Unique Sleeps: One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives - Expedia Australia Travel Blog

Unique Sleeps: One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives


Unique Sleeps: One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives

Unique Sleeps: Amazing hotels hand picked by Expedia Experts. The One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives.

I’ve said the words: ‘Of course we’ll be back!’ departing hotels a handful of times, and actually meant it maybe half that. But when I said it leaving One&Only Reethi Rah, I not only meant it, I was doing crude calculations as to when said return might be.

Because O&O Reethi Rah is a goddamn paradise.

It’s in the Maldives, so a lot of the heavy lifting is done just by virtue of the postcard-perfect tropical location, (aqua-green water, white sand, sunsets, palm trees…) but I’ve been to the Maldives before, and I don’t recall using the words ‘paradise, ‘or ‘best holiday ever’ or ‘it’s noon, I think I’ll have a rosé,’ then. No, no, O&O Reethi Rah is something very special indeed.

Like all truly five-star resort experiences, it begins with your arrival. Smiling staff glide you through the frenzy of customs and hat-wearing holidaymakers to a luxury speedboat for a 45-minute ride from Male to the resort, which is on its own small island. Jean-Luc, the immaculately-dressed GM greets you (he coasts around in a pimped-out, Cadillac version of a golf cart, which I loved), a cold cocktail is offered, and as you’re checked in by your personal concierge, staff whisk your bags away and unpack them for you. After 19 hours of travel with a toddler, we could not have been happier.

Wrong.

We COULD be happier. Day by day the joy took over us, each day a little more, until in the final couple of days of the visit I found myself riding along on my bike (that’s how you get around, on cruisers, complete with baby seat, this was a real highlight, I must say – we packed the stroller but didn’t use it once) through the dappled light of palm trees, grinning like a loon. I’d text photos to mum saying, WE ARE SO HAPPY!!! with many emoji and all in caps so she REALLY UNDERSTOOD.

Happiness is not a given on a vacation. Relaxation, yes. But happiness is different, revealing itself when you reach that magical point of being so delighted with your scenery, daily activities, company, the service, and the level of fun/indulgence you’re enjoying that you start assessing how lucky you are, and how grateful you are for your beautiful family and happy life. Yes, I know. Hashtag blessed. Shut up.

Because of our toddler, we wisely declined the anxiety of an overwater villa and stayed in a beach pool villa. It was enormous, and crucially, we could pop the (hotel provided) cot in the cavernous wardrobe and bathroom area (through sliding doors) so that when baby went down at 7pm, we weren’t stuck in a dark room reading our iPads and eating dinner quietly like naughty children. It had a pool and an outdoor shower and was the perfect retreat from the 110% humidity and 35 degree heat. (We were there mid-June, technically wet season, but it rained twice, briefly the entire time we were there.)

Dining was above our expectations.

There was plenty of variety, (when you’re staying on an island for a week, you need options), including the main restaurant, which offers outstanding pizza, numerous salads and a terrific beef burger, a romantic, Arabic, pull-up-a-cushion-have-some-shisha wonderland called Fanditha, the Beach Club, which pumps an ongoing loop of Chillout Sessions type music as you lounge/dine by the main beach/play on the giant inflatable ocean blow-up toys, and serves incredible seafood. We had two beautiful meals at the excellent, Nobu-esque Japanese restaurant, Tapasake, and loved the enchanting little garden restaurant featuring cuisine from said garden (Chef’s Garden), which felt a bit like being in a fairy garden but with fine dining cuisine instead of make believe cupcakes, and of course, as resorts in this part of the world are won’t to do, there were buffet nights featuring various international cuisines.

Standouts were breakfast and afternoon tea, (both of which are included in your tariff). The breakfast buffet was phenomenal; a la carte equally good. There is a strong focus on ‘Clean and Lean’ at O&O Reethi Rah, meaning there are paleo-style, super food options at every turn, and a lot of ‘would you like to start with a green juice or protein shake and do you prefer almond milk madam’ and so on. It’s a nice balance for the garden party indulgence of crepe stations and pastries served with iced tea and coffee each afternoon, or as we called it, the Nutella Crepe Hour. Most notably, there was a toddler menu (free of charge) that you could order from any time, (mashed veges, local fish and rice/pasta being a favourite), which was a huge savior and relief.

The spa, an ESPA, is excellent.

It’s enormous, a kind of sub-resort within the resort, with its own gardens and over-water bure treatment rooms. My favourite part was the spa shop, though: whoever does the buying at O&O has phenomenal taste in beauty products. This taste extends to their two fashion boutiques, which featured new season Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham, Christian Louboutin heels and more Camilla kaftans than you could shake a tambourine at.

The gym, oddly, warrants a mention.

In a world obsessed with Instagram-fuelled working out, a few treadmills and one TV in a hotel gym won’t cut it. Lucky then, that this is a state of the art gym with every piece of equipment you could need and many you don’t, a protein shake station, highly informed staff willing to coach you, an outdoor hanging yoga and boxing platform overlooking the beach and delicious protein cookies, nuts and chlorophyll water for your post workout refuel. It doesn’t seem quite so sacrilegious doing a work out on holiday when you’ve got that view, and that equipment. (Plus, please refer to previous comments regarding daily crepes, cocktails, burgers and pastries.)

Any truly satisfying, deeply enjoyable resort stay comes down to the staff.

These are the people you face each day, those who serve you your coffee, take you snorkeling, answer your 10PM room service request for ice cream and organise you a baby sitter at late notice. And the people at O&O Reethi Rah were exceptional. They are happy, they are proud to work there, and it shows. And man did they fawn over our boy. We couldn’t make it five metres without someone making him giggle, or presenting him with little gifts or songs. It was very charming. The kids club was phenomenal (more on that in a later post) as was the babysitting service. O&O Reethi Rah claims to be a kid-friendly resort, and they mean it. This might be a haven for couples and honeymooners, but families and kids are the real winners here.

I cannot recommend One&Only Reethi Rah highly enough. It is by no means a cheap vacation, but it is an exceptional one, and one that I can assure you is ideal if your romantic beach holidays now include one or more small hitchhikers. Even a very young one who insists on waking up at 6am.

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