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W.o.w. The W Retreat & Spa, The Maldives

Flying over teardrop-shaped islets that rise up from the Indian Ocean is a non-too-shabby approach to a hotel. As the sea-plane touched down, throwing spray against the windows, a man raced barefoot to open the door. And our time on “W” island began.

W Retreat & Spa, The Maldives

W is cool with a capital C – but it’s cool in an energetic way. The sort that rubs off on you rather than looks down on you. The sort that invites you to explore music you might not usually listen to, along with appreciating different aspects of art and design. Their resident DJ greets visitors with a custom-made mix and low-level speakers pulse chillout into the air from the sandy fringes and wooden walkways across the tiny island.

Ocean facing villas are the staple of the Maldives but those at the W really stand out. Rooms have plunge pools and direct access to the ocean as well as softly lit glass panels in the rooms so the sparkle of the water is never far away.

There are beach rooms, too, (called Beach Oasis) with swings and sturdier walls – but I’m a water rather than beach kind of girl so the Ocean Oasis room gave me my taste of heaven.

Glass floors in the rooms…

So, too, did the stunning service  at the spa, where the rather sparse rooms overlook nothing but air and water themselves.

The restaurants – Kitchen, Fish, Fire and Wet – have enough to keep your stomach happy for three or four days, though you’ll get the most out of the experience if you’re an avid seafood fan.

For watersports, there’s all sorts. James Bond style SeaBobs, kitesurfing, game fishing and windsurfing but if you’re feeling lazy (sorry, studious) you can relax in the library or around the resort on one of many dreamy bed slash sofas.

You can swim and snorkel straight from your room (which isn’t the case everywhere in the Maldives) and for me, that remains the highlight.

I loved it. If you get the chance, go.

Approach to Fish & Sip

What I loved

–        The chillout music throughout the resort

–        The easy access to the water

–        Dipping my feet in the water during lunch

–        Seeing a turtle on a snorkel trip straight from my room

–        The muscle melting treatment at the spa

–        The “pit stops” around the island with free ice cream, water and towels to help yourself to.

Dine with your feet in the water…

Things to Know

–        You may have to wait for several hours in Malé airport. The W lounge does its best to ease your stay with music and light refreshment but it does still add time after a long international flight.

–        Despite the reputation for DJs and music, the club was deserted when we were there.

Words – the library


78 private rooms ranging from Beach and Ocean villas (called Oasis,) Seascape Escape suites and the largest, Ocean Haven suite. You can also arrange to stay overnight on Gaathafushi, a private island within sight (just) of this private island. W is part of the Starwood Preferred Guests Scheme

Prices at the W Retreat & Spa, The Maldives start at $1000 per double per night.

Fish Restaurant. The clue’s in the name…

Read more about the Maldives

Disclosure – I paid a reduced rate to stay at the W Hotel for review purposes. As ever, editorial control remains mine all mine. And I do write bad reviews if needed. Oh yes. Browse around if you like that kind of thing ;-)

Looks like paradise…

W for Wow

Fly in to the W Retreat & Spa

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8 Responses to W.o.w. The W Retreat & Spa, The Maldives

  1. Cynthia December 20, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    All I can think of is Wow! and if they need a French travel blogger to cover this fabulous retreat I’m available ;)

    More seriously, I wish I had the budget because this is what I need right now a relaxing vacation surrounded by the sea and with the sun shining on me!

    • Abi January 11, 2013 at 12:59 am #

      Hehe – well I’ll pass your name on!

      It’s amazing how healing sunshine, clear water and stunning surroundings can be. Mmmmm…

  2. pointsandtravel April 30, 2013 at 2:56 am #

    WOW on steroids, what a beautiful place! Can’t wait till my turn a the W in the Maldives! Mention an overly enthusiastic travel blogger from the states to them as well. I love that last photo coming in to the retreat, one day,,,

  3. Mike Jaden June 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    indeed, one word and it’s “WOW”…. why on earth I missed this wonderful place??
    ‘W’ took the first place in my wish list. :)

    • Abi King June 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      It’s absolutely beautiful. An incredible place to visit.

  4. Megan April 22, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    . I’m conflicted. I have a huge anniversary and birthday this year and had my heart set on either a safari or driving the coast of Italy. And now I see this, which looks AMAZING. How to choose, how to choose…

    • Abi King April 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Ah – well if you head to the Maldives you can also stop off in Sri Lanka too for safaris…Tricky, tricky! Enjoy :-)

      • Megan April 22, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

        Hmmmmm. I like the way you think. :) Why choose?