Castaway Romance In The Maldives
Emily Williams checks into Sun Siyam Olhuveli to discover its premium all-inclusive offering, other-worldly destination dining and vibrant underwater kingdom.
A welcoming cocoon of bright colours, rhythmic Boduberu drums and warm staff smiles embraced us as we stepped out onto Sun Siyam Olhuveli's arrival jetty, after a seamless airport transfer and 45-minute speedboat ride from Malé. Seconds later, the jet lag melted away to reveal a quintessential postcard of paradise - there's no place quite like it on earth. With a handmade floral lei adding a flourish to our travel attire, we proceeded along the pontoon over glittering turquoise waters to the Lagoon Bar, where freshly shaken mocktails revived our senses and the resort map introduced us to our new island home from home - we couldn’t wait to explore!
Sun Siyam Olhuveli is one of the larger 4-star Maldivian resorts in the South Malé atoll, with 439 rooms set across interconnected tropical islands. The Main Island is where the majority of the suites are situated, along with a water sports centre, spa, gym, tennis courts, the adults-only Dhoni Bar, the buffet-style Sunset Restaurant, Thai dining at Siyam Orchid, Indian cuisine at Namaste, and Island Pizza for light Mediterranean lunches. Across the bridge, you’ll find Dream Island, where there's the over-the-water Dream Spa, family Sunrise Bar, seafood Maghrib Grill and international eatery called Malaafaiy. Getting from one side to another is an scenic stroll on foot, but if you prefer a quicker route, there is a regular sustainably powered bus that stops along the sandy aisles throughout the day. From the start, I could already sense that the resort’s size and layout was perfect for honeymooners - even at near full capacity, the vibe was tranquil and easygoing with plenty of space for everyone to enjoy their holiday at peace.
There is a variety of room types across the Sun Siyam Olhuveli resort, from cosy couples villas to grand presidential suites for the whole family, either set on a secluded stretch of beach or suspended over the water. Our Grand Beach Suite with Pool was the perfect introduction to luxe island living: a whitewashed Hamptons-style beach hut with a pitched straw roof, gleaming tiled floors, a well-stocked minibar and coffee machine, a king size bed, an open-air bathroom with a free-standing bathtub, and a partitioned living area with glass doors that opened up onto a topaz-hued pool and the ocean beyond. It was an airy seafront haven with all of the air conditioning and wi-fi amenities you could wish for, with the bonus of being on the sunset side, where blazing orange skies faded into clear indigo nights, scattered with a thousand stars.
On the generous all-inclusive plan, we delved into daily breakfasts, lunches and dinners at Sunset Restaurant or Malaafaiy, where the freshly prepared buffet cuisine and themed live cooking stations made each meal authentic and diverse. A candlelit beach dinner at Maghrib Grill was another highlight, where we indulged in a succulent seafood platter of fresh prawns, lobster and shellfish as the waves lapped beside us on the shore. But the most memorable feast of all had to be the Floating Platform Dinner, located on a picturesque pavilion in the middle of the lagoon. Words can’t quite express the magic of being alone together surrounded by the Indian Ocean, with each course arriving by boat as the sunset sent rippling fireworks of colour over the water. It was a movie-like experience... and for anyone thinking of popping the big question, I can’t think of anywhere more romantic.
With the ocean ever-present and complimentary snorkelling gear readily available for all guests, the big blue is yours to discover. One afternoon, we donned our masks and swam from our villa to the house reef by the Dive Centre jetty. Beneath the surface, the ocean was teeming with life, with iridescent shoals of fish, spongy corals and the powder white sand painting a crystalline seascape. Olhuveli’s lagoon is perfect for beginners, as even in the shallows you can often spy turtles bobbing at the surface, or tame reef sharks and rays. Further out beyond the drop-off is a scuba diver’s dream, and at the SSI-certified Dive Centre, professionals are always on hand to provide all the equipment and tuition you need.
Immersive snorkelling experiences reach new levels at Sun Siyam Olhuveli with regular safaris around the house reef and nearby atolls. Or for those looking for a once-in-a-lifetime marine life encounter, I encourage you to try out the nurse shark excursion! The expert guides took us to the very best spots, where we jumped off the boat and approached a shiver of sharks. Watching these gentle giants gliding through the water and interacting up close was nothing short of mesmerising. We continued onwards to the Vaavu Atoll, where a half-submerged shipwreck soon came into view, covered in a carpet of vivid corals. We circled the sunken treasure and fed the curious sea life, while feeling like the only people around for miles.
The Indian Ocean’s the limit when it comes to water sports back at the resort, with all non-motorised options included in the guest package. From paddle boards and kayaks to windsurfing or the catamaran, they all offer wonderful ways to experience the sparkling aquamarine sea. For a dose of adrenaline, find your thrill with a private jet-ski session, or take on the challenge of staying on the fun tube as you’re dragged at speed across the water in fits of laughter!
There’s so much to enjoy at Sun Siyam Olhuveli, whether you want to go at full throttle or sunbathe by the infinity pool with an ice-cold piña colada in hand. Whatever you choose to do at Olhuveli, you can rest assured that the dedicated staff will go above and beyond to create a unique, personalised itinerary for you. With three flexible wedding packages, the team can even arrange a stunning beach ceremony and reception, with a backdrop of swaying palms and panoramic horizon views. With firsthand experience of the in-house drone and photography services, I can only imagine how special it would be to crystalise your marriage vows with an album to cherish. Whether you’re planning an engagement, an island wedding or a castaway honeymoon in barefoot luxury, Sun Siyam Olhuveli sets the scene for once-in-a-lifetime celebrations, leaving you with a heart full of everlasting memories.
To book your romantic getaway in the Maldives, visit sunsiyam.com/sun-siyam-olhuveli and check out their Honeymoon Grand Offer at sunsiyam.com/sun-siyam-olhuveli/offers/honeymoon-offer
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