The Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is known by many as the #1 resort in the Maldives, so of course we had to make a reservation during our 2 weeks checking out different atolls to critically confirm which we liked best. Besides the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, we also got to review the fairly new Park Hyatt Hadahaa. Side by side they are apples to oranges, Park Hyatt’s romantic seclusion of a tiny island compared to lots of activities for the entire family albeit total luxury on a much grander scale at the Four Seasons. But enough of comparisons, this review will be focused on the Four Seasons Maldives.
Sunset Water Villa with Pool #417
Everyone going to the Maldives must stay in an overwater villa at least once and this resort does it best with secluded full ocean views facing the most spectacular sunsets. Walking into the room it’s impossible to look away from the view of the floor to ceiling sliding door windows facing the ocean. So naturally we walk outside to our deck to see a private fresh water infinity pool with steps that lead you directly into the sea. The patio is very large and spacious with an over-water net resting area with even less separating you from the clear turquoise blue water beneath you. Looking up there is a spiral staircase that leads you to a private loft perfect for watching the Indian ocean as the sun goes down.
The room itself is stunning. High wooden ceilings with a spacious sitting area next to one of the most comfortable King sized beds I’ve slept on and I’ve very picky when it comes to mattresses. Behind the bedroom is a large walk in closet big enough to fit our 3+ full sized luggages. The bathroom is sleek and contemporary finished with polished concrete with the top-of-the-line Kohler overflowing bathtub and indoor and outdoor showers. When using the toilet you’ll be entertained with the window looking down to the fishes swimming below you.
Soon after arriving at Male airport the Four Seasons airport greeter will give you a friendly hello and take care of your luggage and connect you to the Four Seasons seaport lounge where you will wait for your arranged 4o minute flight to the resort. Although the room seemed overly perfumed, there is snacks, drinks, and the daily bulletin showing you what to expect and the activities available. It was a very nice touch, which got us more excited to finally reach the resort.
However once our flight was called for boarding, it’s a whole different feel. About 10 people seem to be “politely” racing to the seaplane to get the best seats. The best seats on the seaplane both to and from is on the left side providing the best views of the atolls for most of the trip. The seaplane company is a monopoly in the Maldives, so Four Seasons or any resort for that matter really has no other options. The plane was stuffed, hot, and the pilot didn’t turn on the air conditioner after being asked to by several different guests. We finally arrive to a floating platform rocking in the rough waters and all hold on to dear life as the crew unloads our luggage. The Maldivian Air staff will warn you to watch out for the seaplane wing as it can knock you out and into the water if you are not paying attention. We highly advise you heed their warning. A Four Seasons boat arrives and whisks you to the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru resort and once you’re in the hands of the Four Season’s staff everything is first class.
Upon arriving we are greeted with coconut water in the shell (wish it was cold) and a pleasant staff to help us with check in and escort us to our room by electric cart. We look at each other hoping this place will exceed our standards and we expect the very best. It seems the journey to just about any resort in the Maldives could be a little inconvenient for most but the Four Season’s understands this and as soon as you arrive they do an excellent job in helping you forget all about it.
Excellent by Maldivian norms considering all produce needs to be flown in. However, the Four Seasons doesn’t allow this to lower their standards, in fact it seems to raise it. Almost everything we ate was fantastic and fresh. In the mornings we ate the full breakfast buffet at Cafe Landaa that featured a wide spread from a spruced up traditional continental breakfast to Indian, European, Chinese style food, and even a fresh juice bar. The breakfast selection was much larger than I have experienced anywhere else and obviously a huge production for the staff.
The lunch however is a different story if you’re dining at the Cafe Landaa, you may not be as happy. We ate there a couple of times and ordered multiple dishes as we were on the full board program. It was not up to the usual four season standard. That said, visit Blu for lunch. It’s an Italian cuisine restaurant that we couldn’t get enough of. If you’re in the mood for something special simply ask the staff. They are all unbelievably accommodating at this resort and always do their best to satisfy your hunger. Loved the seafood ceviche and had it every day by special request.
