Karen’s Favorite: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

By Karen…..

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Baa Atoll
Tel. +960 66 00 888
Fax. +960 66 00 800
Karenable Rating 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾+

I love the ocean, endless sunny days walking white silky sand beaches, snorkeling & discovering colorful reefs, swimming with mantas and turtles, hanging with family, having a massage over the ocean looking through a glass floor gazing at the tropical fish, a power nap before dinner in a hammock, eating local fresh grilled seafood with great wine in the moonlight with your bare feet in the sand listening to the waves lap, doing yoga outside on a deck overlooking the ocean as the sun rises, and staying at a secluded, resort with a limited number of pavilions. That is why I love the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. (Note the Four Seasons have a second property in the Maldives which is closer to the airport. I have been there too, it’s great but I prefer the Landaa Giraavaru Resort)

The vacation started before we even went to the airport. The Four Seasons sent a questionnaire asking what were our favorite things from fruit (mango or dragon fruit), music (classical, jazz, rock, etc), water (still or sparkling), pillows (firm, soft, feather or foam), any allergies, books, magazines…They probably know me better then most of my friends.

The British Airways First Lounge at London Heathrow is a great way to slowly unwind and begin to transition into vacation mode with some pre-flight champagne. A massage in their Elemis Spa and you are ready to take off. A couple of magazines and movies, more champagne and we landed in Male, a tiny airport in the Maldives (warning: do not bring any alcohol with you, they scan all luggage & take any alcohol, wine, champagne, etcfrom you, not to worry the resort is fully stocked). We were escorted to the Four Seasons lounge. They offered tropical drinks and snacks while they took a copy of our passports. Then we were off on a spectacular flight to the resort. Viewing miles of atolls from the air is one of the most stunning sights you could ever imagine.

We soon landed at the Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru. We were greeted by smiling & happy staff. They greeted us by name (the passports had been forwarded to the staff while we were in flight so they knew were able to match names with faces and had organized our favorite things for each already which was brilliant). They offered to take care of our shoes as we wouldn’t be needing them, the whole atoll was soft white sand. This was heaven for me. A couple of the staff took our son under their wings, gave him a fresh mango smoothie (they knew his favorite fruit was mango) and off they went to explore the atoll. Our luggage just disappeared, I didn’t even notice their discreet bell hops. Quickly I was whisked away in a golf cart to our pavilion on the ocean. I was greeted with a glass of champagne while we completed the registration documents, was shown where things were and how they worked.

The pavilion was heavenly. Simple, yet so elegant and huge (over 800 square feet) Outside the door, there was a large planter style container filled with fresh water and a coconut ladle to rinse your feet. As you entered, it felt light and airy with very high ceilings. There was a relaxing sofa and chairs which looked out the floor to ceiling windows to one of the outdoor pools, an open-air bale (traditional thatched hut) and beyond to our private beach and the ocean. Furnishing were contemporary, and elegant. The living area was complete with a coffee table with our favorite magazines and books a cabinet housing a Nespresso machine & a mini bar already stocked with our favorite things. The king bed was covered with tons of plump pillows. Behind, there was an expansive walk-in closet on each side opening in the center to the bathroom with our luggage was already delivered and unpacked. There was both an indoor and outdoor shower, an eight-foot bath tub with large sinks on both sides. There must have been 10 towels folded perfectly on an extended ladder which were replaced several times a day. The amenities were all organic and smelled heavenly, some how they were always kept full. We did have a tour of some of the accommodations over the water. While stunning, we preferred our pavilion on the beach.

You might be wondering what on earth do you do all day on a tiny atoll? The Four Seasons has everything you could imagine to do: there is not 1, but 4 pools to choose from; beaches surround the perimeter of the atoll, the south shore calm, the north shore breezy; snorkeling along the beach or join a snorkeling trip to see the spectacular reefs, tropical fish, and sea turtles. There are excursions to go swim with the manta rays which was incredible cool, their mouths are so big you could almost swim in, kayaking to local atolls or around the Four Season’s property, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving at one of the world’s greatest diving destinations (its SSO’s favorite place to dive, don’t forget to pack your PADI card, if you don’t know how to dive, they have a PADI Five-Star IDC Centre to teach you). There is an interactive and educational Marine Discovery and Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, flood-lit outdoor tennis, a 24-hour gym and fitness center (helpful when jet lagged!), a young kids club (kids 4 – 12 years old), a young adults center (kids 13 – 18 years old) for the older children. There are also full Spa facilities and a Resort Clinic if anyone needs a Doctor, which we did one night

You might think the food would be like the Caribbean, very average and grossly overpriced. To the contrary, the Four Seasons brings so much of the world to your plate. There are 4 restaurants and 4 lounges plus in-room dining and private dining on the beach. Clearly you need to stay at least 4 nights just to enjoy the different dining options.

Breakfast is at the Café Landaa, three thatched-roofed pavilions separated by reflecting ponds overlooking one of the pools and the ocean. There is something for everyone’s pallet: smoked salmon and bagels, pancakes and waffles with real maple syrup, eggs every way you can imagine including crab benedict and frittatas, along with Asian specialties from miso soup to tempura. Without asking, they brought a huge plate of fresh mango and a fresh mango smoothie for our son and a double expresso for me. What a way to start the day.

Lunch was unbelievable. We almost always went to Blu, located at the western end of the island overlooking a mile-long lagoon, it embraces the essence of the Maldives as the place where the ocean meets the sky. Blu served light antipasti, pizza and pasta during the day followed by fine Italian cuisine in the evening. The pizza on its own deserved three Michelin Stars. They knew we loved fresh tuna, so what did they do? They made a pizza with fresh sushi grade tuna on top. One day the chef came over and said they just had a shipment of fresh Italian Burrata cheese arrive and would we want to try some? It was the food highlight of the trip. He prepared it with fresh heirloom tomatoes and homemade fresh pesto sauce The ambiance was perfect, a white ‘tarp’ overhead to break the heat of the sun, a cooling ocean breeze, and our bare feet in the sand.

Dinners were equally spectacular. We rotated nights among all four restaurants. The first night we had to go back to Blu. They had the fresh pesto sauce waiting for us. The pasta was on par with the best we had enjoyed in Italy. Equally spectacular is the Fuego Grill, located adjacent to the seawater pool and overlooking the eastern coast of the island. They have a wooden ‘boat’ filled with ice displaying all their fresh fish caught that day. The teak tables and chairs are set in the sand facing the sea. We had the freshest tuna we had ever eaten. The Al Barakat Restaurant showcases the regional specialties of Lebanon, Morocco and Armenia. It is built overwater, off the main jetty and even has a shisha bar. It was fun sharing the hot and cold Mezze. Café Landaa transformed itself at dinner to an Indian sun-continent and South East Asia specialty restaurant. We clearly had to go twice to experience each of the two cuisines.

One night after a long day in the sun, snorkeling, kayaking and swimming with the mantas we were at dinner at the Fuego Grill. Our son started to feel cold, freezing actually. I grabbed towels from the adjacent pool to warm him up. Spotting what I was doing, the General Manger came over to understand what was wrong and he immediately he called the Doctor. We took our son back to his pavilion, with the Doctor who could not have been more caring and supportive. He took vitals and gave us some Tylenol for the fever and left a thermometer to monitor him through the night. The Doctor came back in the morning to check on his condition. Fortunately it was just sun stroke and he was fine by the next day. We expected a huge bill on check-out for the medical services on check out. Turned out it was fully complimentary.

We hated to leave paradise. The Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru consistenly deliveres a perfect guest experience. We will be back and I very highly recommend it to all our friends.

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July 2018

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