Nothing can prepare you for the service provided at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru. This is what we expect from a five star hotel with a history of excellent customer service. Reading about it is one thing. Experiencing it first hand is another. Bravo Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, you’ve outdone yourself.
Let’s start with our arrival to the capital of the Maldives, Male. We were greeted by the Four Seasons staff and immediately escorted to their own lounge at the airport. We were offered light snacks and drinks while we waited to be transported to the Maldivian Air Taxi terminal. At the air taxi terminal, the Four Seasons has another lounge. Here, we comfortably enjoyed more refreshments, while being informed by the staff about all the wonderful things we were soon to encounter at the resort. After about 20 minutes our plane was ready to board. The small propeller plane holds about 15 people.
As the plane ascended over the turquoise waters, tiny atolls, surrounded by rings of white sand suddenly appeared below. We thought about all the times we had seen this view from photos in all those travel magazines. Immediately we both had to pinch ourselves. After all this time daydreaming about the Maldives, we were finally here!
The Republic of the Maldives consists of over 1900 islands in the Indian Ocean, which stretch over 35,000 square miles, of which approximately 200 are inhabited. From the air, the view is magnificent. Male is where most international flights will arrive. Depending how close your resort is to Male, you may travel by boat or airplane to arrive at your final destination. Our resort, The Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, was located about 30 minutes by air, the perfect amount of time for us to take in all the beauty from above.
We were met by the hotel manager, and several other staff from the resort. We were led to the beautiful open air lobby and served fresh island coconut water served in the shell, while checking in. We were then given a tour of the island, before reaching our bungalow. We chose the beach bungalow with pool. The beach villas and bungalows provided maximum privacy.
Our bungalow included a private entrance, our own plunge pool, thatched outdoor veranda, hammock and lounge chairs, all with a beachfront view. Inside the bungalow was impressive. Under a high ceiling, the room included a king size bed, and a comfortable sitting area with couches to take a lazy afternoon nap. The room has large sliding glass doors, so you have an uninterrupted view of the ocean at all times. The bathroom was huge, including separate sinks and toilet room, large soaking tub, and two showers, one inside and one outside. A door from the bathroom leads to the private outdoor shower equipped with hot and cold water. The room has all the amenities including a Nespresso machine, mini-bar, ipod docking station, and large closets. Houskeeping visited twice daily, and replenished our bungalow with bottled water and fresh fruit daily.
One of the nice things about the resort was each guest receives a bicycle with their initials on it. With only sand roads and trails throughout the island, walking or biking made for a nice way to explore the island while getting some exercise. We used our bicycles to go everywhere. We recommend riding around the island at night, when the only light is the stars, the moon, the headlamp of your bike, and the flaming torches that line the road. Magical. The resort uses golf carts as well to transport guests if needed. This service is a phone call away, and they are very prompt.
While enjoying the beach, the staff provides excellent service. Every day they would set up our lounging spot for the day, complete with beach chairs, umbrella, towels, and ice cold bottled water straight from the resorts own purified water facility. They provided sunscreen, magazines, ice cream, fresh fruit and even cleaned our sunglasses. Who does that? How fantastic! The beach is unbelievable. Pristine soft white sand, warm turquoise water and gentle breezes makes for a truly relaxing day. There’s a sand bar located nearby that allows you to walk a long way into the ocean. There’s also a water sports facility located on the beach with every form of water activity available. We enjoyed kayaking the beautiful Maldivian waters. The sun is strong, so make sure you’re wearing sunscreen.
During check-in at the resort, the staff asked us if we would like to participate in Manta-On-Call. During certain times of the year, (June to October ) manta rays and whale sharks gather in large numbers close to the resort. The Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is located about 20 minutes from one of the worlds most famous manta ray gathering spots. Manta-On-Call offered us the opportunity to see these large mammals up close. Of course we decided to do this, where else would we ever get a chance to see these enormous creatures in such close proximity. The cost is approximately $90 USD per person, but you only pay if you see the mantas. If you decide to do it, you’ll receive a mobile phone in a water proof case that is yours to keep during your stay. Keep it with you at all times! If the resort staff spots the mantas swimming nearby, they will call the mobile phone to let you know. Drop everything you’re doing and head to the main dock where a speedboat will be waiting to whisk you off to see the mantas. If none are spotted that day, you will be notified by 5pm, and you can leave the phone in your room until the next day. It’s a lot of fun.
One morning we had just sat down for breakfast when the phone rang. Mantas spotted!! We dropped our pastries and fresh pressed green juice, and bicycled to the main dock. Although we saw some mantas from the boat, the current was too strong in this particular area for us to snorkel. The staff asked us if we wanted to snorkel nearby, since we were already on the boat, so we did. We saw lots of beautiful colored fish and coral reefs. During the next couple of days, no mantas were spotted. We were not one of the lucky ones to swim with the mantas, but it was a great experience and we hope to try again on our next visit. At the very least, we had a wonderful speedboat ride and were able to snorkel in the Maldives!
There is an orchid garden located in the center of the island. This garden provides the many beautiful orchids you’ll see at all the restaurants and lobby area during your stay. We stopped by one day for a complimentary tour. The gardener here is a master at orchid care and oversees the garden daily. He was excited to share his knowledge of orchids with us. He could’nt have been nicer, and was truly an expert on these amazing flowers.
It was tough to leave on our last day. The staff walked us to the dock and we all said goodbye as one would do when leaving family. As our plane ascended, we looked down at the island we called home for the last week, promising each other to return. When we arrived in Male, the Four Seasons service continued. We were met by their staff at the water taxi terminal, driven to the main terminal and acconpanied all the way through the check-in process and up to security. It was here where they wished us a wonderful flight home and asked us to return as soon as possible. Remarkable.
Ever dreamed of a far away place you’d love to visit, but were never quite sure if you’d ever get there. The Maldives was this place for us. A place with such natural beauty, a place that exemplifies the true definition of paradise for most of us. The Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru created a surreal environment that made our trip to the Maldives better than we could have imagined. If you’ve also been dreaming of that far away place, look no further than the Maldives, and stay at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru.
Paradise is closer than you think.
Cy & Rich
Photos & Video by Cy & Rich