Blu was our favorite restaurant. It overlooks the 2 kilometer lagoon and the over water villas. Our first time there was the most memorable experience of the trip… a private sunset dinner all alone away from the restaurant at the furthest end of the beach. It started with cocktails as the sun went down turning the sky to a bright pink. Our private waiter had to walk the full length of the beach to serve us our drinks and a delicious 4 course selected meal. And we ended with cocktails lying on the beach and gazing at the stars. Breathtaking on what we consider one of the most beautiful beaches in the Maldives. Make sure you book that experience with your significant other or if you are with a group they can do the same thing. Do not miss the sunset, so arrange the experience a little earlier than you would expect.
A lot of people call Al Barakat the best restaurant of the resort featuring fine dine Arabian cuisine and a spectacular Shisha bar on the water. The food here is also excellent if you’re looking for quality Arabian cuisine. It is also one of the best spots on the resort for a late night drink. On our final night we had drinks and shisha with our legs hanging off the jetty watching the fish and eels below us trying to take in every second knowing our amazing trip is coming to an end. Make sure you request an extra hot coals for the sheesha and we also suggest experiencing sitting along the edge with your shisha and watching the fish below.
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. We did a few dives and both were excellent lush and full of life. My only complaint is the diving group was large due to the popularity of this resort, so although as far as the eye can see was coral and beautiful fish, there were also a bunch of other scuba divers in the view. Also, your dive is only as long as the person who uses the air the fastest, so we had to shorten our dive due to someone else. Bummer, but the reef was remarkable. Compared to the southern atoll, it had a larger assortment of fish, but less hard coral. Corals are more difficult to thrive with lots of human encounters, so I’m assuming over time they somewhat deteriorated.
The house reef was not up to standard when comparing it to a few other top spots in the Maldives, they did suffer from bleaching due to higher water temperatures years back and are doing their best to propagate new corals all around the resort. I must note we are reef tank and scuba enthusiasts. Our passion is coral reefs, so our standards are extremely high in this regard. The resort offers an activity that allows you to reef scape corals on a man made frame, sponsor it with your name and date and place it in the water. It is a neat experience but with a house reef that needs some rehab In my opinion this should be free and something the staff does daily to replenish their own house reef. I made the suggestion.
Landaa Giraavaru is also known for their on-call Manta & Whale Shark encounters every year between June and October. We enrolled in the on-call service our entire stay. They provided us with a cell phone and call when there is a sighting. You then have 20 minutes to get to the jetty and they whisk you off to experience the sea giants that are common in the Ba’a Atoll. But were unlucky as no mantas or whale sharks were found until the day we left. I spoke to other guests that experienced the mantas the day before we arrived and they said it was incredible. Huge mantas above, below, and everywhere you looked! But, now we have a reason to go back.
The marine discovery center is a great place for children to interact with the fish, it’s a beautiful with a shop that carries great gifts and scuba/snorkel equipment for sale.
Their Marine Discovery Centre was impressive with lots of fun information for kids to learn about sea life around the resort. The staff is very passionate about sea creatures and they even take care of diseased sea turtles until they are able to survive on their own. During our stay one of the turtles was released with a tracker to make sure she survives. It was a big event and a great learning experience for the kids. They even breed and raise baby clown fish by the thousands for everyone to see.
Every guest receives “His & Her” bikes for getting around the resort. Such a nice and necessary feature for an island of this size. I loved riding through the paths with lush greenery on both sides listening to the birds and waving hello to other guests passing by. These bikes are they main means of getting around and it is especially exciting riding to our villa a little tipsy and hoping to not fall into the water. I’m pretty sure many guests went over the edge before!
- Reserve a private dinner on Blu beach just before sunset.
- Plan your trip between June – October to witness the Manta & Whale shark sightings.
- Sign up for the On-call manta & whale shark service. Space is limited and you don’t want to miss this.
- For breakfast, besides the Cafe Landaa buffet, you can also eat at Blue & Al Barakat for ala carte dishes.
- If you have children, bring them along! There is a kids club, marine discovery center, and lots of activities for the young ones.
- Don’t miss a sunset and sunrise. They each are unique yet equally amazing.
- SCUBA Certified? If you are certified you cannot miss the dive spots in this UNESCO site. Book them early and know that you cannot dive within 24 hours of your seaplane flight.
- Not yet SCUBA Certified: If you are the least bit interested, prepare in advance and get certified before your trip. Getting certified at the Four Seasons is expensive (as it is at any resort), but you’ll get to fulfill some of dive requirements at arguably the best locations in the world.
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