Style of the South at Canareef

People in the Maldives’ southern atolls have always liked to do things a their own way. They talk a little differently, they’re fiercely proud of their islands and they have a strong independent streak.

At Canareef resort, perched below the equator on the most south-easterly point of the archipelago, things are no different. Their refreshing take on the Maldives’ experience encourages you to embrace the sun the sand and the South.

Stretching down the eastern side of the heart-shaped Addu atoll, Canareef suns itself on the island of Herathera – the longest resort island in the country. Between the hydroponics garden in the north and the snorkelling point on the south, lies 4.5km of beaches, lakes and water villas amid unspoiled tropical greenery.

Addu Lagoon (Photography: Naj)

Around 200 metres at its widest point, the west of the island gazes out across the spearmint lagoon to the atoll capital, Hithadhoo. On the east, a series of lakes – known locally as kilhi and found only on a few larger islands – provide an area of serenity between you, 2000 miles of ocean and Sumatra.

Similarly, due south from Canareef lies nothing but open seas and perhaps the odd top-secret research facility before reaching Antarctica (sea-lions and shivering scientists wish they were in your kind of south).

Kilhi (Photography: Naj)

Dhoni Bar

Canareef is one of the Maldives’ larger resorts, with 271 villas still leaving plenty of room for three restaurants, a fitness centre, watersports centre, spa, and miles of sandy lanes on which to pedal along on bicycles provided for every room.

The resort’s grand scale is most notable in the main ‘Dhoni bar’, which can only be described as a beach ballroom. Shaped like an upturned boat, the enormous hall combines day-beds, cocktails, board games, ping-pong and pool, all on top of soft white sand. Outside, the second largest pool in the Maldives makes this the perfect place to idle while the sun sets over Hithadhoo.

Dhoni Bar Pool (Photography: Naj)

Elsewhere, the nearby ‘Kilhi’ restaurant offers sea-level dining in its private bunkers looking out over the Laccadive Sea, while Meeraa restaurant further along the island offers views over the lagoon and Asian cuisine by the pool. 

Canareef’s beach villas are divided into three types for those who like the sunset, the sunrise, or those who prefer the night sky from their private jacuzzi. The wooden bungalows offer bright interiors opening out onto even brighter exteriors, where comfy loungers blend into sand and southern sea.

Photography: Naj
Sunset Villa (Photography: Naj)

In addition to its size and scenery, another unusual element of Canareef is its connection to the neighbouring island of Hulhu-meedhoo. Separated by only a narrow channel to the north, the morning commute of many of the island’s staff across a small footbridge, is unique in a nation of isolated islands.

Guests can head in the opposite direction, with local island tours allowing them to visit some of the Maldives’ most important historical sights – in particular, the beautiful Koagannu cemetery, the oldest in the country.

For those seeking more adventures in the southernmost atoll, trips across the lagoon will take you from the former British air base in Gan to the precious Koattey mangrove area in Hithadhoo via the Addu link road – one of the longest in the Maldives.


Your visit to the atoll wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the other south, the one beneath the waves that is. Addu is home to a number of world class dive sites, with 25 to choose from, including wrecks left behind by the British, year-round manta sightings and vibrant coral patches. Canareef’s PADI-trained guides can show you the way around the south of the south.

The opportunity to experience the southern side of life in the Maldives is not to be missed, and Canareef offers its guests a unique tropical island as well as a doorway to the treasures of Addu; it’s too good to refuse.

Equator Village

Located on Addu Atoll’s former Royal Air Force (RAF) base, while RAF airstrip now being Gan International Airport,  this lush garden by the azure sea is alive with culture, history, nature and mystery.

Equator Village resort, named after being located 64 Km south of the equator, the resort provides guests with comfort and relaxation, offering easy access to nature’s finest. A tropical haven of old English charm delightfully mixed with the unique beauty of Southern Maldives, Equator Village is not your typical Maldives resort.

78 lovely bungalows opening into a lush courtyard garden. Spacious and cool, designed with simple European elegance, each bungalow has it’s own verandah overlooking the tropical blooms.

Opening to overlook the surrounding gardens, the Blue Lagoon Restaurant offers buffets of Western, Oriental and Eastern Asian and local cuisine. The wonderfully light and airy atmosphere, teamed with our friendly experienced staff makes every meal a warm welcoming addition to your holiday.

Just the right distance from the pool, restaurant and entertainment room, the Veragan Bar lights up the area in cheerfully warm splendor. A good selection of all-inclusive drinks is marked easily for your convenience. This is a place to relax, chill and swap stories with fellow travelers.

