The Maldives is undoubtedly a dream destination for luxury travel with its crystal clear turquoise waters and palm scattered white sandy beaches, the bucket-list islands need no introduction.
Let’s be honest in saying that with such a stunning natural canvas, resorts in the Maldives certainly get a head start when it comes to being some of the most beautiful hotels in the world. That being said it turns on the pressure for resorts to stand out as one of the best.
So with such a scenic backdrop, what makes one resort so much better than the other and why would you go back to the same resort more than once? Well on writing here about my second visit to St Regis Maldives I detail all the things that make a resort so special.
Having been to the Maldives 10 times now, each and every time staying in a 5 star resort I feel as though I have developed and earned the ability to truly review!
St Regis as a brand is known for its exceptional service, show-stopping interiors and delicious food, now imagine all that on stilts over the Indian ocean!
Traveling to St Regis Maldives
From the UK we were lucky enough to get the British Airways direct flight, which was 10 hours from London Heathrow.
Your experience of St Regis starts before you’ve even arrived at the resort with their impeccable welcome service.
Upon arrival into the international airport we were greeted with a St Regis represented who ushered us to the seaplane check in desk where we stood in excitement about the next leg of our journey whilst they put our cases on board and got our tickets ready. They then walked us to a lovely air conditioned car complete with water, snacks and wifi to take us to the lounge whilst we waited for our sea plane flight. As one of the luxury resorts in The Maldives, St Regis has it’s own lounge but whilst it’s going through a renovation. In the lounge we were able to freshen up and enjoy a lovely hot meal.
It’s from this moment that your brain totally switches off as you are completely taken care of. The rest of the journey is a pleasant blur of stunning views from the seaplane until you arrive to a flurry of welcome waves from the St Regis team.
St Regis Vommuli Resort is a beautifully small and well-kept island with the perfect proportion of white sandy beaches and luxurious accommodations but what sets the St Regis apart from the other hotels in The Maldives is the unique architecture, there’s an aquatic theme throughout the woodwork designs, the main bar is inspired by the shape of a whale and the spa the shape of a lobster for example. The structures are all pieces of art within their own rights, and seeing these structures in all their splendour elevated above the ocean is a truly awe-inspiring experience.
The Beach Villa
During my last visit to St Regis Malives I stayed in one of their iconic over water villas but on my recent trip we were able to split our stay with a few nights in one of their dreamy beach bungalows.
I’ve always said that staying in a water villa is the most authentic and special way to enjoy the Maldives as it’s an accommodation type that the Maldives is so well known for, I stand by that statement however if ever there was a room to sway me it would be the Beach Villas at St Regis Maldives.
The Beach Villa was, without a doubt, one of my favourite rooms I’ve ever stayed in.
With stunning high ceilings that gave the space a regal yet authentic feel, floor to ceiling front windows that flood the room with light and create a seemless gateway out to the villa’s private pool and ocean view. It’s a perfect layout to enjoy every aspect of staying on such a dreamy island.
The bathroom is perfectly balanced between outside and indoor living with a double rain shower under the palm trees as well as an interior shower and freestanding bathtub. We arrived to a petal drawn bath with a ‘welcome’ sign made of palm leaves and that was just the beginning of our personalised in-room treats left daily by the team at St Regis.
All of the room controls such as lighting and the entertainment system are controlled by the in-room ipad, one of our favourite rituals was opening the stunning curtain drapes with a simple tap of a button every morning.
At the front of the ‘property’ is a large infinity pool and a cosy lovers lounger, there’s also two sunbeds on the beach with an umbrella for extended bathing. Each villa is perfectly nestled into the flora and fauna of the resort, it felt like our own private paradise on the island which we absoltley adored.
Every room comes complete with a set of two bikes and an exceptional butler service, you really wish and want for nothing during your stay but should you require anything extra or to pre-book excursions or dinner reservation you can do all of this by texting your butler on the mobile phone they present you with during checkout. Our butler, Hussein made our lives so easy and always with a genuine smile and excitement for making sure we had the very best time on the island.
You are able to rent snorkelling equipment from the dive centre with ease and if I’m honest I spent just as much time under and in the water as I did on land this trip!
The house reefs are so full of life with an abundance of fish and healthy corals, we moved to an over-water villa for the last two days of our stay so we had the luxury of our own private entrance into the Indian ocean.
There really is nothing like a split stay when it comes to the room types at St Regis Maldives because as I have detailed in my previous blogpost the water villas are exceptional. They are the largest in size for their room-type category and they offer a truly magical stay.
