At Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives, you can spy on darting fish from your glass-bottomed bath tub, watch movies in the jungle and while away weeks with watersports and island expeditions: sunset dhoni cruises, private picnics and sand-dune dining.
Get this when you book through us:
Your choice of a 30-minute foot massage for two or a body scrub for two
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability and a charge (50 per cent of the daily room rate, up until 6pm). Earliest check-in, 2pm. Guests are welcome to use the communal shower facilities outside of check-in and check-out times.
Double rooms from £778.08 ($988), including tax at 27.6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of $6.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include buffet breakfast and WiFi.
Dentists, shield your eyes: the hotel has its own ice-cream and chocolate rooms. Heston, eat your heart out: there are 48 flavours of ice-cream to explore, Maldivian Screw Up (Screw Pine) Tropical Sunshine (Pineapple and Pina Colada) and Hotter Than Ice (Cocoa Nibs and Maldivian Chili). Take tippling to the next level with the hotel’s bartenders challenge where mixologists battle it out to win you over with their best cocktails.
If having a private pool to splash around in is a non-negotiable, opt for a Two Bedroom Ocean Beach Villa, which has two bedrooms and the all important private pool. All the villas share the same styling and set-up; what differentiates them is location: Lagoon Beach Villas look onto the lagoon; Ocean Beach Villas are on the other side of the island, with uninterrupted ocean views; Lagoon Water Villas are along the three jetties just a stone's throw away from the beach, while the Laamu Water Villa with Pool offers uninterrupted views of the Atoll’s turquoise vistas.
The huge free-form pool (open from 10am to 8pm) winds around Sip Sip restaurant. There are secluded spaces with pairs of sunloungers and two sunken decks with sofas to flop on to. Otherwise, hop in that turquoise lagoon and dry off on white sand.
Remind yourself where you are in the world (as if you could forget) with a tropical treatment at the spa: opt for the exfoliating massage with sand, or the Kurumbaa Kaashi coconut rub. Free yoga and aerobics classes are on offer, along with holistic extras for an additional cost: de-stress workshops (not that you should be frowning here), acupressure sessions and so on.
Mrs Smith: nail clippers and jewel-bright polish to maintain your shiny holiday pedicure despite all the barefoot beaching (shoes are handed over on arrival, to fast forward your Crusoe mindset). Mr Smiths: linens and lemony cologne. Both Mr & Mrs: something to impress the deck-spinning DJ (and dance in) at Chill Bar.
There are compulsory Gala Dinners on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve (both charged at an extra cost) Every guest receives a bike for their stay, the resort's fleet includes stabilisers for little smiths and tricycles for family fun.
Very welcome. Baby cots and extra beds can be added to rooms; free for under-12s and $123.2 a night for ages 12-16. Green Babysitting is available ($20 an hour); book at least day ahead. Over-12s are subject to adult rates for transfers and green tax.
There’s something for all ages at Six Senses Laamu; The Den kids club is for three to 11-year-olds, so little Smiths will be well looked after. Older siblings can maximise the water sports on offer, or make friends over volleyball games on sunset beach.
The Beach Villas are great for families, thanks to their direct beach access and big sandy private garden, just in front of each villa, for little ones to play in. These villas also have a shaded dining area out on the deck. Ocean Beach Villa 95 is ace.
No crèche, just the Den, the kids club.
At Den, young ’uns can choose from indoor or outdoor activities: the highlight of the club is definitely the outdoor sandy area which has climbing ropes and swings suspended between the trees, but there’s also a stash of toys and games for wet days. Daily activities include hide and seek, sand art, dodgeball, water relay, pasta art and face painting. A fleet of bicycles is also on loan to guests.Budding conservationists aged six to 16 are invited to join the Maldives Underwater Initiative with the Junior Marine Biology Program, a unique and curated experience ($80 per session).
Sip Sip is the resort’s communal pool, complete with a baby pool for little ones. There’s no lifeguard at the pool or the beach, so you’ll need to keep an eye on tottering tots, but the water is pretty calm and flat.
Children under five dine for free and six to 11-year-olds get 50 per cent off food and drink at the hotel. All rooms have an in-villa menu for infants, featuring dishes created without salt, sugar, spice or additives. Example dishes include: boiled vegetables with cream-cheese sauce; cream of organic vegetable purée, and banana mash. Children are welcome in the main restaurant at all times; there’s even a kiddies menu.
Babysitting is available for US$20 an hour; just book at least day ahead.
