Wouldn’t it be nice to really spoil yourself on your long awaited holiday and not have that niggling thought of ‘how much is my bill going to be at the end’? Few of even the wealthiest of us enjoy financial surprises on departure – and the thought of leaving owing zero, yes, nothing.. has to be a rare and welcome treat indeed. Those who travel to the key luxury resorts in the Maldives are used to a hefty bill, but there’s a new 5 star, luxury resort which could set a whole new trend as it’s super luxe all-inclusive – and yes, that does include daily champagne!
Ozen by Atmosphere on the island of Maadhoo promises its ‘Indulgence Plan’ really does include everything – from decent brand bubbles, to a number of spa treatments depending on how long you stay and also dining in its high end underwater restaurant – the likes of which on other islands can easily set you back hundreds of pounds even without wine.
Too good to be true? Actually – no. Keen to visit the Maldives again this year, we headed out to see for ourselves. Twelve hours later, thanks to BA’s non-stop over night flights to Male, and treating ourselves to Club World (which was more than worth the money on this long journey), we arrived in the hot and bustling airport, to be met and whisked away in no time on a speedboat to the resort. Having stayed at other Maldives properties earlier this year that required internal flights meaning sometimes hours of hanging around, I can tell you being able to jump straight on a boat and arrive in an hour was a most welcome bonus.
The island is new – but dreamy. It may lack the mature shady walkways of vegetation of our firm favourites One & Only Reethi Rah, Conrad Rangali and Anatara Kihava, but actually is still oh so pretty with tropical plants and flowers and the villa gardens are lovely. We had no issue at all with mosquitos or other bugs throughout our stay which could be down to less shrubbery for them to hide in.
The villas are large, spacious, fresh and contemporary and feature all the amenities you’d expect. Do opt to experience both the Earth Villas with Pool, and over-water Wind Villas with Pool too – we split our stay and thoroughly enjoyed the best of both world benefits of this arrangement. We could walk along and sunbathe on the pristine white beach on one day, or laze in our large over water pool on another and watch parrot fish and baby sharks swim by beneath us. The pools are larger than many resorts too at 35 m sq.
If lazing by your own pool isn’t for you, then the resort offers a wide choice of activities from its Aqua Club, including diving training with PADI certification. Usually when I see this in a brochure I run a mile – thinking this might be a kiddie magnet place full of little darlings screeching and running wild. But actually the resort was peaceful, and the guests mainly content to potter in their own villas and pools. The snorkelling trips and excursions (again included) were fun though and worth doing – especially being on a boat with a glass of champagne watching the sun set – magical.
Dining wise, the choice and quality is excellent. And a visit to the underwater restaurant M6m a must. Refreshingly you are not restricted to just a buffet restaurant as most even highest end resorts stipulate, but can dine around, and enjoy Indo Ceylon one night, Peking another, western/international or simply pizza should you feel so inclined. Lunch by the large and attractive main pool offers great salads, light bites and snacks, and breakfast – just about everything you could imagine and wish for. All drinks are included also – from decent wine vintages and champagnes to well- known brand beers and spirits. They provide you with red and white wine each day to enjoy in your villa, and 2 bottles of spirits too.
The spa is wonderful, and treatments super relaxing. Depending on if you stay for 6 nights of more, each guest can enjoy two free hour long treatments.
The island is a really welcome mixture of sophisticated cool, yet unpretentiously relaxed too. People do dress a little for dinner, but shoes off is fine too.
Would we recommend it, and come again – a resounding YES – love to treat the grown up family. What did we especially enjoy – the fact it was a boat ride away from the airport so no time wasted hanging around; the truly all-inclusive plan – which meant we could treat ourselves to what we wanted dining, drinks and activities wise without the worry of the expense; the large private swimming pools and light and airy villa décor and layout. And of course the island’s pristine beauty, peace and quiet – and plenty to do if you chose.
A fantastic concept, and wonderful place. www.ozen-maadhoo.com