Wayfarer review: Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is one of the world’s most spectacular resorts

by James Wilkinson

When it opened to major acclaim in 2019, the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi quickly became one of the world’s finest luxury resorts and now, some four years later, the property is still firmly in that position. James Wilkinson checks in.

Located a 30-minute superyacht ride from Malé Airport, the 119 all-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is home to one of the finest luxury resort experiences on the planet, where service, style, sophistication and wonderful hospitality intertwine to create endless memories from the moment you arrive.

The exceptional hospitality begins when you land at Malé Airport and are greeted by one of the resort’s staff, who will usher you to the wharves outside where a 75-foot Princess yacht is waiting to take you in style, complete with champagne and canapes, to one of the most luxurious resorts ever built.

The journey from Malé is an adventure in itself as you depart the Maldives’ sprawling capital and cruise past the resorts and islands, occasionally with dolphins along for the ride, before reaching the expansive, yet intimate Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi.

As soon as you reach the resort, you’ll sail past the ultra-exclusive Ithaafushi Private Island – yours for a cool US$70,000 per night – and into the lagoon that’s lined with overwater villas, white sand beaches, restaurants, boats, jet skis and watercraft waiting to be taken out for a spin.

The team at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi will be ready to greet you in song on the wharf before you’ll be whisked away to your villa for the in-room check-in, orientation and quickly, relaxation.

There are a range of villas on offer at the resort, including beach, reef and overwater villas that open onto either a white sand beach or an expansive deck including a private infinity pool.

The resort is also home to two Stella Maris Ocean Villas, accessible only by boat, which are headlined by floor-to-ceiling windows, direct ocean access and ultimate privacy for those in residence.

Then there’s the exclusive Ithaafushi Private Island, which is like a private resort in itself. Also accessible only by boat, the 32,000-square-meter island features a four-bedroom residence, three-bedroom beach villa and a two-bedroom overwater villa, alongside an overwater spa and gym, five swimming pools, an entertainment center and several pristine beaches.

The Ithaafushi Private Island also comes complete with a personal concierge team and dedicated chef to cook up some of the resort’s signature dishes and other personal favourites on request.

You don’t have to book the Ithaafushi Private Island for the ultimate meal, because the restaurants on offer are world-class.

At the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, find 11 specialty dining venues, led by our favourite The Ledge, helmed by world-renowned chef Dave Pynt, the mastermind behind Singapore’s legendary Burnt Ends.

The Ledge features Pynt’s signature, custom-built, four-ton, dual-cavity oven and elevation grills, enabling the Australian chef’s team the use of techniques such as smoking, slow roasting, baking and grilling.

Expect some of Pynt’s top dishes on the menu, including ‘Beef Marmalade’ with house pickles and Jamaican chicken wings and lime crema, alongside a delicious The Ledge cheeseburger and the Wagyu steak Sando.

Another memorable dining experience is to be had at Yasmeen, where you’ll find a space filled with decorative artifacts and antiques alongside delicious and authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.

Here, order up pitas and puffed breads that have been baked in ovens based on centuries-old designs, alongside charcoal-roasted meats, and hot and cold mezzes.

Both the seafood mixed grill (fish Taouk, grilled shrimps and grilled calamari) and mixed grill meat (chicken Taouk, beef cubes, lamb chops and kofta) are fantastic choices.

When it comes to breakfast, the buffet on offer at the Tasting Table offers an epic selection of pastries, meats, hot dishes, fresh juices and more, while in the evenings, don’t skip late afternoon drinks at Amber, where a glass of Champagne while catching an epic Maldivian sunsets over the Indian Ocean is absolutely in order.

Food aside, the resort experiences here are spectacular, from the array of seacraft on offer for sailing, fishing and powering around on jetskis to the tennis courts and the offerings of the Ocean Pavilion, where you’ll find a fitness center, along with a range of wellness activities.

There’s also a PADI dive center, the Waldorf Astoria Young Discovery Park and the Lagoon Pool which is fantastic for little kids and adults alike.

Whether you are at the resort for a two-day experience or one that spans two weeks, the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers a wonderful escape for honeymooners and families alike where you are getting an experience that is truly one of the best in the world.

GETTING TO MALE, MALDIVES

The best way of getting to Malé, Maldives in comfort and style.

FLY SRI LANKAN AIRLINES

Wayfarer recommends flying to Malé on Sri Lankan Airlines,
which flies twice daily to the Maldives’ capital from the airline’s hub in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with connections available from across the world.

the nation’s flag carrier, which offers fantastic meals, onboard entertainment and legendary South Asian hospitality.

Sri Lankan Airlines flies to Colombo and Malé from across the world, including London, Sydney, Melbourne and more, on the carrier’s Airbus A330 fleet that feature spacious flatbed seats in Business Class and comfortable seats in Economy Class.

Onboard across both cabins, expect delightful Sri Lankan and western dishes in both cabins, plus leading movies and TV shows on the airline’s inflight entertainment system.

From Colombo, Oneworld alliance member Sri Lankan can connect you to some of Asia’s best destinations, from India to the Maldives and beyond.

Book your next trip at Sri Lankan Airlines’ website, www.srilankan.com/en_uk/au

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