The Water Villa
The Iridium Spa is World famous, not just because of its unique lobster shaped structure but also because of the stunning Blue Hole Experience on offer for guests. pool. The gorgeous jet-powered infinity pool is the perfect set up for water massaging away any aches and pains whilst submerged in soothing salt water. This time around the spa was a haven for my boyfriend and I as we were unlucky enough to experience three straight days of rain (hence why the sky and ocean are a little gloomy in these pics!). We booked in for a dreamy couples massage in one of the private over-water treatment rooms and took full advantage of the steam and sauns suites after our luxurious treatment.
The Maldives is certainly not famous for its dazzlingly exciting nightlife but if there’s one island in the Maldives you can pack your ‘glad rags’ for it’s St Regis.
The Maldives is very much a destination in which relaxation and rejuvenation is key, aside from excursions or perhaps using the fitness centre, all that’s required of you physically is a short stroll from villa to restaurant.
They’ve managed to do something no other resort has in my opinion and that is to extend the magic well into the evenings. One of my fondest memories of the Maldives is watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean, whether I’m swimming in it or sitting by it!
As with most resorts the most sought after villas are the over water sunset view villas as there is nothing more magical than watching the sun disappear into the ocean on your own set of stilts in the ocean, add in a glass of wine and you have a dream set up – this luxury can be lost in some resort but at St Regis Maldives, the best place to watch the sunset is actually available to everyone – at the Whale Bar.
Even if you have a view of your own, the atmosphere at the Whale Bar is one not to be missed and definitely unique to the Maldives. Sipping a cocktail here feels like you are in one of the most exclusive bars in the world, the kind where you have to whisper a secret word the the maitre de upon entry.
The Stylish bar is designed in the shape of a whale (need I go on as to why it’s my favorite?!) with beautiful arched ‘windows’ out to sea and incredible hand crafted detailing in the wooden ceiling. There’s either live music or an eclectic DJ playing St Regis’s famous Jazz sounds with an island twist and you can also continue on the cocktail hour through to dinner time.
To make the evening even more memorable there’s a daily saber show which features a sword-donning member of staff opening a bottle of Veuve Clicquot over the ocean towards the gorgeous backdrop of the Sunset. They attach a ribbon to the cork to not let it enter the ocean which is not only eco-conscious it also makes the spectacle even more of a delight to watch.
This is a St Regis tradition all over the world. It dates back to the battles of Napoleon Bonaparte, who famously opened champagne with his saber in both victory and defeat. The tradition was then continued on by Madame Veuve Clicquot and then by Caroline Astor, mother of St. Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV.
The St Regis Maldives has six different dining choices so even though you’re castaway you certainly don’t get bored of the dining options!
The breakfast spread at Alba was every inch a culinary delight and a highlight of our stay with fresh pastries galore, island produced fresh ingredients, fruits of the world and multiple options of pre-prepared hot and cold dishes to help yourself to at the expansive buffet. There’s also the option to choose perfecty plated a-la-carte options, I went for the dreamy island avocado on toast every day with the delicious sundried tomato and feta crumble on top – you’ll excuse me for not trying any other dishes when you try that one for yourself! My gracious boyfriend worked his way through the menu however, so gallant of him to taste test 😉 Every single delivered dish was impeccable, it really was a five star dining experience and one we were lucky enough to enjoy every day!
Alba’s is also a great lunch spot if you are looking for a more formal menu otherwise there’s a beach shack option if you are happier barefoot and bikini-clad that serves ‘easy’ but delicious food with a laid back menu of salads, bruschetta, tacos, burgers or pizzas. The joint is jovially named Crust because of its wide selection of inventive stone oven baked pizzas, it’s a real island treat after spending all morning swimming and working up an appetite!
My star favorite of the collection of eateries was Orientale, the fusion restaurant was adored by us so much we booked a table for a second night. The intimate indoor/outdoor setting has an open kitchen making the atmosphere exciting with a wonderful mix of Chinese, Indian and Japanese aromas. This was a truly fine dining experience but with U.S. size portions – the best combination in my opinion! The korean style broccoli was quite possibly my favourite dish of the entire year, I highly recommend it!
St Regis Vollumi Maldives really is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I’m so lucky to have been given a second chance to enjoy its beauty, incredible hospitality and unique island charm.
Some aspects of this trip were gifted for by the team at St Regis Maldives. All views are unbiased and my own. I own the rights to all images.