CHARMED BY VICEROY
Five days from flying out we hadn’t yet decided on our next holiday destination. A last minute change of heart from a luxe break in or close to Australia we opted for the idyllic Maldives. Since Viceroy Sugar Beach in St Lucia is still on a check-in list we chose Viceroy Maldives. A resort prerequisite was to arrive by seaplane and this is checked with Viceroy being located in the northern Shaviyani Atoll. Once the reservation was made this vacay quickly became our most seamless international trip. Arriving at Ibrahim International Airport we were guided to our overnight stay at Traders Hotel Malé. Viceroy and Traders coordinated all transfers which meant we didn’t have to worry about luggage as it magically appeared wherever we needed to be.
Check-in is in the cosy Viceroy Lounge that has a range of complimentary refreshments while comfortably waiting before being whisked away to the seaplane. Our flight on Trans Maldivian Airways was 50 minutes direct to the resort as a few couples ventured to the outer island. Flying over the Maldives was surreal having been high up on the list of island destinations to visit. Being 192km from Malé we flew past some of the other indulgent resorts with overwater villas stemming out from tiny islands. The colours of the atolls were stellar, turquoise rings from coral reefs are boarded by deep blues of the Indian Ocean. It is the most scenic flight path taken to date and my recommended way to begin to appreciate a country composed of more water than land.
As we descended to the ocean we got an aerial glimpse of Viceroy and the Water Villas that branched out at a distance greater than Vagaru Island. We hopped into the Breeze speedboat for a swift trip from the jetty side to an open air reception. Smiling faces and waving hands greeted us, a cool towel awaited followed by a light fruit cocktail to begin our relaxing island vacay. This was also the start of where strangers became friends when Resort Manager Andreas personally welcomed us to Viceroy.
A Beach Villa was pre-arranged by Viceroy for a few hours as we arrived in the morning, it allowed us to start unwinding until check-in to our designated Water Villa. Beach Villa 13 is carefully tucked away amongst palm trees with a soft sandy path to your door. Inspired by Dhonis, the villas are not quite your average resort room. You could easily believe you have received a generous upgrade, after first glances at soaring ceilings and an ensuite nearly equalling the bedroom and living areas combined. Another reason to choose Viceroy, is every villa has its own plunge pool that’s sizeable and deep enough to not just immerse your toes. The jetty side is calmer for taking a dip in the lagoon or walking along powdery white sand rivalling Whitehaven Beach.
The lagoon is one spot for snorkelling around the island. If you wander just past the break wall, there is much sea life to cast your eyes on. The Maldives is an enticing sanctuary for many divers and snorkelers. Peering through our masks we spotted damsels, bluefin trevally, surgeons, moorish idols, parrot fish, even a reef shark on the small house reef, where no tour needed to be booked.
Water Villa 40 is on the ocean side of the resort complete with remote island views. The room mirrored the Beach Villa, having the slightest of differences in the deep egg-shaped bath and outdoor deck flaunting an infinity plunge pool. In your haven, a distinguishing lattice feature partially encloses the king size bed fitted with cloud like linen topped by a soft blue throw. Viceroy has a sophisticated beach vibe with an oversized cream linen sofa, walk-in-robe and diagonal marble tiles edged with timber complementing the decor.
If you prefer to stay indoors or visit throughout the rainy season, a Mac mini is filled with a range of movies and music while you snack from a stocked Mini Bar of noodles, cashews, Toblerones accompanied by a splash of wine or Macallan whisky. For something more substantial, why not peruse the in-room menu to take advantage of 24 hour room service?
Spend your afternoons gazing at translucent waters as you dangle your legs off the deck, as surprisingly there are no rails anywhere. Having direct access to the ocean you can snorkel or float over waves whilst admiring parrot fish swimming around the villa coral beds.
ANGURU, VISTA AND TREEHOUSE
Anguru is the hub for a light lunch, cocktail or dinner neighbouring the main infinity pool. Or if you want to relax even more you can opt for dining as you laze in a poolside cabana. We got a taste of the service and friendliness to come when Mario introduced himself during our first lunch. Complimentary bread baskets are meals in themselves. I kept reaching for the small pieces of fluffy focaccia with a crisp top. Our first taste of Viceroy’s cuisine were mini Satays presented on a faux grill enhanced by sides of a peanut sauce and relish. Mario always took time to chat when we saw him, though the hospitality he extended to all guests is truly on another level.
