villas as well as a spectacular infinity pool. Unwind in the private shaded garden and enjoy a herbal tea and sorbet after your treatment (and I’d definitely recommend a scrub toward the beginning of your stay to create a smooth base for tanning!).
Considering that the Park Hyatt is one of the least expensive of the super-luxe Maldivian hotels, and there are frequently deals to be found, there is very little to fault. Perhaps my only real negative would be the long journey to get there (once arriving into Male, the Maldivian capital, you must take another small flight to an island closer to the Park Hyatt, before finally boarding a speedboat – but trust me – it’s worth the journey!). Since our stay, there are 6 new villas; three two bedroom park pool villas and three deluxe park pool villas; a luxe option if you’ve travelling with friends or family.
Discover more about the Park Hyatt Maldives and book your stay here.