Heritance Aarah, Maldives

Lisa Merrigan reviews her recent stay at Heritance Aarah in the Maldives.

Opened in 2019 and winners of Trip Advisors 2022 Best of the Best and Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2021, this hotel is worthy of every accolade.

Location

The hotel is accessed via a 40-minute seaplane transfer, chartered by TMA (Trans Maldivian Airways), from Male airport. After stepping off our British Airways 10 hour direct flight (Virgin will be flying direct soon too), we were escorted to Heritance’s own private seaplane lounge where we were met with a selection of sweet and savoury pastries and ice cold refreshments at the brand new seaplane terminal.

After our short but exciting seaplane transfer over the azure ocean, we were greeted by Heritance staff who performed a welcome dance and introduced to Kunal who would be our butler for our stay – we had arrived in paradise!

Check in

The friendly reception team greeted us with a welcome iced tea and cold flannel and the registration formalities were over within a few minutes. We were then whisked off in a buggy and shown around the breathtakingly beautiful island (you can walk around it in 15 mins!), before being dropped off along a winding boardwalk to our Ocean Villa.

Infinity Pool

The room

We stayed in one of the 56 spacious over water villas. Each has a huge king sized bed piled high with white luxurious cotton and cloud-like pillows (there is even a pillow menu that you can also choose from!). From the bed you have direct views out to the veranda, overlooking the ocean. There is also a desk to work from and a comfortable day bed. Walking through the doors onto the veranda, you’re met by another day bed, table, two chairs and two sun loungers. The veranda has steps that take you straight down into the bluest ocean I’ve ever seen.

I loved the easy-to-use Nespresso machine next to the fully stocked mini-bar which was part of the excellent premium all-inclusive, with internationally premium branded items replenished daily. My favourite was the cute jars of cashew nuts and Lindt chocolate.

The bathroom features a luxury free-standing bathtub offering views out to the ocean. A rainshower shower and two sinks complete the room. In line with Heritances’ award winning sustainability measures, Elemis products were provided in large reusable bottles that were filled daily.

In the unlikely event that you never left the room, you had great wifi all around the island plus a fantastic Marshall Bluetooth speaker to stream all your favourite tunes on.

Facilities

There is an abundance of top-class restaurants and bars on this idyllic island and having sampled them all, I can vouch that each one is exquisite.

We started off our stay with a buffet style breakfast at Ranba which has an menu ranging from Dim Sum through to a full English Breakfast. Ralu is another great option for a la carte style breakfast (lunch here was amazing too) and we were always greeted with a smile and top service from Samin and Ashkay.

Baani is yet another option for a la carte breakfast. Dinner here consists of a contemporary European fusion six-course affair paired with an array of impressive wines. (Please note that this restaurant is for Ocean Villa Residences only.)

One of my favourite restaurants was Ambula where our knowledgeable staff member Mani talked us through our eight-course Sri Lankan tasting menu. Wines were again paired with every course and Mani told us about every ingredient that was used to make the dish. Then it was upstairs to the Sky Bar for a cocktail overlooking the rippling waves.

Nestled on the beach in little pods is Ginfati – a private dining experience where you could choose a fish that was caught that day and again paired with a selection of fine wines.

For a supplement of $75 pp there is the option to enjoy an interactive Asian experience at Hathaa where the chef will cook your food infront of you.

For those looking for something more casual, incredible wood-fired pizzas are available at the Pizza Shack.

As for the bars – the menus offered over 60 cocktails mixed with branded alcohol and over 80 types of wines to choose from.

And for the guests that don’t want to lounge around all day, the hotel offers a wide array of excursions. They facilitate Yoga at sunrise, sunset and sunrise cruises, dolphin watching, wine tasting, diving, tennis and a great DJ and live music at my favourite atmospheric evening bar – Bandhi Bar.

The verdict

Heritance is a premium class hotel and has a lively yet relaxed atmosphere. With 450 members of happy staff maintaining the premium level service, the attention to detail is outstanding in every way. Having sampled a few other resorts in the Maldives, Heritance is the one I want to revisit.

Where to book it

Premier Holidays are offering an eight-night stay at Heritance Aarah in a Beach Villa on Premium All Inclusive board. The package includes economy flights from London Heathrow and seaplane transfer. Priced from £3,999pp.

premierholidays.co.uk