Review: Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa
C&TH’s Ellie Smith visits the newest Maldivian paradise on the block, Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa
Over-water bungalows? Tick. Sparkling blue waters? Tick. White sand beaches? Tick. Floating breakfasts? Tick. Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa meets all the picture-perfect, Instagram-approved boxes one expects from this area of the world – but with so much competition nowadays, Maldivian hotels must offer something extra to stand out. The USP here is the all-inclusive aspect, which is executed elegantly. Once you’re on the island, there’s no need to worry about extra costs (bar a few extras, such as jet skiing). Even the mini-bar is replenished daily, which is unusual for a five-star hotel of this caliber.
The resort is located in the northwestern part of the Maldives archipelago in Raa Atoll, taking over the idyllic Fasmendhoo Island. With 20 hectares of land to play with Emerald has more space than many islands in the Maldives, allowing privacy across the 120 villas, which are split evenly between the beach and the water. After the unique Maldivian over-water experience? Emerald won’t disappoint. The views from the water villas are nothing short of magical, with sundecks offering direct access to the crystal clear turquoise lagoon which stretches out in front of you.
Emerald have mastered the ‘barefoot luxury’ vibe. Their tagline is ‘Natural Elegance’: bamboo, langhi langhi leaves and natural stones create a tropical chic vibe in which the architecture exists in harmony with the natural landscape. Italian influence can also be seen in aspects of the resort’s design – the Venetian-inspired bathrooms are especially beautiful, with white marble, silver mirrors, floor-to-ceiling windows and luxurious freestanding baths. The resort also has a number of sustainable initiatives: solar panels provide water throughout, food waste is composted, and electric golf buggys and bikes are used to navigate around the island.
Facilities across Emerald Maldives are excellent: whether you fancy relaxing in the Balinese spa, exploring the island’s marine life on a snorkelling trip or sunning yourself in the pool, the resort caters for all types of traveller. There’s also a huge kids’ club, a well-equipped gym and a diving centre, as well as a programme of activities for guests, which includes wine tasting on the beach, sunrise yoga and live music nights.
Food is another highlight here. The resort offers a luxury take on all-inclusive dining with four restaurants, spearheaded by Chef Aldo Cadau, who brings with him a wealth of culinary expertise from all over the world. Our top pick was Amazònico, the first South American restaurant in the Maldives: a rainforest-style, lantern-bedecked space with an open fire grill sizzling up everything from wagyu beef to tuna steaks. Head to The Beach Club Grill for relaxed waterside dining (think barbecued fish, pastas and salads), Le Asiatique for teppanyaki-style meat, sushi and dim sum, or all-day restaurant Aqua if you just can’t decide – the buffet serves everything from Mediterranean to Chinese.
One thing that really stands out here is the quality of service: staff go above and beyond to create the best possible experience for guests. Villas start from £550 a night, which is lower than many of its all-inclusive competitors, and with so much to eat, drink and see you’ll certainly get your money’s worth. In fact, the price is almost worth it for the views alone.
Deluxe beach villas from £550 a night on an all-inclusive basis. Book at emerald-maldives.com