Friday, June 3, 2016

WEEKEND IN THE MALDIVES

A weekend in paradise. Or a long short journey from Stockholm to Male. Max Albrechtsson writes about three nights and three days at One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives, plus two nights asleep in the sky…


A weekend here? Clothed in jungle and lined by white sandy beaches: the incredible One&Only Reethi Rah

Why not do something different, something that will amaze your partner and perhaps your future wife or husband …

The Maldives for a weekend - just three nights in paradise. This might not be the ordinary weekend getaway if you live up north, but it’s not as “difficult” as it sounds. When traveling with Qatar Airways in Business Class you will arrive at your destination well rested and ready for a few days in the sun. Qatar Airways departs twice a day from Stockholm almost every day of the week but we chose to take the night flight to sleep on-board and arrive in the beginning of a new day in Male.

There is only a short stop in Doha where you have time to stretch your legs and enjoy the lounge for a midnight snack. If you have a longer connection check in to the Airport hotel and enjoy a spacious room with shower, room service and a king size bed to relax in your privacy.

Total flight time is about ten and a half hours in a fully flat bed with excellent food, beverage, great service and an impressive entertainment system filled with the latest movies, TV shows and other “time killers” if you’re a night owl.

There are more than 1900 island in the Maldives, about 200 are inhabited, but only one island and its resort were the destination for our weekend stay! An island to blow the mind.

We are going to the one and only One&Only Reethi Rah, perhaps the most famous resort in the Maldives. One&Only have been up for business for 11 years and without doubt fulfilled my expectations.

Sweeping sands, beach villas and water villas - all magnificent

Straight into luxury

It is Friday when we arrive in Male. Greeted by the One&Only team, we are taken instantly to the luxury speedboat transfer. No waiting for other guests or seaplane departures, this transfer is private and extravagant. If you get tired of the island life or just want an excursion you can hire the yacht for private use; it has two bedrooms that can accommodate up to four adults plus staff.

One of the fleet 

After a smooth 50 min transfer we arrive at the marina in between the mangroves and bright red hibiscus flowers. Docking in a remote paradise, greeted by management and villa hosts serving cold towels and welcome drinks. There is no need to check in at the reception; after the journey our private villa host takes us directly to our accommodation with a golf car. When staying in the larger villas you will get you own private buggy to easily get around on the island; all room categories have their own bikes and it’s so nice to feel the breeze when you are trundling along under the palm trees on your way to breakfast.

Beach villa with pool

This is no ordinary accommodation –  the beach villa with pool is so generously spaced indoors (79m2) and a has unstinting verandas (86m2), plus a private swimming pool! The beds are heaven and the outdoor shower is the only one I used for our entire stay.

It’s time for dinner and we will enjoy our first evening in Reethi Restaurant. Reethi is the main dining lodge of the resort and offers a great variation of food in spectacular settings right by and over the water. Contemporary cuisine from the Mediterranean, Indian and other far horizons. Next to Reethi there is live music in Rah Bar with bubbly champagne and elegant cocktails for an all night party.

After a peaceful rest I´m waking up to the sound of the waves, have a quick shower and feel the heat from the sun. We have breakfast by the ocean in Reethi Restaurant. A buffet where everything you can wish for is served; freshly cut fruits, pastries, international breakfast and your omelette just as you want it.

It’s time to discover the island. Reethi Rah is one of the largest islands in the North Malé Atoll which is great; there is never a crowded beach and the gardens of your villa are always spacious, compared to other resorts. Even the Water Villas are spread out and not stacked back to back.

Long beaches

The Grand Sunset Villa

A water villa with pool  - you and the sea

Beach villa

Great things to do this weekend

Reethi Rah have all kind of activities from their own football field, climbing wall, water sports, golf simulator or for the more relaxed personalities a wonderful spa, art classes or yoga.

Yoga pavilion with a fresh breeze off the lagoon
Climbing wall

A choice of watersports

Superb tennis courts
Even options for arty souls

There are also exiting adventures for the whole family with Dolphin Cruise or line fishing in the sunset.

Underwater

One of my favourite activities in the Maldives is snorkelling and diving, just a short boat ride from the island there is a turtle reef that is habitat for more  than 15 different turtles, all named and monitored by the Marine Biologist. The turtles are well protected and their home at the reef is secure from fishing. The snorkelling tours go twice daily from the resort and the skilled staff shows you all kind of interesting species under the surface, a whole new world to experience.


Max underwater with a big turtle

Astrid and Therese give the thumbs up

The varieties of dining options are remarkable; tonight we will enjoy one of the island favourites among repeating guests, the Japanese restaurant Tapasake provides modern Japanese cuisine with a sophisticated twist. The dishes are often shared tapas-style and shared with your loved ones at the table, a social and fun way to enjoy dinner. The wine list is impressive with well chosen beverages to match the unique flavours exciting collection of Rieslings and Pinot Noirs as well as traditional sakes.

Other interesting dining options are the Chefs Garden, with organic vegetables and herbs often served with fresh fish and seafood. Our evening is accompanied by a live jazz performance and the chef serves grilled langoustine with soup of the day as a starter. The local water is served from a water pitcher by the garden’s nurseryman, a fun way that gives us a laugh when the nozzle falls out and splashes over the table, no stiff dinner with white cloths, this is relaxed and the dress code for the evening is Resort Casual.

At Reethi Rah you can wear your Christian Louboutin shoes with elegant dress or go casual with chinos and a linen shirt - it’s all up to you.  Whatever  venue you choose for the evening has its own atmosphere and dress code.



At our last day we spent the morning on a long breakfast enjoying a cooling breeze in the sun. We try to taste all deliciousness that we missed and have a green health smoothie before we go to the spa for a relaxing massage.

During the treatment memories are flashing by from this short but wonderful weekend. We had an amazing stay and in my dreams I will travel back over and over again, One&Only Reethi Rah is a piece of heaven on earth.

I was back at work again on Tuesday morning, bursting with energy and inspiration.

LOCATION
Surrounded by the wonders of the Indian Ocean, One&Only Reethi Rah makes its home on one of the largest islands in North Malé Atoll. A jewel among a string of coral atolls, lagoons and white sands, it is about 700 km (430 mi) southwest of Sri Lanka.

QATAR AIRWAYS
Total flight time is about ten and a half hours in a fully flat bed with excellent food, beverage, great service and an impressive entertainment system filled with the latest movies, TV shows and other “time killers” if you’re a night owl.

WEATHER
The Maldives has a pleasant equatorial climate, with two main seasons. November to April is light and fairly dry. May to October occasionally brings brief rain showers followed by sunshine. Temperatures range from mid 20s to mid 30s C (77 to 95 F).


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