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Review: Wonderful Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi enjoys the enviable position of being a first choice for discerning luxury lovers from all over the world.   Just a 45-minute yacht excursion from Velana International Airport, this beautiful, benchmark-setting, opulent haven provides the perfect antidote to the stresses of city life to enable you and your loved ones to fully relax, unwind, heal and re-connect.

In this corner of the world, luxury transcends expectation, offering a retreat not just from the world but to a world unto itself. The Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi doesn’t just invite exploration; it is the embodiment of the Maldivian dream, a sublime escape where every moment is a rare jewel, delicately framed by the endless sea.

The resort’s villas are a masterclass in design and privacy, with over individual havens offering beachfront, reef, and overwater experiences, each with its private pool mirroring the ocean’s calm. For those who seek unparalleled exclusivity, Ithaafushi – The Private Island stands as the zenith of island grandeur. Spanning an expansive 32,000 square meters, this personal paradise hosts up to 24 esteemed guests in two villas and a stately four-bedroom residence, promising an enclave for significant celebrations or serene solitude.

Within this illustrious resort’s embrace lies a gastronomic odyssey composed of 11 remarkable dining experiences. The culinary genius of Michelin-starred maestro Dave Pynt unveils itself at The Ledge, while the refined elegance of Zuma Maldives weaves Japanese dining finesse with island serenity. Not to be outdone, the exclusive Terra elevates dining to the treetops with private bamboo nests that offer a vantage as sublime as the cuisine.

Beyond the palate, the Waldorf Astoria Maldives engulfs guests in lavishness rarely found elsewhere. The sprawling wellness centre, complete with a world-class spa, sets a new standard for holistic luxury, introducing the pioneering aqua wellness concept to the Maldivian shores. Here, well-being is both a journey and a destination.

Luxurious, Spacious Villas

At Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, the Villa Collection is designed with a deep understanding of luxury and privacy. The villas are discreetly arrayed along the island’s edge, offering guests a serene retreat from the wider world.


Beach Villas: A Seamless Integration with Nature

Positioned on the edge of soft sands, the Beach Villas offer understated elegance. The interiors reflect the island’s natural beauty, combining space and light to create a quiet, airy sanctuary. Each villa extends to the outdoors, featuring private areas for relaxation and a pool that blends into the horizon.

The design of each Beach Villa encourages an indoor-outdoor living experience, where guests can step directly onto the beach from their terrace, enjoying the Maldives’ climate from the privacy of their accommodation.


Reef Villas: A Respectful Nod to the Oceanic Environment

Perched above the water, the Reef Villas afford panoramic views of the ocean. The design is thoughtful, with clean lines and a layout that maximizes the sense of being one with the sea. The inclusion of a private pool allows for uninterrupted views of the watery expanse, blending the comforts of the villa with the natural environment.

These villas are crafted for those who appreciate the ocean’s beauty, providing a comfortable yet refined base from which to explore the surrounding marine life.

Overwater Villas: Modern Design Meets the Ocean

The Overwater Villas are an exercise in design that honours the stunning views. Each villa, poised above the clear waters, is a private enclave designed to provide guests with both comfort and a sense of connection to the sea below.

From the King Grand Overwater Villa with its personal pool to the larger Two Bedroom Overwater Villa, there is an emphasis on spaciousness and a smooth transition between the villa’s interior and the natural beauty of its overwater setting.

Stella Maris Ocean Villa: Exclusive and Accessible Retreats

The Stella Maris Ocean Villas offer a unique retreat, only reachable by boat. These duplexes provide expansive living spaces that open to the elements, designed for those who seek a private experience with the convenience of access to the resort’s amenities.

The villas are self-contained, with outdoor living areas that include a pool and direct ocean access, ensuring that guests can enjoy the tranquillity of their surroundings in complete privacy.

At Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, the Villa Collection is carefully crafted to offer a balance of comfort and discretion. With a range of options, from beachfront to overwater, each villa is a quiet nod to the natural splendour of the Maldives, ensuring that guests enjoy their stay in a refined, private setting.

Gourmet Dining

In the Maldives, the act of dining transcends mere sustenance; it is elevated to an art form at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. With a collection of 11 distinctive restaurants and bars, each venue is a new chapter in a culinary narrative that is as diverse as it is delightful.

