88 islands make up the Raa Atoll in the Maldives, dotting the turquoise waters like candy buttons. Thanks to one private 22-hectare island in particular, this northern Maldivian atoll has seen a spike in tourism of late. The recent opening of Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa, which sprawls across Fasmendhoo in its entirety, has everything to do with it.
Getting to Emerald is a journey, but a journey that’s certainly worth the multiple international flights capped by a 40-minute seaplane jaunt (or domestic flight and speedboat combo) from the capital island, Malé, to Fasmendhoo, where you’ll be greeted on the arrivals dock by the resort’s welcoming committee of smiling faces and beating drums. Your luggage will be whisked away (you’ll see it again inside your accommodation), and the check-in process will be handled at your leisure. From there, you might take a tour by golf cart of the island’s 1.5km circumference through the lush canopy of tropical plants aglow by evening with lanterns, or maybe you’ll head straight to your beach or water villa, exploring your surroundings on your own later.
Here’s how to maximize your experience on this striking, secluded resort island.
Where to Stay:
Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa and Fasmendhoo are one in the same–the luxurious all-inclusive resort and its villas, designed top to bottom by Singapore-based Poole Associates, take up the entire island. Stay in one of the Water Villas along the winding pier for 168 square meters of impeccably appointed digs jutting out over the sea. You’ll want to spend your mornings sipping coffee or tea on your private patio followed by a dip via direct access to the water (some villas also feature a plunge pool).
Where to Eat:
Emerald’s gastronomic offerings, overseen by Culinary Director Aldo Cadau, bring elements of globally celebrated cuisines to the confines of this small island. For breakfast, visit Aqua’s extensive international buffet (don’t miss out on the grill and fresh fruit stations). Be sure to try some of the Maldivian dishes to get a taste of the locale. Aqua also offers a buffet for lunch, but if you’ve already done breakfast there, head over to the Beach Club Grill for al fresco pizza, pasta, salads, and stone-grilled proteins and veggies with a view of the lagoon. You’ll want to come back here for drinks at the bar during an afternoon at the beach or a pre- or post-dinner cocktail.
When dinner rolls around, spend one of your nights experiencing the Central and South American menu at Amazónico, perfect for fans of fire-grilled specialties. Reserve another evening for Le Asiatique, where Teppanyaki serves as the centerpiece, the menu rounded out with sushi, noodle dishes, and other Asian favorites.
What to Do:
Aside from exploring the island, lounging at the beach, working out at the property’s fully-equipped gym and sports center, or spending quiet time inside or outside your villa, there are plenty of water experiences to be had and spa appointments to be made. The Emerald Spa’s Balinese and Thai massages and treatments await within their 10 bungalows–an Indonesian pool as well as a sauna, jacuzzi, and Turkish baths are the perfect place to relax beforehand or afterward (or both).
For the adventurous at heart, jet skis, Hobie Cats, kayak, kite and windsurfing are on offer at the Water Sports Center, while guests can head to the Diving Center for a leisurely dive, or to work toward their PADI certification on expeditions at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Kids between four and 12 can spend time at the 1500 square meter Dolphin Kids Club under trained staff supervision while parents enjoy any of the above.