Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Best Luxury Resorts in the Maldives
Updated Sep, 2020
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is an exclusive 5-star resort that's bringing a “next level” to the luxury holiday experience in the Maldives. Opened on July 2019 the resort raises the bar in modern luxury travel catering to the individual needs of its discerning guests.
Spanning across three islands in the South Male Atoll, the breathtaking new resort is surrounded by a crystal clear water lagoon, which play home to spectacular underwater life. Meaning “Pearl” in Dhivehi the ultra-luxurious sun-soaked paradise in the Maldives offers global travellers 138 appointed overwater and beach villas in an inspirational setting, complemented by the iconic True Waldorf Service experience. Additionally, the resort features 10 truly unique dining experiences, including an unforgettable treetop restaurant boasting stunning views. An exclusive yet serene Spa and Wellness Centre, a wide array of water sports as well as extensive facilities for junior guests will also feature within the new Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi.
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Your luxurious Waldorf Astoria journey starts in style when you leave the arrival gates, with a 30-minute luxury yacht ride (today is the only kind of transportation permitted for arrival at the resort). The boat transfer is also an experience. The yacht (and it is a really yacht) is three levels and has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. There are at least four crew members on board serving food, drinks and just making you feel like you’re Tom Cruise en route to your own private island. The guests can choose to sip champagne and nosh on canapes, fruits and pastries in the indoor lounge area, admire the crystal blue waters and feel the ocean breeze on the open-air upper deck, or head to the front of the yacht and revel as the luxury yacht speeds past different island resorts, patches of the reefs in the heart of the ocean and, if you are lucky, pods of leaping dolphins.
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the resort has taken all great precautions. The staff all wear masks, restaurant seating has spaced apart, hand sanitizing stations in various locations, check in performed at the villa and a portion of the resort was blocked off to create a quarantine zone if needed. A doctor will come by the villa to shortly after check in to take your temperatures and provided a complimentary antibody test. A PCR test will also be performed in accordance to your travel requirements.
Upon arrival at the main jetty, guests are escorted to the beachfront Welcome Centre, which plays it all thatched roofing and soaring ceiling in its island-chic stylings. After completing your check-in process, you will be introduced to your Personal Concierge who will be taking care of all your needs during your stay, from the making of dining reservations to facilitating arrangements for water sport activities and excursions. You will then be given a grand tour of the resort on a buggy (the main mode of transport around the sprawling island apart from free bicycles) before finally arriving at your villa.
Despite the fact that the hotel occupies three artificial (95%) islands, in fact there are six islands and a round sandbank with a handful of palm trees in the resort's heart. The length of ways links all the islands is 3.5 km, and despite the number of rooms, you rarely see other guests, even if the resort's capacity is 50%. While few design details have been released, the architects behind the project are Highness Engineering and Consultancy, with design firm Stickman Tribe collaborated on the resort’s interiors, including ten dining outlets.
While your personal concierge is available to drive you around in a golf cart, the best way to explore the island is by hopping on a bike. Every villa has two-three bikes and they make for a fun way to get from one end to the other, without a sunburn. A word of caution: Everyone drives on the left side of the road, so be sure to do the same when you’re biking. DOWNLOAD RESORT MAP
The resort also has a private island and two remote water villas that are only accessible by boat. The private island can be booked for a fairly reasonable $7,000 per night. Not bad, considering a standard villa goes for $1,800 at the resort and the private island is essentially its own resort.
The guest profile is ranged from wealthy Asian honeymooners and a glamorous American girls to rich UAE high-rollers who would not bat an eyelash before indulging in a US$750 sunset parasailing session.
As for Hilton's service: from the minute you stepped out into the arrival hall until you left, expect encountered nothing but exceptional service. Every staff member we interacted with, whether it was the gym attendant or my personal “concierge”, was genuinely helpful and friendly. They were always eager to chat and gave great suggestions for things to do and see around the island.
