Milaidhoo Island, Maldives

Milaidhoo Island, Maldives

Set in the thriving Unesco biosphere reserve of Baa Atoll, the Maldivian-owned Milaidhoo Island proves that good things come in small packages.

a trip to the Maldives, and more than 130 resorts vie
for your attention. The choice is overwhelming – and perhaps
worrying when you consider the environmental impact. Gaze out from
atolls such as North Male and you’ll see a traffic-jammed
“boatorway” rather than serene ocean-scapes; this is the M25 of the
seas. That being said, if you expand your search beyond the
headline islands, the choice of resort (and the views) get

Fifty years ago, the Maldives wasn’t as popular as it is today.
In 1973, a local Maldivian group took a risk and launched the
Indian Ocean’s first luxury dive resort on Baros, where dazzling
sands and coral lagoon still draw travellers today. The owners
remained – and remain – fiercely independent, and three years ago
they launched the positively paradisiacal Milaidhoo, a minute
island getaway.

It’s an adult Nirvana: children under the age of nine are not
allowed, there are no water slides, beach volley or Zumba classes,
and all motorised water sports are also banned. You can walk around
the island on a footpath in about eight minutes – or 15 if you want
to stay on the perfect, natural-sand beach.

Stay in one of the resort’s Beach Pool villas or smaller Water
Pool villas and you’ll rarely need to visit the reception area;
every whim is taken care of by magical Jameel and his colleagues.
Milaidhoo achieves the highest level of luxury in the most discreet
and unobtrusive way. Unlike at other top-end resorts, luxury comes
naturally here. There’s a cushion for your back because staff saw
you hold it one morning; a dolphin-spotting trip because your
partner mentioned it. No place on the resort ever feels full or
crowded; you have to seek out others rather than bump into them.
This is what serenity feels like.


With a spacious atmosphere, high ceilings, a large walk in
dressing room, indoor- and outdoor-showers and a beautiful bathtub,
the Beach Villas are Milaidhoo’s most sought-after accommodation.
Each benefit from a large pool and all but three face the sunrise
(the others enjoy vistas of the sun dipping below the horizon each
evening). We recommend booking one that opens out onto the beach.
Water Villas are similarly beautiful, if slightly smaller, and most
of them face the sunset.

What’s for breakfast?

If there were a prize for the best breakfast in the Maldives,
Milaidhoo would get it. Expect a seemingly endless array of fresh
breads, muffins, cakes, cheeses, hand-cut charcuterie, juices,
smoothies and more. Gluten-free, vegan and other dietary
requirements are well catered for.

How about lunch and dinner?

The breezy Compass Pool Bar is a favourite among guests in
search of cooling cocktails (try a beer-based tipple) and light
bites – the Thai beef salad a must. Serving an international menu
(try the prawn linguine), the Ocean Restaurant is a great lunch
option, though the shoreline setting can get a little hot. Come
evening, guests are spoiled for choice with dinner options. The
Shoreline Grill does what it says on the tin – exceptionally well.
Expect masterfully grilled meat, fish, crustaceans, and vegetables
(or all of the above). The Chef’s Table here specialises in
teppanyaki; it’s fun, entertaining and delicious. Nevertheless,
Milaidhoo’s star culinary offering is Ba’theli, named after the
Maldivian boats that ploughed the trade routes, and three of which
are built into the shoreline – one a kitchen, another the
restaurant and a third a sunset bar. The menu here will make you
rethink Maldivian food. The chef’s perfectly spiced sea bass is
stunning, and best enjoyed a cold glass from the restaurants’
superlative wine list.

Is there a bar?

The Compass Pool Bar is prime drinking territory, with open
space by the pool, fans, swinging chairs and low couches. Sunset at
Ba’theli is profoundly romantic though, so let your mood guide


Serenity Spa is made up of divine over-water treatment rooms for
singles and couples, as well as outdoor baths. There is also a
peaceful yoga pavilion – join daily sessions at 7:30am or use it in
private throughout the day. The Pool Room is fun, even if the music
is shared with the (well-equipped) gym – it can feel a little too
enthusiastic after dinner. A variety of self- or wind-propelled
water vehicles are available, including kayaks, paddle boards and

Things you should know

The House Reef is stunning, housing varieties of marine life
that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else. Dip beneath the surface
and you’ll see myriad schooling fish, lobsters, sharks, rays,
clownfish, you name it. Caves are to be found a little deeper too.
(Guests from other resorts aren’t allowed to dive here). It’s well
worth taking the Nemo Tour, led by the resident marine biologist –
she’ll happily take lots of photos for you too.

Within a short walk you will find…

… the villa from which you set off; Milaidhoo Island is tiny. If
you have access to a boat, explore the surrounding Unesco biosphere
reserve of Baa Atoll, where manta rays swim in shallow waters and
diving opportunities are among the most amazing in all of the

Alessandro Tomé is a contributing editor at Spear’s

Discover More
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives