There’s no denying that the Maldives is a destination of the moment. You only need to scroll through Instagram or flick through the pages of a celebrity magazine to see plenty of glamorous people frolicking in the surf. The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa recognised its potential many decades ago, being one of the first resorts to open way back in 1937.
Clearly, they’ve had plenty of time to perfect the ultimate Maldives experience. This knowledge, paired with the recent $20 million renovation, means it’s truly a classic delight.
Journey to the resort
We arrived at Male international airport, where we received a warm welcome from The Sheraton Maldives representative. Helping us with our bags, we were escorted over to the jetty where there was a boat waiting. We were offered cold towels and bottled water before we sped off in the direction of the resort.
While getting to some Maldives resorts is, honestly, quite the hassle, The Sheraton Maldives is just a kilometre from Male airport. This means that you lose hardly any time or energy on your transfer, and find yourself surrounded by the beauty of the resort within an hour of touching down at the airport.
Once we’d enjoyed a refreshing iced tea and filled in some paperwork, it was time to explore the island and resort.
The Sheraton Maldives is one of the most respected and largest resorts in the Maldives, located on the Furanafushi island. With 176 guest rooms and seven fabulous restaurants and bars spaced out around the island, it feels somewhat like an exclusive town – fringed by spectacularly beautiful beaches.
Furanafushi’s spectacular natural beauty is a focus point of the island, and the architecture is traditional and sympathetic. Buildings are nestled away and cloaked with natural textures, to ensure they flow with the island’s environment.
The beach is, of course, a highlight, but if you want to step away from the sand, you’ll also find three gorgeous pools. One is perfect for families, which is great for younger guests – and also means the other pools are typically quieter and more relaxing.
The Maldives’ overwater bungalows – thatched villas built on stilts over the sea – are what dreams are made of, and a recent addition to the Sheraton. We were so lucky to have the opportunity to stay in a brand new water bungalow with pool.
The bungalow was chic and elegant, with contemporary decor and neutral hues. I loved having our private pool overlooking the lagoon, as well as steps leading down to the ocean.
In fact, the only difficulty I experienced at the Sheraton Maldives was deciding where I’d rather swim!
Then there was the option to soak in a warm bath and enjoy the exceptional views from there… what bliss.
Another key new feature of the Maldives Sheraton is the introduction of villa hosts. Each guest who stays at the resort is assigned a personal villa host, who is on hand to assist make your stay on the island absolutely perfect.
Our host was so kind and professional and made every effort to make sure our stay was totally magical and memorable. From arranging activities to greeting us with a warm smile, this is an excellent addition to the resort.
With an impressive selection of seven eateries, you certainly won’t be hungry or bored with the options at The Sheraton Maldives. In total, there are five restaurants and two casual all-day snack spots. We were lucky to get to experience most of them.
Our first lunch was at the friendly and laidback Kakuni Hut, a beautiful relaxed spot where you can grab a meal to enjoy on the beach. Delicious tacos and some expertly prepared tropical cocktails certainly put us in the holiday mood.
Sea Salt Restaurant
Continuing the alfresco theme, in the evening, we dined at the Sea Salt Restaurant. Located next to the lagoon, the gorgeous setting means that the restaurant is both casual and glamorous. You can watch expert chefs prepare meals in live cooking stations, as the sea breeze lingers in the air.
Yet another feature of the restaurant is the ability to choose your own fish from the tank – it doesn’t get much fresher than that! I had a snapper, prepared Maldivian style; it was, of course, totally delicious.
For breakfast most days, we enjoyed a buffet breakfast at Feast, a friendly resort-style restaurant. I really appreciated how flexible the Sheraton Maldives is about dining; they offered a great selection of healthy options and are happy to respond to any dietary requirements. It meant every day got off to a perfect start.
Lunch on our second day ended up one of the most memorable dining experiences of my life, as we enjoyed a spectacular Lagoon Lunch. This is where you enjoy an absolutely delicious five-course meal at a table literally perched in the crystal-clear water of the lagoon.
Shaded by a large umbrella, you can enjoy this relaxing and intimate experience, watching fish dart near you and savouring the incredible tastes. A bucket of ice-cold champagne adds to the experience, and my husband and I indeed found ourselves clinking our glasses to this fantastic and romantic experience.
For dinner, we were treated to an amazing Maldivian dinner, prepared right on the beach. It was just the perfect dinner to enjoy on such a beautiful tropical island, and as soon as I saw the tables set up on the sand, I knew we were in for a treat.
There was an incredible array of seafood, including exceptional sashimi and fish steaks. My favourite, however, was the traditional Maldivian dishes, prepared by the resort’s chefs as well as those from neighbouring islands. To top it all off, a Maldivian band played live music and even taught us a few dance steps — it really was a magical evening.
Sand Coast Restaurant
For lunch on our final day, we once again enjoyed an informal and relaxed meal at Sand Coast Restaurant. Underneath the beautiful thatched roof, many local and international options are served up. We chose some Thai specialities, and they were all absolutely delicious, with fresh ingredients and beautiful, fragrant spices.
For our final meal at the beautiful Sheraton Maldives, we were booked in for dinner at Baan Thai. Fittingly, the decor of the restaurant was distinctly Thai-inspired, while the expert chefs cooked up incredible, authentic dishes. I absolutely love Thai food, and it certainly did not disappoint, while the bustling atmosphere added to the overall experience as well.
The Sheraton Maldives’ spa was also part of the extensive renovations, and the result is truly breathtaking. Nestled on its private island, the six treatment rooms enjoy the most enchanting views, while local ingredients are fused together to create amazing oils and creams. The treatments on offer include massages, facials and body scrubs — and they all sound divine.
We had an amazing couple’s massage, which fused together Balinese and Thai techniques. As my limbs were gently stretched and pressure points needed, I immediately felt the stress flow away from my body. It was terrific, and the beautiful views helped too.
The Maldives is ideal for people who love watersports, and the Sheraton offers some of the best selection. With the “Extreme Maldives Center” on offer, it’s no surprise there are plenty of choices for those who like to be active while on holiday.
As well as watersports and excursions, the resort also offers a gym, tennis court and table tennis tables. Then, of course, there is the snorkelling – we had plenty of time to enjoy that right off the decking of our beautiful villa.
We were also booked in to try some activities.
The waters around Furanafushi island are home to many playful dolphins, and we were excited to set off in search of them. Our trusty skipper knew precisely where they were likely to be playing at sunset, and as the light dipped below the sea, we set off in search.
It didn’t take long before we stumbled upon a pod of dolphins who were only too happy to put on a fantastic show for us. We spent quite some time watching them spin, jump and flip before we moved on to the next stop to give them some privacy. We saw plenty of dolphins during the two-hour cruise, and it was totally magic.
Sand Bank and Guided Snorkelling
We were also booked in to do the Sand Bank excursion, unfortunately, it was cancelled as there weren’t enough of us to go (a minimum of 8 is required). It was a shame, as I’d seen some incredible photos; you get taken out to a secluded island via speedboat, where you can search for marine life. Oh well, a reason to return, I suppose!
The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa has clearly used their decades of experience to renovate their resort. While on the outside it has retained its traditional charm, the sympathetic and modern renovation means the sparkling decor is modern and beautiful.
Add in the extra touches such as the ultra-helpful villa hosts, and you have a truly spectacular, modern paradise in the Maldives.
Disclaimer: Our stay was courtesy of The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa but of course, all opinions are 100% my own.