When I reflect on our stay at Milaidhoo, the only thing that pops into my mind is the word: perfection. I cannot recall the last time I stayed at a hotel and literally everything went right. From the service, to the room quality, to the sunsets, every moment and every experience (no matter how insignificant) was absolute perfection. Milaidhoo’s entire ethos is built on the idea of barefoot luxury and giving guests the privacy and freedom to do exactly what they want and when. This is even to the point of having no closing time for the bar or other outlets. When asked, the staff told me “the bar closes when the last guest leaves”. I am not sure luxury and guest experience can get any more guest-centric than that. While the price tag can seem daunting from room rates to incidentals, the experience does not disappoint. Read on to find out what we loved.
To be honest, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a hotel that’s not in a stellar location in the Maldives. This beautiful, tiny island is nestled within Baa Atoll, northwest of Male and is surrounded by an incredible, blue lagoon. It’s situated on a well-known dive site that is famous for its fish, turtles, and beautiful reef walls.
The property is a 30-minute seaplane ride from Male and the property will arrange the transfers for you according to flight times. They use Transmaldivian air, which connects the majority of the hotels in the Maldives. Starting early next year, the property will be running their own seaplane transfers, granting them greater flexibility and a better guest experience all around. We’re very excited about this new development, as it represents even more control of the guest experience from beginning to end.
Lobby & Check in experience: 5/5
We were picked up after landing at Male airport from our international flight by a friendly Milaidhoo representative. She took us to get checked into our seaplane flight and we were promptly escorted to the Milaidhoo private seaplane lounge. It was amazing to have someone manage the entire process for us, from getting our luggage, to moving us in a private, delicious-smelling, car to their seaplane lounge.
The lounge had snacks, coffee, juices, water and comfortable furniture while we waited for our seaplane. While we were in the lounge, our representative checked us into the hotel and took care of all arrival arrangements. Our seaplane had arrived early so we only waited about 35 minutes in the lounge. Our representative took us to the plane and told us to expect a 35 minute ride to the property. We were told we were stopping by Soneva Fushi on the way and to get off on the second stop. The whole process was very easy and clearly explained to us (which we really didn’t appreciate nearly enough, until later when we had a much less positive experience with a different hotel).
Upon arrival at the dock near Milaidhoo, we were greeted by a large yacht and transferred the short 5-minute boat ride to the property. As with many hotels in the Maldives, Milaidhoo’s seaplane dock is situated away from the hotel so as not to disturb the guests on property – a thoughtful and amazing touch.
The whole experience felt so luxurious and seamless. Once we made it to land, we were greeted with cold towels, a coconut beverage and of course, a delicious glass of Ruinart Champagne. Our island host, Zayan, took us on a brief tour before showing us to our incredible villa.
We never formally “checked in” as everything had been done at the lounge and all we had to do was enjoy the experience.
To say our Water Pool Villa was spectacular would be an understatement. The room was absolutely mind-blowing, with its 54 sq meter (581 sq ft) bedroom, 20 sq meter (215 sq ft) bathroom and 42 sq meter (450 sq ft) pool. I had never even fathomed the immense size of this beautiful villa on stilts over the Indian Ocean. Even though it was such a large room, it felt overwhelmingly cozy and personal. Every piece of furniture was custom built by traditional Maldivian carpenters on the island and the linens felt so soft that you couldn’t imagine ever getting out of bed, even to take a dip in your private pool on the 129 sq meter (1400 sq ft) terrace.
Every detail of the room was so well-considered. The beautiful bed facing the spectacular sunrise was only the beginning. Every wall in the villa opened up to the outside, molding the massive terrace and bedroom/bathroom into each other. This was truly ‘outdoor’ living at its finest.
The bathroom featured a large, naturally lit rainshower as well as a massive tub facing the beautiful view.
The double vanity offered excellent counter space and an assortment of Acqua di Parma products and toiletry amenities.
The closet featured 2 different styles of robes, yoga mats, slippers and flip flops as well as ample “his and hers” closet space.
The room was complete with a dedicated and stocked wine fridge, large minibar with ample snacks and beverages, as well as complimentary water (unlimited).
Whatever you want from your peaceful island vacation, Milaidhoo has it. From a stunning overwater spa to endless dining options with views of the Indian Ocean, there is so much to experience here.
Each guest is assigned an Island Host (aka Butler) that assists you with anything from dining recommendations, activities, seaplane transfers, etc.