Beaches, as descended from the pages of glossy magazines, warm lagoons with turquoise water and one of the best diving in the Maldives - all this about the South Male Atoll. South Male Atoll (South Kaafu) is a group of islands in the Maldives, which lies just south of the North Male Atoll and is separated from it by the Vaadhoo Kandu channel. Showing the best of the Maldives, South Male region offers everything you can need for a memorable and comfy holiday. The days here revolve around swimming, relaxation, water sports and snorkeling - and nothing more. Read More
The resort, to be run under one of two luxury brands in Hilton’s portfolio spans three islands in South Male Atoll that are accessible by a short 30-minute yacht ride from the Maldives main Velana International Airport. Exit Airport terminal, walk distance of 100 meters to the jetty.
The WA Maldives has 122 beach and overwater villas, ranging from one to three bedroom villas and a four-bedroom presidential suite, carefully positioned to guarantee exclusivity and privacy for the guests while providing them with unsurpassed views of the ocean. Each villa is equipped with a private outdoor pool, jacuzzi and lounge deck area with usual five-star amenities.
Where to stay? Choosing perfect room type and location that is right for You at Waldorf Astoria Maldives. Learn More
The resort offers three categories of villas – Beach Villas with direct access to the sandy white beaches; Overwater Villas, which are set on the islan's ends furthest from the main jetty, offering maximum seclusion and privacy as well as uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean; and Reef Villas, which provide direct access to the turquoise waters and house reef below. Jetsetters seeking the ultimate in indulgence can either go for one of the Stella Maris Ocean Villas that are accessible only by boat and come with chef’s service and a hot tub or, if they really want to treat themselves, secure use of the Ithaafushi Private Island with its own two-bedroom overwater villa and three-bedroom beach villa along with a personal concierge team, dedicated chef, spa, an entertainment centre and five swimming pools.
While the outdoor landscapes of the different villa categories may vary, the general structure and features of every villa are fairly uniform. The “worst” room at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives is probably the best room you’ve ever stayed at. The interiors are largely identical in design – think towering cathedral-esque ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors, soothing and earthy neutral tones, geometric prints as well as luxurious brass and gold flourishes. All villas are equipped with an iPad for controlling the air-conditioning and blinds as well as to access restaurant menus and the resort’s weekly schedule of water activities. Each villa boasts a comfortable signature Waldorf Astoria bed, a 65-inch TV and sound system, facilities for preparing Nespresso coffee and Mariage Frères tea, a minibar with a selection of beverages and snacks as well as two spacious closets. The bathroom features double vanities, both outdoor and indoor rainfall shower facilities as well as an oversized bathtub, with bathroom products from Salvatore Ferragamo (no plastic bottles and wrappings) in stone dispensers. Every villa has its own expansive outdoor wooden deck with a gazebo, dining table, infinity pool, sun loungers and swinging daybeds. After dark, guests can relax on one of their villa’s outdoor sun loungers and allow the soothing sound of crashing waves to wash over them as they take in the beautiful sight of clear skies glittering brightly with stars.
As for Beach Villas location preference: The greenery around 600s appear much more denser than than the 200's. The south facing 600's have panoramic outlook and nothing in the distance. During the day you get the WA yacht come and go from time to time but you don't get any other boat traffic. At night, you look into the distance and there is very little lights from other islands / structures (that can be seen from some north / north east facing villas. If you can't get that, try to ask for a north east / lagoon facing Beach Villas in the 200s. We think would be OK with this view; there weren't many many people enjoying water sports but the location is close to the family pool (which has been mostly empty and highly enjoyable) and the gym/tennis courts. Plus We would think you would get a decent sunrise or sun visibility. SEE RESORT MAP
Now for Reef Villas, We think the 300s north facing would be better, the greenery is more dense than 400/500 islands,and it's more private (ie could not or harder to see some decks riding by) there are some decks on the 400s and 500s that are visible riding your bicycle past. plus it is more true north, and since we mentioned that there are some distant islands to the north/north east, the 300s We would think would be less impacted.
King Beach Villas with Pool have a lush vegetation surrounding the outdoor deck with infinity pool gives the villa a tropical vibe (although the greenery is not so lush that you can skinny-dip without giving neighbouring villa guests an eyeful). A path directly leads from the terrace to the stretch of private, white sandy beach where guests can frolic in the waters, look out for wildlife or take pensive, romantic walks along the shore. For those seeking instagram-worthy selfies , the beach is adorned with rock formations ideal for dramatic, shirt-blown-open telenovela-esque photos.
