Already stressing about post-lockdown travel plans? Grab your swimming cossies and escape to this fabulous family-friendly getaway. Enter, Anantara Dhigu in The Maldives.
As Lucas Raven made his way to Maldives, he had a decision to make. Will it be a swim with giant turtles, water-skiing, or a chill in an Insta-worthy slice of paradise (think hammocks suspended over turquoise waters and swings that skim the surf)? The family-friendly resort has excellent service, perfect beaches and coconuts served fresh to your lounger. All rooms have sumptuous modern interiors. Choose from the newly renovated beach villas (with private decks and outdoor bathrooms) or overwater villas. For an extra dose of enchantment, look out for manta rays and turtles outside. The beachside Aqua Bar is the island’s social hub, with its huge infinity pool and activities including table tennis and giant chess. For dinner, there’s the choice of Dhigu’s restaurants or those at sister-resort Veli.
Dhigu has its own ‘picnic island’, with Instagrammable sea swings and beach hammocks, and an overwater spa with glass panels under the treatment beds. It also shares a lagoon with two other Anantara properties – Veli and the private island, Naladhu – giving guests access to numerous restaurants, bars and activities.
Location-wise: The resort is conveniently close to Malé; it’s just 30- 35 minutes south of the airport by private speedboat. So while others are still waiting for their seaplane, you’ll be sipping mojitos at the pool bar or snorkelling the magnificent house reef.
Anantara Dhigu has a lush jungle interior surrounded by talcum-powder-white beaches. It’s a relatively large island by Maldivian standards, but you can cycle from end to end in less than 10 minutes. Maldivian-style décor – think thatched roofs and dark woods – are designed to blend into the natural surroundings, while overwater villas, restaurants and spas make the most of the Indian Ocean views. I have to highlight the impeccable service. Hands down, 5 stars! On a swim with the sharks snorkeling trip, the captain even turned the boat around to fish my Panama hat out of the ocean after a gust of wind caught it. Active guests can sign up for yoga, tennis, diving, beach games and my ultimate favorite, surfing! (one of the few spots to offer this in the Maldives) before indulging in coconut-based treatments at the Dhigu Spa or cooking classes in the chef’s garden. The 110 spacious villas and suites are either perched over the Indian Ocean or nestled on the beach, and come with sunrise or sunset views, private terraces (some with a pool and villa butler on call), freestanding bathtubs and separate showers. Rooms are decorated in soothing seaside hues with wooden furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Food and Beverage scene: There are fantastic restaurants on the island. Perched over the lagoon, Sea.Fire.Salt serves an international breakfast menu alongside made-to-order eggs, waffles and Asian noodles; pool bar Aqua is all about cocktails and casual bites like burgers and salads. Post-breakfast, Sea.Fire.Salt specialises in freshly caught Maldivian fish and grilled meats.
Alternatively, take a quick pontoon ride across the lagoon to sister resort Anantara Veli for one of the best Thai meals you’ll experience in the Maldives, at Baan Huraa, or try theatrical teppanyaki at modern Japanese restaurant Origami.
Overall, a destination in itself. You can’t go wrong with Dhigu; I highly recommend it to both families and couples.
Sidebar: The Maldives is now open for tourists. You’ll need a PCR test 72 hours prior to your flight, and an online health declaration form you’ll need to fill out from the Maldivian Government’s website.