Ever wondered what goes on at the Maldives’ most luxurious resorts? What it’s like to enjoy a week (or a year) in absurd atoll perfection? Wonder no more. DMARGE has spoken to guests from The Nautilus Maldives, which has been recognised as one of the top three resorts in the world, to ask what it was like.
Before we get into the ‘heavenly’ (and potentially ‘hellish’) experiences on the cards, run your eyes over a little context: The Nautilus Maldives is one of the island paradise’s most iconic resorts.
It’s also one of its priciest. The place costs AU$1.3 million to book for just four nights (the minimum stay), news.com.au reports. That converts to about $US250,000 ($AU324,000) per night, to get the atoll to yourself.
“The unique opportunity is being offered in light of the ‘change and uncertainty’ the travel industry is facing after nearly a year since the pandemic was declared.
In exchange for such a heady chunk of cash, guests get “ultimate seclusion and exclusive use” of The Nautilus Maldives, a VIP welcome at Velana International Airport with private lounge access, fast-tracked entry and limousine service that transfers you to a seaplane.
The Nautilus Maldives has 26 beach and ocean houses, and is located in Baa Atoll – a part of the Maldives that has been labelled a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
With photos like the above, it’s not hard to see why the place is so sought after.
Other luxurious resorts in the Maldives like Six Senses and Anantara Veli, at the time of writing, are being advertised for around $3,700 per night (for two people). The Nautilus Maldives, on the other hand, for a stay at one of its beach or ocean houses (i.e. a normal stay, not booking out the whole island), starts at $4,700 per night, and tops out at around $6,000 per night.
DMARGE spoke to various resort guests to understand better what a stay there is like – and to pop the question, “Would you stay there for a year if you could?” Here’s what they told us.
Instagram user @sevak01, who stayed at the Nautilus “for the first two weeks of February” told DMARGE it was the “first time I had visited this resort.”
“The resort was amazing. There was a very cool policy of no dress code on the island – so you could visit any restaurant for lunch or dinner wearing shorts or whatever attire you wanted, and most people weren’t even wearing shoes.”
“Most restaurants [are] based on the beach so shoes are not a requirement.”
“The ‘no dress code’ rule is quite a unique feature. In different places [in the Maldives] I’ve been too that’s usually not the case.”
@sevak01 also told us that – even if you don’t book out the whole place to yourself, “the villas are quite private so you can go for days without seeing other guests if you’re not going to restaurants.”
This is helped by the private butler service, which means you can have breakfast “at the villa every morning if you like instead of going to the restaurant.”
As for the airport, @sevak01 told DMARGE he “didn’t really see any people who were tense or fearful” and that “it was quite relaxed.”
“Having said that I was travelling through separately basically – when I arrived and when I travelled back I was in a separate room and I was taken to the plane by a separate car so I’m not quite sure what the vibe was like in the main airport.”
It’s not all mojitos and infinity pools though. Despite resorts like Anantara Veli offering “unlimited stays in paradise” packages which let guests loll in luxury for up to a year (something which, as Insider reports, some couples have been quick to jump on), @sevak01 told DMARGE, amazing as the resort was, he might get bored if he had to stay there too long.
“I think the resort was amazing. If I had to stay for a long time I would be happy to do that obviously on the condition that I could work remotely. If you can’t work remotely you probably would get bored – it’s a very small island – you can walk around it in 15 minutes.”
@sevak01 also warned anyone thinking of staying there not to spend all their money on flights and accommodation, telling DMARGE the place had “very expensive food.”
“Standard lunch is a couple of hundred minimum – another thing to keep in mind if you’re going there.”
Another recent guest, Alexandra Zhdankina, also gave DMARGE a low-key warning about the food.
According to Alexandra, who is Owner of Heaven Life Properties LTD, Managing Partner in Maisson Property Club LTD and a “Russian living in Cyprus,” the only disadvantage of The Nautilus Maldives “was a small variety of restaurants (only two).”
“If you spend there more than five days you want to eat elsewhere. Other than that everything was just immaculate. It was one of the best resorts we have ever been to. You feel very special and welcome there. We will definetely go there again.”
Instagram user @tati.afina, who stayed at The Nautilus Maldives “in February for 12 days,” likewise told DMARGE though she had “only good thing” to say about the resort, staying in paradise permanently was not an attractive proposition.
If she had to stay there for a whole year @tati.afina told DMARGE she would, “Go crazy.”
“We have a very dynamic life, it was an unforgettable pause.”
That’s not to forget the positives. @tati.afina also shared some of her favourite features of the resort: “You may come for breakfast at 3pm, you schedule housekeeping, two times a day if you wish, excellent and free of charge morning yoga classes, you may order meals not from menu, just what you wish, you may get massage not from spa menu.”
She also said there was a nice socialisation element to proceedings too. Even though “we were yearning for some privacy” after a week, @tati.afina told us “we acquired new friends and staff was like a family.”
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On privacy, she said when you are in your ocean house you feel like you’re the only guest on the island, but the opportunities for socialisation are there should you wish to seek them out.
“First days we thought we were alone, but then met other guests, especially at bar in evening.”
@jenya_kisseleva made similar comments to DMARGE regarding The Nautilus Maldives’ privacy:
“The island is not big, but of course you can meet guests at breakfast or at dinner, but sometimes there was the impression that you were alone on the whole island.”
“I have been to Nautilus three times, the last time from February 13 to March 1. All the places are beautiful, but my favourite is the pool bar where you can admire the beautiful sunsets with a glass of champagne. I’m also a fan of our private outdoor terrace; the beach.”
“It was unexpected, but very nice that a personal Butler can fulfil almost any desire.”
“If I could take my four dogs with me, I would love to spend a year there,” @jenya_kisseleva told DMARGE.
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DMARGE also spoke to fashion model Mia Romanova. Mia told us she was in the Maldives for 14 days, from February the 5th to February the 19th.
“It was an unforgettable and magical vacation, we chose one of the best hotels in the Maldives – The Nautilus hotel – and rented our villa. I could live there forever, this is really paradise! In our hotel, service and the food was top notch! We flew in business class and the whole flight was easy and comfortable, we constantly rested in the business lounge and the people who surrounded us were friendly and kind.”
“I rate it 5 out of 5.”
“My advice for those who really want to visit the Maldives is to carefully approach the choice of the hotel and spend at least 10 days there, because going to the Maldives and back takes almost 2 days and it takes time to get used to the climate.”