Try to spent one night at the resort in a King Grand Reef Villa with Pool. Whilst the beach accommodation is more conventional in its villa offerings, the reef villa does the Maldivian setting more justice by harnessing its natural assets to greater effect. The reef villa offers the dreaminess of an overwater setting plus direct ladder access to the reef below for fish-watching, splashy aquatic activities or even snorkelling if you request for the requisite gear in advance. Guests can choose to have a relaxing dip in the infinity pool, lounge on either of the swinging daybeds on both ends of the deck as it rocks in sync with the rhythm of the crashing waves below, or laze with a good book on one of the twin hammocks on the edge of the deck right above the reef. The rooom is tranquil and idyllic, and everything you could ever want in an escapist fantasy holiday.
Accessible only by boat on the lagoon's eastern edge, the only two units - Stella Maris Ocean Villas with Pool feature natural tones and expansive indoor and outdoor space to relax. Enjoy the 100% privaccy, a huge bathroom, infinity pool, stunning views, outdoor dining area, and terrace or deck. From 536 sq.m./5,767 sq.ft. the overwater villas accommodate 3 adults. These spacious retreats have a large bedroom with sitting area, generous indoor living and dining area fitted with state-of-the-art audio-visual entertainment and magnificent bathroom, all with floor-to-ceiling windows. The upper deck offers a chef's service and BBQ station. The lower wooden deck boasts its own infinity pool, hot tub, overwater hammocks and direct ocean access.
Dining and Wining
There are numerous food and beverage offerings that cater to a diverse culinary palette. The resort boasts a total of 11 exceptional, world-class dining options — the variety of which is a first in the Maldives. The elevated Terra will offer a tree house dining experience, while private dining options will be available at the cave-like Rock with wine cellar below. Mahal will feature modern Arabic cuisine and Chinoise will have a contemporary Chinese menu. The Glow Organic restaurant will be the ultimate choice of those looking for healthier dining options. The laid-back atmosphere of Amber, the resort's beach bar, will be perfect for guests to relax and enjoy cocktails while watching the sun set over the horizon.
We'd guess it takes about 22-23 minutes for the average person to walk from the middle of the 200's villas to Tasting Table for breakfast/Peacock Alley for Happy Hour. And though the resort is not the barren, treeless wasteland that some suggested it might be, it doesn't have a lot of protection from the sun along the paths, so the walk would not be comfortable by the time the sun is up. You're better off riding one of the complimentary bicycles (just ask your concierge to have them delivered to your villa) or calling to request a buggy. Or stay in the 600s, 500s or low 300s villas if you want to be within comfortable walking distance to breakfast/happy hour.
Breakfast can either be delivered to your villa or enjoyed at Tasting Table, the resort’s all-day dining concept which offers both indoor as well as beachside terrace seating. The cathedral-esque space was an intriguingly ethereal venue, basking in a warm and inviting glow and featuring dramatic suspended conical lamp-shades which accentuate its high ceiling. In terms of variety, the breakfast is largely buffet-based – think an extensive spread of delicious fresh pastries (highlights include the Kiwi Danish, Passionfruit Croissant and Hazelnut Praline Croissant), cold cuts, classic American breakfast sides, noodle soups, Chinese and Indian options as well as a small selection of Maldivian dishes such as Maldivian Tuna Curry. The restaurant also offers a limited a la carte menu comprising juice beverages and egg options such their signature Waldorf Astoria Eggs Benedict.
Located within the Welcome Centre, lounge bar concept Peacock Alley offers handcrafted cocktails and all-day light bites in a relaxed beachside setting. Between 4-5pm daily, the lounge operates as a venue for Hilton Honors Diamond members to enjoy sweet and savoury treats as well as mixologist beverages such as Pineapple Daiquiri, Whisky Sour, Classic Martini and Piña Colada.
