Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa

“This is the most luxurious island in the Maldives,” says Michelle Jamison, Digital Marketing Executive for Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa. “It is everything you would imagine and more. This is one of the few places on earth where a perfect day is truly possible.”

The resort is located 300 km north of the Maldives capital of Male. Guests arrive following a spectacular 75-minute sea-plane journey that brings them to Dhonakulhi Island, a crescent of white sand and tropical vegetation surrounded by the Indian Ocean. Villas stand on stilts over azure waters, or nestle between palm trees with private beaches. The ribbed sails of the island’s traditional dhoni fishing vessels fill as the boats glide out to sea to catch the evening’s meal.

There’s the chance to meet the local wildlife, which includes an abundance of marine species. These extraordinary creatures swim beneath the resort’s gangways and include some varieties that are not found anywhere else. Visitors can feed these rare creatures by hand, assured that bowmouth guitarfish haven’t developed a penchant for human flesh. For an even closer encounter, guests can enjoy a scuba dive around the outstanding double reef. “It is like being in an aquarium, but better,” says Michelle. “So many species and colours – another world so close to ours, yet so different.”

Fingers still intact, it’s time to visit Hideaway Beach Resort’s World Luxury Award-winning spa. Guests choose from a host of treatments, dependent on how far out of body they wish to float. Nirvana is reached within private rooms filled with fragrant oils and ocean sounds. “When you emerge from the spa, your whole perception of the world will alter,” says Michelle. “Colours will be more vibrant, your senses heightened. You will truly feel the sun upon your face.”

Mind, body and soul replenished, it’s then time for the stomach. Of the four eateries on the island, Samsara – an Asian fusion restaurant set on a traditional palm-thatched wooden pier atop an impossibly blue lagoon – stands out. Chefs prepare ingredients that have been caught locally and picked freshly on the island. “The food is what made me fall in love with the place,” says Michelle. “It is truly special. Our chefs find the home-grown ingredients irreplaceable, our greatest flavours come from the natural ecosystem of the island.”

At the 2018 World Luxury Awards, Samsara won best Asian Fusion Restaurant in the Maldives and Best Luxury Waterside Restaurant in Asia. “It is a truly special dining experience,” says Michelle. “All the senses are activated, your meal created in front of you, the sound of the ocean around you. The location is so romantic.”

The island’s air of romance mounts as the sun edges towards the horizon. “There’s time to grab a cocktail and relax by the beach, where the crystal waters and white sands become ethereal as the light changes over the ocean,” says Michelle. “Everyone who visits finds it hard to leave. There is a magic that holds you. Cocktail in hand, watching the most magnificent sunsets, there is nothing better.” This is a place where the mundanity of everyday life is replaced with the extraordinary. Thoughts of the island endure long after the trip ends. “Everyone who visits this island leaves with a sparkle in their eyes,” says Michelle. “It’s a sparkle that lasts.”