Paradise Found

by Anton D. Javier
Photos courtesy of The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort
03 Jun 2019

Fun under the sun and the quest for dolphins at the paradise destination also known as The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort

The text from my travel companion read: “Dolphins just swam past our villas!” Unfortunately, I missed this magnificent sight because I was on my laptop checking emails.

Clearly I haven’t settled into holiday mode and was still in a Singapore state of mind, clearing work and sorting out the last few items on my to-do list. But I promised myself that I would allow Westin Hotels & Resorts’ “Empowering a Better You” philosophy to take over as soon as possible – we were at the new Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort after all.

As one of the first few guests of the luxury property since it opened a month prior in October 2018, the resort was only at 30% occupancy, which meant relaxation, plenty of downtime, and moments of beautiful solitude under the sun were on the agenda. True enough, we experienced the Westin’s Six Pillars of Well-Being (Feel Well, Work Well, Move Well, Eat Well, Sleep Well, and Play Well) in spades during our stay.

As the first Westin property in the Maldives, its location needed to instantly impress. The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort is lucky to call the Baa Atoll – a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site – home, where it is nestled on a beautiful coral island that was once a turtle hatchery (the turtles are coming back now that construction is over). When viewed from above, the PEIA Associati-designed property is playfully shaped like a fish, where a total of 70 villas and suites are strategically located to form its head, body, and tail.

There are a total of eight villa and suite configurations at The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo, ranging from cozy Island Pool Suites to stately 2-bedroom residences complete with kitchen facilities. We were lucky to stay in the coveted Overwater Suite with a swimming pool, which opens up to breathtaking blue views of an endless sky and the vast Indian Ocean.

The Overwater Suite boasts an open plan concept, doing away with walls that separate the living room, bedroom, and bathroom. What results is a sprawling, minimalist space, anchored by one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept on. While a TV was available, I forgot it was there the entire trip because a portion of the living area features a glass floor that offers a hypnotic view of the crystal clear waters below. I figured it was okay to momentarily miss out on global affairs in exchange for entertainment brought about by colorful fish and baby sharks swimming about. At night, switch on the lights that illuminate the water and allow the rocking waves to lull you to sleep.

At the resort, our days would start at Island Kitchen, which is the property’s all-day dining spot. It was also here where I decided to go meat-free for four days because the abundance of fresh seafood makes a momentary break from red meat a lot easier. Healthy breakfast options would consist of fruits and freshly baked pastries, an endless amount of cereals and yogurt varieties, as well as a la carte options like Japanese breakfast sets, open-faced sandwiches, an assortment of egg dishes, and more. In the afternoon, we’d make our way to Hawker, a casual restaurant and bar for barefoot dining. After watersports, a quick gym workout, or a mid-day swim, iced teas, fresh juices, and hearty Southeast Asian fare here were a godsend. Our group also enjoyed several dinners at The Pearl, which is the resort’s specialty Japanese restaurant known for sensational sushi, sake, ocean views, and memorable evenings under the moonlight.

In addition to lounging around in beautiful villas, sunbathing, and feasting, The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort also has a wealth of activities available for a holistic experience. Enjoy a relaxing spa and massage session at the Heavenly Spa by Westin; fit in a workout at the 24-hour WestinWORKOUT fitness center; sign up for cooking classes that feature local Maldivian or international cuisines; or book a photo shoot session at the in-house photography studio, which is particularly popular with honeymooners.

For something quintessentially Maldivian, our group opted for a sunset dolphin cruise, which was easily booked at the resort’s watersports center. Finally, a chance to redeem the missed sighting on the first day! True enough, 15 minutes after sailing out, we spotted our first pod of dolphins weaving their way through the water, occasionally jumping out as if to acknowledge our presence. With the resort’s beautiful overwater villas in the distance, paired with a dramatic sunset that only the Maldives knows how to paint, I realized that a moment a like this was the universe’s way of telling me that it’s okay to forget about the emails and not feel guilty about switching off my laptop – living life well (and dolphins) comes first.

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