One&Only Reethi Rah review, Maldives: The resort that will ruin you


THE PLACE

One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives

THE LOCATION

One&Only Reethi Rah ("beautiful island" in Dhivehi, the Maldivian language) is an all-villa resort on one of the largest private islands in the Maldives. One of nine One&Only properties worldwide (including Hayman Island and Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains), it even has its own time zone: one hour ahead of Male, for longer evenings.


THE SPACE

The 128 beachfront and over-water villas, some of the largest in the Maldives, fringe this lush 12-beach island and are linked by sandy roads canopied by palm trees; guests get around on bikes or in chauffeur-driven golf carts. There are all the facilities you'd expect at a big resort: pools, tennis courts, a fitness centre, a kids' club.


What makes One&Only special is its "one world" vibe – the 800 staff members hail from 35 nations and guests come from all over Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It almost feels like an island utopia, particularly when a waiter or massage therapist greets you with One&Only's Namaste-like gesture, right hand over the heart (which is oddly contagious).

THE ROOM

My beach villa with pool is a high-ceilinged sanctuary of regal reds and purples and natural materials such as wood and coconut shell. Sliding glass doors open onto a large plunge pool, a hammock built for two, sun lounges and my own stretch of beach.


The bathroom has his and hers vanities, indoor and outdoor rainwater showers and an enormous sunken stone bath under a window, with bath salts, loofah and essential oil burner; there's an aromatherapy menu as well as a pillow menu. There's a yoga mat to use, a beach bag to keep and a mobile phone for making restaurant and spa bookings or for calling my villa concierge. The minibar includes an Illy espresso machine and gourmet teas.

THE FOOD

There are six restaurants: Reethi Restaurant where the breakfast buffet has to be seen to be believed; the organic Chef's Garden, surrounded by its own living produce; Tapasake over-water Japanese restaurant with outdoor teppanyaki bar; Beach Club, where you can dine on fresh seafood and salads with your toes in the sand; Rah Bar, which stays open late; and the Arabic Fanditha, where you can lounge on giant cushions or in curtained cabanas beside the sea, flanked by hurricane lanterns and shisha pipes. There's also 24-hour room service.


STEPPING OUT

Marine outings are a must in the Maldives and there are plenty of offerings, from whale shark swims and dive trips to day-cruises on dhoni (traditional fishing boats) and sunset sandbank experiences.

Terrestrial offerings include climbing (on the Maldives' first climbing wall) and tai chi and yoga classes – including aerial yoga where you can swing like a low-flying acrobat in an over-water pavilion. You could spend an entire day in the temple-like spa complex, which has an idyllic garden with wicker swings, fountains and hammocks under the coconut palms.


THE VERDICT

With its dreamy location, private apartment-sized villas and first-class service, One&Only Reethi Rah is the kind of resort that spoils you for all others.


ESSENTIALS

Singapore Airlines flies to Male via Singapore with same-day connections daily; see singaporeair.com. One&Only Reethi Rah is 45 minutes by speed boat from Male airport. Villa rates start at US$1190 a night plus taxes.

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