Forty cottages at the Anantara Maldives
Resort are on stilts over the water.
In the Maldives, a group of some 1,009 islands in the Indian Ocean
southwest of Sri Lanka, life is all about blending with the
surrounding sea. At the recently opened Anantara Maldives Resort,
the Maldivean architect and Thai designer took that idea to new
The five-star property, on its own island, features 70
beachfront suites and 40 cottages on stilts over the water.
“Streets” are sand paths, and the dress code is casual, but service
and pampering are dedicated.
“Luxury has many levels,” said general manager Christopher
Stafford. “We can’t create a resort to please every one of them, so
we concentrate on giving our target market the best experience they
“We cater to young couples who want romantic activities, and
older travelers who have already done the tours. They want more
relaxation, more comforts and lots of space.”
Both profiles are surely satisfied at Anantara Maldives Resort,
a Virtuoso member.
Romantic suites consider guests’ comfort zones, adding to the
usual amenities a desk, Internet connection, good lighting, plasma
TV/DVD, armoire and signature Anantara products, plus a personal
wine cabinet. Beachfront suites place the entire bathroom in a
walled garden with vistas straight through from tub to sea.
The Spa at Anantara Maldives Resort.
That floating feeling is most evident in overwater suites. The
architecture dictates privacy even on your huge deck with lounge
and sun bed. A lower dock with shower has a ladder for “backyard”
dips or kayak parking. The windowed bathroom continues that watery
effect, adding a whimsical viewing pane at your feet in front of
the “throne” to watch fish nibbling at the coral.
Dining offers themed choices in waterside pavilions. Italian
Terrazzo boasts a glass-enclosed wine room seating up to six
diners. A fusion grill features a Maldivean smokehouse and open
kitchen. Baan Huraa, the Maldives’ first Thai restaurant, sits on
stilts alone in the sea, reached only by boat. Aqua Bar and Lounge,
serving light fare, borders an infinity pool that goes fiberoptic
at dusk as dancing lights match the starlit sky.
At The Spa, also over water, each of five couples’ treatment
cottages have a foyer, shower, bathroom and dressing area. Here
again is that floor window, strategically placed under your face
below the massage table. Massages are also administered at the
pool, in your suite or on the beach. A watersports hut offers all
the usual sea activities and a unique dolphin safari. Land action
includes tennis, volleyball, badminton, a fitness room, cooking
classes and a library/Internet lounge. Most activities honor the
water theme that defines the Maldives: whale watching, boat trips
to Male (the capital), helicopter sightseeing or a luxury overnight
in a tent on a private island.
Anantara’s romantic settings are inspirational. Every night at
six, my cottage neighbors descended their ladder and waded
hand-in-hand across the shallow lagoon toward the sunset. How
romantic is that?
Couples can select a dream site, usually the beach, for Dinner
by Design. The staff sets up tables and chairs, with flowers and
torches surrounding the dining perimeter. At the appointed hour,
champagne corks pop and romance comes alive for two happy
The Island Tour add-on has guests traveling by dhoni, small
sailboat, to an island for snorkeling and a barbecue lunch; then on
to visit a school and a fisherman’s family.
Unfortunately, none of these add-ons are commissionable unless
included in one of the packages listed on the Web site, but clients
will appreciate your suggestions.
Anantara Maldives Resort
Getting There: Singapore Airlines from New York
or Los Angeles to Singapore, on to Male Airport and 40-minute
speedboat transfer or seaplane charter.
Bangkok Airways from Bangkok on Mondays or Thursdays direct to
Male. This makes an excellent route for a combo vacation exploring
bustling Bangkok, followed by time at Anantara Maldives Resort.
Rates: Calculated in six seasonal categories:
Deluxe Beachfront, $480-$940; Overwater Suite, $660-$1,350 per
room, per night. There is a 10 percent service charge and an $8 per
person, per night, government bed tax.
Commission: 10 percent