Here, dining is reimagined as an exploration of the senses, a journey marked by the pairing of stunning backdrops with exquisite meals. Whether you choose an intimate dinner on your villa’s terrace or a relaxed lunch by the water’s edge, every meal is framed by the graceful service and elegant ambiance that are the hallmarks of the Waldorf Astoria experience.

The resort’s culinary philosophy is simple yet profound: to transform every dining occasion into an unforgettable memory. It’s an invitation to relish in the moment, whether that’s a serene breakfast as the ocean awakens or a vibrant evening soiree under the stars.


Zuma Maldives: A Taste of Japanese Excellence

At Zuma Maldives, the essence of Japanese dining is captured in its most authentic form. Perched above the tranquil waters, Zuma presents a serene environment that harmonizes with the artistry of its cuisine. It adheres to the Izakaya style of dining, where the act of sharing food enhances the communal experience, and the selection of drinks is curated to complement the meal’s rich flavours.

Zuma is not just a restaurant; it’s a testament to the culinary vision of founders Rainer Becker and Arjun Waney, whose concept, born in London, now captivates gastronomes across the globe. The name Zuma is synonymous with a culinary craft that is both innovative and timeless.


Terra: Elevated Treetop Dining

Terra presents a dining escapade set amongst the treetops, where seven handcrafted bamboo pods offer a sanctuary for romantic and intimate gatherings. The seven-course menu, a creation of Chef Ivan Alvarez and his team, is bespoke, designed to be as memorable as the setting in which it is savoured.


Li Long: A Shanghainese Tapestry

Floating above the lagoon, Li Long serves its signature Peking duck from the Maldives’ first woodfired oven, encapsulating the grandeur of Shanghainese nobility. Here, Chef Addy and his team craft an atmosphere as rich as the menu they present.

Glow: Garden to Table

At Glow, the connection between nature and nourishment is celebrated. The island’s garden yields the freshest ingredients, complemented by a selection of organic and natural wines and beverages, embodying a healthful, garden-to-table philosophy.


The Ledge by Dave Pynt: Barbecue Redefined

Under the culinary direction of Michelin-starred Chef Dave Pynt, The Ledge introduces the celebrated Australian barbecue cuisine to the Maldives, infusing it with a Michelin-grade twist that makes every meal a discovery.

Nava: The Pulse of the Resort

Nava, the resort’s vibrant heart, is where the pool and beach club come to life with cosy ambiance, panoramic lagoon views, and the rhythmic pulse of live DJs, crafting the soundtrack to a perfect beachside afternoon.


Yasmeen: Arabian Nights

Yasmeen offers a glimpse into an Arabian village, with authentic décor and a Levantine menu that caters to a variety of tastes, all created by a team of culinary experts.


Peacock Alley: Social Serenity

This signature Waldorf Astoria lounge serves as the social nucleus of the resort, where live entertainment and a medley of beverages create a convivial atmosphere.


Amber: The Sunset Connoisseur

Known as the resort’s premier sunset spot, Amber is where guests can bask in the glow of the Maldivian sunset, champagne in hand, in a setting of tranquil beauty.

The Rock: An Oenophile’s Retreat

An exclusive haven that opens upon request, The Rock is cantered around a wine selection that traverses the globe, complemented by a menu crafted to elevate the wine-tasting experience.


Tasting Table: A Global Palette

The Tasting Table welcomes diners to a relaxed setting, ideal for a beachside breakfast or themed dinner, offering culinary delights that span continents.


Private Dining Experiences: Tailored Moments

For those seeking a more personalized dining experience, the resort’s team stands ready to tailor every detail, from the cuisine to the venue, ensuring a moment that is exclusively yours.

At the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, each meal is an invitation to a world of extraordinary flavours, where the joy of dining is discovered amidst the paradisiacal beauty of the islands.


Spa & Wellness

Within the serene embrace of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, wellness is not just an offering; it’s an experience crafted with the utmost care and attention to detail. The resort’s spa, a tranquil sanctuary, is where rejuvenation is both the journey and the destination.

The pioneering Wellness Concierge service is a Maldives’ first, offering a bespoke approach to wellbeing. Guided by an innovative consultation process, guests embark on personalized journeys tailored to their unique needs, choosing from treatments inspired by the elemental energies of earth, water, fire, and metal.

The essence of the spa experience here is integration with the surrounding beauty of the Maldives. It’s about harmonising with the rhythm of the waves, about treatments that not only revive the body but also nurture the spirit. From invigorating yoga and fitness classes to the gentle touch of expert therapists, the spa offers a path to holistic well-being.

