It’s always wonderful when the place you choose to stay at exceeds all expectations. The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort is one of these elusive treasures.
Located in the Baa Atoll, within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this perfect Maldivian jewel is the place to create cherished memories and deeply re-connect as a couple, family or group of friends. Your journey to paradise will start with a 35-minute sea plane hop, treating you to a birds’-eye view of the incredible reefs, atolls and ocean of every shades of blue below.
On arrival you’ll be greeted by some of the resorts’ welcoming staff, who go above and beyond to help you in every possible way. One of the first things to strike you is the resort’s intriguing infrastructure. Peia Associati’s architects drew inspiration from Maldivian fauna to create a gorgeous white spiral staircase that resembles the inside of a shell, arrival jetty a clam, villa roofs like turtle shells and reception area and kids’ club majestic manta rays and whale sharks.
This resort has a strong focus on wellness, and cites its 6 key pillars as Sleep Well, Eat Well, Move Well, Feel Well, Play Well and Work Well. You will certainly experience the first five, and even possibly the last, as it’s actually a super place to work remotely from, and some of the villas have an office space – albeit with the most incredible not to mention distracting ocean views.
The island is small, lush and very, very pretty, with beds of colourful flowers and pathways of palms and tropical plants, including those which fill the air with the most wonderful fragrance at night. You can stroll around it all in just 15-20 minutes – that is if you don’t get easily distracted spotting turtles, shoals of rainbow fish, flying foxes, dolphins or pretty white terns on route.
At certain times of the year you’ll also spot hordes of dragonflies patrolling the skies on their world-record worth long migration from India to Africa. The beach villas are tucked away among the foliage and all face out to the beach, whilst the over water villas are reached via jetties – also great places to fish watch. We really appreciated unlike so many Maldives’ resorts, here you don’t have constant bikes, golf buggies and shuttles zooming past – it’s compact enough to not need them to get around and makes for a much more relaxed and peaceful vibe.
Our stay was one of the wonderful Heavenly Overwater Villas with pool. Having stayed at lots of resorts, the overwater villas at The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo are among the absolute best. Modern, spacious and beautifully designed, they are elegant, comfortable and in all ways exceptional, from the quality of the furnishings to the floor to ceiling villa wide view of the ocean they provide.
Everything is just so tasteful, yet practical too and they are fitted with all mod cons as well as neat touches such as sliding doors enabling to you section off parts of the villa if wished to use to do some work in, a juice press with bowl of oranges so you can squeeze and enjoy your own fresh juice when waking up, to inside and outside showers, and a huge deck area with a deep roof overhang to provide much needed shade and shelter from the sharp showers and storms that can flit by. The Heavenly Beds were fantastic. We achieved several full-night’s sleep here – which as insomniacs, was such a bonus and relief to wake each day refreshed and ready to explore. We did indulge in plenty of star gazing here too though – the dark clear skies reveal an unrivalled view of countless stars, plus the planets and even the Space Station passing by.
Sitting out on deck is the perfect place to while away many hours, relaxing with a glass of champagne, watching countless fish and pods of dolphins swim and spin by. The infinity pools at these villas are excellent too – large and long and deep enough to enable you to actually have a swim.
If you can tear yourself away from these exceptional villas, there’s plenty of delights to enjoy. You can sample delicious dining in all of the restaurants, relax at the large main pool or beautiful beach, relax at the wellness spa, snorkel, dive, play tennis, enjoy a wide choice of water sports and take a sunset dolphin cruise – something we highly recommend.
Dining wise, this is another area this wonderful resort excels at. There are four unique dining options, each presenting distinctive cuisine in beautiful surroundings. Our favourite, The Pearl, is perched on a short jetty high above the sea and offers diners a refined Japanese menu with a seafood focus. It’s an interior design masterpiece and ever so romantic.
You can relax with a pre-dinner drink and watch the sun set from here and listen to the waves rustle below. The dishes, including those on the amazing tasting menus are exquisite and can be paired with an excellent choice of wines. There’s also Island Kitchen, which showcases healthy, international dishes. Hawker, a colourful bar and restaurant serving authentic Asian street food in a bare-foot-in-the-sand beach-side setting, and the Sunset Bar for its laid-back vibe, tree top sunset view, masterfully mixed cocktails and tapas.
We really enjoyed the ice cream shop too – a cute and cool haven from the heat of the day, serving freshly made popsicles of almost every flavour you could imagine, and accompanying decadent sauces. A favourite for adults and children alike!
If wellness is your thing, this resort is ideal, from the endless choice of healthy dining options and freshly made to order juices, to a state of the art gym and stunning spa. The Heavenly Spa by Westin™ is located over the ocean with incredible views of this natural island’s powder-soft sand beaches and turquoise sea. Here you can clearly appreciate
Westin’s commitment to wellness, allowing each guest to replenish the mind and body with a personal sensory experience. We enjoyed a wonderful Heavenly Sanctuary Ritual – a gentle body polish to exfoliate and revitalize the skin, followed by a relaxing aromatherapy bath to restore energy levels, and a signature Heavenly full body massage. You can also enjoy a spa experience in the comfort of your own villa.
Coming to the Maldives just wouldn’t be the same without experiencing some water sports. The resort has Aqua, a PADI water sports centre, where you can be kitted out for snorkelling, go diving, parasailing, kayaking and more. You can also book excursions, including to renowned Hanifaru Bay, a favourite feeding station for manta rays, and a mating point for whale sharks which is just a scenic 45-minute boat trip away. You don’t need to go beyond the house reefs though, as even from shore or gazing down from your over water villa deck you can see countless varieties of fish in every colour and eagle rays and pods of dolphins glide by.
The Baa Atoll, where the resort is located, is world-famous in the diving community for its exceptional sea life, corals, and for being home to one of the largest concentrations of manta rays and whale sharks in the world. Sustainability and conservation are foremost at the resort’s mind, and there’s an array of helpful initiatives undertaken. During your stay, do enjoy a fascinating marine biology presentation which will tell you all about conservation efforts happening including coral propagation, which you can be involved in, how the Maldivian atolls were created, and loads of amazing details on the local fish, turtles, sharks and more.
This really is a dream Maldivian resort. Everything is just so right. From being in the perfect location, to the right size, the best villas, the most welcoming and helpful staff who all seem to genuinely love what they do, to amazing cuisine, endless activities, peace and quiet yet a friendly and inviting vibe. Could we pick any fault? Well only that if you want a full sea view, some of the beach villas are tucked behind lush vegetation and don’t really enable this, and some are quite close together so you can hear your next door neighbours. We really recommend paying the extra for one of the fantastic over water villas – with or without a pool, as they are among the very best in the whole of the Maldives, even compared against those in far more expensive resorts.
We always think.. would we come back, and choose this one out of many Maldives resorts now available? It’s a resounding and instant YES!. Can’t wait to return.
By Lisa Curtiss