Located in the Maldives’ northernmost atoll of Haa Alif, luxury beach resort JA Manafaru is set on its own private 35 acres of lush tropical vegetation and forest greenery edging the pristine shoreline. Just over an hour by seaplane from Malé, it’s home to sheltered beach bungalows dotted along stretches of white sand, and water villas with views that stretch out across the ocean.
JA Manufaru is no stranger to accolades. It was voted Best Hotel in the Maldives by TripAdvisor and most recently won the title of Top 10 Hotel in the World at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. Its lavish Royal Island Suite was lauded as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel Suite of the World at the World Travel Awards 2017.
Seven restaurants and bars give diners a taste of the region’s culture: catch of the day seasoned with organic herbs from the island’s kitchen-garden at the beachfront Ocean Grill; Maldivian-themed selections form part of the ‘flavours from around the world’ experience at the open-sided Kakuni; and Asian-fusion delicacies are served up at the overwater White Orchid.
Elsewhere, a Mediterranean feast is dished up at the poolside Andiamo Bistro; signature cocktails go hand-in-hand with ocean views at the Infinity Bar & Pool or at Horizon Lounge with nightly entertainment; and haute cuisine is paired with the finest vintages at The Cellar.
Partnered with Elemis, the Calm Spa & Salon offers a wealth of aromatherapy massages, facials, wraps and rituals using essential oils, selected for relaxation, hydration, anti-ageing or rejuvenation. Curving stone paths take spa-goers past lily-strewn pools to thatched pavilions housing 10 treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy bath, as well as an al fresco rain shower, outdoor bathtub and relaxation gardens. Beyond the ocean-facing gym, beach volleyball, water aerobics, yoga or healthy cooking classes are all available.
For those who want to venture beyond the resort, Manufaru’s resident marine biologist gives presentations on local marine life at Seatopia Marine Research Centre. Plus, there’s watersports, reef dives with the PADI dive centre and cultural island-hopping offers the chance to meet the locals.
The daytime castaway experience, where guests can tuck into a gourmet picnic lunch on a nearby deserted island
Need to know
• 84 villas and suites
• Kids’ club and activity programme
• Calm Spa & Salon
• 7 restaurants and bars
• 5-star PADI dive centre and
• Fitness centre
• Tennis court