Signature experiences under the stars, such as the Starlit Ocean Wave, offer a unique opportunity to indulge in the healing powers of nature, accompanied by the soothing sounds of the ocean. The spa pavilion becomes a candlelit haven of tranquillity, where treatments like the slow rhythmic Elemental Bliss Ritual or the revitalizing Thermotherapy invite you to let go and reconnect with your inner self.

The spa’s treatment menu is a testament to innovation, blending exclusive product lines with the latest in wellness technology. From the advanced LPG endermologie for slimming to the organic elegance of Carol Joy London products, each therapy is an invitation to transformative relaxation.

The Aqua Wellness Centre, with its huge hydrotherapy pool featuring various jet stations, each designed to target specific muscle groups, stands as the pinnacle of water-based relaxation, offering guests a therapeutic journey that enhances circulation, boosts metabolism, and promotes a sense of deep-seated peace.   This is a must do during your stay.

Do enquire about incredible treatments offered by world-class visiting practitioners.  We experienced acupuncture during our stay which seamlessly fused traditional with new styles and after a blissful, pain-free couple of hours, emerged fully revitalised, with a wealth of helpful aftercare advice.

Beyond the spa, the resort’s fitness centre and salon extend the wellness narrative. Here, personalised exercise programs meet aesthetic excellence, ensuring that every aspect of the guest’s well-being is catered to. From tailored workouts to expert hair and nail services, the commitment to holistic care is evident.

In the Maldives, Waldorf Astoria’s approach to wellness is as much about the environment as it is about the exceptional treatments and services. It’s about finding a sanctuary where tranquillity reigns supreme, where every moment is an opportunity to unwind, reset, and emerge renewed.




At Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, the ‘Things to do in the Maldives’ is not just a list, but a tapestry of enriching experiences, each thread woven with the promise of unforgettable memories. Here, the marine spectacle unfolds in a kaleidoscope of colour amidst the coral reefs, home to an aquatic pageant of life. The island’s shores, with their powdery white sands, serve as nature’s own sanctuary, offering vistas that invite repose and wonder.

Away from the embrace of the waters, the island’s heart beats with activities for the spirited. Tennis sessions, orchestrated by our resident professionals, blend sport with the island’s natural splendour, ensuring every game is played in an arena like no other. Youthful adventure finds its corner too, with the Stars Club for Kids and Club Nova for Teens providing a vibrant array of pursuits, from the playful to the educational.

The soul of the Maldives, however, is not captured by its activities alone but by the pauses in between. Dining under the expansive sky, meals become more than dishes served; they are culinary voyages that span the globe’s flavours against a panorama of oceanic beauty. Each bite is savoured, each moment distilled into pleasure.   

As dusk falls, do head to Amber, a favourite of ours,  for fine champagne or expertly crafted cocktails whilst watching the sun set in a shimmering blaze of gold.   This is the perfect spot for photography too and the resort thoughtfully provides tripods to help you capture the perfect, uninterrupted sunset shot.   


Sustainability & Conservation


In the crystalline waters of the Maldives, the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi nurtures an underwater marvel – its natural reef. Amidst a global environmental crisis, the resort stands as a bastion of marine conservation, proactively combating marine plastic pollution and ensuring the preservation of this aquatic wonder.

At the forefront of this endeavour is the resort’s in-house Marine Biologist, a custodian of the deep, whose dedicated oversight of the coral nurseries is critical to the reef’s health. Here, corals are not only nurtured to thrive but are also carefully reintroduced to the reef, sparking a renaissance beneath the waves.

The alliance with Parley Maldives embodies the resort’s proactive stance. It’s a partnership that brings the Parley AIR strategy to life: to Avoid plastics, Intercept plastic waste, and Redesign materials and methods. It’s a call to action, summoning innovators and thought leaders to join in fortifying the ocean’s fragility.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi’s dedication to marine conservation is an enduring commitment, reflective of a deep-seated belief in the symbiosis between our oceans and the broader health of our planet. Through continued alliances and concerted efforts, the resort not only champions the cause but also seeks to galvanize a global community towards safeguarding the marine sanctuaries for the prosperity of future generations.


To conclude

Having visited a little shy of 30 leading luxury resorts in this enchanting place now, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is most definitely one right at the top of the list.   Whether you’re marking a special occasion, needing a break from crazy city life, or quality time with the family of all ages, here you’ll make memories to cherish for a lifetime.



Lisa Curtiss

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