Arrival to Landaa Giraavaru, an utterly different Four Seasons island experience. Arrive either by the aforementioned Explorer or take a dhoni out to the floating seaplane dock mere minutes from the Four Seasons Kuda property for a quick 10-minute seaplane flight to Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru. Any Journey can be taxing, the hotels we adore understand the importance of “the arrival.” I’ve written several posts on the arrival and regrettably, I interrupt the greeters to snap photos of their gracious gifts of chilled libations or scented towels; at Landaa, the cold concoction was offered in a colossal coconut sprouting a straw. The arrival sets the stage for the entire visit. At Kudaa Hura when we arrived by the lovely 55-foot motor yacht, the landing jetty was filled with 40 people playing drums, clapping and singing – I asked, is there a wedding? No, it was my welcome! My sights were set high at both resorts and I wasn’t disappointed.
Landaa Giraavaru is charming and in its own way, a bit more laid back, truly tony barefoot chic. The smartly decorated beach villas have plunge pools, deep plots of jungle with an outdoor tree house structure for al fresco dining or lounging, hammocks are dangling under shady palm fronds, a double chaise welcomes you at the beach. Over water bungalows are also featured here and are low to the ground for a quick dip in the sea.
Landaa Giraavaru island is larger than Kuda, adding meandering sandy paths laid out in the inner perimeter of the jungle island; good signage directs your bicycle adventure to the spa, various restaurants, dive shop, the Marine center and the medicinal herb garden. It’s quite freeing to pedal to dinner and roam the torch lit paths in the dark of night – imagine the twinkling stars overhead! Buggy provided if you prefer not to bike, a butler is available for transport.
Landaa Giraavaru features an Auryedic spa with multiple health programs, including but not limited to a detox program and a weight loss program. My arrival began with a health assessment by an Auryedic doctor in a small cottage amid the extensive herb garden, gentle prayer flags undulate in the breeze and a relaxed rhythmic OMM chant resonates throughout the garden. See spa post here: https://www.gwenbooks.com/2018/04/spa-ayurveda-four-seaons-landaa-giraavaru/
There is a yoga course staged amid the winding overgrown paths, a stand-alone yoga pavilion can be found in the midst of the tangled green jungle paradise.
The Ba’a Atoll is a World Heritage UNESCO site for its abundant coral reef. That being said if you are a scuba diver or have ever thought of getting certified, it’s a must do at this resort. The seas are lush and full of life. Landaa Giraavaru is also known for their on-call Manta & Whale Shark encounters every year between June and October. You can enroll in the call service on arrival. Staff provides you with a cell phone and call when there is a sighting. You then have 20 minutes to get to the jetty and be whisked off to experience the sea giants that are common in the Ba’a Atoll. Pleasure and wonders abound!
The marine discovery center is a stimulating spot for children to meet and learn about the fish, it’s a beautiful interactive spot for kids to discover rays, turtles and the surrounding islands. The Four Seasons sponsor these centers at each resort and it’s a significant indicator of their deep interest in and responsibility to the environment.
Restaurants – Savor the tastes of Asia, sample Lebanese and Moroccan fare in a rooftop setting, dine on Italian as lagoon and ocean views stretch into the distance or enjoy the day’s catch or organic meats poolside. Pedaling off on my bike each day to a different dining experience was such a treat!
Blu is barely perched above the lapping turquoise sea and pristine white beach, idyllic spot to begin and end the day as the sun sinks below the horizon. Sip a cocktail in the serene infinity pool attached to the deck of the restaurant! The restaurant serves light antipasti, pizza and pasta during the day and fine Italian cuisine in the evening. A cool bar for cocktails, do ask the affable restaurant manager to create a cocktail specialty for you- he is wildly creative and fun!
Saunter the short pier dock and begin your evening at SeaBar, lazing on comfy cushions while snacking on tapas as lemon sharks and reef fish cruise past your perch! Come back at 9 pm for DJ entertainment and feed the lemon sharks. Fuego Grill serves dinner right on the sandy beach facing the sea – freshly grilled fish, prime steaks and Asian dishes served from the open kitchen pavilion.
I did mention casual chic atmosphere!
When you arrive at the Landaa Giraavaru jetty, you will notice Al Barakat
Moroccan restaurant on the pier. Named after Abu Al Barakat Yusuf Al Barbari, a North African scholar who made Baa Atoll his home in the 12th century, Al Barakat showcases the regional specialties of Lebanon, Morocco and Armenia. The restaurant is built overwater, off the main jetty. A shisha bar is located on the lower level. The main rooftop dining area features comfortable seating spanning indoor and outdoor areas. Serving traditional breads and delicious dips, Lebanese kebabs and Moroccan tagines, Armenian meats and the tastiest sweets, arouse your senses with an endless array of the Chef’s culinary blessings under a canopy of stars. Highly recommend cocktails on the edge of the pier in the shisha bar, move upstairs to the cushioned areas for dinner – so many tempting North African specialties…shared plates are a must!
One small island rarely brings so much of the world to your plate.
And if this petite post doesn’t whet your appetite, did I mention the Four Seasons Private Island home? While I was at Landaa Giraavaru, the hotel GM, Armando took me once again in the lovely motor yacht for a sunset cruise…bubbly, sparkling seas and a private island. Fully staffed, Voavah is a truly private island coupled with legendary Four Seasons service: seven bedrooms, Beach House, PADI 5-Star Dive Centre, white-powder beach, vibrant reef, extreme water sports, pools and private guest spa. Your own 5-acre playground and party hideout, 62-foot luxury yacht, and UNESCO ocean territory. Off limits to everyone else. Limitless to you. Invite your extended family and friends and truly indulge in a pampered castaway experience. Three-bedroom beach villa, two-bedroom water Villa, Two mezzanine suites, Three additional rooms for children and private staff.
Manta Magic – the waters around Vovah are home to one of the world’s largest populations of manta rays. Don’t miss seasonal swims with these gentle giants. The reefs are so pristine in the Maldives that you don’t have to go deep to see a lot!
Nothing prepared me for the extraordinary glimpse of the turquoise seas, the sweeping ring of atolls and islands from the air; in the middle of the vast Indian ocean, crystal clear seas in a thousand shades of indigo, many accentuated by white sugar sandy beaches…it was breathtaking. The Four Seasons Maldives Resorts are gems in the midst of the turquoise seas. I’m certain the mixture of the natural splendor of the islands and the warm welcoming people, the Maldives will enchant and cast a spell over you! The Maldivian Magic can’t be expressed by words or in pictures, a visit is essential!