One of the most beautiful resorts in the Maldives, finely-crafted Constance Halaveli has the wow factor in every way. From its stunning lagoon to its exceptional accommodation and its variety of cosy elegant restaurants, Halaveli has it all. Ideal for all types of guests from families to couples on their honeymoon, this hotel will not leave you disappointed. With its boutique hotel atmosphere, impeccable service and overly cosy rooms - and a bright blue lagoon worth mentioning a second time - it is hard to find any disadvantages here.
The Maldives consist of over a thousand islands arranged into what is commonly-known as atolls, or groups of islands, although the word 'atoll' actually denotes an island made of coral surrounded by a lagoon. Located in the North Ari Atoll, the Halaveli is reached via a 30 minute seaplane journey.
Around 200 islands of the archipelago are inhabited (recorded at the time of our visit in April 2010). Each hotel has its own island (unless you stay in the capital or Hulhule, the airport island). Among the 200 or so inhabited islands, some are inhabited by locals only - hotels and locals rarely mix unless in a work environment within a hotel structure. By this, we mean that there are no local villages which share a hotel's island and vice versa. Tourism and local life are kept separate. This means that there are no cultural activities on hotel islands, although most hotels tend to organise excursions to neighbouring local islands for the day.
Upon arrival at the airport, everything may seem very confusing, with people milling around all over the place looking lost - you will notice a row of hotel kiosks, and a row of Maldivian Air Taxi or Trans Maldivian Airline kiosks behind that. When you come out of the arrival doors, just look out for your host who should be waving a Constance Halaveli Resort placard. Go with him/her. Make sure you have bags of patience with you, as the wait may last a little longer before you board the seaplane to the island. Your host will have to collect all the passengers heading the same way as you before checking you in and taking you to the Constance Halaveli lounge, where you will be served complimentary refreshments while you wait to board the plane; there is also complimentary Wi-Fi (ask the staff for the access code). The process may seem long, especially after a ten hour flight, but it is definitely worth it! Rest-assured that you will reap the benefits sooner rather than later! Plus, seeing the archipelago from the sky is a definite bonus as it is absolutely beautiful.
Open in 2009, Halaveli is part of Mauritian Constance Hotel Group which also has properties in the Seychelles and Madagascar as well as in the Maldives and Mauritius. The group inaugurated its second edition in the Maldives, the A second hotel, the Moofushi, will open at the end of the year 2010. The chain is renowned for its high level of hospitality and for the sites of unbelievable beauty Constance Hotels are built on.
Upon arrival guests are given a very warm welcome from the genuinely friendly and kind staff. Check in is done either at the reception bar or in the rooms. The open plan reception comes complete with sand floors and very simple yet elegant décor. The key word here is 'quality'. The materials sourced for Halaveli are all of good quality and in most cases the furniture and decoration features have been built on site especially for the hotel. No corners have been cut which sines trhough everywhere you look. The result is clean, crisp and contemporary while remaining cosy and unpretentious - a real winning formula. The main activity of the hotel is clustered around the reception area where the bulk of the restaurants are found. The hotel pool is also found here. However, apart from in the evenings, there are rarely guests in sight as the rooms are so comfortable that people surface at meal times only. The resort feels calm and quiet no matter where you venture, which is ideal if you want to take a leisurely stroll around the island. A relaxing atmosphere reigns all over the island which is not comparable to most other islands. There is also a beautiful spa and gym for exercise fiends. The hotel pool, despite being an attractive infinity-edged pool is rarely crowded as rooms all come with a private pool.
The Constance branded hotel spa uses nothing but organic products that have been made especially for the hotel. We cannot stress enough how beautiful Halaveli is and how well the group has got it right. Once you land here, it will be very difficult to leave, but do make the most of it as this is a once is a lifetime experience.
There are 86 rooms in total, 57 of which are Water Villas, 20 Beach Villas, 8 Double Storey Beach Villas and one Presidential Villa. All room categories are exquisite and finished to a high standard. The Water Villas are simply stunning. Extremely spacious and well-appointed, the villas feel cosy as well as sumptuous without being fussy or over the top. There are some lovely touches such as the word welcome drawn out with bamboo leaves on the bed for each guest with a kind welcome letter. These touches reinforce the warm service that we found here throughout our stay. Light and bright, the bathrooms are the highlight of the villas, with a free-standing bath looking right out onto the gleaming pristine waters. The windows can be fully opened and lead to the villa deck where a private plunge pool awaits. The water accommodation at Halaveli feels very private and intimate.
We also loved the beach accommodation which has the best of all worlds: sun, sea, sand and a stunning open bathroom for hours of pampering! Some of the beach villas have a pool to the back of the villa and some have a pool facing the sea, which is the best option! However, guests walking past do have full-view into the villa garden and pool area, so you might want to put off skinny dipping until the sun sets! The rooms are all decorated in a similar style, but the advantage here, as we mentioned above, is the open air bathroom with a large bath big enough for two. Everything has been thought of here at Halaveli; every detail has been studied to create the best result.
All amenities are refill own brand products in smart-looking glass flasks. Guests also have a smart beach bag to take away if they choose. The selection of complimentary teas and coffees is the most varied we have seen at a hotel in the Maldives. All rooms also have large flat screen televisions with an easy to use in-built entertainment system. There is free Wi-Fi access as well as a DVD player. Even when the hotel is full, you rarely see clusters of guests as it's so hard to tear them away from the hotel's superb rooms!
The hotel has three beautiful restaurants and two bars which include the Jahaz, Meeru and Jing. Jahaz serves a range of food from all corners of the globe in a beautiful restaurant designed in warm woods looking right out to the water. There are lots of details in the décor that make it an original restaurant to dine at, such as its ceiling of hanging lamps. This is a perfect setting for lunch on the terrace with the warm breeze coming off the ocean. Its sand floors open out onto the beach and lead to very inviting over-sized bean bags close to the pristine water's edge. In the evenings the grill restaurant, Meeru comes alive on the beach, which again is all about setting; there is no better place to enjoy a meal than at the water's edge with sand between your toes, a blanket of stars over your head. The restaurant is entirely candle lit which makes it extra special. Last, but certainly not least, we also have Jing, the Asian fusion restaurant, which has the wow-factor and really comes alive at night when its funky lighting is switched on. Circular in shape, it sits above the water with a stunning terrace. This is the ideal place to sit at sunset, with its chilled out music in the background. The pleasant staff contribute to making the place uplifting and cosy. The hotel also has the Jahaz bar which is equally as beautiful as the other outlets but comes alive only in the evenings.
The hotel has also just opened its wine cellar containing a number of good vintages from all corners of the globe; the area is managed by a very dynamic sommelier, Jérôme, who is sure to teach you a trick or two to improve your oenology skills!
Halaveli is blessed with a beautiful lagoon all around the island. Like all the islands here it is suffering from sand erosion, which is why you might notice strategically placed sand bags sitting along certain areas of the beach. Otherwise, the beach here is one of the most beautiful in the Maldives. The hotel has a diving and water sports centre with very experienced and friendly staff, so we definitely recommend that you embark on an excursion. We tried snorkelling in the open water and it was an experience to remember! One not to miss if you want to see some of the most beautiful table coral in the archipelago!
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