The Ledge by Dave Pynt is exclusive barbecue grill restaurant at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. Chef Dave Pynt is the culinary mastermind behind Singapore’s Burnt Ends restaurant, which has been awarded one Michelin star and most recently ranked No. 10 on the San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List 2019. The Ledge's menu presents signature brand of burnt in a similar format but much expanded beachside space without the hassle of a months-long reservation list. The Ledge features Dave Pynt’s signature custom-built four-ton dual cavity oven and elevation grills fired by sustainable Jarrah wood – enabling the use of various techniques including smoking, slow roasting, hot roasting, baking and grilling. It is a perfect spot for a leisurely lunch of poolside favorites during the day and the place to go for the finest cut of succulent, wood-fired meats and fine wine in the evening.
Many of Pynt’s mainstays such as the Jamaican Chicken and Lime Crema, Eggplant & Miso, Marshmallow, Chocolate Fondant and Smoked Ice Cream as well as the Polly Pocket-sized Fish & Chips and Steak Frites (“just to inform you, the portion size is this big and for one person,” the server helpfully warns) make welcome appearances in the daily changing menu.
As is the case at Burnt Ends, diners absolutely need to order at least one steak dish – the deliriously smoky and incredibly juicy Blackmore’s Tenderloin is a show-stopper and one of mostly memorable dining moments at the resort. However, a big surprise was how impressive and commendable the seafood options were (and how value-for-money too, by Waldorf Astoria/Maldivian standards anyway). The Kingfish Collar and Green Mango may have resembled a tanning salon addict/pre-reconstruction arson victim in appearance, but concealed a pleasurably oily slickness of flesh which put a big smile on my face. Elsewhere, the Tuna and Za’atar boasted an alluring Middle Eastern spice rub, while the Red Snapper and Octopus and Red Harissa were generously sized and economically satisfying. An other highlights at The Ledge by Dave Pynt include: Dry Aged OP Rib: a 45-day, dry-aged beef rib; Lobster Roll, a brioche bun stuffed with freshly grilled lobster and lobster aioli; Local Grouper, a grilled whole grouper served with a fresh cucumber and yuzu salad and a green sauce. On the cocktail front, skip the curious-smelling Scofflaw and go for the signature Barrel-aged Burnt Ends Negroni or the smoky Cigar Old Fashioned for a satisfying conclusion to the evening.
In the greenhouse style, Glow offers healthy cuisine from garden to table using ingredients from its own herb garden, while the nearby Amber Champagne Bar at sunset allows guests to enjoy the splendor of the Maldivian sunset over the Indian Ocean, combining the drinks of the gods with Beluga caviar, Alaskan king crabs and barbecue Westholme Wagyu. The concept of a beach and a pool, Nava Cafe offers a selection of pizzas, cocktails and snacks at the bar in a lively but at the same time relaxed atmosphere.
Looks like a charming Arabian village, outdoor Middle Eastern Yasmeen restaurant specialises in authentic flatbreads, charcoal-roasted meats and mezzes. Tangled serves hand-pulled noodles and dim sum in a casual setting. Located at the highest point of the island, treetop restaurant Terra offers a romantic private dining experience set in private bamboo nest pods, showcasing luxurious ingredients such as Miyazake Wagyu Beef and Alba White Truffle as well as fine Krug champagne. Elsewhere, The Rock boasts an extensive selection of both New World and Old World wines, offering wine dinners in an intimate, cave-like and almost medieval underground space.
You’re in the Indian Ocean's heart. On a man-made island built for westerners to vacation far from civilization. Everything is going to cost at least four times what it would anywhere else. Assuming you have free breakfast via Diamond status, you should budget at least $65 per person for every meal. The afternoon happy hour tray is not a sufficient dinner substitute. To give you some context, the cheapest food you’ll find at this resort is a $40 club sandwich and a small margherita pizza is around $35. That way you should budget $140+ per person for food, per day.
Waldorf Young Discovery Park features a thrilling water recreation area catered to kids and teens, while enriching activities will capture their imagination and thrill their minds for their very own Maldivian experience.
As for snorkelling scene at Waldorf Astoria Maldives: One staff member joked that there aren’t that many fish around because “The island is new and they haven’t found us yet.” However, you may spot schools of fish on the side of the island where the lobby is. So if you can get a room along that side of the road, you’re bound to see more fish. That being said, if your villa is on the other end you’ll find some fish near the rocky areas.
