Hotel Highlights

  • Blissful Beach and Ocean Houses, with living spaces that embrace the outdoors
  • Privacy, luxury and romance (with just 19 rooms, this is an intimate escape)
  • Great diving and snorkelling, with a choice of lagoon or surf swims

Overview

Settle into your own serene beach house at Naladhu hotel in the Maldives South Malé Atoll, a boutique property between the piercing blue sea and a peaceful lagoon. The 19 romantic villas overflow outdoors, with a private pool and sultry half-outdoor shower and bath. Dine with your toes in the sand or snorkel and swim in the calm waters before retreating to the spa for some tropical-style pampering.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Naladhu with us:

A personalised wine-tasting for two

Facilities

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Naladhu Hotel – Maldives – Indian Ocean

Need To Know

Rooms

19, with a choice of sea-view Ocean Houses or lagoon-facing Beach Houses.

Check–out

12pm, but flexible subject to availability and a charge of 50 per cent of the day rate. Check-in, 2pm.

Also

Each room is assigned a House Master (butler) who is at your service at any time. Just ask if you fancy a spa treatment in your room, or take the atmospheric boat journey to sister resort Anantara Dhigu on a nearby island just across the bay, where award-winning over-water Anantara Spa awaits.

At the hotel

Spa, gym, library of books and DVDs, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, preloaded iPod, minibar (pre-stocked with your requested goodies), espresso machine, T2 tea, L'Occitaine toiletries, private pools.

Our favourite rooms

Choose between views of crashing Indian Ocean waves from the more private Ocean Houses, or serene lagoon vistas in the palm-fringed Beach Houses. Both are classically elegant and embrace the outdoors, with personal pools, day-beds and a dining pavilion, as well as a seductive semi-alfresco bath and steam room fringed by frangipani.

Poolside

A small streamlined pool by the main restaurant overlooks the lagoon, flanked by inviting sunloungers, but you'll be hard-pressed to leave the gorgeous private pool that comes with your room, in-set with a semi-outdoor glass-sided bath for cheeky views.

Packing tips

You'll find a holiday survival kit in your room, including beach bag, hats, sunscreen and mosquito repellant, but bring yoga gear or an underwater camera if you're feeling active – or a cracking book if you'd rather relax.

Also

A seven-night minimum stay applies during peak season (24 December–8 January). Smoking is allowed at outdoor restaurants or on the terrace.

Children

Welcome, although this is more of a romantic adult resort. Baby cots are available, as is babysitting with hotel staff.

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Food & Drink

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Naladhu Hotel – Maldives – Indian Ocean

Hotel Restaurant

Sit inside or out at Naladhu's restaurant the Living Room, a thatched-roof space with an open-air hardwood deck overlooking the lagoon.
It serves up beautifully presented contemporary international dishes from breakfast through to dinner, drawing on fresh market ingredients, but naturally, given the aquatic location, fish is the star attraction. Expect treats such as red snapper with macadamia-nut crust, bok choy, spicy lemongrass and coconut or grilled Tiger prawns with goats cheese ravioli and asparagus. Candles and fire torches up the romance factor at dusk, when the pool deck or sand makes a swell spot for soaking up the sunset.

Hotel Bar

There isn't a standalone bar, but the Living Room offers a well-stocked wine cellar and regular wine tasting sessions, or you can hit the bars at recommended sister island resorts just a few minutes' boat ride across the bay.

Last orders

Dinner is served from 6pm–10.30pm at the Living Room, or guests can choose to dine at eight nearby sister island restaurants at Anantara Dhigu and Veli.

Room service

Available 24 hours a day, offering a full menu. Each room has a round table, which can be dressed with a linen tablecloth and all the trimmings, ideal for dining à deux.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Upscale beach chic

Top table

Dine in private on your room deck, in a beach cabana, in a coconut grove by firelight or enjoy a candlelight picnic on the power-white beach. You can even arrange dinner on private island hideaway Guli Fushi nearby or aboard a dhoni sailing boat.

