Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa opened its doors to guests late last year
If there was one cuisine I wasn’t expecting to experience on my first visit to the Maldives it was South American, and yet on the final evening of my three-night stay at the newly opened Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa, I found myself salivating at melt-in-your-mouth Peruvian ceviche and skewers of juicy red meat.
But what makes Amazonico – claimed to be the first South American restaurant in the Maldives – even more appealing is that guests can dine under its straw roof without having to pay extra for their speciality dining experience. Such is the case with all four restaurants on Fasmendhoo Island, where Emerald Maldives’ Italian owner Ermenegildo Scarapicchia seems to have mastered the pairing of “all-inclusive” and “luxury”.
When I caught up with him at Le Asiatique Restaurant (after a fiery teppanyaki cooking display and a delectable dinner) he explained that the food is what makes his new resort so unique, along with its “exclusivity, privacy and service”.
“Emerald Maldives represents a new generation of resorts – it’s the old Maldives mixed with the new, with all the facilities of a luxury hotel in Dubai,” he said.
It’s true guests will find it hard to believe they’re on a 20-hectare island in the middle of the Indian Ocean thanks to all the high-class comforts Emerald Maldives offers.
Set in the Raa Atoll, the resort has 120 villas, with 60 on the island and another 60 along its curved jetty. The overwater villas boast king-size beds that look out to sea, huge bathrooms with freestanding bathtubs plus direct sea access via a private deck, while for extra high-spending clients, there’s the two-bedroom Presidential Villa at the tip of the boardwalk.
Some suites offer in-villa spa treatments, but I opted to visit The Emerald Spa in the heart of the tropical island. My Balinese massage left me feeling so serene I may as well have floated to the evening’s wine-tasting session. These are hosted by the resort’s head sommelier and, like almost all activities at Emerald Maldives, are included in the price of a stay. Visitors keen to continue indulging can head to the sandy dancefloor of the Sunset Bar, where DJs, live musicians and mixologists keep the high-energy vibes alive until late.
While Emerald Maldives is the perfect place for relaxation and rejuvenation, the resort also provides for clients keen to keep up their fitness while away from home.
Yogis can rise at the crack of dawn for a sunrise class on the beach or fans of watersports can pick up snorkelling gear, kayaks and stand-up paddle-boards. Guests also have the option to enjoy motorised watersports such as jet-skiing, go on a scuba dive or stay dry in the island’s sports centre.
During my stay, I couldn’t resist the urge to dive into the Indian Ocean to see what lay beneath the waves, joining others on a guided snorkelling excursion beyond Fasmendhoo’s house reef. Despite a blustery breeze whipping up the surf, we got lucky. As I bobbed on the water’s surface I could just about see four manta rays feeding off the coral below, circling one another gracefully with their powerful wings gliding through the turquoise water. On return to the boat I was so transfixed by my experience I considered returning to the sea once again the following afternoon on a dolphin-spotting outing.
As it turns out, the extra excursion wasn’t necessary – casting my gaze out to the horizon I saw a few fins emerge above the waves and, the captain confirmed, they were dolphins. We moved closer so we could watch them swim in time with the bow of the boat; a new experience for my inaugural visit to the Maldives.
While Emerald offers all you would expect from a quintessential luxury all-inclusive Maldives holiday, there’s no denying the resort also has a few surprises in store.