The best snorkeling is outside the wedding chapel and Yasmin and around the “first bridge” that connects to the 500 villas. There are breakwater rocks just outside Yasmeen and the highest concentration of fish I’ve seen is right around the far tip of those rocks and then along those rocks down to the bridge and then past the bridge to the breakwater rocks outside Tasting Table, where there are also some fish in and around the rocks.
Also, you must understanding is that these islands the resort sits on are substantially man made. Outside the odd numbered 600 beach villas, there’s shallow water where you can wade out about 20 meters on sand, then 20 more on a rocky ocean floor, before you reach a point where the ocean floor kind of artificially drops off into an abyss along a steep underwater downhill slope. One moment the water is 4 and a half feet deep, but take one more step and it’s twenty feet deep. We call this the “drop off.”
There tend to be a lot of fish along this abyss line which is located about 40 meters off the odd numbered 600s beach villas. Outside 623-627 is pretty good for fish (again, I don’t know good snorkeling from bad) including the breakwater rocks right outside 627.
From outside Yasmeen, if you swim straight out 15 meters or so from the tip of the breakwater rocks to the abyss line there are a lot of fish there and all along the abyss line to villas 501-505. The line is really only about 15 meters or so out from the decks of the reef villas. It’s kind of hit or miss along this line outside the higher numbered 500s and the 300s all the way to the third bridge just before Le Long, where there’s a staircase from the bridge to the water so you can put in or take out there.
Anyway, in short, there seems to be some snorkeling potential along the abyss line 15-40 meters outside any of the odd numbered 300, 500, or 600 villas. If I had to choose one spot, especially for novices and non-swimmers who want to be in shallow water, I’d say around the tip of the breakwater rocks outside Yasmin, which is like 15 meters short of the abyss line there where there are also fish.
There is some coral all along the way, but you’ll see more rocks than coral. And again, hard to judge for many snorkellers what good snorkeling or bad snorkeling is, I’m just saying an hour or so in the water in these areas and you’ll see many many hundreds to thousands of colorful small and medium sized fish, including the striped black and green fish, the spotted leopard looking fish, those saucer-sized blue fish with the yellow trim, reef sharks and turtles.
Activities & Pampering
Explore the wonders of the Maldives with its backdrop of azure skies and the endless blue of the Indian Ocean. Take advantage of world-class facilities for all ages. With an extensive array of unique amenities, your personalized stay can be everything you've imagined. Read More
There’s no better place to enjoy the unique Maldives experience – stunning private island resorts, over-water villas and aquamarine waters teeming with marine life – than along its soft white sand beaches. Guests can participate in a variety of water sports and activities offered by the combined water sport and 5-star PADI dive center – think fun dive trips and PADI courses, snorkelling and dolphin watching excursions, fishing, kitesurfing, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing and seabob riding. Several activities are conducted in accordance with a weekly schedule viewable on your villa’s iPad, and your Personal Concierge can assist with making the necessary arrangements. Professional photography services are also available for you to memorialise your sun-soaked Maldivian adventures.
With an area of approximately 2,000 square metres, the resort's spa offers both indoor and outdoor facilities, including an extensive outdoor bathing circuit. As a Diamond the resort offers 30 minutes massage for free if you booked an hour. Which is a very nice bonus. Make sure you remind them or tell your concierge when you book about the free 30. As with all things at the WA Maldives We would not try and compare the cost vs experience as balanced against cost vs. similar experience elsewhere. You will be disappointed. But if you can forgive the cost you will enjoy yourself.
Other facilities at the spa will include two single treatment rooms, four double treatment rooms, a VIP spa suite, a Hammam suite, four resting pavilions, a vitality pool, a beauty salon, and an indoor and outdoor mind and body studio. No sauna or steam room. They offers some tea pre-post massage also. A gym, an outdoor fitness centre, aqua spinning classes and an overwater yoga platform will complement the spa's offerings. Read More
Spoil yourself and delight friends back home with gifts from the resort's curated boutique. Other thoughtful amenities include 24-hour in-room dining, Personal Concierge service, babysitting services, and bicycle rentals to explore the island.
