I recently enjoyed a wonderful holiday in the Maldives. During my trip, I did not stay at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani – my favorite resorts in the Maldives (I am going back though in 2024) – but I tried out some new, ultra-luxurious and fabulous resorts. Read my trip reports here:
- Review: Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner Business Class from Brussels to Doha
- Review: Qatar Airways Boeing 777 Business Class from Doha to the Maldives
- Review: British Airways Boeing 777 Business Class (new suite) from London to Male
- Review: Joali Being
- Review: InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort
- Review: Alila Kothaifaru Maldives
- Review: Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island (today)
- Review: Edelweiss Air Airbus A340 Business Class from Male to Zurich
Today: Review of Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Surrounded by the sapphire seas of the Indian Ocean, Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island is a secluded sanctuary dedicated to all things luxury. The intimate resort is located on the northernmost tip of the North Malé Atoll and is easily reachable by a 60 min speedboat ride or 15 min seaplane flight. Each of the 67 expansive villas features a private rooftop terrace, infinity pool, and 24/7 butler service. The overwater spa offers signature rituals inspired by Ayurvedic tradition. The resort’s surprising panoramic architecture and calming interiors are the work of Singaporean design studio, Miaja, who have created an elegant contemporary ethos in harmony with the natural environment, echoing modern Mediterranean chic. Activities ranging from yoga classes and underwater photography excursions to a beachside splash park ensure a rejuvenating stay for everyone.
Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island features in my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives.
Have you ever stayed at Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube video):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island is located on the northernmost tip of the North Male Atoll, which is also home to the capital of the Maldives (Male) and the country’s main international airport. Its proximity to Male International Airport ensures a quick and smooth transfer process after guests arrive in the Maldives, with the option of either a quick 15-minute seaplane flight or a 60 min speedboat trip. While easily accessible, the property is also one of the resorts located the furthest away from the airport which can still be reached by speedboat, so it feels very remote and peaceful (contrary to the resorts closer to the airport which are affected by the sounds and sights of airplane traffic). The resort recently introduced an ultra-luxury boat – the Gulf Craft 48 VIP – for its transfers, setting a new standard in guest transfer experiences in the Maldives. The boat features seating upholstered in plush leather as well as an outdoor VIP lounge – the perfect spot to take in the breath-taking panoramic views on route to the resort.
- Jumeirah Maldives is located on the tiny natural island of Olhahali, which ticks all the boxes of a sun-kissed tropical paradise and ranks among the most photogenic and idyllic islands in the Maldives. The resort’s pristine white sand beach is dotted with dozens of palms trees and lapped by azure, clear waters which are rich of marine life. The island is not very big, which has the advantage that guests can simply walk between their villas and the resort’s facilities (24/7 buggy service is provided as well). At the heart of the island is a village square, centered around a banyan tree and comprised of modern one- and two storey buildings, which house most of the resort’s public spaces: a welcome pavilion (where check-in and -out is done), café lounge, gelateria, dive center, watersports center, jewelry, two boutiques (one for men and one for women), and two dining venues (each one coming with its own pool; more on that below).
- Jumeirah Maldives’ contemporary architecture and soothing interiors are in harmony with the natural environment and echo modern Mediterranean chic. Created by Singaporean design studio Miaja, the elegant resort style disrupts the Maldivian mould by replacing traditional thatched villas with over-sized, penthouse residences and minimalistic white structures, both on land and overwater. A visual feast of nautical forms and tones, the resort’s exterior design blends superyacht panache with a vibrant South Beach pulse. Interiors of the villas are equally beautiful. Bathed in natural light with oversized windows framing the verdant flora and palm fringed beaches or the dramatic sweeping ocean views, the décor harmoniously connects guests to the natural environment, creating a calming and positive vibe. Textured walls, local artworks and handcrafts combined with Jumeirah Group’s signature design elements create a sense of purity and simplicity amid organic surroundings.
- Jumeirah Maldives features 67 beach and overwater villas in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations, all offering panoramic views of the dreamy lagoon and the vast Indian Ocean. The resort’s exquisite villas are among the most spacious in the North Malé Atoll, and are either tucked away in the island’s lush tropical vegetation (beach villas) or located along one of the two overwater jetties that stretch out into the turquoise waters (overwater villas). During my holiday, I stayed in a Water Villa with Pool, which was located on the resort’s eastern jetty. The spacious villa featured a separate living and bedroom, which both opened to an expansive with private pool and a shaded cabana. The oversized bathroom was equipped with a standalone bathtub and couples rain shower and also featured a small outdoor, walled garden with an outdoor shower. The villa also had a large roof-top terrace with a lounge area to take in the sensational panoramas and to enjoy both sunset and sunrise views.
