All island lovers looking for the perfect holiday destination, the ultimate vacation or a truly tropical trip to paradise do read on. But what is the definition of paradise exactly? Is it a tropical destination, a deserted island or a luxurious resort located in a beautiful area?
According to the dictionary:
Paradise = ‘a place or condition of great happiness where everything is exactly as you would like it to be’
For me paradise is all of the above, preferably combined with lots of palm trees, tranquility, turquoise seas and white beaches. If this is the case for you as well then the Maldives is an absolute must visit.
We just got back from a one week trip and it truly was paradise re-defined. The waters here are more clear and brightly colored than imagined, the sand is whiter than white and the palm trees and marine life are more than abundant.
Prices on the Maldives are definitely not low and the costs can add up, but as this is a trip of a lifetime and one of the most special and luxurious destinations in the world a little splurge is justified and worth saving up for.
The Maldives consist of 1.192 coral islands forming 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean south west of India. Only 200 of these islands are inhabited, and almost half of them privately owned by luxurious resorts, one even more beautiful than the other.
So how do you choose where to stay? Of course you can base your decision on the rates and budget, but when you do make it over there make sure to also experience it to the fullest.
When we saw that Banyan Tree Resorts had not only 1 but 3 different island retreats on the Maldives it was obvious for us what to choose! After staying at the brand new Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay Resort in Morocco last year we completely fell in love with this hotel chain and can not recommend their facilities enough.
Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts is one of the world’s leading players in the hospitality and Spa industry over the past 20 years. With several brands of 40 different resorts and hotels, 70 Spa’s, and more, spread out over 28 countries.
For me their resorts and villas represent ultimate luxury in complete privacy. All located in relaxing spacious surroundings that exude quality combined with authenticity, and the most exceptional hospitality and service level we’ve ever experienced.
Also highly valued is that Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts are big on sustainable development, supporting the local environment and responsible tourism projects. On the Maldives they are very active in sustaining the reef, which is unique for a luxury hotel chain and is a very important feature to me!
If you go to the Maldives and do decide to stay at cheaper local stays, I can highly recommend to finish your trip with a bit of luxury by staying at one or both of their fabulous locations near Malé at Angsana Ihuru and Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru.
We stayed 2 nights at Ihuru and 2 nights at the neighboring Vabbinfaru, only 3 minutes apart and just 20 minutes from Malé by speedboat. Let me convince you why both resorts are unique through many of my personal pics:
(Remember to click on the smaller pictures to see the full version and description)
Unique features Angsana Ihuru
This small island is one of pristine beauty, you can walk around it in 10 minutes, with fabulous views upon the surrounding islands. The palm trees are tall, beautiful and well maintained, and the bungalows are surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and tranquility. They respect nature and the buildings are even built around the palm trees as you can see here:
The vibe on the island created by the super friendly staff is warm and welcoming. And with a dart board, table tennis, a spacious beach bar with loungers and much more, the entertainment facilities are abundant.
The ocean here is more brightly colored than I could have ever imagined, and unique is that Angsana Ihuru has direct access to the reef, filled with marine life. An exceptional feature as many resorts and islands on the Maldives don’t have this and you will have to take a boat to the reef first.
Our luxurious bungalow was spacious with all the amenities we needed. The newest films were available in our room, and the Jacuzzi in the outdoor bath room, the ample seating options and Maldivian swing in the private garden with direct access to the beach provided plenty of relaxation options. If this island will not make you unwind then I don’t know what will.
But if you still need extra help with that their Spa is the place to be. As all Banyan Tree and Angsana hotels Ihuru also has excellent Spa facilities and a variety of treatments. You can experience one of their deluxe spa pavilions with aircon, steam bath and a private Jacuzzi in this video:
The food should be mentioned as well, each meal was excellent and more than we expected from such remote islands. We were amazed by the variety of dishes and ingredients. The chef managed to prepare healthy meals, with great quality every day, served in the beautiful beach side restaurant which you can see here:
But I can also highly recommend the private 3 course beach BBQ in front of your villa, which was very tasty, romantic and arranged for us with great care by the team.
In my opinion Angsana Ihuru offers a good price quality ratio, especially when you visit off season (May till October, with chances of rain) like we did. They also offer various package deals and special rates on their own website: Angsana Ihuru
Both are pristine islands, and so nice that you can combine their reefs, bars and restaurants by free shuttle service when you stay at either one. We were very happy to stay for 2 nights at neighboring Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru as well though, as this gave us a completely different experience:
(Remember to click on the smaller pictures to see the full version and description)
Unique features Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
As most Banyan Tree Hotels this one exceeded our expectations! The staff and management were so friendly and went out of their way to make us feel at home and take away any discomfort we might have (like we did with mosquitoes which was solved by them immediately).
The view of this pristine island upon arrival is stunning. You can walk around it in only 12 minutes, the beach is wide, pure and quiet and the pier is one the most photographed ones in the Maldives, 4 meters long with brightly colored waters and large reef around it, which makes a spectacular sight as you can see in this video:
Diving and snorkeling here is highly recommended, also with direct reef access we swam with sea turtles and more than 5 sharks in just 1 snorkeling tour! And in the evening large varieties of sharks swim all around the pier. A video and more pics of this will follow in the next blog.
Their marine lab is the first of its kind built on a private resort, with reef and species inventory checks, an in house marine biologist from Newcastle, and very active in cleaning and maintaining the reef. Guests can also sponsor their own coral gardens and the lab is equipped to conduct research in coral biology, ecology, they have a green sea turtle conservation and do daily stingray feeding as well. A unique experience as you can see here:
We adored our authentic beach villa with abundant amenities and luxurious private pool with Jacuzzi. This spacious villa with thatched roof, classy outdoor bathroom and big garden with private pavilion, beach chairs and floaters truly provided us with everything we needed!
Next to that the Spa here was excellent, as expected from Banyan Tree, with a large variety of traditional treatments, all performed by Thai masseuses skilled to perfection.
Also on this island they had a great chef that served high quality healthy food, grill options every afternoon and night including themed dishes and fresh vegetables, fruit and pastries every day.
There are many more activities here that I can really recommend, like the beach bbq, sunset cruise, dolphin safari, and more, but I will tell you all about that in my next blog!
And do check out the various package deals and special rates on their own website: Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
I hope this blog convinced you that the Maldives is a definite must visit and that these islands are the perfect place to experience this tropical paradise to the fullest.
For more daily pics of the Maldives you can follow me on social media via the links at the bottom of this blog as well.
Would you choose to stay in these unique luxury resorts when you visit the Maldives or have you been there already? Always love to hear your opinion, just leave a comment below!