In water, on land or indoors there’s plenty of activities to engage yourself in. The large swimming pool has it’s own pool bar and overlooks the ocean. A wide variety of activities are available including mountain bicycles to tour the islands.

Diverland is a PADI 5 star Dive Centre that has been operating in Maldives since 1986. The Diverland Team takes you to the best dive spots in Maldives including the largest wreck dive site in the Maldives; a cargo shipwreck from 1946 – The British Loyalty. Manta can be seen all year round, and Addu is the only place in Maldives where Manta rays with over 5-meter wings spans are known to exist.

Four islands linked together by causeways. From Gan through Feydhoo, Maradhoo, and to the capital Hithadhoo. Three more islands – Meedhoo and Hithadhoo and Bushy island is a ferry ride away. Equator excursions are set to explore all of them in their natural and historical beauty.

Serena Spa offers a wide selection of aromatic oils, and age-old treatments to sooth your mind and body. Ancient Ayurvedic therapies, beauty treatments and packages specially designed to completely revive and revitalize all your senses after a day in the sun.

Guests will enjoy the facilities offered by the hotel, such as the large swimming pool which offers access to the beach, table tennis, volleyball, squash, snorkeling, and a tennis court. The unique part about this hotel is that guests have direct access to local villages, making it easy for guests to get a good glimpse of the Maldivian culture. Pick Equator Village Resort as your choice of stay when visiting Maldives for an unforgettable experience.

Canareef Resort Maldives

Canareef Resort Maldives (formerly Herathera Island Resort) welcomes you with 271 spacious rooms for your honeymoon, friends or family. Each villa is refined by nature and designed for guests to enjoy the lush natural vegetation on the Island. Our villas consists of 80 Sunrise Villas, 71 Sunset Beach Villas and 120 Jacuzzi Villas from sizes of 76sqm – 97sqm.

The Equator Crossing to the Resort would be one of the key highlights of your trip to our Island with your loved ones or friends, as guests get to view breath-taking aerial view of the Maldives expansive turquoise blue atolls riddle in the Indian Ocean.

All guests to the Island via domestic flight will receive a personalised Equator Crossing Certificate from the Captain of the airplane.

Just when you thought the fun and thrills was about to stop, be blown away by a short 10-minute exhilarating speedboat ride from Gan International Airport.

In Addu Atoll, experiences abound and there is so much more our Island has to offer.

From Dolphin Cruises to Manta Ray dives and the largest World War II shipwreck, The British Loyalty, to local Island Tours in Hulhumeedhoo, guests are ensured of myriad of Sea, Sun, Sand and local cultural experiences.

Allwyn Drego — The New GM Of Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives

Allwyn Drego has been appointed as the General Manager of Shangri- La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives. Prior to joining Shangri-La Maldives, Drego served as the Hotel Manager for Shangri-La Hotel, Mumbai, India from 2012- 2013 and from 2013-2014 at the iconic Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

Villa Muthee deck and infinity pool, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa

Drego an Indian national happens to be a Maldives expert. Before his career with Shangri-La, he oversaw the the pre-opening and launching from the ground up of the five-star resort, Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef in the Maldives for Taj Group of Hotels. He was personally involved from hiring and training top talent and quality control checks. He has also gained experience as the General Manager of the award-winning Taj Exotica Resort and Spa in Goa, India and as the General Manager of The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, India.

Allwyn Drego holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Commerce from the University of Bombay and diploma in Hospitality Sales and Marketing from The American Hotel and Motel Association. He is also a post-graduate of the esteemed Oberoi School of Hotel Management in Delhi, India. He has attended the Mastercard – ESSEC Luxury Brand Management Executive Programme in Singapore and also Taj-Cornell Winter University for Senior Management.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns or manages nearly 90 hotels under the Shangri-La brand. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, Canada, mainland China, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives where Allwyn Drego will serve is located in south of the equator on Villingili Island on the southernmost tip of Addu Atoll in the Maldives, right across from the former British air base and current international airport of Gan island. Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives offers guests a stylish and luxurious experience in a spacious and boutique-style environment. As one of the best equipped luxury resorts in the Maldives, guests can enjoy a range of spa and leisure activities and an array of exciting dining and entertainment facilities. There are over six kilometres of picturesque coastline to enjoy, with nearly two kilometres of beautiful white sandy beach. There are lagoon beaches on the western shore of the island and a surf beach on the eastern side.