Luxury Experience of a Lifetime with lot of memories to take back and reason to come back. The villas are stunning and so spacious, and everything is well thought of down to the very detail. Fantastic food options and great variety. Staff very friendly and helpful - will accommodate your every request and it's nice to have a personal concierge on speed dial from the moment of check-in. Nothing can go wrong when the people behind it make an out of the way effort to take care of their guests. A gesture of thankfulness and welcome with a smile when you pass by each and every staff on the property says a lot about how much they care. We're sure will be the number one destination in the Maldives for anyone wanting an escape to a true paradise of luxury and service.
Why stay here? What Guests Love
- Great resort location not far from Male airport
- 30-minute transfer by a luxury yacht with drinks and snacks
- warm welcoming
- three islands to choose from
- Beautiful design
- Chic, spacious and functional villas with pools and great views
- Impeccable service. Personal butler - always available, but never intrusive.
- Wide selection of restaurants. Delicious, varied and quality food and drinks.
- The breakfast spread at Tasting Table is top notch
- Peking Duck at Li Long
- Poolside service
- house reef snorkeling is easily accessible from the beach and
Things to Know before You Go
- Located in the South Male Atoll, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is a 30-minute luxury yacht ride from Male International Airport.
- A shared transfer on the resort's yacht is charged at USD 350 + taxes and service charge per person per way.
- The resort is close to Male, but not too close to feel like you aren't away from it all.
- Check-in 14:00 - 15:00; Check-out 12:00 - 14:30;
- Children of any age are welcome.
- All villas have private pools.
- While your personal concierge can pick up you by a golf cart, the best way to explore the island is by bicycle
- The hotel was built on artificial islands that are not yet rich in lush vegetation
- The resort is an hour ahead of Male. So the time you see on your iPhone or laptop is inaccurate. Either add an hour or use the clock in your villa to avoid showing up late for your lunch reservation
- If You are Hilton Honors Diamond member: Expect to enjoy free breakfast at the all-day dining restaurant Tasting Table, afternoon treats and beverages at Peacock Alley from 4-5pm, a bottle of champagne and amenities presented in their villa, an additional 30 minutes for selected treatments at Waldorf Astoria Spa as well as a 50% discount off selected drinks at Nava from 10 – 11.30pm daily. Diamond room upgrades are excluded from this property.
- The resort has the honourable distinction of shattering the former ceiling for the highest Hilton Honors point redemption for a standard room (95,000 points to redeem at various other Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties, including the nearby Conrad Maldives Rangali Island). The resort is likely one of the most aspirational and expensive Hilton properties in the world…and one of the best value for redeeming your nights.
- Happy hour 10pm-11:30pm at Nava Bar is only a Gold/Diamond benefit - so non Gold/Diamond guest pay full price. It is 50% drinks - selected cocktails (4 choices), selected beers, selected spirits, soft drinks etc. Should be enough to keep most happy.
- If you’re looking for a better value Maldives trip with Hilton points, consider the Conrad Maldives. They let you book overwater villas for 95,000 points per night, and while everything there is still expensive, I expect it’s a lot less expensive than the Waldorf Astoria.
- Upgrading from a standard beach villa booked on point to an overwater villa will cost you $400 per night, plus a 10% service charge and 12% taxes. So it’s not going to be cheap. But tell the truth both rooms offer you great views and easy access to the ocean.
- A cheaper alternative is to upgrade to a Reef Villa. These villas are built on the ground but the pool deck is above water. These rooms aren’t as private as the overwater villas but you still get ocean views. Upgrading to a reef villa at the Waldorf Astoria costs $200 per night, plus taxes and fees.
- What not to miss: Enjoy your spacious, comfortable villa with its own private pool; dine at The Ledge by Dave Pynt; enjoy the complimentary water sports activities such as kayaking and paddle boating; snorkel in one of the house reefs.
- Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi has been listed among the Luxe List 2019: Best New Hotels in Asia-Pacific.
- Wifi connections at the Waldorf Astoria is lightning-fast everywhere
and you have no problems using it.
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