Paradise islands were made for honeymoons – powdery white sand and waters of the most astonishing turquoise are the perfect recipes for romance, right?
Even with these natural attributes in its favour, the Outrigger Konotta Resort in the Maldives takes romance to a new and dizzying level. Every aspect of a stay here is met with a level of service that surpasses anything we’ve ever experienced, from the sumptuous breakfast that’s brought to our villa on our first morning, when jetlag has made us sleep past normal serving hours, to the warmth and interest that imbues the simplest of exchanges. Expect surprises: each villa has a dedicated host, who facilitates and personalises your vacation, complete with thoughtful touches in your villa and at your table. The wooden letters suspended from a bent tree bough on the arrival jetty spell out Maruhabaa, which means ‘welcome’ in Maldivian, and there couldn’t be a more suitable word for how we are made to feel during our stay – other than, perhaps, pampered, cosseted, spoilt rotten and indulged!
The thatched roof accommodation is nothing short of blissful and indulgent, with interiors which are a feast of dark woods and cool stone, all natural elements which blend beautifully with the lush tropical surroundings outside. The bathroom downstairs has a huge, circular freestanding tub, and the master bed is so comfortable that waking up is tricky, even without a touch of jetlag to blame. Outside, a private terrace, plunge pool and private swimming pool are ours to enjoy; just beyond these, and separated by a dense strip of spiky greenery, we have our own private stretch of that glorious white sand, at which that extraordinary water laps. The over-water villas are similarly luxe, with endless views and the option to shimmy straight down the ladder at the side of your private pool into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
In the centre of the island – it’s less than one square kilometre in size, so making your way from place to place involves absolutely zero hardship – is the resort’s dive centre, where you can book in for experiences ranging from seabobbing, jet skiing and kite surfing, to parasailing, banana boating and windsurfing. The use of snorkelling equipment is free of charge and, given that the Maldives is one of the most renowned spots of underwater wildlife and coral formations in the world, it’s a given that you’ll want to take to the waters to explore, whether individually or as part of an organised group. Those wanting to get even more ‘in depth’ with the beauty contained in those silky waters can venture out on a number of guided dive excursions, or even take part as a non-certified participant.
Hanging out on the curtained beds surrounding the communal pool occupies long and luscious hours during our stay; the proximity of the bar and the unswerving attention of the staff means that we are rarely without a cocktail in hand, and the endless blue of the water beyond the edge of the infinity pool provides a constant distraction from an arsenal of books. Complimentary yoga sessions, timed to coincide with sunrise or sunset, take place on the jetty and, in keeping with this tranquil state, the wonderful Navasana Spa facilities include five treatment rooms in which to have your cares massaged away, as well as a scenic hydrotherapy pool and steam bath. There’s also a 24-hour gym for those worried about not letting that wedding-ready body slide.
It’s a worthwhile concern under the circumstances, as the food at the Outrigger Konotta is sublime. Really, really far too good for the exercise of any self-restraint, and the staff are so wonderfully friendly and accommodating that every dietary requirement or even vague whim is catered for, seemingly effortlessly. All day dining is offered at Blue Salt, although managing lunch after the vast array of breakfast goodies – European, Asian and Maldivian – on which we feast each morning is no easy task. Dinners can be arranged on the beach under a gauzy canopy at the end of a path of lanterns – cue instant heart eyes – or, for something less romantic but incredibly entertaining, head to Nala Rah, where a charismatic teppanyaki chef creates a dazzling spectacle that results in a delicious meal. At the other end of this restaurant, you can enjoy freshly prepared sushi. Each Thursday night, management hosts a poolside cocktail party; a charming and low key way to mingle with other guests and staff.
Considering the petite size of the island, seclusion is surprisingly easy to come by. The space, both internal and external, provided by the villas is a part of that, of course, but there’s also the fact of the dense foliage that separates the villas and lines the pathways, providing additional privacy. The Outrigger Konotta’s location, in the remote Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, adds to the feeling; unlike other Maldivian resorts, where other hotels are in the vicinity and the boats of different resorts can be seen on the surrounding waters, it’s blissfully serene and undisturbed here – a genuine romantic idyll.
Honeymoon packages, which include the likes of a bath ceremony and sunset cruise, are available, as are utterly swoon-worthy wedding packages, which come with the guarantee that your vows will be the only ones exchanged in the resort that day, as well as local Bodu Beru musicians and a dedicated wedding coordinator. It’s truly difficult to imagine a more beautiful start to married life than this.
For further information, visit outrigger.com