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CROSSROADS Maldives is a must-visit destination that offers a new perspective of the Maldives.

by Nikki Kumar

A Piece of Paradise

By Raghav Sachdev

The Maldives is paradise on Earth. Typically, the country is synonymous with honeymoon vacationers at one of the ultra-luxe, private island resorts. I last visited the nation of islands in January 2020, a few weeks after my wedding festivities, and just two months before the world was clamped down by the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who’ve never visited before, the Maldives is a country like no other, made up of more than 1,000 pristine islands, many of which are remote and accessible only by seaplane. The water sparkles with an almost surreal shade of blue. Because you’re in the confines of one island resort, the Maldives is typically a very, very costly destination to visit. Additionally, you generally have limited dining options to select from during your stay, and you’re often paying a hefty price tag for just a few nights. Despite the high costs, the opportunity to visit The Maldives and experience luxury on a picturesque remote island is truly enchanting, and undoubtedly bucket-list worthy.


My most recent trip to the Maldives in May 2024 was unique as it offered an exclusive and luxurious private island experience whilst being a value-for-money and family-friendly proposition. This time, I travelled with my family to CROSSROADS Maldives, the country’s first multi-island leisure and lifestyle destination, developed by Thailand’s very own S Hotel and Resorts Public Company Limited and Singha Estate Public Company Limited. Just a 15-minute speedboat ride from Male’s international airport, CROSSROADS Maldives is a dazzling integrated resort destination that houses SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton; Hard Rock Hotel Maldives; and The Marina @ CROSSROADS; with world-class dining, retail, leisure and entertainment, seamlessly blended with exotic tropical scenery. Going beyond the traditional ‘one island, one resort’ concept that typifies the region, CROSSROADS Maldives offers a new integrated experience. As the first integrated multi-island in the Maldives – strung like a pearl necklace across the azure Emboodhoo Lagoon in the South Male Atoll – this world-class destination offers its guests access to over 14 restaurants, a night-club, a marine discovery centre, large-scale event venues and much more! Wedding ceremonies in the Maldives are purely ceremonial and not legally recognised by law, and CROSSROADS Maldives undoubtedly offers the best option as you have dedicated event spaces, and a plethora of ocean-front locations around the resorts to select from. We were keen to discover this exciting new development, and opted to stay our first two nights at SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, followed by a two-night stay across the footbridge at the hip and happening Hard Rock Hotel Maldives.



SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton welcomed us with its serene ambience and contemporary design. The resort’s lush tropical gardens exuded a sense of tranquillity that instantly eased away any lingering stress. We checked into our spacious and beautifully appointed beach villa, immediately feeling at ease with the deep rumble of the crashing waves in the background. The villas feature a modern design, with a boho-chic aesthetic that harmoniously blends luxury and comfort, and subtly reflects the destination’s maritime heritage. Our villa featured a plunge pool, direct beach access, an outdoor bath and shower, and all the modern amenities you would expect of a luxury resort.

 Despite heavy rainfall on the day of arrival, we were keen to explore the island resort. The lagoon surrounding the resort is so jaw-droppingly blue that even my 2-year-old son kept saying, “wow” each time he looked out. We were famished, and while there are so many outlets to indulge in, we opted to dine at the resort’s signature Miss Olive Oyl Restaurant, which features cuisine inspired by land and sea, including Maldivian favourites and Mediterranean classics. Those who have visited SAii Laguna Phuket would be familiar with their Miss Olive Oyl brand.

 We were on a full-board package, which offered each adult the choice of one appetiser, one main and one dessert, which we quickly came to realise, was a lot! We tucked into fresh seafood and hearty pasta dishes, all prepared with the finest ingredients. Like most of the other dining outlets, the open-air setting provides breathtaking views of the ocean. Once the rain settled, we hopped on a buggy and toured the island, scouting and planning ahead for the next few days. CROSSROADS Maldives is a culinary haven for food enthusiasts, offering 14 distinct dining options to choose from at SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and The Marina @ CROSSROADS, including the world-famous Hard Rock Cafe featuring American classics, authentic Indian at Kebabs& Kurry, authentic Thai cuisine at Kinkao or Mr. Tomyam, bold and vibrant Latin American cuisine at The Elephant and The Butterfly, and scrumptious seafood at the acclaimed Ministry of Crab. Contrary to other resort destinations in the Maldives, four nights here almost didn’t feel enough!


