A Home In Paradise
The Maldives is so full of beautiful beach resorts that choosing which one to book often ends up being the most laborious part of the entire vacation. For seasoned holidaymakers, The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort proffers something eminently different. Of course, you can expect to be engulfed in the St Regis brand of luxury — and the six-star treatment does not disappoint. What makes this newly opened resort stand apart from others is its legacy: it offers you a slice of island life as would be lived by the aristocratic Astor family.
The first St Regis property built on a private island, and certainly the first in the Maldives, this 8.9-hectare resort espouses much of the legendary family’s characteristic style. Designed by Singapore-based Wow Architects and Warner Wong Design, it is defined by four ecological zones: lagoon, beach, coastal and jungle.
The lagoon is anchored by a water amphitheatre and the Iridium Spa; the beach area includes two beachfront restaurants; the jungle enshrouds the resort’s recreational centre and a pop-up cafe; and the coastal area is where you’ll find the dive centre plus the awe-inspiring Whale Bar.
This is a villas-only resort and all 77 of them come with private plunge pools and 24-hour access to the St Regis Butler Service. While they are equally stylish and well appointed, the most desirable rooms are to be found in Astor Estates.
Outfitted with the latest in luxury technology and swathed in artistic touches (because John Jacob Astor was really big on art), the sprawling interiors are not only amply furnished but also thoughtfully designed — as is expected of an Astor abode. Chandeliers inspired by the facets of diamonds are a tribute to Caroline Astor, whose love for the precious gem is beyond compare.
Available for all guests is the iPad room control, which lets you fiddle with the lights, curtains and a host of entertainment options. This is a nifty feature, and it could well be expanded to include more of what’s on offer such as in-room dining, spa reservations and butler services.
With six dining venues around the island, the resort offers a plethora of options from laidback Italian and classic Asian to fine dining and gourmet street food. At Alba, enjoy breakfast like a true Astor and go straight for the Vommulicious Luxury Sensations, particularly the lobster and Alaskan crab omelette, which is topped with butternut pumpkin puree, Oscietra caviar and fennel cress, as well as the poached white asparagus with polenta, egg, orange Hollandaise and black truffles.
Pick a day that’s not too breezy to lunch at Crust and save a special evening for Decanter, the underground wine cellar where the five-course wine pairing menu is certain to impress, as will the staggering wine list — dress warm as the room is chilly. Orientale is another venue for dinners and it serves a melange of Asian flavours, while Cargo lets you savour street food with a gourmet twist.
Any time not spent lolling around your deck should be redirected to the spectacular Whale Bar. This cavernous overwater lounge is the place to be for sunsets, if but to witness the champagne sabering ritual. A must-try is Island Mary — the resort’s take on the Bloody Mary — served in a nautilus shell rimmed with Kala Namak salt.
Those looking to be pampered should make a beeline for The Iridium Spa, where six private couple treatment suites, a steam room, sauna and the stunning Blue Hole Pool await. Choose from seven types of massages and indulge in Natura Bisse skincare products. An on-site Ayurvedic doctor provides complimentary consultations.
If long periods of inactivity aren’t your idea of fun, then The Vommuli House is where you should be. Leave the kids at the children’s or teenagers’ club and head over to the gym if you’re so inclined, or attend a yoga class — anti-gravity yoga is especially invigorating. Divers and snorkelers will be excited to know that the resort’s waters are largely under-explored, yet the abundant marine life spotted already includes species of rays, sharks, turtles, pods of dolphins and even orcas.
Offering all that you could wish for and more, The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is not just about luxury.
As it weaves aristocratic family tradition into everything large and small, this ritzy hideaway proposes a taste of what it’s like to be an Astor.