The world-renowned Thai hospitality is literally going places. Travelers can now enjoy the unique experience not only in Thailand but also in many places around the world as more and more Thai hotel companies expand their operations worldwide. Now, travelers can experience it even at the paradisiacal destination of Maldives, where Dusit International, Thailand’s pioneering hotel group, opened another lavish five-star resort – the Dusit Thani Maldives, a luxurious tropical resort framed by snow-white sandy beaches and lush palm fronds on Mudhdhoo Island in the Baa Atoll.
Surrounded by a pulsating 360-degree coral reef with a turquoise lagoon and a verdant landscape, Dusit Thani Maldives enjoys a secluded spot on the almost untouched atoll, just 35 minutes by seaplane from the capital Male, and 10 minutes by speedboat from the new domestic airport; a perfect location indeed to experience the distinctive brand of Thai hospitality.
“Maldives is everybody’s idea of paradise,” says resident manager Niti Radcharit. “And we at Dusit Thani Maldives are looking forward to welcoming guests with the renowned Thai hospitality to its stunning tropical surroundings.”
But Dusit Thani Maldives didn’t just bring a touch of Thai to this paradise. What it did was blend the better of the two cultures to create a seamless brand of travel experience for the most memorable holidays, like what we experienced recently.
We were truly impressed by the superb service here. From the time we were received at the aircraft landing to the time we were seen off by a whole team of their staff, we were pampered, pampered, pampered. Very few hotels can match this kind of hospitality anywhere in the world.
And the rooms were blissss! The resort’s 100 elegant and modern villas — styled with classic Maldivian woodwork and contemporary Thai architecture and complemented by state-of-the art technology and luxurious amenities, including new sustainable product lines from Molton Brown, U.K – are awesome to say the least. Whether guests choose to stay at the Beach Villas (122sqm), which overlook the beach with stunning lagoon views, the Lagoon Villas with Pool (150sqm) with its generous living space and impeccable detailing, or the Ocean Villas with Pools (180sqm) with their spacious deck, private plunge pool and large daybed, they will enjoy vivid designs, and modern amenities and conveniences, for a stylish stay.
The exclusive two-bedroom Ocean Pavilions (370sqm) and Beach Residences (560sqm), were we stayed, present even more opportunities for indulgent living with their indoor and outdoor dining facilities, and expansive private swimming pools. It’s the ultimate Thai hotel experience transported to Maldives, indeed.
Another great Thai hospitalty experience transported here is that of gourmet dining – an art that Thais has elevated to another level. Dusit Thani Maldives presents in this romantic Maldivian setting not only the Thai’s love of eating but also their penchant for exquisite cuisine. Every restaurant on the island excelled in their food, style, and service. There’s the seaside Market, which brings Continental delights to the Maldives with an array of a la carte selections as well as a breakfast buffet and dinner served in a relaxing brasserie-style. The breakfast expereince was most special of all.
Far away on an island where everything must be imported, they stood out over all the hotels we have visited in our travels around the world. We must also mention the highest quality imported steaks alongside the best of the ocean at The Sea Grill, truly exquisite!
Dusit’s signature Thai restaurant, Benjarong, was recreated overlooking the crystal blue ocean, making its authentic Thai flavors even more enjoyable. I would say that it’s somehow ahead of the cuisine at our favorite restaurant in Bangkok.
In the evening, we joined other guests who reveled at the Maldivian sunsets from Sala Bar. This place is perfect for stargazing too, while talented bar artisans create innovative refreshments and Asian tapas for them to enjoy. Otherwise, you can opt — as some of our companions did — for poolside snacks or chill to music over evening cocktails at the Sand Bar.
And because Maldives is a paradise for snorkelers and divers, much like the similarly nature-endowed southern Thai islands and seas, Dusit Thani Maldives we were able to enjoy an array of activities highlighting waterborne Maldivian attractions. The resort itself is surrounded by a living coral reef that Maldives’ first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This reef is home to rich marine life including eagle rays, manta rays, a variety of turtle species, and the endangered whale shark. The remarkable house reef wraps entirely around the island thus allowing guests to swim the 360-degree faroe reef system and three underwater caves alongside schools of banner fish, big-eye trevallys and other diverse marine life. The environment is home to everything, from the ocean’s gentle giants and whale sharks, to Nemo-like clownfish and, with little luck, even dolphins and turtles.
I don’t know mantra ray from monkfish but the island’s on-site marine biologists, Lauren Arthur, was on hand to help me get enlightened about Baa Atoll’s phenomenal marine biodiversity. By the way, for those who want to take advantage of their unique vista, there is once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the reef during the day and night, join reef clean-ups, and monitor sea turtle nestling habits while staying at the resort.
And as no Thai experience is complete without going to a Thai spa for relaxation and pampering, we wasted no time sampling spa plasures at the long-established Thai spa brand, Devarana, which was also transported to the Maldives. Lining the treetops of the island’s tropical rainforest, six of Devarana Spa’s eight elegant treatment pods are “up in the air” offering heavenly spa experience to guests from around the world. A comprehensive spa menu features a full range of massages and treatments such as the brand’s famous “Devarana Signature Massage” and the exclusive treatment known as “Abhaynga Massage.” Needless to say, the Thai spa experience is authentic, with experienced Thai therapists brought here from the kingdom to administer treatments for ultimate relaxation and pampering. The spa is also well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities such as the relaxation area, sauna, steam, hot and cold tub, and plunge pool.
Dusit Thani Maldives is a great child-friendly resort too, really perfect for creating wonderful memories for the entire family, and how we wished we had kids with us. The resort’s kid’s club, Baan Sanook, boasts exciting and stimulating programs that kids of all ages will enjoy.
And the staff stands out for their superb service, politenes, sharing and willingness to accommodate request. Our Thai lady butler was incredible, always there for us at every opportunity. She drove our samlor, escorted us everywhere, was on hand to sugest, to lend a hand — and yet never intrusive.
And to add to it all, while the resort definitely transplanted the Thai concept of sanuk (fun) and relaxation to the Maldives, they did it within the framework of living in harmony with Maldivian biodiversity. The environment-conscious would be glad to know that Dusit Thani Maldives was launched as a local pioneer in green energy solutions, investing in state-of-the-art engineering for efficiency to ensure minimal impact on the environment.
After a holiday at this resort, we’re wondering what next could beat it. It was, surely for us — the most memorable vacation ever, one that everyone must try to indulge in.