W Hotel Maldives, North Ari Atoll The Maldives, Central Islands
The young and trendy with oodles of cash to throw about love to be seen at W Retreat and Spa, and for good reason. This is modern luxury at its finest, and the place gives off a buzz that’s rare to find anywhere else in the region. If you’re looking for nightlife and a social atmosphere and you love to be seen, you’ll feel right at home here.
The 78 rooms and 4 suites are situated quite close together at W Retreat and Spa - privacy seekers might find the proximity a bit off-putting. There’s no denying the luxurious standards, though: outdoor rainforest showers, “signature” beds, modern entertainment facilities and gorgeous bright furnishings with trendy red accents. Choose from “oases” and “escapes” that are classified as “wonderful”, spectacular”, “fabulous”, “wow” or “extreme”. The most modest offering is a whopping 146 square metres in size with its own barbecue, cabana and plunge pool, furnished with a quirky jellyfish coffee table and lit with medusa lights. The roomiest suite (the “Extreme Haven”) is a 492 square metre overwater hut with a wraparound sundeck, glass panels in the floor and more playthings than you can possibly hope for.
Fashionably named restaurants such as “Fish”, “Kitchen”, “Wet” (it’s a trademark) and “Fire” offer everything from seafood to wood-fired pizzas, from barbecue to burgers, from Asian cuisine to eclectic bistro style cooking in an open-kitchen for your viewing pleasure. The underground nightclub (15 Below) is popular and thriving, and sunset drinks are best experienced at “Sip”.
Charismatic rooms and culinary innovation aside, the infinity pool will knock your socks off. The diving and snorkelling here is world class and the on-site facilities are, naturally, out of this world. The only downside is that it’s not exactly quiet here: if you’re looking for peace and privacy, you’ll find bright lights, loud music and lots of glamour. If a spot of extroverted hedonism in a tropical paradise sounds like heaven, this is the place to let it all hang loose.
Luxury - Luxury hotels would have a superb level of service, very comfortable and usually spacious bedrooms, excellent food, great design and character. For us, when we visited, these places all had the 'wow factor'. A luxury hotel should satisfy the criteria of the most discerning clients.