Local Guide

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Naladhu Hotel – Maldives – Indian Ocean
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

If you fancy a change from Naladhu's Living Room restaurant, you're welcome to visit a flock of dining venues across the bay at two sister island resorts, Anantara Veli and Anantara Dhigu, accessible by connecting walkway or short boat ride. Venture to Baan Huraa for Thai cuisine, feast on classy Italian fare at Terrazzo eatery, sample steaks and seafood at Fuddan Fusion Grill or tuck into a sumptuous buffet at 73 Degrees.

Local bars

Sister resort bars nearby include Aqua at Anantara Dhigu or the laid-back poolside Dhoni Bar at Anantara Veli.

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Reef-fringed Veligandu Huraa

Naladhu

Veligandu Huraa, South Malé Atoll, Republic of Maldives

Naladhu is on tiny Veligandu Huraa island, part of the South Malé Atoll island group, south of Maldives' capital Malé in the Indian Ocean.

Planes

Fly into Malé International Airport (www.airports.com.mv), on the island of Hulhumalé, just 20 kilometres north of the hotel. Direct regional flights to the Maldives include Singapore Airlines (www.singaporeair.com) from Singapore, Bangkok Airways (www.bangkokair.com) from Bangkok, Malaysia Airlines (www.malaysiaairlines.com) from Kuala Lumpur, Sri Lankan Airlines (www.srilankan.lk) from Colombo and Air India (www.airindia.com) from Bangalore and Trivandrum. British Airways (www.britishairways.com) flies in direct from London, and Emirates (www.emirates.com) from Dubai, among other international carriers.

Other

From the airport, it's a 35-minute transfer by luxury speedboat to Naladhu across crystal-clear sea and emerald lagoons. All transfers are provided by the resort for US$230 a person return (plus 10 per cent service charge and tax); a 50 per cent discount applies for children.

Reviews

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Naladhu Hotel – Maldives – Indian Ocean

Anonymous review

by Andrew Grahame , Director discoverer

The Maldivian captain of our transfer yacht may think I’m accusing him of being overweight, but after repeating my rounded stomach and finger-down-throat gestures, he realises that Mrs Smith is pregnant and sea sick. He duly slows down and we cruise calmly south from capital Malé in search of our island getaway. Our four-man crew serves up ice-cool mineral water and even colder fac...

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Naladhu

Anonymous review by Andrew Grahame, Director discoverer

The Maldivian captain of our transfer yacht may think I’m accusing him of being overweight, but after repeating my rounded stomach and finger-down-throat gestures, he realises that Mrs Smith is pregnant and sea sick. He duly slows down and we cruise calmly south from capital Malé in search of our island getaway. Our four-man crew serves up ice-cool mineral water and even colder face cloths – one of which slaps sharply across my forehead – penance for embarrassing Mrs Smith before we even reach dry land.

A percussionist pounds big bass drums and the jetty is scattered with roses when we arrive at Naladhu. My polite attempt to avoid treading on the petals leaves me looking like an uncoordinated Morris dancer. Hassan our House Manager guides us to our villa and suggests that such a dance will come in handy to negotiate the little land crabs that scuttle across the sandy pathways.

Our grand Ocean House residence – named Thanburu after a local flower, and set in a tropical garden – boasts a huge carved wooden door. Inside, dark wooden floors contrast with white-washed walls, and antique mirrors, period furniture and retro ceiling fans mix it with contemporary accessories.

The walk-in wardrobe, alfresco shower and glass-sided twin-bath adjoining the outdoor infinity pool immediately get Mrs Smith’s attention. Meanwhile, I become transfixed by the mosquito ‘survival kit’ which comprises just an anti-insect burner. I’d expected at the very least a mosquito net, a kilo of Neem and an industrial flamethrower! Saving the best until last, Hassan shows us past our seven-foot-square bed out to the terrace where Indian Ocean waves crash below us.

