Maadhoo is one of the string of islands that make up the South Male Atoll. It’s here that OZEN by Atmosphere can be found, home to 90 beachfront or overwater villas, as well as a spa, PADI-certified dive centre and five unique restaurants, each with its own identity — including one six metres beneath the ocean.
The land of icing sugar-white beaches, azure waters and remote islands, this Indian Ocean archipelago tops the luxury wishlist of many a discerning traveller seeking a toes-in-the-sand getaway. But, not just a pretty face, the Maldives is also an underwater playground for snorkellers and divers, with pristine reefs that are home to fanning corals, hidden caves and overhangs, and a neon kaleidescope of fish darting among turtles, manta rays, dolphins and whale sharks.
A palm-strewn streak in the Indian Ocean, Maadhoo island is located in South Male Atoll, a string of emerald specks scattered throughout the crystalline waters. Only three of the islands are inhabited. Away from the buzzy capital of Malé, the laid-back southern atoll offers travellers a more relaxed vibe than its northern neighbours.
From the international airport, a 45-minute speedboat ride whisks travellers to OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo Maldives, a luxury resort that opened its doors in July 2016. Here, guests will discover 90 beachfront or overwater villas spread across the island, as well as a spa, five restaurants and a PADI-certified dive centre.
Rooms & suites
Offering a mix of privacy and unbridled opulence, OZEN’s 48 Wind Villas are perched on stilts above the turquoise lagoon, some opening onto a private terrace and lap pool. Elsewhere, 31 Earth Villas are dotted along the powdery sands, many featuring an infinity pool with mood lighting and an al fresco bathroom with standalone tub.
For multi-generational travellers, an additional 10 Earth Family Villas come with two large, en suite bedrooms, an indoor and outdoor lounge area, and a large sea-view pool flanked by sun loungers. And the room to book? Located at the tip of the island’s pier, the prestigious 430sqm OZEN Water Suite comes with a trio of elegant, en suite bedrooms, an overwater swimming pool, private gym and outdoor dining pavilion — not forgetting the epic views, of course.
Food & drink
From a lazy Champagne breakfast to a pulse-quickening underwater dining experience, OZEN’s five restaurants can’t fail to impress even the most seasoned foodie. Inspired by tastes and flavours from across the globe, the main eatery, The Palms, offers diners a front-row seat with live cooking stations and uninterrupted ocean views — a typical dish is Ossobucco veal shank, with risotto Milanese and Valencia-scented gremolata.
Over on the western edge of the lagoon, an overwater complex houses a duo of Traditions restaurants: IndoCeylon, which dishes up aromatic platters of Sri Lankan, Indian and Maldivian fare, such as Rajasthani dhungar venison; and Peking, where a feast of Far Eastern delicacies, including Australian beef tenderloin and dragon fruit in black pepper and merlot, is served alongside beautiful lagoon vistas.
But the jewel in OZEN’s culinary crown is surely M6m: a modern seafood restaurant located at the northern tip of the lagoon — six metres below the surface of the ocean. Here, diners can kick back on curved sofas piled with cushions and tuck into seabass or scallops as colourful shoals of tropical fish — and if you’re lucky, top-of-the-food-chain reef sharks — swim past the glass-sided room.
For those who want to stay fit while they’re away, a state-of-the-art gym is available, with personal trainers poised to give exercise advice. After a workout, guests can refuel at the R.A.W Food bar, safe in the knowledge that only the freshest uncooked ingredients are used to rustle up these healthy light bites and meals. Taking the action up a level, the Atmosphere Aqua Club has its own PADI-certified dive school for visitors who are keen to explore the area’s rich marine life and discover hidden shipwrecks. There’s also a busy watersports centre offering everything from canoeing to flyboarding.
Awash with crisp white hues, the Elena by Atmosphere spa complex houses eight overwater treatment rooms (including couples’ rooms), as well as an outdoor lounge area overlooking the glistening water. An experienced team of massage and beauty therapists are on hand to offer tension-busting therapies and spa rituals, using organic products. A salt pool, whirlpool bath, steam room and sauna complete the experience.
Premium all-inclusive plan
The third — and most high-end — property under the Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts umbrella, OZEN launched in July with an exclusive luxury, all-inclusive plan: The Atmosphere Indulgence.
The philosophy is to offer great value for money while maintaining personalised, tailor-made experiences that meet each guest’s needs. Think everything from a la carte menus and top tipples to underwater dining experiences, spa rituals and diving trips — all included in the price, along with accommodation and in-villa amenities.
Tuck into fresh seafood at M6m, a glass-sided restaurant six metres beneath the lagoon, as turtles and reef sharks glide past
Need to know
• 5 restaurants
• Sunset-facing pool
• 48 Wind Villas, 24 with lap pool
• 31 Earth Villas, 17 with lap pool
• 10 family villas with 35sqm pool
• 1 Ozen Water Suite, with pool