After an amazing few days experiencing the healthier side to the Maldives at Amilla Fushi, it was time to let our hair down a little. Spirits are not my style (nor the Maldives’), but a few glasses of champagne and wine at dinner go down a real treat.
We set off to Anantara Veli which is one of their four properties in the Maldives. Veli, along with two others, is a short 30/40 minute scenic boat ride to the island, whereas Anantara Kihavah is their only one a little further afield that requires a sea plane.
When I say a scenic journey, what I actually mean is something pretty magical. The beaming blue water never gets old but being greeted by a very playful and beautiful pod of dolphins is something else!
The greeting when we arrived at Anantara Veli was just as lively!
We were taken to our stunning Deluxe Over Water Pool Bungalow (bit of a mouthful!)
The bungalow included an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, with a perfect view of the sunset. It’s the newest of their ocean bungalows and every detail from picking your own cushion firmness to a welcome bottle of champers was ready and waiting. This to me, was the ‘postcard’ picture of everything I thought the Maldives was.
Unpacked, settled in and two glasses ready.
There was only one thing to do…
Veli is connected to their other properties, Dhigu and Naladhu, which means instead of just having one Island’s choices of restaurants, pools, beaches – you have three! Dhigu is more kid-friendly and Naladhu is more on the exclusive side. There are some restrictions here and there but from Veli, you can use all the restaurants that Dhigu has to offer.
To briefly summarise:
For those that are in a couple or looking for more of a peaceful/romantic break – Veli or Naladhu
And for families – Dhigu
They are all beautiful and each have their unique styles. There’s a shuttle boat that departs every 5 minutes from island to island so it’s very easy to hop around!
For the first evening, we dined at their iconic Thai restaurant, Baan Huraa, which is at the end of a beautiful jetty. It’s rare that I find good Thai food in Dubai so I was really excited!
Below is a traditional Thai snack called “Miang kham” which means “eating many things in one bite” and I LOVED IT! A selection of coconut shavings, fresh chili (which I learned the hard way was incredibly hot!), fresh ginger, lime, onion, peanuts, a jam-esque chutney and leaves, which you wrap it all up in.
If you are heading to your local Thai any time soon, ask if they serve this as you will not regret it! It’s the perfect way to start off a meal.
The food that followed lived up to exceptional Thai standards so this restaurant is definitely one to try if you get the chance to visit.
We were busy bees over the next few days with cookery classes, ayurvedic consultations, skin mapping, treatments and diving! There is so much to do and whether you fancy a snorkel around the house reef or a day out on the ocean, it’s available.
For me the Maldives is a combination of doing things that are special and rare, like dolphin spotting or diving and then also completely switching off and enjoying the beauty around.
The Ayurvedic consultation we had with their resident doctor, Dr Avinash was a first for me. I wouldn’t say I’m sceptical about alternate medicine at all, it’s just not something I’ve spent a lot of time researching. He read us like a book in the space of 20 minutes. From work goals, to food patterns – what can be observed through a simple conversation is truly amazing!
Dr Avinash, like me, has a very balanced approach to life. You can go to Veli for a complete wellness retreat and everything is there to support that or you can have a bit of both – which is the route Jack and I went down.
The treatments room are idyllic, and their therapists were the best I’ve had in a long time! If you need a deep tissue massage, here’s your spot!
How pretty are the outdoor showers!
From the spa to a Spice Spoons cooking class…I felt right at home!
We had a healthy Japanese focus throughout the class (ideal!) starting with miso soup then onto warm shiitake mushroom salad, poached salmon with asian greens and a guilt-free crepe for dessert!
I’ll be sharing one of these recipes with you shortly so keep your eyes peeled and make sure you’re signed up to my newsletter.
This was the freshest salmon I had tasted all week! Not to let a sashimi opportunity pass, I asked Alfie the Chef to cut me a slither off before we poached the fillet :)
I don’t usually poach salmon but it’s so quick to do and all you need to really make it something special is a brilliant stock!
It comes out beautifully pink and soft. Highly recommend it!
We went diving that afternoon (my first open water dive since getting qualified) and it was everything people said it would be! No sharks were seen, thank god….but beautifully coloured fish, sea snakes, coral and underwater life.
Interestingly Anantara had actually just teamed up with some marine biologists to combat a species called a ‘Crown-of-thorns starfish’. They are deadly to reefs and coral when not kept under control and they literally move across the corals, killing them and in return destroying the reefs at an unbelievable rate.
If you ever come across one, don’t touch it! The spikes on the arms are incredibly sharp and if an arm gets chopped off (which is how people used to think they could kill them) – they just grow back again. So if you are travelling to the Maldives and spot a ‘COTS’ then let the resort know. They can destroy reefs in a matter of months.
They held a talk over on Dhigu Island so we went to have a look!
We had a breathtaking sunset on our last evening and a very memorbale end to a lovely stay!
Before leaving Veli in the morning, we got a chance to have a look at their overwater spa on Dhigu island.
I experienced a ‘skin-mapping’ treatment from their resident skin specialist (who I’m going to be interviewing for some top skin-tips as she was fab!) followed by a facial to combat everything found in the mapping such as oily or dry areas. I learnt that my sun damage is considerable which was a huge wake up call, especially living in such a hot country like Dubai. It’s an interesting thing to do because you can then design your skin care routine at a much more advanced level.
The couple treatment rooms look over the ocean with open air windows and the Thai massage bed is something I need to try one day!
You can always expect to see a little friend or two on the walk there…
The treatment room view…
We had a wonderful time and it showed a side to the Maldives that we hadn’t yet experienced. Next up was Huvafen Fushi, the last stay in our Maldives excursion!
Travel Breakdown: (5 star max)
Have any questions for me about my stay at Anantara Veli? Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts of the trip and any queries.
Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!