Is One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives’ most beautiful island?
1. Intro to One&Only Reethi Rah
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 (prices available here), you see their eyes light up and a their smiles getting even bigger. It’s one of those places where you know you’re in for a treat, 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.
After arriving in Malé at the domestic airport (which is even worse than the international airport, a representative of Raffles Meradhoo where we had just spent some time escorted us to the One&Only check-in desk. A very charismatic One&Only representative told us our speedboat transfer was shared with another couple. Unfortunately that couple was running a bit late because their flight got delayed. Since One&Only does not have an airport lounge, we sat down at the local coffee bar. We ordered and paid for 2 coffees and received a 30 minute free wifi voucher. Much appreciated, after spending 2 hours without internet (the horror). Spending more than $10 gets you another 30 minute voucher, 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 nice. It was comfortable on the inside, with large leather fauteuils, free wifi, refreshing cold towels and plastic (!) bottles of water! The 45 minute speedboat ride went by quickly, thanks to the other couple on the boat, who was a blast. All in all quite a 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. 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.
The first resort in the Maldives where we had a welcome drink in the actual lobby of the hotel. We enjoyed the very tasty drinks and the cold towels which smelled heavenly. 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 exactly 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!
Our concierge gave us a tour of our villa and she explained how everything worked. Normally we find villa tours a bit unnecessary, but the fancy coffee machine here needed a manual. She also showed Laura the separate make-up fridge, to make sure all her beauty products stayed cool. She also gave us her business card and told us to call her anytime we needed something. We thought she’d ask to unpack our suitcases, but she didn’t, so we don’t know if that’s a service they actually provide on request. 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. Personally, it just didn’t make our hearts beat faster. The hotel has been open for quite a while now, and some places still look really good. But even though the whole place is maintained beautifully, we believe it’s time for a make-over. Just to make everything a bit more modern. There are many reasons why this 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 it’s the category we would recommend to everyone. The bed- and bathrooms are identical in the overwater villas or the beach villas without pool. The additional benefit of having your own private beach 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. Almost everything, because closet space was missing, which probably is the only negative aspect we could find about our villa. The bed was extremely comfortable, to the point where we never woke up early here. The bathroom is very spacious and the showers (both indoor and outdoor) and the large bath are great. However with a private beach like that, you won’t be spending lots of time inside your villa!
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. The place to be for booking this resort.
11. Summary of One&Only Reethi Rah
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.
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