Undeniably one of the world’s most romantic destinations, famed for its Instagram-worthy islands that will no doubt flood your feed from the moment you arrive, the Maldives has long enticed honeymooners thanks to its impossibly idyllic powder-white sands, crystal-clear waters, and signature over-water bungalows. It is here — a 50-minute domestic flight from Malé, followed by a five-minute speed boat ride, nestled on the picture-perfect island of Falhumaafushi in the Gaafu Alifu atoll — dreams really do come true.
Stepping off the resort’s speed boat, a gentle ocean breeze reminds you to take it slow and take in the sights and sounds of what can unapologetically only be described as paradise — you have arrived at The Residence Maldives at Falhumaafushi. Fringed by pristine beaches with glorious palm and coconut trees that appear to sway on cue, it is immediately apparent that the five star resort is designed to keep guests close to nature.
Quietly grand, The Residence Maldives at Falhumaafushi offers 94 elegantly appointed beachfront and over-water villas in a fusion of earthy colours, woods and stones. Bespoke furnishings, accented with local artefacts are juxtapositioned with modern comforts to ensure every need is catered to, while high ceilings and French doors provide an airy and light-filled cocoon. Beds are ideally positioned to enjoy views of the turquoise Indian Ocean, and for many, the pièce de résistance that unquestionably provides something to write home about, is the exceptionally luxurious bathroom — complete with indoor and outdoor rain showers, and an oversized freestanding bath that sits in front of sliding glass doors, overlooking sparkling jump-out-into-the-ocean water, or lush greenery and sugar-like sand.
While being just a jump, or a few steps into the ocean is surely the epitome of luxury, more than half of the beachfront and over-water villas also boast their own private infinity pool — just when you thought your honeymoon experience couldn’t possibly reach higher levels of indulgence. If you can tear yourselves away from everything the villas have to offer (including a lavish floating breakfast in your pool, or a private dinner under the stars), culinary delights await at the resort’s dining venues just a short bike, or buggy ride away. From an international buffet paired with à la carte dishes such as Maldivian curries and bespoke pastas at The Dining Room, to a barbecued seafood feast at al fresco beach dining hotspot, The Sunset Grill, even the pickiest of palettes will be pleased. Be sure to also reserve a table at the resort’s fine dining restaurant, The Falhumma — meaning solitary flower — inspired by a local folklore tale of a spice merchant and a mermaid, located at the end of a 230-metre jetty overlooking the house reef. Plates here, such as the seared scallops served with artichoke barigoule tortellini, squid ink and truffle foam, are delivered as works of art, bursting with colour.
Also bursting with colour, is the coral-rich ocean surrounding Falhumaafushi. Offering unparalleled access to the region’s marine life, the privileged location of the resort means it has one of the most abundant natural sanctuaries for dolphins, reef sharks, octopuses and turtles, plus a kaleidoscopic array of fish to thrive — thanks to the island’s unspoilt location on one of the Maldives’ biggest and deepest atolls. A fully equipped dive and water sports centre means guests can dive right in with snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing, water skiing and more.
Back on dry land, the only Spa by Clarins in the Maldives sits at the end of a wharf, overlooking the calm waters of the lagoon. Boasting six thatched-roof couples suites, plus a hair and beauty salon, the spa offers honeymooners a wide selection of blissful treatments designed to bring a sense of holistic wellbeing to the mind, body and soul.
There are few destinations on earth as magical as the Maldives, and what better place to begin married life than in your own slice of paradise?
From Dhs4,480 per night; Cenizaro.com/theresidence
Images courtesy of The Residence Maldives, Falhumaafushi