The sight of paradisiacal islets overgrown with swaying palm trees and ringed by the ivory-white beaches makes the Maldives a truly iconic destination. But much of its attraction lies in the luxury resorts that occupy these islands. And we just found one of the newest such havens: Vakkaru, where barefoot elegance meets rustic charm.
The experience of Vakkaru begins before arriving on the island — the private seaplane lounge in Male, where we waited for the transfer to the resort, gave us the first hints of what to expect. The warm reception, the quality of service and food, the atmosphere, all that put us in the right state of mind from the get-go.
It took just under half an hour on a seaplane to get to Vakkaru, and as the plane reached its final destination, bobbing on the waves, we saw the welcome party awaiting with drums, cold refreshments, towels.
Introductions followed, and, a delightful moment: our personal butler recognised us from a few years ago. We met at Six Senses Laamu! Small world.
Soon we were riding a club car on the winding sandy paths on the way to our villa. And what immediately drew our attention was just how lush the island was. The trees were mature, the bushes dense and verdant, and well taken care of. It makes for a nice first impression.
Villa on stilts
As we stepped into our overwater villa we were struck by just how elegant it was — and how well integrated into the design were rustic tones and hints of local art and craft.
From a four-poster bed at the centre of the bedroom looking directly to the sea, and a free-standing eggshell bathtub in the bathroom, to the sundeck and nets stretched over the water, our villa hit all the right points when comes to the romance factor.
The beach villas have more of a wow factor when comes to the amount of roaming space, enveloped in tropical greenery. In fact, it’s the best choice for everyone to whom sand under the feet is what makes the vacation.
Beyond the villas, the materials used to construct the resort, the patterns, the colours, and art pieces — they all create a place of unassuming luxury and timeless elegance. And yet the Vakkaru, at its core, has a healthy dose of a “down to earth” feel as well. We liked that a lot.
Our favourite time of the day was breakfast at Amanny. The spread was lavish, with literally everything on display, including a champagne station… And nothing kicks off the day quite the same way as a glass of bubbly on the beach.
There are four restaurants. For lunch, we would pop in to Isoletta, the restaurant specializing in contemporary Italian dishes, and to the Lagoon Bar for sundowners, though the bar serves delicious sushi and sashimi as well. If we felt like grill we would go to Vakku, and to the Onu restaurant for tasty Asian fusion dishes.
Food can make or break the resort experience, and at Vakkaru it certainly makes it, but there are other things to enjoy here, too.
Sea and sun
You can fill your day with water sports, such as kayaking, sea bobs, jet-skis, and catamarans, and the diving centre here is exceptional. Manta rays are a frequent sighting in the nearby waters.
But we were perfectly happy to not do much at Vakkaru, other than relaxing by the pool, paying a visit to the overwater spa (a fave of ours), or enjoying the beach and the intensely blue water of the lagoon.
This is really why we visit the Maldives over and over again: to switch off, and experience the simplicity of the sea and sun. And when comes to creating that pure barefoot holiday experience, the Vakkaru delivers — packaged in a perfect blend of rustic charm and sophisticated luxury.