Vista is home to brekky as well as an à la carte dinner or themed buffet nights. Carlton, the Food & Beverage Manager was there at every moment to make your dining experience homely plus comfortable. At breakfast he walked us to the buffet, handed us plates and on return to the table, sometimes he would even carry your plate! The service at Viceroy meant you rarely had to lift a finger or even ask for your juice to be refilled. Brekky is a gourmet selection that included a freshly cooked omelette, pancake and waffle station. As I’m not supposed to indulge in pancakes, the chef made me a pikelet so I could still have a little taste. You could request freshly cut fruit of your choice each morning then fill your plate with real potato rostis of which we ate about 20 during our stay.
For dinner we could choose a three course meal from an oversized menu easily hiding myself away from other diners momentarily. Request a table for two at the front of the restaurant to feel some ocean breeze. The Watermelon gazpacho was the entrée of choice twice over, it cooled your palette before mains and offset the island humidity. We overindulged at one themed dinner that had a range of traditional curries, mezze or a choice of items cooked to order on the Anguru grill. Similar to breakfast, the buffet is not your hotel standard but features a smaller range of dishes that have a quality as if you dined à la carte.
The Treehouse is a sanctuary at the southern end of Vagaru to view vivid Maldivian sunsets while sipping on a Kumquat mojito or Corona. Feel like a castaway as you walk along bouncy bridges to various landings to take in different viewpoints of the island and Indian Ocean. For something more substantial, the Treehouse offers Middle Eastern mezze style dishes to share with your partner.
You feel at home at Vai Spa when you sit down in an open air lounge and served a welcome tea. Seven spa treatment villas are perched over breaking ocean waves with a Private Spa Suite at the end of a wooden walkway. Each Spa villa has their own private change and steam room where you can sample some more ESPA products after your treatment. If you want a ‘pick me up’ try an express Back Neck & Shoulder Massage or Invigorating Foot Treatment. In need of some serious pampering? Book yourselves a couples treatment in the Private Spa Suite for three hours of calm. Begin with an ESPA infused Soothing Foot Ritual before sliding into a jacuzzi for two overlooking the ocean with champagne in hand. Does life get much better? Selecting your treatment of choice, whether it be an uber long Hot Stone Massage or Relaxing Salt Scrub ending with an Aromatherapy Massage, you are sure to drift away to sounds of lapping waves.
IN SUMMARY | What you need to know….
– VILLA – Water Villa
– NUMBER – 40
– VIEW – Indian Ocean and remote island
– BED – King size to enhance restful nights from sounds of the ocean
– BATHROOM – Oversize bathtub and rain shower
– BATH AMENITIES – Basic Earth Botanicals Facial Bar and little blue ceramic pots of shampoo, conditioner & shower gel
– BREAKFAST – Gourmet buffet brekky at Vista restaurant
– MINI BAR – Range of snacks, juice, soft drinks, wine and spirits. Complimentary bottled water with additional bottles provided at Turn down
– ROOM SERVICE – 24 hours, but not sampled
– WI FI – Complimentary all around the resort
– NOTABLE GUESTS – Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds and Ronan Keating
– PRICE TAG – Luxe
– SPECIAL THANKS TO – Andreas, Carlton, Mario, Apri, Ari, Bridget and all the gorgeous team
– SHE LOVED – Plunge pool, Spa treatments, Hermit Crab race donating the entry fee to charity and potato rostis at brekky
– HE LOVED – Complimentary on demand movies, Mini Bar, Nespresso coffee machine and freshly made omelettes at brekky
There’s something special about Viceroy Maldives that goes beyond what you would expect. Whether it’s because staff bond like family or living an island lifestyle would make you feel blessed, the hospitality is warm and sincere. The time Andreas, Carlton and Mario spent getting to know us, sharing their stories of Viceroy and their passions made this vacay exceedingly memorable.
BOOK | Viceroy Maldives
Breathe Easy, Stay 4 Nights Pay For 3 – Includes Breakfast and Dinner (May 10 through September 30 only)
Seaplane return transfers USD 575 per person
Vagaru Island, Shaviyani Atoll Maldives
Photos by Mel McLeod and Mario Bergmann/Viceroy Maldives ©