While we did not try the spa this time, it looked stunning and I have no doubt they have excellent services.
There is also a full gym that includes a “playroom” style living room that has a pool table.
We did have a chance to go Scuba diving through the activities center and it was unlike any diving we have ever done. We were picked up in a beautiful yacht and taken about 15 minutes away to a Thila (an underwater island). We were the only two on the dive and the dive instructor showed us the dive map and plan via iPad pro (which was super fun and I’ve never seen anything like this). The dive itself was incredible (think millions of fish and sea life) and as we got back on the boat, we were handed towels to dry off, along with fresh cold towels with the signature Acqua di Parma scent. We were also presented with a platter of fresh fruits, water, and a delicious post-dive coconut based fruity concoction. Truly a 5-star experience all around.
The activities center at Milaidhoo, offers a variety of excursions for those not interested in scuba diving as well, such as snorkeling , boating, fishing and more :).
There are 4 restaurants available at Milaidhoo Island as well as a wine cellar and Chef’s Table. The variety of options are endless. My favorite restaurant was Ba’theli, which served traditional Maldivian Cuisine in an upscale way (a delicious mix of Indian and Thai flavors). Not only was the food incredible, but the setting was just perfect.
The other incredible dining experience we had was breakfast. Our island host, Zayan, warned us that this was the best breakfast in the Maldives and I was skeptical. However…it might be the best breakfast in the world. Over 35 gourmet cheeses, sushi, international dishes, fresh yogurt, homemade cold brew, fresh baked croissants and muffins, fruit…the list goes on! To top it off, they serve a variety of champagnes (including Rosé!!). My only regret is not sitting there for hours to enjoy every piece of the buffet or try out each and every delicious made-to-order item.
We experienced world-class service from everyone we interacted with on the island. Staff members were polite, respectful and so helpful. Our island host, Zayan, went above and beyond and made us feel so special and taken care of from the moment we arrived until we were handed off to our next property back in Malé. There are several stories that come to mind when I think about the service at Milaidhoo that I wish more hotels would do:
- When we arrived, we learned that there is live music every night. We had dinner reservations that night so I asked what time they would end so we didn’t miss it. Zayan responded, “they finish up when the last guest leaves”. I said, “ok so when does the bar close?” He said, “when the last guest leaves”. Talk about crafting the best guest experience imaginable.
- We told Zayan that we wanted to wake up for sunrise to take this photo the next morning. He offered to wake us up at sunrise and we took him up on the offer after he insisted. He came to our door with a pot of coffee and said “I was going to wake you up right at sunrise but it was cloudy so I waited until the optimal time”. As if I wasn’t already in love with Milaidhoo, that just solidified it.
From the custom made furniture to the high end details throughout, everything about Milaidhoo oozes luxury. Every pillow and piece of furniture feels like it was crafted specifically for you and crafted with love and care. I loved that the furniture was handmade on the island by Maldivian carpenters and I loved the thoughtful emphasis on Maldivian tradition with a modern twist. When we checked in, we were also provided with two sarongs and a bottle of Ruinart champagne- so +100000 for the service and style there.
One of my favorite elements of Milaidhoo was the “barefoot luxury” concept. We were told that shoes were completely optional, even to dinner, and it was music to my ears. The bar and restaurants had sand as flooring, which really helped drive this message home.
Everyone around us was barefoot most of the time and it made everything feel even more familial and homey. The barefoot luxury concept was so natural. One of my biggest pet peeves at island hotels is when the management tries too hard to be “cool” and “hip” and restricts its guests to “long trousers” and “closed toed shoes”. It doesn’t make sense to me to force guests to act a certain way in the one place they come to relax and indulge. Everyone at Milaidhoo was dressed beautifully in the evenings in their linens, dresses and nice attire, even sans shoes. It goes to show you that you don’t need to force people into a dress code to make them dress well.
Overall, I have nothing but amazing things to say about Milaidhoo. Milaidhoo is a true gem in the Maldives and has quickly found its way to the top of my favorite hotels list. While there are certainly less expensive options in the Maldives, it is hard to compete with the impeccable service and experience that Milaidhoo provides. The brand is opening a new property on a neighboring island and if it’s even half as incredible as this slice of paradise, it will be a true winner. We can’t recommend Milaidhoo enough if you’re looking for a peaceful and truly 5-star luxury vacation in the Maldives.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Milaidhoo on a media stay. Please know the opinions expressed are all our own and may not reflect the hotel’s own views.