Do you know all those envy-inducing turquoise ocean photos that you see on IG whenever someone on your feed goes to the Maldives? They are actually not filtered. One can’t help being surprised as the blues and the greens just seem to hit differently here, completely unlike anywhere else in the world.
After a 25-minute seaplane ride of endless hues of turquoise and teal from the Male airport, you would arrive at Fesdu Island, where W Maldives resides. If you’re familiar with the W brand’s signature cool vibes, it does literally start vibing with you the moment you lay your eyes on the welcome entourage at their arrival plaza.
Their smiles are more infectious and their energy more palpable than the usual resort reception you would encounter. The welcome drinks selection even includes a wide array of champagne, beer, cocktail, and mocktails. You may even assume you’d arrived right at their bar.
W Maldives consists of 50 overwater villas and 27 beach villas and each has its beautiful draws. The overwater villas let you go from villa to water in approximately one second and wake up to translucent blue waters.
But there is also something wonderful about experiencing the softest Maldivian sand underneath your feet and hearing the gentle waves hit your private shore at the beach villas.
You can tour the entire island in buggies, with license plates such as Gaga and Elvis, to check out the four restaurants, two bars and iconic Away Spa. For the latter, do book your treatments on your first day as they only have four private rooms.
A tip is to coincide your reservations such that they start during sunset so you can witness the beautiful changes in the sky as the therapists start your treatments with some feet kneading while you look out to the coral-filled ocean and sky. Keep a lookout for baby shark sightings too!
Away Spa’s Ku Nye–Energy Balancing massage and Detox massage are must-tries, with their soothing sound healing aspects and muscle-releasing benefits. The therapists, talent-scouted from Bali, are amazingly intuitive and know exactly which muscles to go deeper at and where to tread gingerly.
If an adrenalin-pumping morning is how you like to start your day, sign up for a big-game fishing expedition. The boat sets off at 5:30 am and after an hour of riding to the right spots and watching the sunrise over the horizon, be prepared to start reeling in catches. The most common big-game catches are king’s mackerels that can vary between 80 to 200 cm long.
The experienced W Maldives crew is generous with endless fishing tips and education on sea life and sustainability so they do not use live baits to fish. No fishing expedition is the same but on good trips, expect excited yelps and yells as each catch gets bigger than the last. The morning expedition will end at 9 am and after a few hours of adrenalin and excitement on an empty stomach, it’s the perfect time to hit the breakfast spread at Kitchen restaurant.
Besides your usual egg menu, Kitchen also boasts a selection of delightful pastries and traditional Maldivian curries. For those preferring a much healthier breakfast selection, the all-day restaurant Kitchen also has an amazing spread of acai and yoghurt bowls, freshly squeezed juices and seasonal fruits.
Fesdu Island sits upon one of the best house reefs in the Maldives and is home to hundreds of species of marine life. So if you have a diving license, do not miss out on the opportunity to explore their stunning corals. If not, opt for a guided snorkel that is able to help you spot their resident turtle nibbling on corals and schools of adolescent sharks.
If you’re lucky, you may even spot fishes pooping in the waters, chasing each other at high speeds and even vomiting after nibbling on some corals — the underwater world at W Maldives seems like a comedic act but it will also be the absolute highlight of your experience.
For dinner, Fish is a charming speciality seafood restaurant situated out to sea on a wooden boardwalk that serves fresh catches helmed by a local chef. It has overwater tables with picturesque views of endless parading sharks and beautiful coral reefs and if you want a more private and romantic dinner, be sure to reserve their booth tables.
Another tip to experience W Maldives fully is to check out their showcase dinners by guest chefs from globally celebrated restaurants. Singapore’s feted open-grill restaurant Revolver had a dinner collaboration at W Maldives’ Fire restaurant and Revolver’s Chef Saurabh brought his Indian cooking sensibilities, laced with international flair and top-notch ingredients, to his showcase.
He starts dinner with white asparagus in curry leaf butter and fresh paneer in tomato espuma — the latter is a signature dish from his home turf in Singapore’s Tras Street. The flavour of the grill sat in perfect juxtaposition with the creamy paneer.
Another favourite on his menu was the hearty yet comfort-food nostalgic duck Chettinad, gruyere kulcha.
The showcase dinners at W Maldives are often fully booked out so make sure your trip reservation is booked alongside the coinciding dinner collaboration. Coming up on February 20, W Maldives is collaborating with Chef Deepanker “DK” Khosla from Bangkok’s Michelin-starred Haoma, a neo-Indian fine dining restaurant, for a seven-course tasting dinner.
A beachside grill showcase lunch will take place on February 22 that promises to be a treat for gourmands, as Chef DK and the W Maldives chefs out on an interactive culinary experience.
Given Chef DK’s and W Maldives’ focus on sustainability and vegan cuisine, the menus for both events will feature local produce and fresh ingredients, reducing the carbon footprint, and will also include vegan-friendly choices and Haoma’s signature desserts.
Guests looking to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience of Haoma in the middle of the Indian Ocean, can also book the Taste of Haoma package at W Maldives, which includes daily buffet breakfasts and return seaplane transfers, in addition to experiencing the Haoma showcase dinner and the Haoma x W Maldives Beach BBQ lunch inclusive of the beverage package for up to two guests.
The stay package is valid for stays of a minimum of four nights, between 18-24 February 2023.
This article first appeared on Men’s Folio.
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