Travel blog on one-of-a-kind travel experiences

Water or beachside villa at the Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa?


The exclusive Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa is located in the northern Haa Alifu Atoll, on the sickle-shaped private island of Dhonakulhi with heavily overgrown, lush vegetation and a breathtaking house reef! We had to choose between a beachside and water villa…

While planning for our travels in 2015, the Maldives were at the top of the list: We wanted to dwell on one of the many islands strung along like a pearl necklace, where nature meets luxury and where the most exclusive resorts can be found. We were looking forward to a piece of land where rich green palms and the turquoise blue of the Indian Ocean form a unique picture book backdrop. Where you can feel the snow white sand between your toes early in the morning. Where the diverse fauna dominates and colourful fish both large and small bustle around the bizarrely formed coral reefs, providing a magnificent show for divers and snorkelers alike.

And that is exactly what we got! But first we had to get there…

Flight over the Maldives

Flight over the Maldives

Up until recently the remote atoll could only be reached with a trans-Maldivian domestic flight from Malé and a subsequent boat transfer, requiring at least two hours in travel time (check-in time at the airport included). But those days are over!

This is because during our stay, General Manager Carsten Schieck very proudly and happily announced the direct flight with Trans Maldivian Airlines between Malé and Dhonakulhi. We reported on this flight and the respective reception here in pictures and audio.

Trans Maldivian Airways

Landing Twin Otter operated by Trans Maldivian Airways

Thanks to the transfer via seaplane, the arrival itself becomes an experience and we are literally dropped off at the front doors!

The island and its house reef

Dhonakulhi Island is one of the largest islands in the Maldives with its 500 x 1,400 metres of space. There are only a few islands with such a large, untouched and natural island surface. For practical purposes the resort provides bicycles with every accommodation so that visitors can comfortably explore the various attractions on the island – that is if the heat or rain don’t force you into the ubiquitous buggy service. If ever it gets too hot, the distance is too long or it is too dark, simply call a butler who will come with a golf cart and chauffeur you around…

Bike on Dhonakulhi island

Our means of transportation on Dhonakulhi

The house reef borders the beach and the Meeru restaurant, and spans along the entire length of the island. From here fish of all sizes and colours can be seen as well as turtles, dolphins and even manta rays. Thanks to a slight current you can drift along with the marvelous spectacle and then slowly return to the shore.

Sunset in Dhonakulhi Island

Dramatic sunset in Dhonakulhi Island

The diving areas are also merely a short “Dhoni distance” away and offer all sorts of untouched coral banks and the tumult that comes with it.

The Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa

Completely restored in 2014, the Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa encompasses a total of 100 villas; 50 renovated beachside villas, each with a private garden and direct beach access. 50 large-scale water villas with a private pool were newly added, and stand on stilts in the lagoon.

Depending on personal preference you will have to decide for one form of luxury accommodation or another. Or simply do what many Asians do: Change the room category during your stay so you can take even more photos of your wedding trip…

Actually we prefer smaller resorts, yet because of the island’s size the villas are optimally spread out. In addition every guest, be they in a beachside or water villa, gets their own clear sphere of privacy.

Beach umbrellas at Sunset Pool Café

Beach umbrellas at Sunset Pool Café

Along with the villas, the luxury resort includes a welcome area with reception counter, four restaurants, swimming pools, a diving and water sports centre, a spa area, boutiques and a Kids Club, and is optimally suited for both active holidaymakers as well as peace-seekers! Along with a football pitch (!), two modern tennis courts are also available. Prospective tennis greats like the former top player Nikolai Davydenko provide tennis lessons here.

The villas

Regardless which of the five types of villas one stays in, all of them are designed with an extraordinary love for detail by using traditional, handmade natural materials in balanced pastel colours.

We stayed in a Deluxe Water Villa with a pool that suited our gusto to a T; stylish design, a large sun deck with a whirlpool and direct access to the Indian Ocean via a set of stairs – incredible! Who needs a pool?

But of course when it’s so enticing with its massage jets then this option will be used in its entirety, especially as the water temperature is near 30 degrees. The same goes for the lagoon and 15 metres under water. Only then does the temperature sink to 29 degrees…

Deluxe Water Villa Bedroom

Bedroom in the Deluxe Water Villa

Bathroom over water villa

Bathtub in over water villa

Sunrise in front of the water villas

Sunrise in front of the water villas

Upscale cuisine at the different restaurants

Visitors to the island can treat themselves in four different restaurants; in the main restaurant Matheefaru, where the massive breakfast buffet is also served every morning, visitors can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere (on a sand floor) in the evening, as well as a buffet with international and Maldivian dishes.

Matheefaru Buffet Restaurant

Matheefaru buffet restaurant

Buffet chef at Matheefaru restaurant

Buffet chef at Matheefaru restaurant

The Meeru Bar located on the beach offers delicious lunch dishes and captivates every evening with lobster, fish and meat specialties fresh off the grill. And that’s with a view of stingrays and blacktip reef sharks patrolling the water beneath the guests’ feet…

Sundeck and sunset at Meeru bar

Sun terrace of the Meeru Bar

At the Sunset Pool Café fine snacks and seafood dishes are served, and Asian fusion meals are offered at the Samsara Restaurant that stands on stilts, with variations from India and Japan and an authentic teppanyaki!

Poolside table at the Sunset Pool Cafés

Poolside table at the Sunset Pool Cafés

Pool and ocean access at Sunset Pool Café

Pool and ocean access at Sunset Pool Café

Of course private dinners in romantic corners of the island (and there’s no lack of those!) can be arranged upon request.

Hideaway Spa and Beauty Palace

The Spa Palace is spaciously laid out and brilliantly decorated with blossoms. Already upon entering one can pick up on a fine aroma. No wonder that we indulged in a soothing massage; and so we first chose the right aroma from the four massage oils available, and one of the various massage techniques. We went for the Balinese variation, as most masseuses in the Maldives come from Bali anyway. And despite the delicate posture, we were definitely “in good hands”: In the end we felt like we had been born again!

Entrance to the Spa Palace

Entrance to the Spa Palace

Our thanks goes out to…

… General Manager Carsten Schieck for the incredible invitation and Sales & Marketing manager Zara Burnazyan for organising the trip. Our heartfelt thanks also to Josef Umenberger, Executive Assistant and Food & Beverage Manager, for the detailed explanations and for having always provided our creature comforts ;-)



About Author

Katja is’s destination research and booking expert. She always has the upper hand on itineraries and travel details. When not on the road, Katja is a corporate communications manager.


  1. I’ve never been to one of these villas before and I have always wanted to. As you said here, there are some places that need an airplane to get to. I’d probably go for that as I think it would be an experience to remember!

    • It’s absolutely worth trying! The pilots are quite something already. Or when was the last time you flew barefoot? And also your pilot ;-)

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