Stay Here: Loama Resort, MaldivesBy Angelica Malin
Looking for a holiday in paradise? We think we’ve found it. Beautiful Loama Resort is only an hour from Male, the capital of the Maldives, and is absolutely stunning. We fell in love with the place – find out why you need to make it your next holiday today:
Expect: a stunning natural tapestry of sun-kissed lagoons, palm-fringed beaches and postcard-perfect panoramas of a Maldives island spread over 100 hectares of pristine coral reef within the Raa Atoll. Previously Loama Resort was a deserted island, acquired by a Singaporean company who, once they started to excavate, found archeological ruins, a well and artefacts from the Buddhist Era over a thousand years ago. It’s a treasure waiting to be discovered; the island is rich in history, colour and life.
Some say this island is where the ancient Buddhist king kept his concubines – it is suspected that a Buddhist temple lies beneath the sand. In fact, only one month ago, a perfectly in tact terracotta vase from a thousand years ago was discovered. This is the only island with a museum and an art gallery and it also sponsors exhibitions of international artists. We love.
There is a idyllic peacefulness which pervades this resort. But it’s not short on things to do; the 6 gastronomic venues at the resort offer a variety of flavours from around the world, whilst Loama Spa provides the ultimate pampering experience for a complete rejuvenation of the senses. There’s a state-of-the-art Fitness Centre, meditation and yoga classes coupled with the 30-meters beachfront infinity pool, which will revitalize mind and body in a paradise setting.
This is an island with a colonial feel, as though time has stood delightfully still, with its dreamy thatched water villas leading on to turquoise sea. In fact, one can recline over the sea as the bathroom only has three walls and, suspended above the water, is a traditional bed where you can nap listening to the waves lapping below.
This paradise Maldives island features 105 elegantly appointed beachfront and over-water guestrooms including 5 luxurious suites, each one commanding spectacular views of the shimmering Indian Ocean. There’s accommodation to suit every guest; the Beach Villas are nestled amidst lush natural foliage, just steps from the Indian Ocean, and feature spacious private outdoor bathrooms and private beachside decks.
For a sea lovers, the Ocean Villas, with either sunrise or sunset views, include private decks with steps leading directly to the Indian Ocean, from where you can snorkel straight to the house reef. The Ocean Villas are beautifully equipped and colonial in style; open the door at the foot of the bed and look out into the endless turquoise of the sea. Heaven.
From authentic Maldivian cuisine to Asian-infused flavours and contemporary European cuisine, the restaurants at Loama Resort will satisfy everyone. With 6 restaurants, there is much variety in this resort. If you want to taste it all, a huge buffet is spread at every meal with different stations for salads, desserts and a chef to whom you bring your chosen food for stir frying. There is delicious array of curries, chicken, fish and everything you could ever dream of. If they haven’t got it on display all you have to do it ask and they will somehow find it with a hand resting on heart and the words “my lady”.
The food is complimented by the incredible dining settings. For relaxing, next to the Ira Restaurant is a ocean front bar with bean bags, where people come to mingle and watch the sun going down whilst enjoying a Maldivian cocktail. The sunsets all over the Maldives are spectacular. You can eat by the infinity pool next to the Ira Cafe, which serves first class lunches overlooking both pool and ocean. For dinner, Iru Restaurant serves great Italian food in the most perfect setting. Try the lobster soup – it’s simply divine.
There’s a whole host of relaxing activities to try. Relaxation or adventure, the resort has many activities to suit the young and young at heart, such as ancient baths and traditional house, Loama Cultural Museum & Art Gallery, cooking classes, local village visits, sunrise and sunset fishing by traditional Dhoni, scuba diving and more.
There are all the usual water activities and, in particular, incredible snorkelling in a sea so clear you can see your toes. Activities include sunset fishing in a Dhoni, which is not to be missed because it is exhilarating as well as educational. One can observe the most amazing sunsets whilst throwing your line and waiting for a catch, which is brought back to the dining room and served exactly as you like, grilled, steamed or fried. We had grouper with garlic and lemon, and red snapper steamed with soya and ginger. Served with such courtesy and style that it made the fish catching ceremony doubly special. Many people come here to get married – they rent dresses in the resort’s shop and have their photoshoot on a romantic stretch of beach.
Maldives is not only about relaxing with a lie on the beach and soaking in the sun, it also offers many other things to do. Besides the famous capital Malé, a visit to Loama Maamigili will give you an insight to local culture and history with trips to the local indigenous islands. Fishing at sunset or before sunrise is one of the best experiences which allows guests to re-live a major, traditional Maldivian trade.
A 30 minute journey away by speedboat, is a little island strangely untouched by today’s world – apart from the fact that the men, reclining in a traditional swing suspended from trees, actually have iPads, it is the strangest clash of civilisations and cultures.
On this island, you will be entertained in a traditional home made out of coral and served Maldivian fare – tuna curry and chapati eaten with the fingers. Afterwards you will have the opportunity of photographing some of the locals. The women are the shyest in the world and without any vanity or knowledge of a world beyond their little island. You must take this trip because it is an insight into the islands that you won’t see whilst staying in the most resorts.
Perhaps the reason why it is an ideal resort for couples, young and old, is that the management spread their warmth and give the island such a loving atmosphere, it is a sunshine island in every sense of the word. This hotel is newly opened and the staff and management can’t do enough to welcome you and make your stay marvellous. The service is quite, quite impeccable. In fact a storm arose whilst I was swimming by the pool and a smiling man held an umbrella open for when I wanted to get out with the words “my lady”. It can’t get more charming than that. Every whim is satisfied with the broadest and sunniest smile the second you utter your request. Within a few days, it began to feel as though one were staying with family and this was home.
Loama Spa is located amidst the lush vegetation of Maamigili – a haven within a haven extending out to sea via the spa jetty. The spa faces southwest to capture stunning sunsets; with spa villas that feature glass bottom from which you can feast your eyes on a myriad of colourful marine life during the treatment, you will feel that you have been transported into an oasis of relaxation and tranquility.
After indulging in the great snorkelling and swimming available one deserves a traditional Maldivian scrub. Here you are exfoliated with the ground shells of coconuts mixed with essential oil for a glorious 30 minutes before taking a shower. The next 60 minutes of massage on freshly exfoliated skin, are with with aromatic oil. Ask for the exhilarating oil otherwise you will fall asleep watching the fishes beneath the massage room. This lady is definitely definitely coming back to Loama – just try and keep me away.
The lead in price is £400 per night for a Beach Villa, including breakfast and tax. Please see www.loamahotelsandresorts.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +960 658 8100. For Valentine’s Day, Loama Resort Maldives is offering couples a chance to celebrate their love on this magical Island of Maamigili with the “2016 Maldives Valentines” package that features special romance-inspired experiences at this oceanside sanctuary. It includes three nights in a Beach Villa, complimentary daily breakfast for two at the resort’s all day dining restaurant, a picnic lunch for two at Goimaru, a private island, a barbecue dinner for two at the sandban and 60 Minutes couples’ massage. Valid from January 6 – February 18, 2016. To learn more or to reserve, please visit: www.loamahotelsandresorts.com.