Park Hyatt Hadahaa:
A Secluded Island with the Best Snorkeling Ever
400 kilometres away from the capital city of Malé, and only 50 kilometres from the Equator, lies the most idyllic honeymoon spot you can imagine. If it’s romance and relaxation you’re looking for, there’s no better place.
What amazed us most?
The island is so small that you can walk around it in just 15 minutes. There are only 50 villas on the island, 14 of them water villas, which creates a wonderfully intimate environment, perfect for honeymooners. All of the villas are tucked away from public spaces and surrounded by lush greenery that provides guests with unbeatable privacy. Every villa features floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that lead out to a private deck, some fitted with a personal plunge pool, and direct access to the beach. The king-size bed with drapes faces the panoramic walls for an amazing view of the jungle garden. On the first day, while I was having tea on the terrace, I saw a “batman” shadow running over our deck. I thought there were bats on the island but, when I looked more carefully, I saw cute animals in the trees – flying foxes. They are, in fact, bats, but they only eat nectar and pollen. There are lots of them on the island.
Why should you come here?
To experience a luxurious romantic getaway. Because the island is so close to the Equator, and far from the light-polluted rest of the world, we were lucky enough to see the Milky Way with our naked eye. We couldn’t believe it! We spent our evenings lying on the deck of our water villa, watching stars and meteoroids entering the atmosphere and burning up every 10-15 minutes. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all visible without a telescope but the hotel will provide you with one so you can see the craters, mountains and valleys on the moon. To experience barefoot dining under the stars. Our favourite was the Grill Bar - prawns, lobsters, fish and meat were freshly cooked on the grill upon request. There was a huge selection and we couldn’t even eat our way through all of the desserts there were so many of them!
The most special
thing about the hotel
The reception area is the most interesting architectural structure on the island. It’s a huge upturned dohni, a traditional Maldivian boat, which provides shelter from the sun and makes for the perfect place to cool off during the hot afternoons. We also really liked the personal touches at the hotel. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Ann, who took us to the reception area and later showed us around. Every villa also has a host, who takes care of the guests, organises events and tours, and keeps you informed about the activities taking place. Our villa host was Jay, a really nice girl who was always smiling.
All guests are invited to join a tour of the staff area, where we were shown how everything works - how they filter the water, how they get energy and how they treat waste. For me, this was fascinating as I had never been “behind the scenes” of a hotel before.
The hotel is very conscious of the environment and has taken every effort to ensure that the island remains as unspoilt as possible. Any vegetation that was removed to create pathways was replanted elsewhere on the island. Refillable glass bottles are used for water, we drank from paper straws, and ceramic bottles are used for toiletries to prevent rubbish on the island. The wooden deck is made of bamboo timber, which lasts much longer. This year, the hotel achieved Gold EarthCheck Certification.
How to make
the most of your stay
You can’t go to Hadahaa and not enjoy one of their amazing spa treatments. My massage was done by Ayun from Bali, who did it exactly right - not too hard and not too soft. It was the best body massage I have ever had. The name of the spa, Vidhun, means “to shine” and it’s true – after the treatment, our bodies were shining with radiant good health. All of the treatments are designed around the Sehathu concept, which means that they balance hot, cold and dry for maximum benefits. Everything in the spa was just perfect - from the delicious drinks to the all-local ingredients to the soft velvety towels.
is there to see and do?
50 metres from the land villas and right under the water villas lies a colourful underwater kingdom with around 1,200 species of fish and 250 species of coral. We had been told that the house reef at Hadahaa is one of the best in the Maldives and we were definitely not disappointed.
We did a guided snorkelling tour where we saw a huge variety of coral and fish. As soon as we got in the water, we were surrounded by spectacular schools of brightly -coloured tropical fish. I had never experienced anything like it before. The most impressive moment was when we met our first shark. They keep a watchful eye over their territory but are not dangerous – Ingus even tried chasing them! Another interesting species is the parrotfish. When we heard a strange noise like a bonfire underwater, we knew it was a shoal of parrotfish eating the coral. All of the sand on the island has journeyed through this fish’s digestive system - one fish produces 90 kg of sand per year.
On Saturday we went to a cocktail event on the beach. We were offered delicious drinks and canapés. Sitting on bean bags, we enjoyed the culture of the Maldives and the pulsing rhythm of their traditional Boduberu performance with the colourful sunset in the background. Dancing barefoot in the sand is a great feeling.
to get here
The island is so remote that you will need to take a 1-hour domestic flight and then a 30- minute speedboat trip. The feeling of seclusion you experience when you arrive makes it well worth the trip. At the airport, we were met by Park Hyatt representatives who assisted us with the domestic transfers so everything went very smoothly.