Our newest writer to join TheDesignAir, Mel Kirk, über-successful blogger and owner of Tribal Media, has taken a trip that everyone in our office is green with envy of. With deep jealousy, we introduce you to her experience of one of our Hot Hotels, joining our very limited edition of hotels to take notice of and travel to on your next trip abroad.
We recently had the pleasure of visiting the Park Hyatt Hadahaa in the Maldives, an area we believe to be one of the most exquisite in the world. We really want to be negative, we want to tell you that it’s horrible and that you should never go, keeping this beautiful gem all for ourselves, but quite frankly, that would just be selfish. The Park Hyatt (originally an Alila Villas property) have done a beautiful job of creating a tranquil boutique resort with only 50 rooms that’s been perfectly thought out in every aspect and which takes luxury travel to the next level.
After a long journey from London, we arrived at the island by boat to be greeted by the resort’s representatives whose enthusiasm and energy was so contagious that we immediately forgot the long journey that we’d just travelled. We were swept in to the beautiful Dhoni to be seated where we were given iced tea whilst they sorted every aspect of check-in for us.
After being introduced to Sharaf who would act as our Personal Host throughout our stay, we were taken to our Park Pool Villa and what a villa it was! Not being ones for old-fashioned frills and grandeur, the simplicity, modernism and quality of the furniture throughout told us we knew that we’d chosen the right property for our stay. As soon as Sharaf left us, we went to explore – the beautiful outside bathroom complete with shower and bath, the outdoors pool, which by no means is a plunge pool, the sound system, the extensive mini-bar – we combed through every fine detail, stopping to do the odd spot of jumping on the spot with excitement for having arrived in paradise. We are assured this is completely normal behavior of course.
On the first morning, we ventured to the hotel restaurant, outdoors and overlooking the pool and the ocean, to explore the hotel’s cuisine. We were greeted with coffee, freshly squeezed juices, fruit, pastries and crepes before being given the menu to choose our breakfast! We swiftly made a promise that we’d be taking advantage of the complimentary yoga sessions to work off the excesses that we were clearly going to be consuming.
We should add, one of our favourite things about the menus in all of the restaurants (there are 3 in total including the bar pool which is lovely and relaxed for lunch dining) was that they offered healthy options. From low fat yoghurts and granola for breakfast through to freshly grilled tuna, salads and juices for lunch, the options were extensive. This left us with plenty of calories to consume in the evening when we often over indulged in their beautiful curries – for which we will be getting the recipes… they were divine!
We chose to go all-inclusive and would highly recommend this for anyone staying at the resort. You easily save the money that you would have spent on the meals (they are pretty pricey! – a downside, but common in the Maldives) and all wines, sprits and champagnes are included (up to $200 per bottle). We certainly did well with that…
The Saturday evening saw us invited to a Manager’s Drinks Reception on the beach where we were greeted with a traditional Maldivian band and dancing, the perfect background to watch the beautiful pink sun setting. What could have just been entertainment for each of the guests to watch was completely transformed by their Marketing Manager, James, who used it as an opportunity to bring people together, to get people talking and to make new friends. It was genuinely one of the highlights of our stay.
After 7 nights, we spent a further 2 in the stunning Water Villas. At this point all socializing went out of the window as we couldn’t bear to drag ourselves away from the room. Day beds go right up to the edge of the veranda meaning that you can dangle your legs over the coral reef below and spend hours just watching many of the tropical fish swimming away below you. What’s more, the resort offers in-room dining, complete with tablecloths and silver cutlery, so you really can become swept away in your own little world.
Whilst you can quite happily spend all day every day living on island time (things are much slower and we didn’t wear our shoes once) there is the option of many excursions, from swimming over the equator, deep sea fishing (which I was forced into but secretly enjoyed), and dolphin tours through to diving. There is also free hire of non-motorized water equipment such as snorkeling gear and kayaks, which we took advantage of on a daily basis.
We took the time out of our hectic Maldivian schedule (all sarcasm intended) to enjoy a couple’s massage in their spa, Vidhun. We opted for this signature massage, Sehathu massage. This isn’t a massage for the faint hearted – an hour of deep massage certainly leaves you feeling a little tender but you’ll reap the rewards the day after – completely free of tension and knots. Therefore, it’s well worth considering having this treatment at the start of your stay!
The Park Hyatt Hadahaa was such a pleasure to experience, transported to a different pace of life where all of the staff genuinely wanted to ensure that we had the most amazing stay. We’d definitely recommend trying both the Park Pool Villas and the Water Villas as it makes you feel as though you’ve experienced 2 holidays in one. A word of warning, you may want to have your tissues handy for when you leave the island… there are rumours that some people cry big fat tears when they leave.
Of course, that wasn’t us, nope, definitely not us…. *sniff*
We booked directly with Park Hyatt. maldives.hadahaa.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html. Rooms start at US$830
Public Areas 8/10
Lasting Impressions 9/10