For a stress-free luxurious Maldives break, Heritance Aarah is a perfect choice. Located in the Raa Atoll, it’s a 40-minute seaplane hop from the new terminal at the International Airport in Male.
From the moment you arrive at the jetty, you’re whisked off to a quick and seamless check in and on to your villa, in our case, one of their premium offerings, an Ocean Suite. The buggy ride gave a whirlwind scenic tour of the island, which is large in Maldives terms. Past the overwater spa, white-washed pretty beach villas nestled in tropical gardens, a beach-side fish restaurant, over water Maldives cuisine dining option, large infinity pool and on to one of two long villa strewn jetties where our two-story villa was located.
Ocean Suites have a kind of Swiss chalet look about them, and are quite an unusual design as over-water Maldives villas go. They are high ceilinged and have gabled overhangs and are a refreshing change from the more typical thatched affairs you see on most resorts.
Slip inside and you’ll find a hallway, handy mini-kitchen area and large lounge and bathroom, with views and access out to the spacious deck area and large heated private infinity pool. Upstairs there’s a large bedroom, another bathroom, and doors to a rather cute tiny balcony with just enough room to sit two, overlooking the deck, pool, and turquoise sea below. They are very nicely presented, practical and pleasingly furnished, and were also thoughtfully fragranced with gorgeous incense each day which was a lovely touch.
One of the main draws for visitors to the Maldives is to have their own private pool, and the ones at the Ocean Suites certainly don’t disappoint. Large, heated, jutting out over the ocean they are practical in that you can walk into them thanks to nice shallow steps, and there’s a kind of seat area at the far side too. It’s very easy to spend hours here, glass of champagne in hand, relaxing watching all sorts of marine life swim by – including large rays and baby blacktip sharks.
Talking of champagne, one of the reasons for this resort’s popularity is its excellent all-inclusive package. This includes champagne at restaurants and bars, as well as many premium brand spirits and good quality wines. Your villas come with their own stock of 8 varieties in a special wine fridge, which are replenished daily, and guests can select two bottles of spirits too.
The package includes all meals and snacks and even in-villa dining, perfect if a storm passes by and you just want to relax in the dry and watch a movie. And there’s what the resort calls the 3 Cs. ice cream, candy, and cocktails available from the Naughty Carts which roam the island each day.
Dining, there’s many excellent options covering buffets, a la carte, and even fine dining. We were really impressed by the latter which was located close to us on opposite the Ocean Suite/ adults only infinity pool and bar. The presentation and tastes were impressive and the location lovely. They have a pianist who is incredibly talented and can easily play most requests.
The all-inclusive package also features several complimentary excursions such as a sunset or dolphin cruise or night fishing, from a choice of 2 upwards, depending on the length of your stay. And there’s all sorts of non-motorised water sports to choose from.
There is also a very good over-water spa that offers a wide range of traditional spa and beauty therapies such as massages and manicures, as well as medical non-invasive procedures such as micro-needling, skin peels and even non-surgical facelifts. There are nutritionists and trainers on site for wellness and fitness programs.
All in all, this is a super resort for those who like a resort that has an excellent worry-free all-inclusive offering, plus a wide choice of places to dine and things to do and explore.
By Lisa Curtiss