- Exceptional dining experiences are a focus of attention for the Jumeirah Group, who has infused the island experience of its Maldives outpost with Mediterranean and Nikkei flavors, with two of their award-winning restaurants, Shimmers and Kayto, for a truly memorable stay:
- Delivering casual alfresco dining, Shimmers is open for lunch and dinner, serving Chef Roberto Rispoli’s exquisite cuisine. Located on the island’s sunrise side, Shimmers is comprised of an open-air, traditionally styled dining room (the only thatched roof pavilion on the island) and an adjoining contemporary bar venue which overlooks the resort’s main pool and beach club. Shimmers and the pool area offer chilled vibes throughout the day thanks to a resident DJ and regular live music performances, while the ambiance is chic and tranquil at night.
- On the island’s sunset is another dining complex, which houses two restaurants located along an enormous infinity pool. One restaurant is Kayto, the property’s signature restaurant which serves Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine. Kayto features an impressive open kitchen that draws the diner’s eye to the team’s culinary mastery. Next to Kayto is Glow, the resort’s all day dining restaurant, offering international cuisine. Breakfast is also served at Glow (a combination of a buffet and à la carte dishes).
- On the island’s southern tip sits Jumeirah Maldives’ intimate wellness center, called the Talise Spa (which is the wellness brand of the Jumeirah Group). Open daily from 9 am to 8 pm, the intimate spa has six overwater treatment rooms, which offer unfettered access to wellness and relaxation with a range of therapeutic and re-energising treatments. The latter include body scrubs, massages, aromatherapy bathing rituals, and a Watsu session. The spa’s reception pavilion and treatment rooms are located right over the water in view of where the ocean currents collide. Alternatively, the spa team can also provide private spa treatments in the villa or in the fresh air on the rooftop with the waves as a soundtrack. Besides its wellness center, Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island also offer other health and sport facilities, such as a tennis court, soccer field and an overwater gym equipped with cardio and other exercise machines. Each morning, complimentary yoga is offered.
- Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island is managed by the Jumeirah Group, a member of Dubai Holding and owner of the Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts global luxury hotel portfolio. Jumeirah operates a world-class 6,500 key portfolio of 26 luxury properties across 10 countries in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The group boasts some of the most prestigious and famous properties in the world, from the iconic flagship hotel and timeless pinnacle of luxury, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, to its art-inspired dolce vita on the Italian island of Capri. The Jumeirah’s name is synonymous with service excellence, crafting exceptional experiences for everyone who walks through its doors. Beyond its properties and resorts, Jumeirah Group is also dedicated to destination dining experiences. The group has over 85 restaurants across its portfolio (including Sal, KAYTO, Shimmers, Al Mare, Pierchic and French Riviera), including three Michelin starred restaurants – Shang High, L’Olivo and Al Muntaha.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island is a relatively small island, so it does not offer a lot of variety in terms of scenery (especially when considering a longer stay). It takes only 10 minutes to walk from the island’s northern tip (where the staff village is located) to the island’s southern tip (home of the spa). But although the island is not very big, it ranks among of the most photogenic and beautiful islands in the archipelago, with a crystal-clear, deep-blue lagoon and magnificent white sandy beach. And I assume that its small, intimate scale is exactly what several of the resort’s discerning guests are looking for.
- One of the few small drawbacks for me is that Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island only offers three restaurants, so there is not a lot of variation when it comes to dining, especially when considering a longer stay of one week or more. Glow serves Mediterranean & international cuisine; neigbhoring Kayto Restaurant serves Japanese-Peruvian cuisine (and shares the same space with Glow); and Shimmers is a casual beach venue. That said, food across the three venues is excellent and of very high quality, and the resort has introduced some themed dinner nights (e.g. Indian Thali dinner night) to make its dining offer a bit more attractive and variable.
- The overwater villas features an awesome style and represent the best of the Maldives with a modern twist. However, not all villas offer complete privacy. For example, my villa was located along a bend of the overwater jetty, so everybody on the jetty had a direct view of the villa’s terrace & pool (as you can see on my photos). It was not a problem for my travel party, but I guess this might be an issue for honeymooners and other couples. I advise to book & request a villa with 100% privacy if that is important to you.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 9/10
- Pool: 9/10
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 8/10
- Breakfast: 8/10
- Spa: 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 9/10
- Overall experience: very good 8,7/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $75 USD resort credit, a personalized welcome amenity and card from the GM or Hotel Manager, enhanced recognition through VIP status at all touch points throughout the guest experience, and complimentary one way airport transfer to suite guests).
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island (and/or receive many free perks).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best weather in the Maldives is between January and April, which also means high season (with low availability and very expensive room rates). The monsoon runs from May to October, peaking in June. It is worth paying higher prices and sticking to the dry season as there is nothing to do on a rainy day except drink, eat, work out or scuba dive. Especially November and December, which are often labelled as dry season months, have been very unsettled in recent years.
HOW TO GET THERE
Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island is easily reachable by a 60 min speedboat ride or 15 min seaplane flight from Male International Airport (MLE). Check the Wikipedia page of Male International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer flights to Male International Airport.
Here’s a selection of photos of Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island. To view more hotel photos (including breakfast, luch and dinner), click here.