After a comfortable night’s rest, the sun was out, and we kicked off our second day with a champagne breakfast at Terra & Mar, featuring homemade global classics, and Sri Lankan and local delicacies. SAii Lagoon Maldives features two enticing swimming pools boasting panoramic views of the ocean. One side of the island is facing the open sea, while the other side overlooks the beautiful turquoise lagoon. The white, sandy beaches were so inviting that we couldn’t help but soak ourselves in the calm, crystal-clear waters and get lost in our thoughts on many of the hidden hammocks. In the afternoon, we paid a visit to the Marine Discovery Centre, which features a variety of interactive displays that provide fascinating insights into marine life and ecosystems. We were well informed on our guided tour by a local Maldivian, explaining the diverse species that inhabit the Maldivian waters and the important roles they play in the marine environment.

The resort also embraces the spirit of creativity and fosters an engaging environment for young kids and teens at The Koumala & Maalimi’s junior beach club and camp. My son was in his happy place – this kids’ club was far larger and more appealing than many other resorts we’ve been to. Before the rain showers returned, we decided to dine at the pool bar, and enjoy the tropical cocktails and hearty bar food. 

While it may sound like there is a lot to do, the resort still offers a sense of exclusiveness and privacy, and is ideal for couples and families.


 After a rejuvenating two nights at SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, we transferred across the 450-metre Musikee footbridge by buggy to Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, the upbeat international resort that sits centre stage as a beachfront sanctuary where entertainment, luxury and the essence of paradise play in harmony. Here, you’re literally made to feel like a rockstar! We checked into our Gold Beach Pool Villa, adorned with iconic music memorabilia and vibrant decor that pays homage to the legendary Hard Rock brand. The villa features modern amenities, plush bedding, and a pulsating rock ‘n’ roll energy. Music is integrated into every aspect of your stay through exclusive and unique programs. Your smart TV features a DJ-curated playlist, and you can hear tunes at every nook and corner of the island. We were welcomed in true Maldivian fashion with drummers, and quickly settled in, so that we could make the most of our stay here. After enjoying the engaging activities at the pool, we visited the activity centre just before sunset to sail aboard a traditional Maldivian wooden boat, a dhoni, in hopes of seeing dolphins in their natural habitat. Despite turbulent waves and a greying sky, we were exceptionally lucky to witness several pods of dolphins emerge to swim and dance beside the boat; their majestic fins acrobatically cutting through the crystal-blue waters. It was an exhilarating experience to see these magnificent creatures up close. Upon returning to the resort, we opted to wine and dine at The Elephant and The Butterfly, the resort’s Mexican- and Latin American-inspired restaurant and swim-up bar, which turned out to be one of our favourites.

Before we knew it, we had one final night in paradise. On the fourth day, we had the sun in its full glory, so wanted to make it count! Following breakfast at their all-day dining restaurant Sessions, we enjoyed time on the beach, and joined in the fun at the poolside with their signature dance fitness class to burn those extra calories (from the previous four days)! The 30-minute exercise was in preparation for our lunch visit to the legendary Hard Rock Cafe. The iconic rock-’n’-roll-inspired cafe serves classic American cuisine from juicy burgers to quesadillas, and flavourful barbeque ribs, that too with massive American portions! We opted for a burger crafted by football superstar Lionel Messi, tex-mex grub, and a warm fudge brownie to top it all off! 

After that meal, I set off on my bicycle (each room at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives is provided with bicycles), and did some more exploring, soaking up the beauty of this man-made development, with Male in the distant background. The service staff were all very friendly, kind and truly welcoming. While biking, I couldn’t help but feel blessed and thankful to have had this unforgettable experience, one that I’ll cherish forever. I was on babysitting duties and gearing up for the big FA Cup final (which we somehow won), when my mother and wife decided they wanted to go on a daring expedition to swim with sharks. You could pay me and I would never do this, but this was their idea of a bonding experience – indeed an authentic experience that rocks! The two set off for this exhilarating experience, exploring the underwater world alongside large reef and nurse sharks, spanning up to six feet! They returned proud to have braved the experience; one they’ll never forget! For our last dinner, we were suggested to try Kebab and Kurry at The Marina @ CROSSROADS, bringing the rich and vibrant flavours of India to this tropical paradise. It was the perfect ending to an eventful and dreamy four days in paradise. 

Following breakfast the next morning, it was time to say our goodbyes, bid farewell to this paradise, and return to our everyday reality. The CROSSROADS Maldives experience was truly an enriching and rejuvenating experience. It’s the perfect destination for families, or couples, or for celebrations –  so pack your bags, leave your worries behind, and set sail for this enchanting destination. We ended up leaving with a piece of paradise in our hearts, and memories to last a lifetime. I’m already in the midst of planning my next visit!


South Male Atoll P.O. Box 2097 Republic of Maldives

Facebook: @CrossroadsMaldives

Instagram: @crossroadsmaldives


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