It’s hard to imagine a better approach to a hotel then to skim and skip across the teardrop-shaped islets that rise up from the Indian Ocean around the Maldives Islands. As the sea-plane touched down, dancing spray against the windows, a man raced barefoot to open the door.
And our time on “W” island began.
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, and that plunges you into a different world of art and design. The resident DJ greets visitors with a custom-made mix and low-level speakers pulse chill-out bliss 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 floor so that 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.
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 ever get the chance, go.
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 available without question
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.
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.
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 ;-)
Abigail King is an award-winning writer and author who swapped a successful career as a hospital doctor for a life on the road. With over 60 countries under her belt, she's worked for Lonely Planet, the BBC, National Geographic Traveller and more. She is passionate about sustainable tourism and was invited to speak on the subject at the EU-China High Level summit at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.Here she writes about food, travel and history and she invites you to pull up a chair and relax. Let's travel more and think more. Welcome!
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