With social media we have all become storytellers. One of Anantara Resorts' differentiators is their focus on giving guests experiences that become stories as well as enabling their telling. Having high-speed free Wi-Fi all over the Island is just one way they achieve this but also by choreographing wow moments that become the fulcrum around which tales of the journey are told.
Anantara’s Dhigu Resort. You reach it by speedboat, and from then on it's relaxation all the way.
Being in the pristine Maldives makes for easy story telling - the sea is bluer and warmer than I could possibly imagine, even when compared with other Island idylls. The sand is whiter and the exotic sea life is more abundant than you hope it will be. The Maldives secures a wow response with little extra effort.
We first stayed at Anantara's family-centric Dhigu Resort on Dhigufinolhu Island in the South Male Atoll, about 40-minutes by James Bond-style speedboat from the Male airport.
Anantara Dhigu is one of a mini archipelago of three islands within easy reach by pontoon. Top-end guests stay at the neighbouring Naladhu where each villa has its own pool, but we encamped at Dhigu, in one of the over-water villas. There are 110 deluxe villas and suites ranging from 110m² to 180m², the resort has 68 Sunrise and Sunset Beach Villas and two Sunset Pool Villas set along a pristine stretch of beach. The Maldives is as much a paradise for kids as it is for the rest of us and the resort's family accommodation options include beachfront Sunset Family Villas and two-bedroom Anantara Pool Villas. All the goodies you need
I love that there's an espresso machine in the room and a maxi-bar with everything including instant, underwater cameras and sun screen. There's also an iPod clock/docking unit and big screen TV with DVD player and satellite channels.
Designer dining... Anantara serves Thai food the way they do in the Kingdom of Smiles so be prepared to be wooed, and wowed.
The oversized terrazzo bathtub could probably accommodate the whole family at once and when the sliding screens are opened there is nothing between you and the ocean.
Everything is designed to allow you to commune with the water. Anantara is taken from an ancient Sanskrit word that means 'without end', symbolising the sharing of water, which is in beautiful pots in front of every doorway as a symbol of heartfelt hospitality that is at the core of every Anantara experience. Even the bathroom floor has a glass panel in front of the loo so that you can gaze into the water as you ruminate.
We probably spent four hours a day in the water - just snorkelling around the house reef - a few steps from our over-water villa, kept us busy. Another wow experience while we were walking to the restaurants was being offered a fresh coconut by a beach attendant and then having him collect it from the top of a tree, with the agility of a squirrel, using two pieces of rope spanned between his hands and feet. Baan Huraa - Veli good
There are six super restaurants at which to eat but Baan Huraa on neighbouring Veli is amongst the finest Thai restaurants I have eaten at. The rounded teak structure floats on stilts at the edge of an inner lagoon and outer reef and thousands of soldier fish swarm in the waters below - book an outside table and be mesmerised by what's below. Add this spot to your bucket list and eat here before you die. Don't, as I did, brag about how hot you like your food as being a Thai company Anantara serves Thai food the way they do in the Kingdom of Smiles and not to pander to Western palates. The soft shell crab in black pepper is a must.
Life's tough in paradise, isn't it.
Fushi Café is Dhigu's multi-purpose restaurant. Breakfasts are lavish and can easily sustain you until dinner which is an important consideration if you're on a half-board package as things can become costly. We also did a local Maldivian cooking course which was good fun where we learned new ways with tuna and coconut - island staples. Their BBQ buffet nights are also essential - when you see the size of the lobsters just waiting to be tossed onto the braai you'll skip the other tempting items.Designer dining
A real treat was a Dining by Design experience where we had the opportunity to have dinner, isolated on the beach but at a table set up with long white napery and crystal, accompanied by South African chef Jonathan Duiker who is executive sous chef for the resorts.
For children aged 11 and under there's the Dhoni Kids Club which offers a daily supervised programme so that kids can discover the island's friendly wildlife inhabitants, fun arts and crafts activities, indoor and outdoor sports and games, even introducing them to new games inspired by local culture.
Anantara from the air, and water as far as the eye can see.
Their fabulous Anantara Spa has glass panels in the floor directly under the massage bed so you can look down into the sea while having a massage. The spa suite also has own shower and soaking tub.
For more information go to www.anantara.com
Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa's "Family Special" package affords families four nights' accommodation in a Sunrise Beach Villa, with the option to upgrade to a Sunset Family Villa or Two Bedroom Anantara Pool Villa. Share quality time together in the world's greatest natural paradise, with turquoise waters as your playground and rich Anantara experiences awaiting you at our Maldives family resort.
Catch your first glimpses of paradise as you jet across the Indian Ocean by complementary speedboat. Enjoy a breakfast buffet with temptations for all, before days of action packed adventure. Younger guests are invited to cook up a storm in a special children's culinary class, and are treated to endless ice cream treats every single day. Set out in search of dolphins dancing in the waves with an unforgettable family cruise. Dine in exclusive Anantara style with a unique Dining by Design occasion, complete with a private chef and butler in a choice of inspirational settings. Parents can also indulge in a precious evening alone, with complimentary babysitting at a time of your choosing.
Validity: Now - 9 January 2013
- Sunrise Beach Villa: Rates start from US$4861
Terms & Conditions:
- Rate is in US$ and is subject to 10% service charge, 6% GST and US$8 government bed tax per person per night.
- The rate quoted is per package for a family of 2 adults and 2 children aged 12 years and under, and are subject to availability, seasonal variations and change without notice.
- Minimum 4 night consecutive stay required.
- Flight details must be provided 48 hours prior to arrival for speedboat transfers to be arranged. The above benefits may not be used in conjunction with any other discount or exchanged for any other service or cash.