Greater at Anantara

In a nation famed for its reclusive reefs, the Maldives’ single-island resort concept has produced more than 100 little pieces of paradise for the ultimate tropical getaway.

In this sense, Anantara’s slice of South Male’ atoll is no different, offering the romance, the tranquility and the adventure of a Maldivian holiday in equal measure. However, at Anantara’s resorts just south of the capital, these qualities are spread across three different resorts, creating a unique neighbourhood of luxury; Greater Anantara.

Upon arrival at the airport, would-be Anantareans are taken to the resort’s airport lounge, before migrating south, past Male’ on the 35 minute trip to the cluster of islands they will make their home.

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Six islands, spread over 2.7km of coral on the eastern side of the atoll, provide options for families, couples and everyone inbetween. Dhigu – the largest of the three – features 110 family-sized beach villas and overwater suites; Veli, a few moments away caters to couples, with a range of rooms made for two; and Naladhu – the smallest of the three – offers around 20 ‘houses’ for those who really want to get comfortable.

Two ‘picnic islands’ – one with it’s own cafe for hungry snorkellers – as well as a staff island, complete the complex.

Dhigu is without doubt the heart of this coral community, housing four restaurants, the Aquafanatics water sports centre and the largest of the complex’s three spas.  It’s recently renovated water villas are particularly spacious, assisted by cavernous ceilings designed to resemble an upturned dhoni.

Dhigu - Sunset Overwater Suite

Sprouting northwards from the tip of the island, the water villas’ wall to wall windows frame spectacular sunsets and sunrises. Similarly, the island’s dining options serve up early morning sun at the Fushi Cafe, or residents can drink in the sunset at the poolside Aqua Bar on the opposite side of the island.

The Sea, Fire, Salt restaurant goes a little further west, bringing spectacular surf and turf over the reef, with ‘Salt Gurus’ on hand to change the way you feel about seasoning. Upstairs, those wishing to journey still further west can take in Italian cuisine at Terrazzo.

Dhigu dwellers looking for a new place to eat can use Greater Anantara’s transport service to Veli, taking a bicycle to the south of the island before hopping onto the cushioned ferry between the islands. Lazy hammocks and love hearts emerge from behind the tiny Moyo Island sandwiched in between, as do more of the island’s intimate water villas. Veli is Greater Anantara’s adults-only area, bringing ocean calm up the beach and into the island.

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

Breakfast and dinner buffets at the pavilion-style 73 degrees restaurant can be interspersed with poolside snacks at the Dhoni Bar, while Origami brings Japanese cuisine into the fold. As with Dhigu, the Veli suburb offers a range of activities, including cooking classes, watersports, and morning meditation and Yoga to kick-start a hard day’s relaxation.

Invitation only cocktails at the Orchid garden add further to the refined air of Veli, with countless Mr and Mrs’ having left their mark via wooden hearts decorating the area. Lying on a long jetty between Veli and Naladhu is the Baan Huraa restaurant – claimed to be arguably the finest Thai restaurant in the Maldives.

Naladhu itself is the smallest and the most-exclusive district in the Greater Anantara constellation. A large wooden door at the end of the long bridge from Veli is more Dungeons and Dragons than Sun and Surf, bringing an air of mystery to what is essentially a private, gated community.

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

This island is accessible only to residents, and no amount of riddles solved or duels won will gain you entry to this tranquil realm (residents have a key, while other Anantareans can book ahead for dinner on the island).

Twenty ‘houses’ – all named after local flora – are nestled along a weaving maze of sandy paths. Inside, a mixture of world styles furnish the apartments, making even the farthest flung traveller feel at home. Bookshelves are customised to the guests before their arrival and room service is available – 24/7 – at the touch of a button, leaving no impediment to the suburb’s glorious privacy. Enormous outdoor decking areas provide cinematic views from the outdoor bathroom, which leads into the generous pool.

Photography: Naj
Photography: Naj

The theme continues in the aptly named Living Room, where guests can live another Indian Ocean sunset as they enjoy a bottle from the restaurant’s impressive cellar – one of three in the community’s $500,000 wine treasury.

Whichever resort you choose to stay in, this tropical trio – Dhigu, Veli, and Naladhu – together provide a wide range of options to make your trip to Greater Anantara greater.

Anantara Opens First Padi-Certified Free Diving Centre In The Maldives

The Maldives attracts travellers from around the world with a visual spectacle unlike anywhere else on the globe. Above the waterline and beneath the waves, unbelievable worlds await exploration. Anantara opens the door to new encounters with a pioneering aquatic experience in a nation where the total area is 99.99% water. Available to guests at Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort and Naladhu Maldives, Aquafanatics is the first PADI-certified free diving centre in the island nation.

