One of five Adaaran resorts in the Maldives, the Prestige Vadoo is a short speedboat ride from urban Malé.
But even with the sight of the city in the distance, it feels like a blissfully long way from civilisation. A small island, it’s home to the very first water villa to be built in the whole of the Maldives, now kept as a something of a museum piece alongside the more modern villas on stilts.
Mixing traditional with contemporary design, our Sunset Water Villa has a small plunge pool, a huge living area/bedroom and the piece de resistance: a bathroom that comes complete with a glass bottom, a bright pink sofa, a mini bar and – through sliding doors – a sun terrace with a jacuzzi. This is the dream.
We are on an all-inclusive package, which means pretty much everything is taken care of unless you want to book some extra excursions. The inclusive mini-bar offers soft drinks, beer and chocolate (replenished according to your appetite). Our wristbands give us access to a wide choice of drinks daily, from wine and beer to cocktails and mocktails. The beach bar comes complete with a laid-back DJ, whose Balearic sounds also drift over to the outdoor pool. The music in the main bar strays more towards romantic pop classics: head up to the roof for a great view at sunset, or to see the staff feeding the fish at 5.30pm. A lone heron also appears on our balcony for a quick photoshoot around 7.30am each day, before hopping off to the next villa and settling on the beach around midday.
The diving and snorkelling options are fantastic around here: I count 30 different types of fish during a 15-minute snorkel (gear is included). If you’re a diver, like my husband, you’ll see even more: he spotted everything from Dragon pipefish to giant moray eels thanks to the staff at the Dive Point, who took him to the house reef and on a boat to explore the reefs by neighbouring islands.
Meals are usually at the main restaurant, a circular building surrounded by verdant, well-kept gardens featuring a maze just small enough not to get lost in. Breakfast has a la carte eggs, french toast and more alongside a tasty continental buffet, and you can order a special Indian or Maldivian breakfast in advance (do not miss the latter). Lunch and dinner offer a set menu with a choice of starter, mains and desserts – stand-outs include the gnocchi, the Thai soup and fresh fish; the chefs have a variety of international influences.
Fancy a change one night? There’s an old-fashioned Japanese restaurant serving decent sushi – and keep your ears open for opportunities to see a Cooking Demonstration. A highlight for us is a special festive beach barbecue, which features fabulous fish in a magnificent Maldivian display decorated with natural materials. These are also used by our friendly housekeeping staff, who leave pretty messages such as ‘Welcome to Vadoo’ and ‘Happy Holidays’ in our room using palm leaves and flowers.
Our fellow guests are varied, perhaps more so than more remote resorts: burkas are as common as bikinis. Everyone seems to appreciate the evening entertainment, which usually involves the JJ Twins, identical Sri Lankan brothers who play guitar and deliver a stream of harmonious ditties.
One of the most helpful and personal touches is our own butler, Reji, whom we share with another couple of villas but who is always available to book or bring anything we need on request, from a new pillow to medicines. We reluctantly ask him to stop the daily chocolates when those holiday clothes get a bit tight. That’s really the only silver lining to leaving: Vadoo is definitely somewhere to indulge, relax and unwind in style.
Imagery: Vadoo, Ben Robards and Anna Smith
Tell Me More About Adaaran Prestige Vadoo
Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Vaadhoo, Kaafu Atoll, Republic of Maldives
An all-inclusive stay in Sunset Water Villa starts at £860.44 per night.
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