For unparalleled luxury, the Maldives in the Indian Ocean is a journey very much worth taking by any avid traveller. Though its location might take some time to get to, today, the concern of distance dwindles, especially with carriers such as Emirates and Etihad providing a great standard of service from the United States into the Maldives via the airlines’ respective hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the Middle East.
This geological oddity is located just off the southern tip of India. It is comprised of 26 natural coral atolls, within which are 1200 islands, none of which are higher than 1.5 metres above sea level. Some one hundred of those islands are exclusive resort islands. The newest of which is the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort on Konotta Island in the middle of the Gaafu Dhalu atoll in the south of the country.
I immediately noticed the absolute clarity and translucent nature of the seawater combined with the perfect talcum powder white of the soft sands. The Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort presents the perfect definitive desert island getaway, offering an abundance of luxury, space and exclusivity.
With the largest average villa sizes in the Maldives, Outrigger boasts 53 villas – all of which have their own private pools. Guests have the option of 24 Beach Pool Villas (211 sqm), seven Two-Bedroom Pool Villas (282 sqm), 21 Ocean Pool Villas (225 sqm), and the Presidential Villa (600 sqm).
The Outrigger is ideal for couples looking for elite, secluded romance. From the Ocean Pool Villa, guests can enjoy direct access to the pristine waters of the lagoon. Each villa features king size bed, oversized bathrooms and outdoor wooden deck with private 5.2m infinity pool. Villa dining, private boat excursions, the Navasana Spa and romantic dining on the beach, create the perfect ambience for togetherness.
The marine environment adjacent to the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resorts is second to none. There are many wonderful ways to enjoy the pristine marine conditions of Konotta.
Best Dives Maldives is the resort’s full-time activities provider. It offers an extensive range of island discoveries, cultural excursions, private island trips for couples and a full range of water sports from snorkeling and kayaking to catamaran rides, wind and kite surfing, fishing, seabob trips round the island and a full range of PADI scuba courses.
A fully qualified marine biologist, Caterina Fattori from Polytechnic University Ancona in Italy, joined the Best Dives team on Konotta Island in September. She participates in Outrigger guests’ snorkel and scuba dive excursions on request. She gives talks and presentations to groups. Her additional role is to train all Best Dive Maldives tour leaders on marine ecology so that understanding and conservation is part of every sea-going excursion.
With a snorkel and mask I was able to experience the coral reef immediately adjacent to the resort and attained regular sightings of turtles and eagle rays and shoals comprising thousands of fish. As the ultimate destination for water enthusiasts, Outrigger coordinated a boat trip with Best Dives Maldives where I was able to see dolphins in the wild.
One of the highlights of my expedition to Konotta was taking a trip in a dhoni — a local Maldivian fishing boat — and waiting for dolphins to emerge. They often follow the dhoni and playfully swim around the bow of the vessel. Local marine experts, Best Dives Maldives, know the best times and places to find the dolphins. It's a beautiful highlight of any trip to Konotta. You can even dive in and swim with them.
Many of the sandy coral atolls can and should be explored by speedboat. Those looking for true seclusion have the opportunity to be left on a small island for a few hours to really enjoy a romantic experience together.
The Blue Salt restaurant takes marine exploration to another level, offering an exotic array of mouth-watering global cuisine, including Maldivian and regional flavors. I was able to enjoy an island favorite, the salt and charcoal baked chicken, which is marinated for 24 hours in wild mushrooms and truffle, then baked until the dough becomes hard. It is then cracked open at the table with a hammer for enjoyment. I was also served their signature breakfast – salmon and truffle scrambled eggs served with shaved truffles and salmon caviar.
Seafood lovers alike have much to look forward to in the Maldives. Indian Ocean dishes include Maldivian lobster, steamed grouper, baked jobfish and oysters (with a choice of coriander chutney or vodka granita) and Peruvian ceviche (local job fish served with freshly made coconut cream, island-grown lime, and Konotta garden herbs).
During my stay, I also enjoyed Outrigger’s Nala Rah, which is a wonderful two-story open air Teppan-Sushi Bar with a luxurious and succulent selection of Japanese-inspired dishes, utilizing the freshest local seafood. Nala Rah is a very stylish, yet relaxed dinner venue with the emphasis on taste and informality.
Outrigger prides itself on offering guests sumptuous private dining options not only in the privacy of their villa, but also at a pop up private beach venue anywhere on the sand around the island.
Navasana Spa at the Outrigger provided me with a holistic and relaxing journey during my stay. Navasana is the combination of two Sanskrit words, “nava” – the vessel and “asana” – a term associated with the practice of yoga, meaning a body position used to fortify as well as relax body and mind in a wholesome manner.
Well worth the trip halfway around the world, the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort offers the perfect combination of relaxation, rejuvenation and discovery in arguably the world’s most idyllic beach destination.
For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.outriggermaldives.com.