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SAGA CORNER

The Residence Island Resort Showcases Luxurious and Phenomenal side of Hospitality in Maldives

MALDIVES : It is no secret that Maldives has one of the most beautiful small islands on Earth. Away from distractions, polluting cities, noisy metros and honking taxis, Maldives is the perfect holiday destination. The white sand beaches, the turquoise crystal clear lagoons, the privacy of living on an own Island, it is a paradise on earth.

And when you have an exclusive Island for yourself, it is like icing on the cake. As beach destinations around the world get over crowded and some of them becoming unsafe, Maldives provides some of the most breath-taking beach destinations.

The Maldives are a tropical paradise, and people visit for the beaches and the watersports – the underwater life is amazing and the Maldives has a reputation as a diver’s paradise.

And taking you into this dream world is classy and paradise on earth The Residence resort nestled on Falhumaafushi, a pristine island in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll, one of the largest atolls in the world. It is an exclusive private Island secluded retreat, where nature’s unparalleled beauty creates a mesmerising backdrop for your sublime relaxation. Guiding us through this enchanting experience was the smiling and courteous Komal Seth from Outbound Konnections who represents The Residence in the Indian market.

Right from sunbathing on the white sand beaches, water sports, or exploring the underwater world or simply contemplating the infinite possibilities of the horizon, there’s no doubt The Residence is the perfect niche destination. For honeymooners and family alike, as much for the youngsters as for the oldies, this island has something for everyone!

In fact, truly reflective of what the island stands for- in the quietude of nature’s magnificence (yes, it can’t be anything but magnificent, given the aesthetics of the property we stayed in, the ultra-luxurious indulgence and above all the warmth of the hotel staff), Hotel ‘The Residence’ was our abode for the serene days we spent in Maldives. The resort is bustling with hospitality, luxury, sophistication and activities that come along with it. There is much to do every day from diving to paddle boarding, to lazing around by the pool, to long luxurious massages.

Taking us there was the Srilankan Airlines from Delhi with a stop-over at Colombo. The Srilankan Airlines experience, for the first time for me, was very comfortable with the best lounge facilities and shining duty free area at the Colombo airport. From Colombo, we were flown to Male, the capital of Maldives. From Male, we took a domestic flight to Kooddoo Island in a small aircraft. In fact, the hospitality begins from here as at the Male airport domestic terminal, The Residence staff is deployed to take care of you and your luggage. The resort uses the Moonimaa Lounge, where you free Wi-Fi and all-day buffet dining with a well laid out cuisine. After landing at the Kooddoo airport, one if greeted by another group of courteous staff of The Residence who transfer you to the Island resort where The Residence is located on a speedboat.

Form here, the war, and courteous staff usher the guests into the carts or Bugee as they call it and take you to the reception area of The Residence. Check-in was done ‘the traditional way’ via an open lobby with a welcome drink, and we were run though the course of our itinerary for the stay by the ever smiling property manager, Lynnette Chang who became our permanent guide, friend and accomplice during our stay. After completing all formalities, the guests are shifted into the bugee and driven to their rooms including the pristine water villas raised on the sea. Candles and lights in the middle of the dark island luxury resort along the pathways and the sea immediately told us that we had arrived at the right destination.

We stayed at a One Bedroom Water Villa. Measuring 137 Sqm, the villa is neatly divided into three parts. The aromatic whiff of sandal oil invites you to the meticulously done private villas. With tastefully done upholstery, a comfortable couch, a king size bed and all the amenities intact, the room is not just spacious but a visually appealing too either opening up into the sea or the beachside! These scenic luxury rooms blend sophistication with old world charm. Fine finishes and impeccable designs, mark the cottages equipped with a host of services.

The living room, which is the area when you first enter the water villa, is followed by the bedroom area and then you get into a huge bathroom area which opens up right into the sea. All villas (be it beach, deluxe or deluxe water villa, with or without pool), are laid out in the same systematic method. One of the most outstanding feature of the water villa is the stand alone bath tub which faces the sea. Sitting in the tub, gives a spectacular view of the sun set, which in itself is a mesmerizing experience to unfold right in front of your eyes. The sun set view is the same be it inside the bathroom, viewing from the bed, or just from the outdoor deck.

If you rise early in the morning, the waters are pristine and look really inviting and you can just climb down the ladder outside your water villa outdoor deck and land into the sea.  Shades of greens and blue is all what your eyes could see, till the distance they could! Deep blue sea, clear blue sky and an array of trees, all beautifully planted. A cluster of well aligned water and beach villas, systematically planted trees and a thick jungle, broad pavements and a group of ‘oh-so-prim -and proper’ staff greet us with a welcoming smile! The view was simply stunning and the accompanying pictures will speak for themselves. Bikes were parked outside each villa to allow the guests to get around the resort although the budgee can be asked for anytime. The resort staff were perfect, always saying hello and acknowledging you. The gardeners were working around the clock keeping the grounds looking fantastic.

The Food!

The food at The Residence is to die for. The awesome variety of cuisine from Tom Yum soup, Som Tum salad, Pad Thai, Mee Goreng, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Goreng, Char Siu Wonton Noodles, Chicken Tikka, waffles and pan cakes for breakfast or sushi on the menu are most authentic tasting dishes. The pool side restaurant where we ate at almost every day served all the mentioned Asian delights as well as good quality pizzas, burgers, pastas, and sandwiches.  One of my favourite dishes was Spaghetti Alio, Olio e Pepperoncino using the extremely hot Maldivian chilli. It was made to perfection.

Breakfast and dinner is usually served in the open-aired main dining room.  Breakfast has a wide variety of options from deli meats, pancakes, chinese porridge, pastries, yoghurts, fresh honey comb, sushi and fruits grown in the local orchards of the Island. Lunch and dinner are an a la carte menu with different curries varying from Maldivian to Thai or pasta with crab as well as vegetarian options.

Formal Dining at Fulhumaa Restaurant

For formal dining options, the hotel has its signature Fulhumaa Restaurant nesting itself on a pier where you can hear the lapping sea waves over the reef, and guests dine under the stars on a clear night hoping for no evening showers. The dishes are thoughtfully creative in line with any fine dining restaurant and we tried the tenderised pork dish and the tasty wagyu beef served on a bed of Himalayan salt cooked to choice.

The Residence Maldives also caters for other dining options but we didn’t have time to try it all including a dinner at the Sunset Grill, a private dining option, and a picnic on a deserted island.

The Residence Maldives has a fully equipped Water Sports Centre. They have a diverse range of water activities – windsurfing, surfing, body boarding, snorkel, scuba , night fishing — and in all these, most of their equipment are well maintained. Just a 10-minute ride in the boat takes you to exotic reef area. One ca spot reef sharks, leopard sharks, turtles, and several Nemos, of course. Further into the sea on a boat takes you to a number of small island of pods of dolphins. These dolphins chase the boat to give you a spectacular show while they are hunting for their supper. The diving is splendid as it one of the islands which nests itself in one of the largest atolls in the world, The Gaafu Alifu Atoll.

Drench yourself in this expansive, ultra opulent The Residence, offering the sweeping view of the sea all around you, on your next visit to Maldives – a pure expression of splendour! Explore the calmness within, with the magical spa therapy at the property. The signature soothing and aromatic oil envelopes you as you enter the spa room. Let positivity flow into your body and soul with the yoga sessions.

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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