Maldives’ most beautiful island
When you’re talking to people who work in Maldivian luxury resorts and you mention the next resort you’re visiting is One&Only Reethi Rah, you see their eyes light up and a their smiles getting even bigger. It’s one of those places where you know you’re going to have a great time, because thousands before you have spent an amazing holiday here. So needless to say, we were very much looking forward to our stay here. And even though we had seen plenty of pictures of the resort beforehand, we didn’t really know what to expect.
We arrived in Malé at the domestic airport (which is even worse than the international airport) and were picked up by a representative of the resort we had just spent some time at who escorted us to the check-in desk of One&Only Reethi Rah. We were told by a very charismatic One&Only representative that our speedboat transfer was together with another couple who unfortunately was running a bit late because their flight got delayed and, because One&Only does not have a lounge at the international airport, he proposed that we have a seat at the local coffee bar. We ordered and paid for 2 coffees and received a 30 minute free wifi voucher, which was nice, after spending 2 hours without internet. If we would have spent more than 10$ on coffee, we would have received two 30 minute vouchers, but we didn’t, so only Laura could check Instagram.
Just before our free wifi ran out, the charismatic representative appeared and told us the speedboat was ready. We were a bit disappointed to see they didn’t send the luxury yacht to pick us up, but the smaller speedboat was still very nice and comfortable on the inside, with large leather fauteuils, free wifi, refreshing cold towels and, unfortunately, plastic bottles of water. The 45 minute speedboat ride went by in a flash, mainly thanks to the other couple on the boat who was a real pleasure to chat with. All in all a quite pleasant transfer from the airport to the resort, but nothing spectacular.
For our return transfer a couple days later, we were upgraded to the big luxury yacht, which we were very thankful for, as it was already dark when we left the island, and being on a smaller boat might have been a little scary in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
This probably was the first resort in the Maldives where we had a welcome drink in the actual lobby of the hotel. The drinks were very tasty, the cold towels smelled heavenly and after a few minutes we were escorted by our concierge to our beach villa with pool. While in most of the resorts we visited in the Maldives, you can walk around the whole island in less than 10 minutes, the golf cart drive from the lobby to our villa took about the same time, and it didn’t drive at snail’s pace. The island is huge! Apparently it’s even bigger than the capital Malé, which has a population of over 140.000 people!
We were given a brief tour of our villa by our concierge and she explained us how everything worked, which was necessary with such a fancy coffee machine. She also showed Laura the seperate make-up fridge, to make sure all her beauty products stayed cool. She gave us her card with her phone number and told us we could call her anytime if we needed anything. We weren’t asked if our suitcases needed to be unpacked, and we also didn’t ask her to do it, so we don’t know if that’s a service they usually provide or not. The check-in was totally hassle-free and quick, which we very much like.
To be honest, we weren’t particularly fond of the design of the resort. A lot of dark wood has been used , which probably looked very chic 10 years ago, but it just didn’t make our hearts beat faster. The hotel has been open for quite a while now, and while some places still look really good and the whole resort is maintained beautifully, we believe it’s time for a make-over to make it a bit more modern. There are a lot of reasons why One&Only Reethi Rah is one of the absolute best resorts in the Maldives, but personally, we think design isn’t one of them.
We stayed in a beach villa with pool, and we really think that’s the way to go if you’re staying here. While the bed- and bathrooms are very similar or even identical in the overwater villas or the beach villas without pool, the private beaches with pool make all the difference. Our beach had direct sunlight during the whole day and was absolutely huge! The pool was so inviting and we just spent hours and hours in it. We could honestly live full-time in a beach villa with pool, that’s how great it is.
The villa itself is very well equipped and offers everything you might need, except for enough closet space, which probably is the only negative aspect we could find about our villa. The bed was extremely comfortable, to the point it was more difficult than normal getting out of it in the morning. The bathroom is very spacious and the showers (both indoor and outdoor) and the large bath are great. But to be honest, with a private beach like that, you won’t be spending a lot of time inside your villa , so does it even matter?
While we said the beach villas with pool are the way to go, if you can afford a Sunset Grand Residence, that’s the actual way to go. We’re quite sure a private chef, an extra swimming pool and your own movie theater on the beach would make your stay here even better.
6. Common areas
Where to start? Because the island is so big, there are a lot of common areas where you can meet and socialise with other guests. There are numerous pools and beaches to explore and there are a couple places we really liked: particularly the lap pool, which is a stunning infinity pool overlooking the turquoise lagoon with built-in jacuzzi, and the beach club, which is an amazing place for families with kids. We also spent one evening at Epicure, which is the beautiful wine cellar, for a wine tasting with just 2 other couples. It was really interesting, we had lots of fun and it was a great way to meet other people. Because of the size of the island, you’ll need at least a week to completely discover the island and everything it has to offer!
7. Spa / Wellness
The spa here is the perfect place to completely relax. It’s probably one of the resort’s most stunning places (and that’s a big statement), located in lush manicured gardens where you can just feel the stress falling of your shoulders when you enter. Laura had an amazing facial, and while my massage was very good as well, I had to hold a little gemstone in my hand the whole time, which was actually very annoying. I was more busy with making sure I didn’t let it fall on the ground than with enjoying my massage.
8. Food & Beverage
Now this is where the resort really excels! We didn’t have a single dish or drink that wasn’t delicious during our stay. Instead of summing up every single meal and dish we had, we would like to just pick out a few that really blew us of our socks:
- The breakfast buffet was immediately awarded the ‘best breakfast buffet in the world’ by Laura after our first morning.
- Our dinner at Botanica with the freshest and most local food was amazing and was made even better by the friendliest restaurant manager.
- The cocktails with Sake at Japanese restaurant Tapasake were absolutely mouth-watering, as was the Wagyu beef and everything else actually.
We came from a 20-villa resort where everyone knew our name and our personal preferences, to one of the biggest resorts in the Maldives, so it would be unfair to judge One&Only with the same criteria. With over 900 staff people, we didn’t expect them all to know our names, and well, they didn’t. Service in general was very very good however. We never had to wait for anything, not a single mistake was made, and you just notice that this resort is a well oiled machine.
10. Value for money
A beach villa with pool will probably cost you just north of $2.000/night, transfer and breakfast included, which is about what you would expect to pay for a resort like this in the Maldives. For that price, you will probably find a more beautiful villa, and in that price-range you’ll also find a resort with real butler service and a more personal service. But you’ll have an extremely hard time finding a resort with a more stunning private beaches and with better food. You’ll have an even more difficult time finding a resort that makes you feel like you’re in paradise more.
When you look at all the points individually like we just did, you might get the feeling One&Only isn’t that good of a resort. But you’re wrong. All things considered, there’s no resort in the Maldives we would rather go back to than One&Only Reethi Rah. You get the feeling you’re in paradise 24/7 and every single spot on the island is just absolutely stunning. It’s one of the very few resorts that has it all.
If you want privacy, you can have privacy, and if you want to do absolutely nothing all day, then One&Only Reethi Rah is the perfect place for you. But even if you want to surround yourself with others and enjoy an active holiday full of excursions and activities, then One&Only Reethi Rah is also the perfect place for you. It’s just one of those places where everyone is genuinely happy and where the vibe is just incredibly good, and that’s very hard to put in words.