Hideaway is in the northern part of The Maldives; some 40 minutes’ flight from Malé. But the distance buys you size and isolation. The island is 1.6 kilometres long, and the space is used between the villas which have large gardens and woodland screening each residence off. There’s also more to do, with pool bars, an on-water inflatable obstacle course and a photolab – an adult dressing up box!
Take the boat from nearby Hanimadhoo domestic airport and you’ll arrive at a picture perfect Maldivian island. The island is a crescent shape; a very sheltered lagoon runs along the inside for swimming and watersports and there’s a life-full reef on the outside of the crescent where you can snorkel to your heart's content. There are two pools which edge onto white beaches, both with a nearby restaurant and bar so you can order cocktails and snacks. If you fancy exercising in the Maldivian heat there’s a sports centre with gym, tennis courts and football pitch.
Book in at the Meris Dive Centre for PADI tuition or just rent equipment and a guide if you’re already qualified. You can use Tender Hearts, the kids club, formally or as informally as you like: check your little ones in for an hour or a day.
The island has 103 villas from overwater bungalows to a three bedroom ‘palace’. The style here is traditional Maldivian so expect bungalows on stilts, large wooden furniture and quite decadent bathrooms. Ours was larger than many London flats!
What’s on offer
The spa is at the far end of the island. It’s all about privacy here so you’ll find steam rooms and Jacuzzis in most of the 12 large treatment rooms. The therapists are all Balinese, and much of the décor stems back to Bali; intricate wood work, peaceful trickling water and lots of flowers. The relaxation area has swinging seats, curl up post treatment and have a refreshing cold ginger tea. There’s also a manicure and pedicure room and a hair salon.
Treatments use German brand Dorissima for eight holistic rituals, including Empowerment, Uplifting or Harmony. You’ll find more results driven treatments from Natura Bissé, perfect if your skin is a little congested in the heat. Skilled masseuses also give Balinese, Thai and even four-handed massage.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Dorissima Uplifting Ritual (120 minutes, $220) and The Royal Citrus Experience (140 minutes, $300).
Suraya was my therapist for each of my treatments. She met me in the comfortable seating in the reception and took me through to our open air treatment room. The Dorissima rituals draw on Ayurvedic traditions so include dry exfoliation, long flowing massage and – joyfully – scalp massage. Our treatment began with a foot cleansing ritual and then Suraya gave me an affirmation card: “I let go, I relax, I become strengthened with new energy”. I settled on the treatment bed and Suraya used a dry, very fine powder to exfoliate my back, legs, arms and décolletage. The powder absorbed into my skin, so I didn’t need to take a shower before Suraya moved onto the stretching and lengthening massage. She used long and quite strong movements, spending a lot of time on my legs and upper back. Finally, she moved up to my neck, face and scalp using acupressure points on my forehead and around my eyes then on my scalp and upper neck. I felt relaxed but also very engaged: I wasn’t tired but blissfully at peace.
The Royal Citrus Experience is one of my favourite treatments so I knew I was in for a treat. At Hideaway it includes a scrub and wrap, a floral bath, a bamboo massage and then a results-driven facial – phew! Suraya started the treatment by again washing and exfoliating my feet. I moved onto the treatment bed and she began by exfoliating my skin from toe to neck and then painted on a rich hydrating mask. She wrapped me tightly in a cotton sheet and then cleansed and exfoliated my face. Suruya explained that it was time to shower off the product so she left me in the room while I took a quick shower and settled into the floral bath for 25 minutes. There were many, many local flowers in the bath so I soaked in the heat and the scent.
Suraya returned to the room for the next parts of the treatment. First was the bamboo massage using a hollow bamboo stick as a massage tool. She used the length of the stick to massage, almost like a rolling pin. The massage was stronger because of the brittle bamboo, but not unbearably so. The final element, the facial used Natura Bissé’s C+C range, rich in vitamin c. She cleansed my skin and applied a bitter orange mask. Once the mask had worked its magic Suraya cleansed and applied a finishing moisturiser and eye cream. I smelt and felt absolutely delicious, my skin was glowing and all the citrus scents were very uplifting.
I also had a Four Handed Massage (50 minutes, $220). My therapists worked along the length of my body using very flowing movements which stretched up my legs, through my back all the way to my neck. The continuous flow was very relaxing and unusual. Absolutely one to savour.
There are four restaurants on the island, so there’s plenty of choice. The main restaurant is Matheefaru where you’ll have breakfast and dinner. It’s a large restaurant sitting on the edge of the water, the cathedral ceiling reaching high up into the rafters. Meeru Bar and Grill serves fresh fish, pizza, even burgers and steak. The Sunset Pool Café serves lighter sandwiches and salads and cocktails: swim up to a lounger and order your tipple of choice. Samsara is a pretty spectacular Asian fusion restaurant out on a jetty over the lagoon. There’s a teppenyaki bar and Indian and Japanese specialities.
Who would like it?
• Divers. So many places in the Maldives offer breath-taking diving but being a little further north means it’s quieter. The local guides are great too – some of the staff are from neighbouring islands so they know their stuff.
• Younger couples. Older couples and families would be happy here, but most of the people we saw during our stay were young honeymooners.
• Those looking for peace and quiet. The extra space gives you more privacy.
• The house reef is easily accessible, even to not so confident swimmers.
• The spa treatments. There’s a really good balance of holistic and effective here: both the Dorrissima ayurvedic-inspired rituals and the Natura Bisse facials are very good.
• You can’t really miss it, but the customer service is excellent. Our butler seemed to know instinctively when we needed him.
Good Spa Guide travelled with Visit Maldives – find out more about the islands at: www.visitmaldives.com.