I’ve been a huge fan of the Maldives since my childhood, it is honestly one of my favourite places on Earth. There is nothing quite like being able to walk around the tropical island you’re staying on in under 10 minutes or being able to swim in turquoise waters right outside your front door. Quite frankly, it is paradise.
Recently I was lucky enough to visit the St Regis Maldives on Vommuli island as part of my fitness residency there, and it stole my heart. Here is why you need to pay it a visit:
Needless to say the hotel is in a pretty incredible setting, on a tiny Maldivian island less than one square kilometre in size. The rooms are either out over the crystal blue ocean, hidden amongst the palm trees or on the pristine beach front. The whole island is covered in sand (no need to wear shoes!) and the pathways are bordered by beautiful tropical plants. Plus the bars and restaurants almost all have ocean views. It is simply stunning.
In a hotel of this calibre you wouldn’t expect any less than phenomenal when it comes to the rooms, and they didn’t disappoint. We started off in a beach front villa with a private pool; we loved the outdoor showers, the ridiculous comfortable bed and the direct access to a private section of the island’s beach. We then moved to an overwater villa, an iconic form of accommodation in the Maldives, and we fell in love. We could hear the waves crashing underneath us, jump straight into the ocean from our balcony and have a bath while looking out over the sea. Dreamy.
I particularly loved the way that the hotels designs were inspired by marine life. In fact, St Regis Maldives has actually won multiple awards for its innovative architecture. The overwater villas resemble Manta Rays, the bar is shaped like the body of a whale shark, the beach villas are based on traditional Maldivian fishing huts and the library is inspired by a spiral seashell. I also loved the conscious use of recycled materials, such as headboards made of recycled glass beads.
There is nothing quite like the luxury of the St Regis. It is on a whole new level. It starts the moment you touch down in The Maldives, with a butler at the airport who escorts you to a beautiful private lounge in a Bentley, and it never stops. The whole experience until the moment we left felt like walking on a cloud. The rooms were out of this world. The food quality was exquisite. Everything was thought out, and the service went above and beyond expectations.
Speaking of the service, it was by far the best I have ever experienced in my life, and that is saying something! We had a private butler, Ismail, who was just incredible. He made our trip so special. He went above and beyond expectations, surprising us with plates of chocolates or fresh coconuts, and just being extremely helpful, thoughtful and fun. We were also extremely impressed with the restaurant staff who always knew our names, remembered our favourite meals and sat us at our favourite tables. Every single person on the resort was friendly and the good vibes were flowing in abundance.
The Fitness Facilities
This is the reason I went out to the St Regis, to collaborate with the team on the hotels fitness offering. They already have a yoga and meditation studio, regular fitness classes and a well equipped gym; more than the majority of hotels in the Maldives. However, they wanted to take it to the next level. My role was to lead a fitness takeover, teaching classes to the guests in the studio and on the beach, as well as spending time developing a bespoke fitness program for the hotel.
The program consists of a series of workouts (gym & beach) which the guests can use during their stay, all taking 30 minutes or less. We even filmed accompanying video guides to each of the workouts which they can watch on their in-room TV. Due to the success of the beach workouts I lead, the hotel are also starting a regular series of beach workouts for future guests; because who doesn’t want to train beside the beautiful Maldivian ocean?!
The Restaurants & Bars
The island may be small, but it still manages to pack a punch when it comes to food and drink! I personally loved the Whale Bar the most, with its innovative architecture and stunning sunset views. Plus the cocktail list is as long as my arm!
In terms of food, there are four main options. Cargo serves up Middle Eastern cuisine in an intimate setting under the starlit sky. It was my favourite restaurant at the hotel as the food was right up my street; all the hummus! Don’t get me wrong though, I loved all the restaurants. Alba is the all-day dining restaurant with an incredible breakfast buffet (try the vegetable broth, sounds weird but trust me!) and a diverse lunchtime and evening menu. Crust is the beachside pizza restaurant which also serves up fresh ice cream, perfect for relaxed daytime meals. Finally, Orientale serves up authentic and delicious Asian cuisine in a beach-side setting. You’re spoilt for choice!
The Marine Life
The main reason that I love the Maldives so much is the incredible marine life you can see there. It is one of the scuba diving and snorkelling capitals of the world. If you’re not a scuba diver, you can easily just snorkel off the beach and be able to see a wide array of beautiful fish. However, if you are a diver, get your kit on because you’re going to be in heaven! The Maldives is made up of 26 atolls, which are packed full of thousands of coral islands which are crying out to be explored. They are home to beautiful creatures including turtles, octopus, sharks, manta rays and so much more. Each island has its own reef, home to a unique array of marine life. Quite simply, it is some of the best diving in the world.
The scuba diving service at the resort is reasonably priced and the facilities are fantastic. The hotel island (Vommuli) is located in Dhaalu atoll which is relatively untouched, meaning you get to enjoy the dive sites in peace. Plus the ocean water is so warm that you can dive in a T shirt or a shorty wetsuit, bonus!The Little Things
The element which blew me away the most about the St Regis was how they had thought of everything, and had added so many little touches which made the experience so much more special. For example:
- When you initially land at Male airport you get picked up in a Bentley for your transfer to the St Regis SeaPlane Lounge.
- Every room had its own beautiful white St Regis bikes which you can ride around the island.
- At each meal you are presented with a warm or cold scented towel to refresh yourself with. They feel amazing in the heat!
- Every guest gets their own private butler who takes care of your every need and surprises you with amazing treats (shoutout to Ismail for being our incredible butler and friend – we loved him!).
- If it rains, the staff will organise a golf buddy to drive you anywhere in the resort in comfort. You can also use the buggies any other time of day, just call your butler!
- Each room comes with an iPad which controls the curtains, lights and entertainment system. Pretty damn cool!
- The incredible service and thoughtfulness – for example I was once seen itching my ankle in a restaurant and the waiter offered me some bug spray!
- The hotel has an in house photographer who can help you take your holiday photos, an invaluable resource in such a beautiful location.
- There is a little hut on the beach which has suncream and magazines, which the guests can use as they please.
The list goes on!
Honestly, I had the most fantastic time at St Regis Maldives. I felt so extremely lucky to visit as part of my job and so grateful to experience such a stunning slice of heaven. It is truly a magical place, I can only describe it as pure bliss. You won’t regret paying it a visit.