Culture, heritage, the arts and a true taste of and respect for local Maldivian tradition is what we find at Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili. With a profusion of luxurious accommodations in the region, all offering stunning locations, superb service and top-notch facilities, it’s difficult to select which one will receive your hard earned cash. If you’re looking for a property however that tells a unique story, one in which domestic customs are celebrated and valued, Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili puts forward a compelling contender.
Isolation keeps the Maldives in the pristine state that it’s known for but also makes arriving an adventure to cherish. Once reaching the international airport guests can either choose to take a 30 minute domestic flight to Ifuru Domestic Airport followed by a 20 minute speedboat ride, or a scenic 45 minute seaplane ride directly to the island with Trans Maldivian Airways.
The Maldives is one of the few destinations in the world where acreage includes coral reefs, and at Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili over 100 hectares of pristine coral reef takes up more space than dry land mass. Chalky sand, so white, that you need sunglasses to view it when the sun is at its peak; iconic palm-lined beaches that stereotype tropical paradise; and aquamarine lagoons that we once thought only real in postcards compose the utopian image that is this teardrop shaped island in the Raa Atoll.
The man-made structures on the island cleverly blend into the surrounds: white umbrellas and pale blue cushioned beach chairs mirror the ocean and the shore; coconut-thatched roofs and natural wood make up the villas; and whether situated over the water or on the beach, accommodation merges organically into the natural setting.
Guests can choose from 105 beachfront or ocean villas and suites ranging in sizes catering for a couple, a family or a truly luxurious suite. All have contemporary décor with four-poster beds, rain showers and stand-alone bathtubs. Walk out of the beach villa and find your feet in the sand, or take a dip in the ocean directly from the patio of the water villa.
Our Sunset Ocean Villa is 72sqm of blissful space with pretty scenery from every outlook. White linens and walls are brightened with touches of aquamarine hues in cushions and throw-overs. But really, I have to make myself pay attention to the décor for note taking as my eyes are constantly drawn to the beauty on our doorstep.
From the bed, daybed, deck chairs, outdoor table, or over-water hammock there’s nothing but a multitude of shades of blue to be seen. Get a little closer and we realize no snorkel is needed to view the life under the sea either. A rainbow of colours parades through the waters, occasionally rippling the surface, and then darting at various angles back down underneath. And it’s not just the sights that vie for recognition either. The soft lap of waves around our personal dock, harmonise a melodic rhythm encouraging meditative breathing and deep sleep.
Back inside we’ve got a bathtub and rain shower, with bath salts and loofah to match. Cotton linens and towels gift that freshness that only natural fabrics can provide, and we’re grateful that both air-conditioning and ceiling fans complete the furnishings. We often prefer just the use of the fan, so with doors agape can appreciate the sea breeze.
While the rooms breathe an air of rusticity and mesh with the natural environment, they are also well equipped technologically. DVD player, 40 inch IPTV with movies, iPod docking station, Wi-Fi, Illy coffee machine, electronic safe, cordless phone and refrigerated bar – close the curtains and we could be in any 5 star hotel world wide.
Knowing room service is only a call away, we could well remain in our villa not returning to the mainland for the rest of the stay. Venturing out for a dip directly from our private dock, splashing away the day in our encircling water garden, having whatever we desire delivered – it takes some effort to explore the rest of the island, but when we do we’re glad for the undertaking.
Surprising finds on this tiny island are those of a museum and art gallery. Featuring artifacts dating back to the 16th Century and local artists, we were pleased to be enriched with a bit of culture, adding diversity to our fun. On a guided tour we discover an ancient bath and traditional house and hear of plans for the area to soon be filled with local craftspeople sharing their skills and way of life with guests. If we’d like to take some local inspiration home with us, there’s a handcrafted jewelry store and fashion boutique as well.
Staying trim and healthy is easy with a fully equipped fitness centre, yoga and meditation pavilion and 30 meter infinity pool. Hubby’s happy to find the Dive Centre, which offers both SSI and PADI diving courses. The water sports club has motorized equipment available for hire, and non-motorized activities are complimentary. Although we don’t find any children during our visit to the island, Dhondhooni Kids Club promises that the young ones will have just as much fun as older family members.
