Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi opened in July to great acclaim for its breathtaking views, myriad dining options and glorious seascapes. But there’s a lot more to this property than an aerial view can reveal.
To give you a peek at the full range of the hotel’s features, we asked five property insiders for their tips about the luxuries that aren’t apparent just by looking at photos. Read on to discover the true hidden secrets of the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi.
Haircut on the beach?
Personal concierge service is a signature of the Waldorf Astoria brand, but it comes with a Maldivian upgrade here.
Dino Michael, the Global Head of Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, says “every aspect of your stay is cared for” – from intimate private dinners to, yes, a haircut on the sand (this was an actual request). “I am confident to say that the personal concierge at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi strongly sets us apart in the luxury hospitality space,” Michael says, because the team demonstrates “a passion for guests that is truly remarkable.”
Personal concierges are available to help you 24/7, and they are well-versed on all that the property and surrounding area has to offer. They can tell you where to go for prime snorkelling, can book spa services for you, make dinner reservations and so much more.
Become Robinson Crusoe
Board the property’s private yacht and set sail to explore a nearby sandbank. Here, guests can arrange for a secluded dinner paired with stunning Maldivian sunset views, unwind with a yoga session or snorkel in the surrounding water.
Daniel Welk, the Vice President, Luxury and Lifestyle Group, Hilton Asia Pacific, says that there is an “abundance of marine life surrounding the sandbank, providing guests with an amazing snorkelling experience. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the sandbank by myself and being the only person on the island provides a true Robinson Crusoe-like experience.”
Taste the world from treetops and beyond
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is home to 11 distinct dining venues. You can literally dine amongst the treetops in private bamboo pods at Terra, sample Peking duck inspired by Shanghainese noble residences at Li Long and order authentic Middle Eastern flatbreads and dishes at Yasmeen. If you’re in the mood for barbecue, head to The Ledge, which is a restaurant partnership between the resort and world-renowned chef and mastermind behind Singapore’s Michelin-starred Burnt Ends, Dave Pynt.
But if you want to eat like Chef Vijay, the Culinary Director at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, he recommends reserving a table at Glow. This interactive, garden-to-table restaurant set in a greenhouse-like structure serves creative-yet-healthy fare cultivated from the hotel’s grounds and herb garden.
Chef Vijay said, “the garden features around 20 types of herbs and fruit plants, including coriander, curry leaves and olive trees and is the first thing guests see when they walk into the restaurant, providing an immersive prelude to the dining experience.”
A true sanctuary
It is getting harder and harder to set your out-of-office reply and resist the temptation to check in back at home. But according to Alan Watts, the President of Hilton Asia Pacific, that all changes once you check in at the Waldorf Maldives. He describes the property as “very much a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life” and says that he can easily relax “to the calming sound of the rising and falling waves and the salty smell of the Maldivian sea air.”
He recommends checking out the five pools, dedicated spa villa and colorful marine life and leaving your phone in the room (once you’ve captured your photos to make friends jealous).
“There is no other place I would be for a much-needed vacation with the family as we get to spend undisturbed quality time with each other,” he said.
The Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is on a private island, so chances are you won’t often be surrounded by fellow vacationers. However, if you’re seeking a truly secluded getaway, consider booking a Stella Maris Ocean Villa. These two villas are separated from the main resort and accessible only by boat.
Looking down on the resort from above is stunning enough. Looking up at the stars from the roof of your private villa, though – with the waves lapping the shores around you – is a transcendent experience.
Etienne Dalancon, the General Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, says these villas are perfect for a private viewing of the stars.
“One thing I’d love to do if I were a guest, is to turn off all the lights in the villa at night, go to the upper floor terrace and look up at the stars. The experience is incredibly intimate and personal, made possible because of the exquisite exclusivity of each villa which allows guests to completely disconnect from the outside world,” he said.
The all-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi spans across three private islands, providing secluded enclaves and a tranquil escape for discerning travellers complete with a plethora of activities for guests of all generations.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers a sophisticated and serene retreat just 30-minutes from Velana International Airport via the resort’s private yacht. An escape or families and couples in search of space and exclusivity, the resort boasts 122 luxuriously appointed villas, each equipped with a pool and uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean in its own private enclave. Each reef, beach and overwater villa opens onto an indoor and outdoor deck featuring a swinging daybed, dining gazebo, an infinity pool, in-water lounge and an outdoor shower.
In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers 11 exceptional, specialty-dining venues. Each venue delivers distinctive, immersive dining experiences – the variety of which is a first in the Maldives. Guests can enjoy an elevated treetop-dining concept at Terra, featuring spectacular views of the ocean and horizon, as well as exquisite food and wine pairings in a tranquil setting seemingly chiselled out of the face of a boulder at The Rock. Yasmeen boasts authentic Middle Eastern flatbreads and mezzes, impeccably prepared crispy Peking duck fresh out of the first wood-fired oven in the Maldives, and embracing the garden-to-table concept, Glow serves healthy and holistic cuisine made from the freshest ingredients harvested from the resort’s herb garden.
To further elevate Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi’s culinary offerings, the resort has launched an exclusive barbecue grill restaurant, The Ledge by Dave Pynt. Chef Dave Pynt is the culinary mastermind behind Singapore’s Burnt Ends restaurant, which has been awarded one Michelin star and most recently ranked No. 10 on the San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List 2019.
For those seeking the ultimate in exclusivity, the Ithaafushi Private Island features a two-bedroom overwater villa as well as a three-bedroom beach villa. The 32,000 square foot island sanctuary – accessible by yacht – comes complete with a dedicated chef and personal concierge team, as well as its own spa, gym, five swimming pools, entertainment centre and pristine beaches. Two Stella Maris Ocean Villas, inspired by a celestial charm – accessible only by boat – also allow discerning guests to enjoy unrivalled privacy. Floor-to-ceiling windows, chef service, a jacuzzi and direct ocean access make for an unforgettable and memorable escape.
For additional pampering, guests can visit the Waldorf Astoria Spa, comprised of ten idyllic overwater or garden treatment villas, which offers an extensive menu of treatments and Asian-inspired therapies focusing on relaxation and rebalance. The Waldorf Astoria Young Discovery Park, a water park for young guests, and the Lagoon Pool, are ideal for families looking to enjoy a variety of activities with ease. Other facilities include the beachfront, 40-meter Mirror Pool; the Ocean Pavilion, which hosts a range of wellness activities; a fully-equipped fitness centre; and a combined water sport and PADI dive centre.