Last Friday I flew out to the Maldives as a guest of hotel operator Six Senses to visit three of their hotels including the soon to be opened Six Senses Laamu in the remote south. My aim was to see what each has to offer both from a diving perspective, and in terms of the general holiday experience. What better time to jot down some thoughts than while sitting here on the plane on my way back home.
It's been a whirlwind tour. Four days taking in first Soneva Fushi in the Baa Atoll in the northern Maldives, followed by Six Senses Laamu in the as yet largely untouched south, and topped off by Soneva Gili on Malé Atoll. Having been treated very well on the trip, I may be a little biased, but I have to say that all three hotels have lived up to the hype in different ways.
Here I will include only the highlights from the trip but in separate blogs I will take an in-depth look at each of the three hotels individually.
Let's start with Soneva Fushi, which is like no hotel I have ever visited. The best way I can describe it is as Robinson Crusoe on steroids. There are no marble floors or gold taps here, rather a rustic kind of luxury that is at once so subtle you almost don't notice it, and yet so obvious once you start to "get it". There is so much to like about this hotel. Suffice to say that whatever aspect you look at, whether it be the food, diving, rooms or spa, you will find the utmost quality but also an approach that is refreshingly different and incredibly difficult to leave behind. It doesn't hurt that I was surrounded by mantas on my first dive (take a look at the video)!
Now on to Soneva Gili. This hotel is all about the villas and the utmost privacy. There are only 45 villas, each of which is perched above the crystal clear blue waters of the lagoon. These are by far the most stunning rooms I have ever seen, the perfect place for a romantic getaway with a loved one. If you can bear to tear yourself away from your villa, there are a number of facilitates to keep you entertained such as the over-water spa, the fantastic seafood, not to mention the numerous dive sites that surround the island. But you might just want to sit and relax in your villa. I probably would.
Six Senses Laamu
Finally, Six Senses Laamu. It's hard to pass judgement on a hotel that is not yet finished but Laamu promises something very different to its northern counterparts. The philosophy is unique to Six Senses with more of an emphasis on communal space and less on total privacy and this is reflected in the fact that there are 100 rooms both over-water and on land. The most exciting thing for me is the potential for some truly untouched diving. This is currently the only hotel being developed in the Atoll and with the south being famous for whale sharks and mantas; there is a lot to be explored.
'Intelligent Luxury' is the Six Senses tag line and this only really makes sense once you have visited their hotels. It's not about being flash or showy. Quite the opposite. It's about understated luxury and those little touches that will have you coming back for more. I for one will try and return as soon as I possibly can.