And then… there’s Loama Spa. Private spa villas are accessed by a wooden walkway over the water and are positioned so that each window looks out over the sea. We’re happy to fall for the illusion that the ocean is ours and ours alone. Glass paneled floors cause a very pleasant conflict while lying face down on massage beds: do I close my eyes and relax fully into the treatment or keep them opened and be mesmerized by the trance of the marine diversions below?
For many, lazy days, relaxation in, on and by the crystalline water, sleep, and a complete break from routine distractions are purpose enough in the Maldives. For others though, who need constant stimulation, there are numerous recreational activities to join. Cooking classes, boat excursions, sunrise and sunset fishing, scuba diving, dolphin watching, cultural tours, private island picnics, snorkeling and sunset cruises are just some of the pursuits that can be arranged.
We sign up for a snorkeling excursion reaching our destination in a traditional Maldivian dhoni (hand crafted wooden fishing boat) and are astonished by the beauty and isolation found on an uninhabited island. On another morning we take a speedboat to a nearby island and are welcomed and charmed by the locals to partake in their daily tasks. Hubby snatches up the offer to catch his own meal and heads out at sunset on a fishing boat. He returns with two beautiful specimens – a red and a white snapper – and the chefs back at the resort barbecue them for our dinner. There’s more than enough here to fill a few days, but personally I could spend all of my time contemplating the many wonders of nature that fill this aquatic paradise.
From the moment we step off the seaplane to the second we hop back on, we’re enthused and surprised by the biodiversity we find on the island. Our first sighting coinciding with our arrival is an eagle ray viewed through crystal clear water from the boardwalk. From then on we’re astounded by a medley of creatures we encounter up close, without even searching. Fish of course, in an incredible gamut of shapes, sizes and colours, are spied from the water’s edge, not even a snorkel needed. Walking to the spa we encounter an enormous purple jellyfish and are late for our appointment as we can’t help but ponder the beauty and uniqueness of this intriguing organism (and capture it all on film). Hermit crabs amuse us with their choosing of shells at breakfast. At dusk we watch a flurry of birds squawking over a school of flying fish, and in the evening we coo over a baby turtle, just hatched running for the sea. Fluorescent plankton illuminates the shore later at night, mirroring the Milky Way clearly visible in the heavens, in their abundance and twinkle.
Despite an incredibly dream-like setting, differing food experiences can quickly turn a vacation into a less than average memory, or an unforgettable story to be told over and over again. For a small island, the team at Loama Resort Maldives, does its best to ensure guests constantly have their mouths watering anticipating the next meal.
Iru Café specializes in Italian cuisine with handmade pasta and gourmet pizzas being popular orders. Meyzu takes advantage of the fruits of the sea with its sushi bar and sizzling teppanyaki grill. The all day dining venue, Fazaa, furnishes guests a table with their feet in the sand and a long list of international dishes. A private sandbank at Athri Club is the spot to head for an intimate seafood barbecue, and Thundi is a beautiful open-air Thai restaurant offering a fine dining experience and wine paired menus. Cocktails are whipped up at Marha Bar, which also provides a taste of local tea-time culture with a complimentary afternoon tea. Our most memorable dining experience however, is the Maldivian lunch.
About all we previously knew of Maldivian food was that the locals like to eat tuna, tuna and more tuna! And why not? They have some of the most beautiful examples in the world pulled from the waters of their own island nation. The chefs at Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili however, introduced us to flavours and local produce that we’ve had nowhere else. Follow this link to find the surprising dishes we discovered.
Our palates have been gratified with the local cuisine, but so too have our hearts and minds with the respect given to and celebration of Maldivian culture. Bringing together the natural environment with the people who have taken care of it for so many years is a trump card in my mind. Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili gifts a true taste of local, and that is the story which bestows distinctive character to this resort amongst the many other luxurious options.
Reasons to visit: paradisiacal island getaway; Maldivian lunch; incredibly warm and friendly staff; a unique resort celebrating the local culture, heritage and arts and making a fine effort to ensure these valuable traditions are preserved for future generations to come.