This Resort Makes the Maldives More Extraordinary

by Priyanka Elhence
05 Oct 2023

Raffles Maldives Meradhoo’s remote location in the south of the Maldives makes it a unique destination, rife with special, once-in-a-lifetime experiences hard to duplicate anywhere else in the paradise archipelago.

Located in the northern Gaafu Alifu Atoll, 400 kms south of the Maldives capital city of Malé, getting to the luxurious Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is a unique experience. Guests can choose to take the ubiquitous seaplanes that are a common mode of transport in and around the atolls, but if you aren’t rushing for time, I would recommend taking the longer hop, skip, jump route. Arrive at Malé’s Velana International Airport, take a beautiful 55-minute scenic domestic flight to the local Kaadedhdhoo Airport, and be whisked over crystal clear turquoise waters on a 10-minute speedboat ride to Meradhoo Island, where Raffles Maldives Meradhoo awaits, sprawled over its twin Private Island and Overwater Island setting.

It's this remote location that gives Raffles Maldives Meradhoo its unique vantage point of being home to some of the richest marine life located above the equator, boasting resident turtles, reef sharks, and an incredible variety of marine life and coral hard to find anywhere else in the region. 

Snorkelling and diving are synonymous with the Maldives. But with Raffles Maldives Meradhoo being one of the very few that has its own resident marine biologist, an extraordinary experience at the resort starts with booking a session of Guided Snorkelling with the Biologist, to learn as much as you can about the resort’s beautiful house reef and its 25 resident hawksbill turtles, as well as their ongoing endeavours for conservation and protection of endangered species.

The marine biologist also personally trains the resort’s Marine Butlers to provide the same in-depth snorkelling experience. Guests can sign up for their Meet the Sea Turtles snorkelling experiences, or for their Green Turtle-Watching expeditions. The latter also provides education on how the turtles nest, navigate the waters, and survive the constant threat of predators.

The Maldives is well known as a top shark diving destination to experience whale sharks, hammerheads, and of course manta rays. But thanks to its premium location, staying at Raffles Maldives Meradhoo makes it easier (and a much shorter journey) to get to the Tiger Zoo dive site at Fuvahmulah island, for that once-in-a-lifetime Tiger Shark Diving opportunity whilst exploring the remote atolls. Dive sessions at this relatively unknown dive destination offers encounters with majestic resident tiger sharks, along with other fascinating marine species including Oceanic Mantas, Thresher Sharks, Hammerheads, Oceanic Whitetips, and Ocean Sunfish. (Priced at US$4800++ for two, for 3-4 hours, includes meals and equipment. Certificate required for diving.)

Likewise, the resort’s Whale Shark Encounter experience offers an overnight excursion to swim with magnificent whale sharks (some as big as 12m in length) in the nearby reefs, aboard a traditional Maldivian dhoni no less. (Price starts from US$3000++ for three pax.)

(Related: Into the Deep - Maldives Revisited)

Another unique Raffles Maldives Meradhoo experience is the half-day trip to Minimanza, the extraordinary private retreat on an uninhabited island, a mere 30-minute speedboat ride from the resort. Spend the day snorkelling amid the remote island’s incredibly vibrant marine life of the coral reefs, before enjoying a picnic basket prepared by the resort’s team. Ideal for adventure seekers, and a family or a couple getaway. (Priced at US$1000++ for two.)

If discovering remote, uninhabited islands sounds perfect, the resort’s Five Island Experience offers the opportunity to discover five of the 255 islands that belong to Huvadhoo Atoll, the largest atoll in the Maldives, connected in a low tide. Guests can explore the mangroves and marine life or go kayaking around the five islands with their dedicated marine butler. Visit Vaadhoo, a local island best known for archaeology, and explore local attractions and architecture, such as the ancient stone mosque from the 16th century, the Buddhist monastery from the pre-Islamic era, the cemetery of religious scholars, and more. End with afternoon tea in a local family home to experience living like a local, before finishing with a sunset dolphin experience. (Priced at US$2000 ++ for two.)

Alternatively, a separate Dolphin Cruise is also available for an intimate encounter with playful Spinner dolphins near the resort. (Priced at US$550++ for two via speedboat or $1500++ for two via luxury yacht.)

For centuries, sailors have celebrated the crossing of the mythical Equatorial Line. At Raffles Maldives Meradhoo, embark on this half-day adventure with a magical two-hour Sail Across The Equator sunrise or sunset cruise through the Indian Ocean to experience this rare experience of crossing the great circle. Once you cross the 0° 00 '00.00 N coordinates, dive into the turquoise waters, while the resort’s team marks the occasion with a photo and a commemorative 'Crossing the Equator' certificate. (Priced at US$2500++ for two.)

After a long day out in the waters, spend a cozy evening at the main island with the romantic, Sunken Table dinner experience by the sea. Staff build a sand ‘sofa’ on the beach as close to the lapping waves as possible, complete with plush cushions, a white tablecloth dinner table and lots of candles to set the mood. Choose to dine à la carte from the resort’s beachfront all-day restaurant Thari, or have your sunken table set up for a Private Sandbank Barbeque at the resort’s beach barbeque restaurant, The Firepit, amid tiki torches and an open charcoal fire. End the evening with the unique Cinefushi experience, a cosy beach setup, with your movie date or family as you catch your favorite movie by the beach.

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