The newly opened St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is the first truly luxurious resort in the undeveloped Dhaalu Atoll. We just had to include it in our latest island hopping trip — and glad we are that we did. This property is a gem that wows with the astonishing contemporary design, set against the pristine beauty of its secluded lagoon location.
This was the third place we were visiting on the journey. As we arrived in Male, the representatives of the resort were already waiting for us on the sea plane jetty. Very swiftly they had us transferred to the beautiful St Regis airport lounge, but the way they did it put broad smiles on our faces. We were invited to take that shortest ride, of no more than 300 meters over the marina grounds, in the only Bentley in the Maldives.
The later arrival to the Vommuli island continued the over-the-top treatment, first simply by the virtue of the beautiful seaplane journey and then by the welcome ceremony. The management and butler greeted us and served welcome drinks and instantly made us feel well taken care of.
But we had barely time to shake all hands before we were being shown around the island, on the way to our very own villa-on-stilts.
The Whale and the shell
Having stayed at quite a few top Maldivian hotels, we ought to have expected the unexpected, for if these resorts share one common trait it is the desire to wow and enchant with something new or unique.
That something at the St Regis Vommuli Resort is the realisation of just how striking its architecture is. Of course, we saw the property photos well before travelling to the Maldives, but to see these sharp, sleek, bold and almost otherworldly structures with our own eyes was quite another thing.
Inspired by nature, the iconic forms of the resort have a dreamy quality, which was quite appropriate for a paradisiacal holiday destination.
Take The Whale Bar, for example. It could have been just another over-water sunset hangout, but at St Regis, it becomes a parable that made us consider whether you could, after all, be swallowed by a giant fish.
Then there is the shape of the Library, referencing a seashell. Its interior will make you feel a child again, gaping in wonder at the fantastical space twisting all the way up to the skylight in the highest point of the ceiling.
The architectural wonders don’t end there. The sprawling Spa is reminiscent of a giant lobster, while the guest villas are inspired by manta rays, “flying” in the lagoon. Their sharp outer forms are quite unlike any other over-water structures.
As we entered our villa-on-stilts, the first impression was that of a very generous amount of space, but the decor was a slight surprise. After the spectacular sights on the island, we weren’t sure what to expect exactly, but the interior feels almost conservative by comparison.
The decor really does feel “St Regis” though — it is neat and crisp, set in palettes of creme and light wood and infused with natural light. The open plan makes the interior naturally flow into the indulgent outdoor terrace featuring private plunge pool, loungers and over-water nets. Accessible directly from bedroom or bathroom through the sliding floor-to-ceiling windows, the deck also allows to descend directly to the sea.
Cargo and Iridium
We discovered all the other attractions and sights of the resort over the next few days.
One of our favourite places was the lobster-shaped, overwater Iridium Spa. It offers a whole swath of treatments, including the very good steam rooms and sauna. The highlight at the spa is the Blue Hole Pool, a picture-perfect circular water feature (did you see our photos on Instagram?), said to be the biggest hydrotherapy pool in the Maldives. As in, bubbles and water jets etcetera. It’s like a supersized jacuzzi, except it is also an infinity pool.
The food deserves a special mention, as it really is quite amazing. There are as many as six dining venues, from the above-mentioned Whale bar (go there for light meals and sundowners) to the beachfront Alba (serving the most amazing breakfasts), and from the Lebanese-style Cargo (its kitchen is built in an actual shipping container) to the beach style Crust, serving light lunches (we loved the pizzas here).
There is also the underground Decanter, the wine cave, which proudly displays, among hundreds of bottles, two wines from 18th Century.
From the spa to dining, from snorkelling to cycling (we loved the white bikes!), the time here was too short to have enough fun. The few days we spent at St Regis went by way too fast and soon we were being waved goodbye. As were waving back, the only thing on our minds was the wish to stay a little bit longer. Or to be back soon.