Even if we were A-listers, the paparazzi would struggle to get close to our opulent, private abode, given those protective six-foot-high security waves. Clothes suddenly seem superfluous and ours soon come off as like kids in a sweet shop we try out the steam-room rain shower, suspended deck-bed and pool. After watching the sea-crabs battle for territory on the rocks, we explore the island.

Naladhu is one of a cluster of four islands owned by the Anantara group. Opposite us across the crystal-clear lagoon is family-friendly resort Anantara Dhigu, complete with sunset bar, three restaurants and a spa, and Anantara Veli, with three restaurants, an ocean-view bar, gym and a walkway back to Naladhu. We can cross to either island but their guests can’t come to ours. Who said elitism was dead?

Pregnant and peckish, Mrs Smith is craving Thai food, so we stroll the 15-minutes across the pontoon to Veli and its reefside restaurant Baan Huraa. Although the meal is a bit unsophisticated, the evening is enchanting thanks to a talented waitress who fashions a baby’s mobile of three flying birds from a bamboo leaf.

Aquatic larks beckon the next morning in the vast bathroom and pool. This waterworld means only one thing to a childlike Mr Smith – high jinx! As I emerge from the bedroom sporting a bathrobe, flippers and snorkel, it’s impossible to resist dive-bombing the pool and pulling faces underwater through the glass-walled bath.

Naladhu doesn’t flaunt any typical Maldivian overwater villas or restaurants, but its intimate size means that meals can be enjoyed on the beach facing the tranquil lagoon, where waist-high waters quietly lap on the white coral beach, while on the opposite side of the island roaring waves roll in. It feels like two different worlds only metres apart. After a mouth-watering breakfast of tropical fruits, house-made yoghurt, honey, eggs and a lime-juice energiser, Mrs Smith reluctantly agrees to allow me to ferry her by kayak to the sand-island near Dhigu to snorkel.

As we don our fluorescent life-jackets, poor Mrs Smith resembles Danny DeVito dressed as a tangerine. By contrast, I summon the might of Arnold Schwarzenegger, because despite occupying a two-man kayak, Mrs Smith’s efforts with the oars are mere tokenism. Naturally, I neglect to mention that the reason we speed across is less to do with my prowess and more the powerful current. Although some of the reef has been bleached by rising ocean temperatures, fortunately there’s still a large array of colourful marine life with a number of cocky Nemos nibbling at our masks.

Casting off for home later, the need to get Mrs Smith back in time for yoga spurs me on, helped by the fact that another kayak is departing too – cue a race! As our oars splash and the canoe fills up with water we realise we’re only winning because the other couple are going in the opposite direction. I still claim a technical victory but the unamused Mrs Smith heads off for a nap. Note to self, keep the alpha male activity to a minimum. It’s this epiphany that gives me the impetus to go to yoga in her place.

At the Sunset Bar on Veli, I meet Glenn, the unfeasibly cool yoga instructor. Two things unnerve me about this New Age exercise session: it’s being held on the terrace in full view of the inquisitive cocktail crowd; and I am today’s only attendee. What would Arnie or Danny do? At first it all seems simple, but as yogi masters will tell you, pride comes before a fall and Glenn soon starts channeling Bruce Lee, while my trousers are now hoisted so far up I look like Simon Cowell doing a dad-dance at a wedding.

A private-dining experience down on the lagoon beach is lined up for our last night. A petal-strewn, candle-lit table is set up on the shore, surrounded with a heart-shaped ring of fairy lights. The gentle lapping of the ocean is broken only by the sound of a champagne cork popping. Anywhere other than the Maldives such a backdrop would be a cliché, but there is nowhere else we’d would rather be.

‘Naladhu’ means ‘beautiful isle’ and it certainly is. It may not have overwater bungalows, an on-island spa or the time-honoured infinity pool, but the cyan lagoon, capacious villa and utter seclusion more than make up for it. Maybe it should be redubbed ‘pure romance’.
 

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