You might never want to leave!
As you fly into Male over the crystal clear blue waters you can’t help but wonder if the island you are staying at could possibly match what is beneath you. Lush green vegetation, golden sand and azure waters. Everything you see on the postcard is true and the Anantara Veli Resort & Spa doesn’t fail to deliver.
The word Anantara is taken from the Sanskrit word, meaning ‘without end’. It is an ethos that staff evidently live and breathe ensuring one’s stay is as comfortable and as seamless as possible.
From the very moment you step out of the arrivals hall you are greeted by a broad and welcoming smile and taken to your own private, air conditioned waiting area, offered a cold towel and a refreshing cool drink until your fellow guests are all ready to board the private boat transfer to your little bit of paradise.
Making up one of the three islands available to guests Anantara Veli is an adult-only island, offering peace and tranquillity at every turn. Dhigu, its sister island is a fantastic option for those travelling with children without losing the luxurious feel of its neighbours. Naladhu is the smallest of the options available, but evidently most exclusive hideaway with sublime décor and private facilities.
Upon arrival at the island of Veli you are welcomed by the team in traditional Maldivian style. Singers and a drummer escort you off the jetty and on to the white sandy shores. No need to stop at reception, staff are on hand to ensure you’re in your room effortlessly and check in this completed in comfort of your room.
Veli is home to 67 thatched roof bungalows, 50 of which are situated over the pristine turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, each with private access to explore the enticing lagoon below. A further 10 Deluxe Over Water Pool Bungalows each housing their own private infinity pool, and a 24/7 butler service. The remaining seven Ocean Pool Bungalows are situated on the cliff top on the adjacent side the island, offering that little bit more seclusion, with their own private veranda and infinity pool offering a seascape of rolling waves onto the shore. The butler service is on hand to ensure everything you wish for day or night is provided. The comfort of your stay is of paramount importance to all the Anantara staff on the island.
The rooms boast indulgent furnishings in keeping with their Maldivian surroundings, a core value of all Anantara resorts reflecting an indigenous connection. The beds are large and comfortable and the bathroom exceeds expectations with a freestanding bath and indoor shower opening out directly into your pool and the jewel blue seas ahead. The outdoor shower, located at the back of the property, provides an added experience with water cascading down as you relax amongst tropical garden surroundings.
But it’s the little touches that make the difference. The small in room library features a selection of waterproof books and board games. Your very own Maldivian sarong and chic sunhat are there for you to take home as a reminder of your time in paradise and the complimentary water, Nespresso coffee and tea, together with a well-stocked mini bar caters for every craving and means you’ll never go thirsty.
73 Degrees, aptly named after its latitude of location, is set in a relaxed, light and airy beach side environment and is where guests on Veli take breakfast at their leisure offering a comprehensive array of international cuisine including live cooking stations and if you so wish the luxury of a head and shoulder massage from the well trained spa staff all at the comfort of your table. Each night it transforms itself into a romantic venue with specific themed nights offering culinary delights from far corners of the globe.
Origami is the signature restaurant for the island of Veli and it serves up mouth-watering cuisine from the land of the rising sun. Two tables wrap around live Teppanyaki stations, hosted by skilled chefs with astonishingly fast hands. You get to see the expertise that goes into preparing the famous Japanese cuisine – and you can even take part and have a go yourself if you are feeling brave enough. To accompany your food, the island’s resident sommelier Bobby is on hand to guide you through their extensive sake and wine menu to make your meal all the more special.
Sea, Fire, Salt, located on the sister island of Dhigu, is the latest edition to the highly acclaimed Anantara grill and seafood eatery, found in a number of other properties around the world. Set on an inviting alfresco candlelit deck above the tranquil, crystal clear waters, signature dishes are a plenty from land and sea each prepared in their own unique way. With an extensive salt selection from around the world, the resident Salt Guru will help you select the tastiest cooking style for your meal.
If that doesn’t tickle your taste buds then you can dine by design to create your own special moment, be it in the privacy of your own villa, re-kindling romance on a pristine white beach, or set sail aboard a traditional Dhoni at sunset; the expert team are on hand to ensure your dream evening comes to life.
Given the size of the resort, you might think that you’d bump into people on your adventures, however, somehow Anantara have expertly managed to maintain a true sense of seclusion, calm and tranquility. If you are feeling a little more sociable and energetic then there is a host of activities on hand to keep you occupied on land and sea. The expertly run Aquafanatics Water Sports and Diving Centre offers you everything you want, from diving the legendary Maldivian waters, to surfing with the well trained tropic surf team (8 yrs+), snorkelling, jet skiing, paragliding, wind-surfing, take your pick!
For the more eco-friendly Anantara also provide you with the option to give back to your surroundings and ensure that the atolls of the Maldives are protected for future generations to relish. A coral adoption program is available for a small price. This is gardening Maldivian style. Your small piece of naturally broken coral is cleaned, attached to a frame and returned into the waters surrounding Veli. Photographs of its growth and progress will be sent to you every 4 months and will be a constant reminder of your travels.
Sunrise and sunset Yoga classes take place on the expansive Pavillion Deck with a view to die for – the perfect way to start or end a day in paradise. Love seats for honeymooners feeling romantic, movies under the stars and idyllically placed hammocks are there for all to enjoy as you unwind after a day’s exploration of what the island has to offer. The well-equipped gym helps one address any guilty thoughts of over indulgence and extra touches of table tennis, petanque and pool offer a welcome bit of competition should you need it.
Those that wish to discover a little more about their surroundings can take part in a weekly arts and crafts corner discovering the craftsmanship of the local wood carvers. The Spice Spoons cooking class, takes your taste buds on a journey of discovery uncovering the eclectic mix of ingredients that go into preparing local recipes, many of which are taken directly from the resort’s Executive Chef herb garden. After indulging in the fruits of your labour over lunch, you’ll leave the island with new culinary skills to share with family and friends.
The Sundani Ayurvedic Spa on Veli offers something a little different. Dr Avinash, the Spa’s very own resident wellness doctor, is on hand for all guests to provide holistic advice on the best treatments available based on current state of body and mind. His skilful and successful analysis of body type (dosha) using pulse, dietary and daily routine observations per individual lifestyle he is able to ascertain the very personal needs of each guest. Discovering your Ayurvedic Dosha and drawing on his expert advice offers the ideal way of finding the perfect balance between relaxation and wellbeing throughout your stay.
The Spa is set inland amongst the tropical gardens with towering coconut trees. Its series of private suites can cater for singles and couples alike.
The Abyhanga and Shirodhara treatments come highly recommended each involving traditional Indian massage techniques. With the use of warm oil and prolonged strokes the Abyhanga unwinds your tired muscles whilst the Shirodhara, using a litre and a half of warm, fragranced oil poured gently on your forehead takes you to a point of total relaxation.
With direct flights from both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, there’s no excuse not to make the short 4 hour journey to paradise. Please visit http://veli-maldives.anantara.com/ for further details.