Destination Guides

Sensational at Six Senses Laamu

Daniel Bosley

Arriving in Laamu atoll, your senses may be a little dulled. The transfer from Male International Airport was just 35 minutes, but your journey to the Indian Ocean was a long one. Now, it’s time to revive your senses.

Luckily, such a rejuvenation is the vision of Six Senses Laamu, a fifteen minute speed boat away. Your therapy begins on the launch, named the ‘Sense of Speed’, which waits for you just yards from the sleepy airport. Once on board, your sense of taste is given a jolt with fresh lemonade before the crew request that you place your shoes into the cotton bags provided. The island’s no-shoes policy ensures that your sense of touch is awakened as soon as you step foot on the island.

Photography: Naj

Pulling up to the resort, the largest overwater complex in the Maldives wades out to you through the turquoise. You are immediately greeted by staff and assigned a Guest Experience Manager – or GEM – who takes you to your room, weaving an electric buggy (this one is called ‘Sense of Sharing’) through sandy lanes and thick jungle.

Passing guests – on first name terms with your GEM – you arrive outside the ocean villa, one of 8 classes of room available, to find personalised bicycles waiting for your use. You clean the sand from your feet on a stone hedgehog brush outside, a pleasant sensory experience all of its own (though probably not for the hedgehog).

Photograph: Naj

Inside, the stimulation continues, with natural light accentuating the villas efficient design. The series of descending levels urge you out onto the decking, leading inevitably to a ladder which beckons you down into the ubiquitous aquamarine.

A sense of place is assured, even during the most private of moments. An outdoor rain shower (arranged to protect your sense of shame, of course) is joined by the completely transparent bathtub, offering the same sense of freedom atop another invigorating view of your big blue basement. But perhaps the crowning glory is the glass-panelled floor opposite the toilet, ensuring that you won’t lose your island perspective – or your sense of humour.

Photograph: Naj

Your senses of balance and curiosity will battle as you take your new bike for a spin, trying to concentrate on peddling over the decking as you gawp at the scenery. Once on dry land, a good sense of direction will be needed to find your way through the maze of tropical foliage to one of the island’s five main restaurants.

‘Sip Sip’ – the resort’s sunken poolside eatery – specialises in pizzas and burgers, while heading back to the palatial pier at the front of the island offers Japanese food at ‘Zen’ and Vietnamese fayre at ‘Chill Bar’ – which adds its own sense of cool via an in-house DJ. The main restaurant ‘Longitude’ is where most diners will start and end the day, in the open air over the open water.

Photograph: Naj

Six Senses’ commitment to sustainability is embodied in the island’s organic garden beneath the ‘LEAF’ restaurant, where guests can enjoy healthy mediterranean cuisine. Unfortunately, any subsequent sense of virtue that may be achieved is likely to be cooled by ‘Ice’, the resort’s all day complimentary ice cream bar. After offering 42 flavours, plus countless dips, sprinkles, and syrups, staff will happily direct you to the gym, should you wish to alleviate your sense of guilt.

Tearing yourself away from the island is essential to get a sense of your surroundings. Classic Maldivian excursions can be enjoyed – fishing, diving, snorkeling, dolphin cruises, island hopping – while Six Senses also has its own sandbank, which can be reserved for an additional sense of privacy. The watersports centre allows you to take full advantage of the beautiful atoll, in particular the local surf breaks which are untouched in comparison to the crowded waves further north.

Photograph: Naj

Back on the island, if you’re still searching for that real sense of relaxation, the spa offers a range of treatments in its nest-like cocoons of calm. Here you can benefit from Six Senses pioneering integrated wellness programme, which encapsulates the resort’s philosophy with cutting edge technology that measures your health across a number of biomarkers.

After hooking you up to Six Senses’ bespoke equipment, the resort’s own ayurvedic expert, Dr J, can assess your oxygen levels, cardiovascular health, and even your eating patterns without any additional questioning. Analysing the results, advice is given regarding exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction, promising a sense of wellness that will continue long after you leave the island.

Photography: Naj

Skipping back over the glassy lagoon at the end of your stay, encounters with the friendly neighbours can often turn the airport transfer into an impromptu dolphin cruise. These bottle-nosed goodbyes bring a final sense of calm as your shoes come out of the cotton bag once more.

Indeed, while some feel the sixth sense to be a supernatural quality – and Six Senses Laamu’s insight into guests’ needs borders on the telepathic at times – others feel it best describes a sense of balance and alignment in the other senses that provides physical and mental harmony.

If this is what you had in mind when deciding to visit the Maldives, Six Senses is the ideal destination. (It’s common sense).

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