At Constance Halaveli in the Maldives, the sea is as blue as the sky and the sand is as white as the marshmallow-shaped clouds. The only visual interruption is the coconut-brown villas (and your blossoming tan).
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of wine and a fruit basket. Lucky GoldSmiths also get a bottle of bubbly
Double rooms from £504.76 ($656), including tax at 23.2 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of $6.00 per person per night prior to arrival.
Breakfast is usually included in rates (you can also opt for half-board or all-inclusive). Return hotel transfers cost from US$480 for adults (ages 13-and-up), from US$240 for children aged 2-12, and free for under-2s.
Be slathered in fragrant Ila and Valmont products at the blissful overwater spa, or have a mani-pedi and let the sunshine dry your zingy polish.
At the hotel
White-sand beach; overwater spa with treatment rooms; tennis court; two boutiques (one selling jewellery, one selling clothing); kids club; departure lounge with showers; free WiFi. In rooms: TV, DVD player, minibar.
Our favourite rooms
Do you want to wake up bang on the beach or in an overwater villa? (This is about as stressful as decision-making gets here.) We’d opt for the latter, thanks to the overwater villas' overwater plunge pools and chic sea-and-sand colour scheme. Number 90 is the very last villa on the jetty, so feels very private (but be prepared for a 1km walk to breakfast… perhaps just order room service?).
Spy on the ocean from the glittering main pool, next to Jahaz restaurant and the bar. When you want to cool down, stake out sun loungers under an umbrella or in the shade of one of the swaying palm trees. Each villa has its own plunge pool.
Wannabe Nadals can leave their rackets and balls behind – the hotel has a stash of tennis kit for guests to borrow. Snorkelling equipment is also on loan.
Welcome. Extra beds (from US$190 a night, depending on board options) and cots (free) can be added to rooms; the various restaurants all share a children’s menu. Babysitting is available (US$20 an hour, plus tax, before 7pm; US$25 after that).
Bag a table outside by the pool at Jahaz, kick off your shoes, scrunch your toes into the warm, soft sand and don’t move for a good few hours.
Beachwear plus cover-ups at Jahaz; floaty and flowery at Meera; island sophisticate for Jing.
Pretend you’re sitting in a giant’s upturned boat at Jahaz, whose ceiling is strung with rainbow-coloured lanterns. Pick from a generous buffet at breakfast and dinner; lunch is à la carte. Your other dining options include 10-table Meeru for delicious dinners of grilled meat or fish, and romantic Jing – located half-way down the overwater jetty – which serves adventurous fusion food in a stunning turquoise and dark-wood dining room.
Two open-air pavilions by the pool make up Jahaz bar, which is open from 10.30am until late. Sit up at the bar or relax into one of the circular day beds and order a Halaveli Bubbles cocktails (we loved Honey Chuckle Suckle, made with honey and saffron syrup, white rum, fig liqeur and lime, topped with champagne). Gin-lovers will be pleased to hear that there are 11 G&Ts to choose from (all of which feature the hotel's own infused gin), including an intriguing earl grey number. A small menu of sandwiches, salads and hot dogs is on offer at the bar.
Drinks are served at the bar until guests get tired of drinking. Jahaz closes at 10.30pm; Meeru and Jing at 10pm.
Thanks to the extensive 24-hour room service, you could feasibly never leave your villa and plunge pool. On lazy mornings, order from the à la carte breakfast menu between 6am and 11.30am; the main menu is available after that.
You need a transfer to reach this hotel. For approximate costs, see location information
Constance Halaveli’s island is in the Alifu Alifu Atoll, just west of Malé.
Fly into Malé International Airport, where you’ll be met by hotel staff and whisked away to Constance’s seaplane lounge to take the 25-minute seaplane transfer to the hotel. The seaplanes only operate in daylight hours (between 6am and 4pm). Return transfers are US$530 for each adult (12 and over) and US$290 for 2–11s; both rates include tax. Tots under two can travel for free as long as they share someone's seat.
Worth getting out of bed for
Constance Halaveli is in the North Ari Atoll, one of the Maldives’ best atolls for diving. Take advantage of this by signing up for a diving course: pick from beginners’ courses, night-, wreck- and photography-diving. You can also do your PADI here and there are two specialty courses: manta ray awareness (written by the dive-centre manager, Alexis Vincent) and a shark awareness course written by shark-dive specialist, Giuseppe d’Amato. A white-sand beach encircles the island, so you can also go for snorkelling sessions (borrow equipment), read on the warm sand or indulge in some watersports: wakeboarding, water skiing, windsurfing, pedalos and catamaran lessons are all on offer here (non-motorised watersports are free). You can also try your hand at big game or traditional fishing, go snorkelling with whalesharks, have a sunset or dolphin cruise on a dhoni or do some star-gazing. Perfect your serve on the tennis court or flop around in the main pool. If all this sounds tiring, book a spa treatment immediately. Keen shoppers can also stock up on holiday jewels and threads at the hotel's two chic boutiques.