A multitude of watersports from scuba diving to surfing and deep-sea fishing to sailing connect guests from all three resorts to the glistening lure of the Indian Ocean. Launching a country first, the free diving centre offers another dimension to ocean-based adventures on the islands.

The less explored activity of free diving strips many restraints attached with traditional scuba diving. A truly liberating activity, it relies on the diver to hold their breath, leaving them free to move unhindered through the translucent Maldivian waters.

Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort
Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort

With no oxygen tank bubbles to distort vision, the vivid colouration of coral life glows brighter than ever. Devoid of heavy equipment, guests move at will alongside inquisitive fish, developing a sense of belonging. With every dive guests acquire the ability to stay below a little longer, discovering more on each descent.

Free diving is entwined with the cultural heritage of the islands in the Indian Ocean. Since ancient times locals have harvested sponges and clasped gleaming pearls from beneath the waves. Anantara’s professional freediving instructor, Mari Kagaya, reveals a peaceful, intrinsic underwater encounter. “The Maldives provide the pinnacle in free diving adventure,” she explains. “Escaping the trappings of scuba gear, our encounters with sea life are graceful, natural and deeply personal. Guests discover their own hidden depths, not only of their body, but also the mind.”

Naladhu Maldives
Naladhu Maldives

Every diver is made to feel at ease in the water with Mari, who is originally from Japan. Her warm and welcoming approach to teaching freediving has been mastered since 2002 when qualifying as a diving instructor in Honduras. Amidst the gentle lapping sounds of the ocean, the resorts’ guests are guided through the theory of free diving. With a new focus on breathing and reserving energy, all that’s left is to turn in the water and embark on a new journey of self-discovery in the Indian Ocean.

To reserve a stay and experience the pleasures of freediving first hand, travellers are invited to contact +960 664 4111 or [email protected]. For more information on Anantara’s Maldives resorts, visit anantara.com.

Anantara and Naladhu Maldives Invites you to a Merry Festive Season

Eat, drink, relax and be merry above and below the water with Anantara and Naladhu Maldives this festive season

Imagine spending the festive season this year in the world famous paradise of the Maldives. Picture yourself relaxing where the water is 29 degrees all year round, in a private sanctuary with or without a private pool, a step away from silky sands or perched directly above the azure Indian Ocean. Welcome to Anantara and Naladhu in the Maldives, where a festive escape in the sun and dreams of a white sand celebration are paired with memories for a lifetime across our resorts in Baa Atoll and South Malé Atoll.

A wide array of accommodation choices are complimented by the perfect festive experience at Anantara Kihavah Villas, Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Veli and Naladhu Maldives. Enjoy a Christmas Eve buffet dinner, serenaded by Atoll Angels Choir in Kihavah as well as Anantara Dhigu and Veli, where renowned African-American jazz and blues singer Coco York will also entertain guests with her resounding voice and captivating stage presence.

Create a Christmas snapshot that tells an unforgettable tale of Indian Ocean adventure with an “Underwater Photo Shoot”. Dive or snorkel into crystal clear waters and experience a thematically surreal world beneath the shimmering surface, where tropical fish swim around Anantara’s eco-friendly underwater Christmas trees made from coral. Unable to resist the fun and events, Santa Claus will also be making unusual entrances the delight guests young and old with presents and good cheer.

Anantara Veli Resort & Spa
Anantara Veli Resort & Spa

At Ananatara Kihavah, spoil yourselves with a connoisseur experience of dazzling ocean marine life without ever entering the water. Descend to Kihavah’s exclusive and signature underwater restaurant and wine cellar, Sea, for a gourmet dining experience like no other as kaleidoscopic sea creatures glide gracefully beyond the glass, in full view of the underwater coral Christmas tree.

Ushering in a new dawn and a new year full of adventures, in welcoming 2015 Anantara Kihavah will be bringing the Spice and Silk Routes to the island with dishes and decorations inspired by traders over the decades to a backdrop of modern Bollywood entertainment and midnight fireworks.

At our cluster of three resorts in South Malé Atoll, just 35 minutes by speedboat from Malé, at Anantara Veli the adults-only guests enjoy a “Simply White” themed night of sparkling elegance and entertainment, releasing lanterns into the sky at midnight. At Anantara Dhigu families, friends and couples can choose their favourite character from The Jungle Book and enjoy the “Bare Necessities of Life” to colourful decorations and delectable treats, counting down to fireworks as the clock strikes 12. Across the lagoon at Naladhu Maldives, Captain’s Table is the theme for a night of reverie and revelry under a star studded sky that will be illuminated with a firework display of unimaginable colours.

Spend the festive season in paradise and choose your dream experience at your choice of Anantara resorts and Naladhu Maldives.

Reservations can be made by contacting the Maldives Central Reservations office on [email protected]