JA Manafaru, Maldives
An island jewel in the beautiful Indian Ocean
This well-established resort is the furthest north of all Maldives hotels and sits on a lush tropical island full of natural vegetation, surrounded by shimmering white sand beaches and turquoise sea. With 84 rooms it’s one of the country’s smaller offerings and has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. The staff are unfailingly charming and the whole place feels like a luxurious, tropical home-from-home; somewhere to kick off your shoes and forget about day-to-day life.
Tropical Idyll with plenty to do
There is plenty to do, with a well-equipped water sports centre offering scuba diving, both on the house reef and sites further afield. There’s great snorkelling and other activities include stand up paddle boards, jet skis, and parasailing. For fishermen there are deep water expeditions with the chance to catch tuna, wahoo, sailfish and grouper. Fly fishermen will also find enough to entertain for a morning or two – for more information see our recent blog.
Guests are given bicycles to get around the island and these are a perfect way to explore the various nooks and crannies. Even if the resort is full, you will find somewhere peaceful to enjoy these lovely surroundings. Golf lovers can try their skills on the eco-driving range – sending fish edible balls out into the ocean. The is a tennis and badminton court too. Local culture is also represented, with an interesting museum about Maldives’ history and a small gallery displaying local art. The informative ocean zone has a resident marine biologist on hand. The kids centre is lovely, with it’s own pool and a broad range of activities. The chill zone – full of games for rainy days – and cinema complete the extensive facilities.
A range of elegant accommodation
Accommodation comprises beach villas, luxury beach villas, overwater villas and three glorious two-to-three-bedroom residences. The villas are spacious, comfortable and beautifully decorated. Each air-conditioned villa has a plunge pool, plenty of outdoor seating and inside and outside showers. The overwater villas are either sunset or sunrise and have direct access to the sea. The residences, two on the beach and one overwater are opulent without being over the top and are perfect for families, those wanting a greater degree of privacy or groups of friends travelling together. There are several restaurants serving exquisite food under the watchful eye of a brilliant Maldivian executive chef. The emphasis is on local flavours with plenty of fresh seafood.
With several bars to choose from, there’s plenty of choice for a stay of a week or so. The ‘Cellar’ is an extraordinary underground construction housing the resorts’ superb wine collection is also a great spot for a special dinner. There is a gym, yoga studio, excellent spa, and two swimming pools. Sun-loungers and hammocks are dotted around the extensive beach. Guests can stay here on a bed and breakfast, half board or fully inclusive basis.
Remote resort in the far north
Maldives stretches just over 800km north to south and JA Manafaru is on Haa Alifu Atoll some 300km north of the capital. There are a handful of inhabited islands nearby but little else resort-wise. It feels properly isolated, unlike some properties on the busier atolls. Access is generally via seaplane and this takes a little under 90 minutes.