The arrival at Lti Maafushivaru Maldives sets the tone. A true mise en abyme: paradise within paradise. The seaplane slowly descends towards the lavish island and its floats gently touch the pristine water. We look out the window to see the crystal-clear water, admiring the shades blending from royal blue, to sapphire, to cerulean—a beautiful indication that we are nearing the shore. A small boat transports us to the pier where team members, including the General Manager, warmly greet us: “Welcome Home!”
A quick tour by foot of the 350-meter long island on the way to our villa reveals many of the dining options, which provides for some of the most exciting culinary experiences possible. From the Cuisine Gallery, a buffet restaurant offering world cuisine, to Cielo, an Italian restaurant with generous western-inspired dishes, to Umi, where Asian cuisine is at its finest.
We were grateful for the variety of the dining venues as a weeklong stay guarantees a myriad of options—and the possibility to go back to our favorite spots along the way. The Water Bar offers an impressive cocktail list that will delight connoisseurs in search of original, island-inspired creations. The purists, who may be geared towards the more traditional drinks, will also find the options perfectly crafted. After stimulating our taste buds with a pre-dinner drink, heading to Moodhu Grill is definitely one of the options fine dining lovers, like myself, will consider at least twice over their stay at Maafushivaru. Serving deliciously fresh seafood in a dramatic over-water ambience, the grill has been a personal favorite; barely touched ingredients from the sea, deliberately served in their raw-and-most-authentic form, taking diners on a Southern Asian culinary voyage for the senses. Warm and affable staff ensures a delicate and seamless experience at any of the dining venues along the stay, where one can sense a genuine passion for hospitality from everyone on the island.
After spending the first few days in one of the over-water villas, we had the pleasant surprise to find an epistle in the room, informing us of an opportunity for a room change to take place the following day. The letter boasts of an upgraded experience to an even larger overwater villa, but this time with a gorgeous private pool overlooking the Indian Ocean. The villas, all renovated in 2020, offer this modern-yet-local feel: high ceilings, a semi-open bathroom with both inside and outdoor showers, and riveting ocean views. The different villa types, as well as the various meal-plan options, offer flexibly to the guests; hence why one will find just as many newlywed couples as they will families, or even groups of friends on the island.
Guests looking for a relaxing stay will definitely enjoy the Océane Spa’s various treatments in an enchanting décor. The offerings are vast and will delight frequent travelers accustomed to world-class facilities just as much as those looking for the occasional unplugging from the world. The spa offers a complete journey from head to toe rejuvenation. Your choice from several types of Asian body massages that are offered for those familiar with different therapies, as well as plenty of signature packages for singles and couples who are looking to realign their mind, body, and spirit. As guests, we particularly enjoyed the Ayurvedic massages, a different and holistic approach to the more traditional massages we were used to. Upon completion of the treatment, guests are invited to relax by the infinity pool and revel in the beauty and serenity of the surroundings—and even admire the sunset from the comfort of the most serene location on the island.
Those looking for more active experiences will not be disappointed by the Water Sports & Diving Center. Maafushivaru even has a marine biologist on property to guide you through your blue safari experiences, learning only the most interesting facts about the marine life along the way. Excursions include snorkeling with both whale sharks and manta rays, as well as dives in different parts of the atoll. The manta ray excursion was a personal favorite; a true moment of grace. Such once-in-a-lifetime experiences will leave indelible memories to those lucky enough to spot—and swim with—these creatures during their stay; a precious eye-opening moment to the beauty and fragility of our world.
All in all, LTI Maafushivaru Maldives brilliantly finds luxury in simplicity: from rejuvenating treatments at the spa and sharing in the culinary delights with family, to awe-inspiring moments at sea or taking time for oneself alongside the villa’s pool. Guests here are able to connect with the island and its many marvels through the hospitable staff, wildlife in the ocean, and maybe even with what they may have traveled thousands of miles to find: themselves.