Wednesday, March 14, 2012

HOTEL CHECK MALDIVES, part 1, Anantara Kihavah

Ananatara Kihavah is one of the new resorts in our Select Collection 2012-2014 launched this week. The resort opened spring 2011, and it has already proved very popular, running at very high occupancy during our visit. It’s reached by 35 minute sea plane ride from Male. The exclusive lounge at Male was not yet ready when we were there, as our visit was to preview hotels for our masterpiece, the Select Collection.

We were allocated a Beach Pool Villa and our villa host gave a nice welcome foot soak treatment. D├ęcor has a hint of colonial complemented with colourful silks and dark woods. The huge (all) outdoor bathroom with shower(s), day bed, water feature, huge tub plus garden area to the rear with dining sala, infinity pool, backing on to the beach (the beach view being completely obscured by the vegetation to preserve privacy from any other guests strolling along the shore).

Beach pool villa

Alternatively the overwater options have wonderful natural light, with huge windows opening out to the amazing views, with stunning outdoor living space. You can‘t really be overlooked by your neighbour, but the villas are closer together.

Walkway and overwater villas

The spa, which is overwater, is a striking set up. The treatment 6 cabins are fresh, modern and spacious with the most stunning views out to sea. Experienced therapists mainly Thai, and therefore excellent. The outdoor relaxation area is sublime, with orange / yellow mosaic tiled infinity pools. One could stay there all day!

Spa at Kihavah accessed on foot across the jetty, completely separate from the overwater restuarants

The signature dining/bar complex Sea Fire Salt Sky, is also fabulous. It can be a bit quiet, as guests are tempted to linger in their villas and dine in romantic style. But it is really stylish with excellent concepts – we dined in Salt, where there’s an array of salts to complement each dish. Seasbass with pumpkin mash served on a block (instead of a plate!) of Himalayan salt among the many delights. The presentation was divine the service very professional, with a little bit of theatre!

Tepanyaki offers the Fire element, then Sky the rooftop bar with the most commanding views over the Baa Atoll. And not forgetting Sea, the underwater restaurant located at the reef drop off – you can see a variety of marine life and coral. There is also the pool bar/ restaurant Manzaru, and Plates for breakfast, and all day dining (we had lunch buffet here).

Kihavah underwater restaurant

Restaurant complex amid spakling turquoise

The House reef is excellent, with good visibility. Excursions to nearby sites and islands are reasonably priced.

There is a children’s club (not fully staffed when we were there but will expand and we did see a couple of very happy kids!), tennis, library, and gym all tucked away on the internal part of the island.

In short, a really stylish resort with good service and recommended for trendy types who wish to experience an alternative to the reigning coolspots - W and Conrad Rangali. Ipads instead of newspapers at breakfast for guests to keep connected. Kihavah certainly has designer elements, yet it does not let you forget this is the Maldives and not just anywhere in the world. A very good balance to strike….

Kihavah spa relax & waiting area

Overwater pool villa

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