Ahh, the Maldives: crystal-blue waters, suites on stilts, powder-soft, white-sand beaches. Your own tropical paradise – what could possibly go wrong? Umm, add two children? Are you even allowed children in the Maldives, or is it strictly for couples and honeymooners? Well, whatever our preconceptions, luxury resort Constance Halaveli promises to look after everyone, whether it’s just a couple or the entire family entourage. I guess we’ll see…
The Maldives is a long way from the UK and kids and long trips are always a bit of a concern, but the thought of a seaplane keeps our two so excited that there are no tantrums or cries of ‘I’m bored’ through Malé airport. The thought of landing on water blows their little minds. ‘We’re going to land on the sea Mummy, for real?’ my five-year-old Ally keeps asking. (Of course, Mr Smith is also mildly excited.)
On arrival, it is everything we had hoped for – the postcard-perfect beach and even the slightly clichéed (but very genuine) welcome party waving and greeting us with cold towels and drinks, eager to show us to our villa.
Halaveli is a small desert island with a ‘branch’ of water-stilted suites with thatched roofs on a tentacle-like arm, stretching away from the main beach. There are also villas on the main island, perfect for families as they have adjoining kids’ rooms complete with bunks (which we saw and loved). However, we had booked a classic stilted room because we really wanted to be on the water.
The little golf buggy tootles up the wooden gangplank and deposits us at the door. We spy fish through the clear water, much to the delight of the kids (and Mr Smith, again) and we arrive at Number 55, halfway up the tentacle. The door swings open and – wow – we can see right through, across the mahogany decking, to the ocean and our very own black-slate infinity plunge pool with an endless coastal view. A double breathtaking moment. The kids are naked quicker than we can say ‘Wow’ and jump in with glee, while Mr Smith and I are delighted with our private steps down to the water and the sprawling reef below.
Had we been here without the kids, the room would have been incredibly spoiling for two; it’s cosy for four, with an egg-shaped bath tub, a large double bed and couple of camp beds for the kids: it’s the perfect posh Robinson Crusoe holiday.
Arriving at lunchtime is perfect; we go off to the main pool back on the island to explore. There’s ample room for everyone to find their space – be that well-behaved (ahem) five and eight year olds, or cavorting Koreans taking photos in full wedding dress, nailing that all-important, take-home shot to show everyone what a happy couple they are. You’d never find an Englishman agreeing to his wife carting her entire wedding dress out on holiday and getting himself dressed in a full morning suit in 30 degree-heat, all while being ‘papped’. We conclude that it must be Korean law that you have to have wedding shots on a sweltering beach to prove your love for each other, as during our stay, three or four of these committed couples provide open-mouthed amusement. They pose in filmic, romantic scenarios creatively staged by their perspiring photographers, who goad them into various poses: Titanic, Pretty Woman, Gone with the Wind…
There are three restaurants on the island and a bar with snacks. Water spray is delivered to our sunloungers at the touch of a button – I dread to think how many times we would have to apologise for our son, Tom, pushing the button ‘accidentally’. Accommodating double loungers by the pool are accompanied by the biggest striped beach towels we have ever seen – we wrap one around our five-year-old four times (a very good trick to keep her in one place for a little while).
With a tonne of bribery, our little ones agree to go to the kids club while we have a massage in the spa. An hour of bliss for us and also for them, as it turns out. Tom gives the club a nine out of 10. Praise indeed, but the packet of Haribos in his pocket and an eight-year-old-blonde called Maya might have something to do with it. In all seriousness, the kids club is faultless; there are great activities, including hermit crab-catching on the beach as night falls – a big favourite with Tom and Mr Smith!
Kids run around on the beach while grown ups sink a few glasses of wine at the main restaurant or the adjacent grill, Meeru, our favourite of the the three. There’s also a fantastic sommelier who will show you around the cellar with pride.
Paradise also comes with activities galore: there’s a scuba-diving centre, tennis courts, beautiful boats for safaris, fishing and dolphin watching (not that we saw any, but the flying fish provided more than enough amusement). Then there’s being pulled along at 100 miles an hour on parent-neck-breaking inflatables, paddle boarding, sailing, canoeing and of course, plain old snorkelling, which you can do just from the bottom of the stairs from your stilt bedroom – did we mention the private staircase to the sea?
So, despite us not being on honeymoon, smirking at the frequent rose petals floating past the stilts below our room and the comical couples with their photo shoots, this family feels like it got the best of all worlds. The kids loved every minute and the grown ups got to visit the spa and have an evening meal à deux in the very fancy fusion restaurant, Jing – located at the tip of the tentacle. We didn’t forget to have a cocktail in the bar, too, with the fish below, all lit up – the whole family loved that bit.
What we look for at Mr & Mrs Smith are great places for couples, which Halaveli does in its sleep (particularly if you are Korean). With Smith & Family, we want hotels that are, of course, great for the kids, but also great places for the whole family to share adventures together. So, with three ticks, Halaveli has definitely earned its gold star.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Constance Halaveli’s Guestbook below.
No Smith members have posted their reviews of Constance Halaveli yet. You could be the first!