Masala discovers the joy of total rejuvenation at the idyllic Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.
By Ram Sachdev
It is quite intriguing how wonderful changes can occur within a short span of a single day. From carrying a shopping bag and walking behind my wife in a crowded Sukhumvit mall, I found myself transported to a soft sandy beach, where the only footprints I see are those of my own. From sitting endlessly behind a steering wheel in a polluted, traffic-centric Asoke intersection, I was soon lazing by the pool with a fresh cool breeze caressing my tired body. All this was somewhere on a small island measuring a mere 400 by 300 metres in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Where you might ask? At a secluded, luxurious retreat known as Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.
Many of you have heard of the Maldives, but not many know that this pristine paradise is a South Asian nation located atop a vast underwater mountain range, made up of 1,190 low-lying islands surrounded by crystal clear water and reefs that are home to spectacular marine life. Interestingly, you can’t compare Maldivian resorts to Thai coastal properties, as they have been developed with a unique “one island, one resort” approach, giving the destination an unmatched niche in the global tourism market. Apart from beautiful landscapes, the region’s current population of 340,000 is also known for its wide-ranging ancestral roots that can be traced to Sri Lanka, India, the Middle East and North Africa, resulting in a distinct culture that cannot be found anywhere else.
Luckily, getting to the Maldives is easy. Not only can Thai nationals recieve a visa on arrival for 30 days, but there are also three direct ﬂights alongside many one-stop options from Bangkok to Male, the capital of the Maldives. For our journey, we took a four and a half hour morning ﬂight, which was smooth and hassle-free. Upon arrival, we were received at the Male airport terminal by a resort representative who swiftly booked us onto our second ﬂight, while we enjoyed a buffet laid out for all waiting passengers. We soon took off on a one-hour scenic ﬂight aboard the small Frontier Dash 200 aircraft bound for Kadhdhoo Airport, where we then got onto a speedboat and jetted across sparkling blue waters to the resort just 30 minutes away. This gave us the perfect chance to sip on a refreshing ice tea while admiring the captivating sunset, before arriving in style at what would be our wonderful home for the next four nights.
Upon reaching the hotel’s jetty, we were personally greeted by the resort’s General Manager, Pravin Kumar and his hospitable staff. Just then, I was reminded of a fond welcome ceremony made famous by Mr. Tattoo on an old 70s TV serial, Fantasy Island, where he announces “the plane, the plane.” It was a happy, nostalgic moment that made me eager to begin my stay at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.
The property’s varied accommodations include 50 private villas. Some are perched over water, offering panoramic views of the ocean, while others, such as the Park Villa, are nestled amidst the island’s lush foliage. We received in-room check-in at the Park Pool Villa, boasting spacious interiors with plush furnishings and modern amenities. The highlight was a private plunge pool with direct access to the beach only 40 metres away.
After settling in, we were ready to enjoy our first meal at the resort’s all-day establishment, The Dining Room. As we walked down the winding pathway from our villa, we came across an inverted Dhoni, also known as a traditional Maldivian fishing boat. This multi-purpose Dhoni can be used as a check-in lounge, bar and venue for incentive parties and weekly cocktails. Adjacent is The Dining Room, offering an al fresco dining area with sweeping ocean views, as well as a spacious indoor seating space.
The celebrated food and beverage standards of the Hyatt brand shines through at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, as the culinary team goes above and beyond to please all palates. The extensive dinner menu includes an expansive selection of Asian, continental, Indian and Maldivian cuisines, designed to please even the most discerning diners. The chefs won’t hesitate to take special requests as well. We opted for an all-in food package consisting of one appetiser, main course and dessert, all of which were prepared to perfection and served in generous portions. Tired after a long and fruitful day, we headed back to our villa satisfied and eagerly anticipating what was in store for us over the next few days.
Our morning began with a delicious breakfast buffet, accompanied by à la carte options. While enjoying our meal, we were joined by Pravin who shared his experiences of running this eminent establishment. Apart from juggling his daily duties, he is also required to ensure that utilities, such as electricity and water, are produced onsite, using generators that work non-stop and filtration plants that convert sea water into fresh water. These simple requirements, which we often take for granted, present themselves as a challenge due to the resort’s island location.
Pravin further reveals that there are other resources that need to be shipped in. The high expense of importing food, some of which costs six times its original value, leads to all-inclusive meal packages for guests, making it worth their stay. Being environmentally friendly is another priority. In an effort to protect and conserve the Maldives’ fragile eco-structure, the resort uses recyclable products, while avoiding plastic use. However, the most important challenge involves the staff, as Pravin continues to explain. Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is home to almost 200 employees, 60 percent of whom are Maldivians, who all stay on the island after a workday. As a result, the staff to room ratio is extremely high, and with 27 different nationalities on the team, it is of utmost importance to keep everyone happy, motivated and unified.
After bidding farewell to Pravin, we began exploring the immaculate property, beginning with the picturesque beachfront. The white sand and endless turquoise water was too tempting to ignore, so we jumped at the opportunity to snorkel and discover the Maldives’ beautiful marine life and coral reefs that made the area so famous.
Other available water sports included scuba diving, sailing and fishing, while activities that involved motorised boats, such as parasailing and skiing, were carried out at nearby islands, so holidaymakers remain undisturbed. However, those who desire a taste of true Maldivian life should opt for the unique excursion package, where the resort will arrange home visits to local families, so guests can experience their distinctive way of life and even share a meal with them.
After an exhilarating yet exhausting excursion, we visited The Vidhun Spa, an idyllic sanctuary styled with a beautiful thatched roof. The waiting room’s soothing fragrance calmed us before we began the signature Sehatu oil massage in one of the five private couples treatment villas. Here experienced Thai and Balinese therapists truly worked their magic, transporting us to a haven of pure serenity. However, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and after an hour of relaxation, we headed back to our villa.
With its white sandy beach, pristine warm waters and undisturbed tranquility, the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is the perfect destination to fall in love, whether it is with your partner, scrumptious meals or tropical serenity. It was hard to bid adieu to our little slice of paradise and I already couldn’t wait to plan my next trip to the island of bliss. Sukhumvit, here I come.
PARK HYATT MALDIVES HADAHAA
North Huvadhoo Gaafu Alifu Atoll, Maldives, 20054
Tel: +960 682 1234