A resident marine biologist is available to introduce you to the delights of the resort’s house reef, and the proximity of Gaafu Alifu to the equator means a rich array of marine life is in abundance. You are more than likely to encounter some of the atoll’s resident hawksbill turtles at least once during your adventures in the water, which can be taken in the form of snorkelling, scuba diving, paddle boarding or gentle sojourns on a glass-bottom kayak. A generous list of treatments is on offer at the overwater spa, its glass floors offering views of the underwater world as you begin to unwind and settle in to the realisation that you may have found a slice of Maldivian paradise quite unlike any other.
Guest accommodation at Raffles is divided between Meradhoo island itself (where Beach Villas and Residences all open out onto the softest sands), and the overwater retreat, located just a short hop from the main island. Butler service comes as standard whichever base you choose, as do private pools, deep soaking bathtubs and 24-hour in-villa dining. Beach Villas offer a light and airy open-plan space with King-sized bed and living area, opening on to a private beach-facing verandah with day beds, and a lap pool set a little back for additional privacy. The Deluxe Beach Villas can accommodate a family of four due to their more generously sized open-plan interiors, and Beach Residences offer yet more space with a second bedroom which opens directly onto an expanded private terrace and garden. Spending time out on deck is the highlight of accommodation in the overwater area; lounge on a day bed or over the water itself, reclined on the netting while you contemplate the endless blue skies. The Overwater Villa category are refreshingly spacious in their own right, but one can opt for an Overwater Residence to benefit from a second bedroom and a prime location on the furthest tip of the lagoon. Back on the beach, the Raffles Royal Residence provides the ultimate in space, luxury and privacy for larger groups.
Though Raffles is not a traditionally family-focused resort, children are still welcomed here. There is no designated kids’ club or pool, but a team of ‘child butlers’ are on hand to entertain younger guests. The PADI dive centre offers Bubblemaker courses for 8 & 9 year-olds, and a variety of Junior Dive courses are offered for children aged 10 and over.
FOR WEDDINGS & HONEYMOONS
The diminutive island of Meradhoo, boasting powder-white sands and uninterrupted expanses of blue ocean and sky, provides a simply stunning backdrop against which to exchange your vows. A variety of wedding packages can be organised for your special day, and the resort provides an equally memorable setting for a special honeymoon.
THINGS TO DO AT THE RESORT
- Snorkel in the inviting waters of the house reef, home to abundant marine life
- Retreat to the overwater Raffles Spa, perhaps indulging in an aromatherapy milk bath, massage and body wrap
- Float along the crystalline waters in a glass-bottom kayak, observing eagle rays drift beneath you
- Call upon your butler to deliver a Raffles Sipsmith gin and tonic to your terrace while you watch the sun set
- Opt for a classic scuba diving excursion arranged through the PADI dive centre, or a more specialised course such as Nitrox diving or underwater photography
- Embark upon a dolphin watching cruise or champagne sunset sailing in a traditional dhoni
- Learn to catch fish in the traditional Maldivian way, or charter a boat for a big-game fishing expedition in search of sailfish, mahi mahi and giant trevally
WINE & DINE
- Enjoy casual, all day dining right on the beach at the Thari restaurant
- Feast on fine barbecue cuisine under the stars at The Firepit
- Sample delectable Peruvian cuisine and ceviches at Yuzu
- Peruvian and Japanese influences continue to the expansive drinks menu at the Yapa Sunset Bar
- The legendary Raffles Long Bar in Singapore has also been replicated at the resort, with ocean views and an irresistible array of cocktails