Splash! An arrival totally appropriate for Maalifushi by COMO. My seaplane, a short 50 minute flight from Male over countless spits of sand, reef and sea, was the beginning of my trip to the ultimate adventure island.
Greeted at the jetty, within minutes my check in was done and I was whisked off in a buggy to my over-water suite.
Suites face sunset or sunrise in a clam-shaped layout and are light and paired back. Limed furniture and draped four poster beds have you waking up feeling fresh. Stepping outside there's a plunge pool, thatched sala and an outdoor shower for peaceful private moments.
There's a room type for every traveller at Maalifushi. The two bedroom COMO villa boasts dining spaces both indoors and outdoors, multiple lounges and a reading room. It's just right for a pair of holidaying couples.
On land there are garden suites, similarly furnished for those wanting an on-island feel and a two-storey, four bedroom COMO residence. The white-on-white residence comes with a kitchen and full sized pool and could accommodate families comfortably (an incredibly awesome family holiday mind you).
Kids and adults alike cool off on the beachfront pool which backs on to the bar and restaurant. The beach itself is pristine and home to the house reef, full of marine life.
The main restaurant at Maalifushi offers a range of options from Maldivian, Italian and modern cuisine, executed well by COMO's chefs. Breakfast is a little too good with ricotta pancakes with salted caramel and banana. Healthier choices are available like silken scrambled eggs and almond porridge if you're so inclined.
COMO's Shambhala menu is available throughout the resort with fresh and nourishing options. The Big Salad, overflowing with vegetables and a sesame dressing was moorish and crunchy. Washed down with their pressed juices, I was energised for the afternoon's activities.
On Tuesday's and the weekends Tai, the Japanese over-water restaurant, opens and serves up locally sourced fresh fish. Traditional small plates of Wagyu tataki, tempura shrimp, soba noodles and sushi use modern flavours and could have been mistaken for a New York style Nobu establishment if not for the house Sting Ray floating by in the ocean.
Ready to explore the reef, I whizzed over to the marine hut on the provided hipster bikes. Equipped with a straw basket, I packed my essentials and cycled barefoot from one side of the island to the other in a few minutes. Oodles of fun!
The island surf hut is staffed with pro instructors to take you out to secluded swells. For the less active book in at the dive centre for an outer reef snorkel. I had a turtle moment which made me squeal underwater with delight.
One of my Maalifushi must-do's (there are many) is the dolphin sunset cruise. The experienced marine biologists locate dolphins at feeding time and in my case they were in the hundreds. Spinner dolphins chased the boat, jumping up and spinning high in the air. I've never seen them so close and in such large numbers. Of course, in true Maalifushi style, this was done accompanied by prosecco and sushi.
If you're ready to chill out, head over COMO Shambhala spa and yoga centre. An indoor studio and outdoor pavillion hold classes daily for some "me" time. All bases are covered with a huge outdoor playground for kids to occupy their time with while you relax.
Sweeping the beach in the morning are Maldivian ladies employed by COMO as an initiative for local women who seek work. They're elegant and peaceful in their white dresses and give Maalifushi a sense of where you are in the world.
On the outside, Maalifushi is a luxury resort in the Thaa Atoll with expert design, cuisine and service. But, it's for everyone. Water activities and thrills, romance and unwinding, there's no place for boredom at Maalifushi. I didn't get to experience everything Maalifushi has to offer, because there is just so much. But that's ok, I'll be back for more soon.
FEEL: Luxury and adventure.
ROOM PICK: Over water suite.
WIFI: Yes, complimentary.
RATES: Starting from US$990 per night including breakfast.
CHILDREN: Yes, bring them!
IN-ROOM: Bath tub, TV, international electrical outlets/USB, dining seating, lounge, deck and sun loungers, outdoor rainshower, plunge pool, walk in robe, dressing area.
MINI BAR: Water is refilled and complimentary. Daily fruit platter.
GETTING THERE: A seaplane is organised by the resort upon booking at a charge.
I stayed courtesy of COMO Hotels.