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From Sea to Shore
Beth Weitzman | Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts Maldives | April 18, 2014
With two private islands and a floating resort, the Four Seasons Resorts Maldives take exotic to extremes.
Soon after the sun rises, I hop on my bike, stop at Café Landaa for breakfast and then head to the resort’s sprawling 2.5-acre Spa and Ayurvedic Retreat, located in the middle of the island. Kicking off my shoes, I enter the roomy reception area, which leads to a well-stocked boutique. Like all guests on their first visit here, I sit for a complimentary ayurvedic consultation, which reveals my dosha (one of three classifications comprising one’s constitution according to ayurveda, a traditional Indian method of medical treatment practiced for more than 3,000 years). Also discussed are my current lifestyle and foods, both good and bad, for my particular dosha type. So serious is it about this business, the resort even has a unique ayurvedic food-labeling system on all its restaurant menus—especially important for guests who come for its all-inclusive seven-, 14- and 21-day Ayurvedic Immersion programs.
Following this enriching experience is another in the form of deep relaxation delivered in one of 10 sizable open-air treatment pavilions, three for ayurveda treatments, that sit amid lush tropical gardens or, my favorite, open-air, on stilts over a turquoise lagoon with glass-paneled floors and a huge bathtub. Although I could easily spend the day luxuriating in the wide array of services available—including ayurveda, acupuncture, chakra blessings, body treatments, facials, and various forms of yoga and breathing—the 90-minute signature Landaa massage, a blending of Asian traditional techniques with pure plant oils and essences, beckons my attention. So restoring, the indulgence necessitates the need for my therapist to ease me back into consciousness before escorting me back to the mainland, where, fully mesmerized by the magic of the Maldives, relaxation continues on a large daybed surveying a blue lagoon.
When hunger eventually calls, I’m back on my bike, cruising to the western tip of the island for lunch at Blu, where walking through the sand-floor bar leading to what seems like a forever stretch of white-sand beach causes my jaw to drop. Crystal-blue sea meeting endless sky amounts to one of the best views I have ever seen—a striking, stare-inducing complement to the stark-white restaurant featuring blue decor. By this time, the staff knows us by name and greets us with a warm welcome. Here, a spot for contemporary Italian fare, appetizers of snapper carpaccio; and buffalo mozzarella, rocket salad and fresh tomatoes begin a meal that also includes a variety of pizzas straight from the wood-burning oven and delicious entrees of roasted king prawns and grilled job fish fillet.
After lunch is a spell of sunning and snorkeling, before dusk introduces beautiful Seabar, a unique floating bar with steps that lead down into the lagoon and lounge-style seating along the water’s edge. The group congregates here to enjoy frozen margaritas and bites from the tapas-style menu, while listening to the DJ spinning tunes. We reminisce about this truly incredible journey, which will soon include a dinner of authentic Arabian cuisine at Al Barakat. Built over the water, and off the main jetty, we dine rooftop, and in traditional style, in comfortable low seating, for a meal beginning with mezzah (hot and cold appetizers), along with scrumptious bread and salad leaves served with various dips. Shareable main courses include all the skewers, lamb shank and Moroccan meatballs our stomachs can hold.
Awaking to my final 24 hours in the Maldives produces gratitude—and something of an encore. One more walk on the beach, one more tasty breakfast and a Thai massage. Although typically open just for dinner, Fuego Grill prepares a special lunch of delectable fresh fish that my group enjoys at sand-set, sea-facing teak tables and chairs before saying our farewells. Later, alone, I soak up the sun and swing by the teppanyaki counter at Café Landaa for dinner, amazed that the time for yet another goodbye—this one my own—to another fabulous Four Seasons property, and to the Maldives, has come.
Fortunately, island bliss will follow me home.