The lowdown: When your resort commands its own time zone (Reethi Rah sets its island watch one hour ahead of Male to ensure maximum daylight hours) and your transport there consists of a private yacht from Male airport, it’s a sign of the lush surroundings to come. And come do they ever. Spread over six kilometers of white-sand beaches and crystal clear bays in the Maldives’ North Male Atoll, this private island resort indulges your most lavish desires (Fancy chartering your own yacht? Or corking a bottle of Dom beachside beneath the stars?). It’s the little things that set this luxury haven apart from the rest of the resort-riddled atolls: a personal concierge is at hand to draw a bath in your giant tub for two, a mobile phone is yours for your stay to dial said concierge from any nook of the island, a pillow menu features in the rooms, and designated bicycles mean you can cycle from spa appointment to sushi dinner at Tapasake if you tire of being shuttled around in a golf buggy (also yours to rent at $300 USD per day if you’re feeling flush). The ‘x’ factor? Whether it’s a five-minute rainstorm, an exquisite purple-pink sunset over a crystal blue lagoon or scuttling crabs along an otherwise empty beach, the surrounding scenery is simply breathtaking. No wonder Reethi Rah is a Beckham clan favourite (they celebrated last Christmas at the resort).
The rooms: Space is not an issue here. All 130 villas have generous, airy rooms decorated in an elegant, contemporary-Asian style complete with bamboo-pitched ceilings and teak and mahogany detailing. If, however, despite the spacious surroundings, you still feel claustrophobic, two sliding beachfront doors reveal views of your own infinity pool, hammock, white sand beach and turquoise sea from the plush comfort of your emperor-sized bed. Plus, the ample sand space, four deck chairs and a hammock in your own holiday backyard mean sun seekers can catch tropical rays at any time of day. For even more privacy, there are 32 thatched villas that sit on stilts over the Indian Ocean where you can disappear into a water world of your own.
Dining: With Italian, Japanese, Californian and Mediterranean dishes on the menu, you’d be forgiven for thinking you weren’t marooned (however happily) on a tropical island – this is island cooking like you’ve never had. Choose from a plethora of dining options dotted around the atoll. Try the main restaurant, Reethi, if you’re feeling indecisive. You’ll have your pick of three different types of cuisine here. Tapasake, an overwater sushi restaurant which boasts a sake sommelier and Nobu’s former head chef, is a must-do for sushi lovers. Reethi Rah means beautiful island in Dhivehi (the Maldivian national language) and you won’t find this exemplified more than at Fanditha, where Lebanese cuisine is standout. Barefeet are welcomed at this beachside locale where bamboo loungers, Arabian carpets, peach-infused shishas and chandelier-trimmed trees make for a five-star magical soiree beneath the stars.
What to do: Your finely-finessed villa may hold enough excitement for you, but, if you’re keen for more social interaction, plenty of options lie beyond its lush greenery and impeccable privacy. Stop by Rah Bar for live music after sunset or a midday swim in the Lap Pool. For even more excitement visit the Beach Club. All the typical water sports you’d expect from an island resort can be found here, from diving to wakeboarding, waterskiing and even parasailing. Not to miss: the dolphin-watching expedition and a snorkeling excursion that has you floating amongst the island’s spectacular coral reefs and gentle sea turtles. If you prefer to spend your day being a bit more idle, the tranquil ESPA spa is where it’s at. An aromatherapy massage gets even more dreamy thanks to pavilion doors that open up to the sea breeze. Want to step it up instead? Book in for a Bodyism session (an outpost of London’s top personal training gym). Toes need some TLC? Head to the spa pavilion for a full medi-pedi by celebrated French podiatrist, Bastien Gonzalez’s team. While you’re there, treat yourself to an intense hair conditioning treatment at the in-house salon too to pamper sun, sand and sea-ravaged tresses.
The details: Elegant Resorts offers seven nights from £3,665 per person, based on two people sharing a beach villa on a bed and breakfast basis, return flights from London Gatwick with British Airways and shared yacht transfers. For further information visit www.elegantresorts.co.uk or reethirah.oneandonlyresorts.com.