Jo recently spent a week in the Maldives, splitting her time between Lily Beach Resort & Spa and Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa. Both are resorts that she had previously visited, but she was looking forward to finding out what was new on these large islands!
Below she talks about the first part of her trip, where she spent four nights at Lily Beach Resort – read on to find out more or click here to read about her stay at Hideaway Beach Resort.
Travel to the Maldives
“I flew to the Maldives with Qatar Airways which included a short stopover in Doha – this was my first time flying with the airline and I was very impressed!
Flying over the atolls is always a fantastic experience, so I was delighted to catch glimpses of tiny islands surrounded by turquoise lagoons from the airplane windows as we approached Male airport. On arrival we were shuttled over to the seaplane terminal, where we were able to relax in Lily Beach Resort’s private lounge and take advantage of the refreshments and complimentary WiFi.
We were soon taken to the jetty which resembled a taxi rank, with seaplanes waiting to take visitors to their chosen resort.”
“After a flight of about 25 minutes we landed on the sparkling Indian Ocean near Lily Beach Resort, where we disembarked onto a pontoon and boarded a boat for the short onward trip to the island.
We were greeted by smiling staff who handed us a tropical cocktail, ensuring we felt relaxed as soon as we arrived…”
“I was staying in one of the Beach Villas which have a private deck overlooking the sand and sun loungers on the beach, with tropical foliage offering additional privacy.
The island is popular with both families and couples, catering extremely well for those looking for relaxation as well as those who prefer to stay active – there is always something going on but as the island is so spacious it never feels crowded and guests can easily find a quiet spot. Beach villas are set just back from the main beach on the northern side of the island, where guests can take part in water sports and snorkel straight from beach. Family Beach Villas, the kids club, the popular Vibes Bar and a kids’ pool are found at one end of the island, while the Water Villas, spa, adults-only pool and elegant bars and restaurants are found at the other end.”
Dining & Entertainment
“Vibes Bar is a popular spot in the daytime with plenty of families making the most of the table tennis and pool table in the games room. A la carte lunches are included here as part of the all-inclusive package, offering a fantastic selection including delicious sushi, beautifully seared tuna and stunning salads – I don’t think anyone could be disappointed with the choice!
By night, Vibes Bar has a buzzing atmosphere as it becomes the island’s main entertainment venue – I danced the night away here to a live band, finally returning to my villa at 2am! Those looking for a more peaceful evening can enjoy a few sundowners at AQVA Bar, a beautiful setting beside the infinity pool where you can sip on cocktails, premium wines and Taittinger Champagne – all included in stays at Lily Beach!
Lily Maa is the resort’s main buffet restaurant where guests are spoilt for choice, offering everything from fresh fish and various cuts of meat to inventive salads and mouth-watering desserts. Regular theme nights feature international cuisine as well as meat and seafood, while a special kids’ station allows younger guests to feel special!
The all-inclusive package includes one visit per week to Tamarind, an excellent a la carte restaurant where we enjoyed exquisite Asian cuisine overlooking the lagoon.
A theatrical dining experience to end our stay was at Teppanyaki, an exclusive venue at AQVA Bar where just twelve guests can watch chefs cook delicious cuisine right in front of them. Although dining at Teppanyaki is not included in the all-inclusive package, this is a fun experience which I would highly recommend!”
“My stay at Lily Beach was filled with activities to ensure that I experienced the best of what the island had to offer:
- Lily Beach is surrounded by an amazing house reef – despite having visited the resort before, I hadn’t had time to go snorkelling so I was pleasantly surprised to discover a thriving coral reef with colourful marine life not far from the shore. Those who wish to discover the reef without getting wet can do so thanks to ‘Penguin’, a submarine-type boat whose extra deep hull has glass windows which offer spectacular underwater views.
- As well as canoeing, paddle boarding and wind surfing, a selection of motorised water sports are also available at the resort. Adrenalin junkies can get out on the water and try their hand at jet skiing and water skiing without disturbing the peaceful nature of the island – I even had a go at fly boarding which was great fun!
- A more sedate way to get out on the water is to rent a floating platform within the lagoon, an excellent base for snorkelling and swimming which features hammocks, sun loungers and a drinks cooler.
- A highlight of my stay at Lily Beach Resort & Spa was the Ocean Adventure Excursion, an extremely popular trip that is complimentary for repeat guests. We travelled by speedboat to an area about 45 minutes away from the resort where we would hopefully have the opportunity to swim with manta rays and whale sharks. Once we had reached our destination we sat poised on the edge of the boat, ready to jump in as soon as the crew spotted the marine creatures we were searching for. I was delighted to be able to swim with two majestic manta rays and two enormous whale sharks, as well as eagle rays which looked tiny in comparison – a truly awe inspiring experience which I will not forget! As always, you are not guaranteed to see any particular species during your excursion but this is a fantastic opportunity that I would highly recommend.
- Another enjoyable excursion was the Turtle Tour, where we travelled by boat then snorkelled with green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles with a knowledgeable guide.
- I enjoyed a very good treatment at Tamara Spa where Elemis products are used, a fantastic chance to relax in a stunning overwater setting looking out over the lagoon.”
After four nights at Lily Beach it was time to move on to Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, involving a speedboat to a local airport and a domestic flight to Male before catching another domestic flight.