“We’re not just in the business of selling rooms, we sell experiences,” says Stefan O. Huemer, general manager of the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau. After three years of development and construction, the sparkling new resort—officially opened on September 1 in the southern tip of the Raa Atoll, not far from the country’s only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve—is poised to prove him right. In addition to being the brand’s first hub in the Maldives, the 81-villa property is also the first anywhere to offer Club InterContinental benefits to all guests, elevating the experience for all who check in.
The upgraded journey starts upon arrival at Male International Airport, where staffers organize a seamless transfer to the dedicated InterContinental lounge (also opened on September 1), where you can wait in air-conditioned, WiFi-equipped comfort for the seaplane to the resort. (If cloudy skies prohibit seaplane take-offs, guests will be booked on a short domestic flight to Dharavandhoo island, followed by a 30-minute luxury speedboat ride to the hotel.) However you arrive, you’ll get a hero’s welcome, with a band of traditionally clad drummers, smiling staff members, and your “curator” (a.k.a. butler) awaiting you on the dock. Check-in is then performed in your villa, which might be on the beach, over the water, or around a swimmable lagoon.
The curator service is one of the signatures of the resort, with the dedicated host taking care of everything from personalizing your mini-bar and making spa appointments to organizing activities like secluded island dinners, stargazing sessions, outdoor movie nights, campfire storytelling, wine tastings, and all manner of water sports and snorkeling/diving/sailing excursions. Along with the butler service, complimentary Club benefits enjoyed by all guests include daily buffet and a la carte breakfast (served at the all-day dining Café Umi and the adults-only The Retreat), multi-tiered afternoon tea service, and evening cocktails and canapes. Other meals and drinks can be taken at one of the six restaurants and bars, which range from the seafood-focused, Southeast Asian-flavored Fish Market (also home to a boat-shaped Sunset Bar and an impressive wine cellar) to The Lighthouse, a romantic spot for 360-degree views and Mediterranean-influenced fare from an El Bulli-trained Spanish chef.
An engaging, well-equipped Planet Trekkers kids club, marine biologist-led marine center (which also oversees the resort’s manta ray conservation project), and the overwater AVI Spa—offering treatments like Balinese massages and full traditional Chinese medicine wellness programs—are some of the other on-island attractions, as are its long stretches of powdery soft sand and snorkeling-friendly waters. At the end of the sun-filled days, retreat to one of the villas or multi-bedroom residences, each featuring a private pool and a vibrant, comfortable décor inspired by the eclectic collections of a “wandering nomad.” With room types catering to different needs—overwater for the couples, beachside for families, and duplex lagoon villas tucked between both the ocean and sand—the resort rarely feels crowded, ensuring that tranquility remains the biggest perk of all. Rates start at $995 per night for a beach villa, $1,145 per night for an overwater villa, and $1,295 for a lagoon villa.