No need to pack
The hotel can lend you bottle sterilising equipment, high chairs, playmats, books, puzzles and baby towels.
Extra beds in rooms can each accommodate up to two children under 12 for free. For children aged 13-16, the cost is $100 a night and it’s only one child a bed. All extra beds need to be requested on booking.
Sustainability is at the heart of this luxury resort. By banning single-use plastic bags and producing their own drinking water on site, they are working towards being plastic-free and zero waste. The resort has also donated 97 water filtration systems to schools, government facilities and communities across the Atoll, that provide clean drinking water to all of the area's 18,5000 inhabitants, avoiding an estimated 6 million single-use plastic water bottles per year in the process. At the property's Earth Lab, the dedicated sustainability team recycle crushed glass into cement products, organic waste into compost, old towels into flower pots, and used wax into new candles. Six Senses Laamu is also home to the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI), one of the largest resort-based marine biology teams in the nation. The MUI team consists of marine biologists as well as three partner NGOs; the Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and the Olive Ridley Project. These teams conduct a vast range of research, education and community outreach projects from studying local manta ray populations to ensuring all fish purchased by the resort is sustainability caught. The research produced by the MUI team has been successfully used to lobby for marine protection in Laamu, ensuring the remote Atoll’s marine resources are protected for generations to come. All sustainability and marine conservation projects at Six Senses Laamu are possible thanks to the Sustainability Fund, which comes from 0.5% of resort revenues, 50% of water sales in F&B outlets, and 100% of soft toy sales. These funds are routinely spent on projects which directly benefit the local community.
Some like it hot: if you're one of them, opt for Leaf's Chili Table Dining Experience and sit in the organic garden at a communal table, surrounded by 12 types of chili. Post-meal, stake out Chill Bar's overwater hammocks and drowsily wave-watch.
Threads that will take you from beach to bicycle. When the sun sinks, throw on a pretty frock/light shirt for the restaurant. Unless you want to blend in with the surrounding jungle, steer clear of green.
Longitude, open for breakfast and dinner, occupies an airy, overwater space. This relaxed restaurant serves a generous breakfast buffet (waffles, pancakes, eggs any which way, just-baked croissants, smoothies and so on); twice a week there's an impressive buffet dinner with live cooking stations. Leaf is perched above the organic garden: to get to it, you'll need to walk through the garden, up some stairs and across a rope bridge. Dinner at Leaf has a Mediterranean theme: dishes include baked beetroot with goat cheese and chives salsa and roast lamb with black-olive crust. There's also a Japanese restaurant, Zen, on an upper deck by Chill Bar; its small but comprehensive menu ticks off Japanese classics. Sip Sip rises resplendent from the swimming pool, offering fresh-from-the-oven pizzas, salads, burgers, pasta dishes and desserts – including home-made ice-cream and sorbets.
We love a bar that boasts 14 signature cocktails, especially when they include flirty little libations such as Laamu Beach Party (a muddle of whisky, rum, cranberry, mango and ginger) and Atoll Punch, a raspberry and vodka concoction that honours the local islands. (If you over-indulge and need a cold-water fix, the sea is just beneath you.) Chill Bar's open-air space has big comfy blue day beds overlooking the sea, plenty of wooden furniture and an expert resident DJ who serves up Cinematic Orchestra and the ilk at lunch, jazz in the afternoon and party tunes later on. Wine buffs will love the wine cellar (more a temple to the grape stuff), which towers 6.4m high and houses more than 400 types of wine, as well as a deli offering European cheeses and peppery cold cuts: perfect for picnic provisions. Wine tastings can be arranged. Sip Sip's list of famed cocktails runs like the credits to a boozy film and their original concoctions, made with freshly squeezed juices, are tempting – the Ron Lassie (rum, mango, yoghurt, honey and cinnamon) cools with a kick. The mocktails are equally good.
Dinner is served until 10pm at Zen; 10.30pm at Leaf and Longitude. Late risers: head down for breakfast before 10.30am or you’ll miss out. Sip Sip opens from 10am to 8pm, and the bar serves drinks until your thirst is quenched (or you fall over).
Order nibbles to your room between 11am and 11.30pm; choose from from Longitude’s menu or pick from the à la carte in-villa-dining menu, which features Mediterranean, Asian and local dishes. Parents can also order salt-free treats for tots.
You need a transfer to reach this hotel. For approximate costs, see location information
Six Senses Laamu is the only hotel on Olhuveli Island in the untouched Laamu Atoll, meaning a minimum of other tourists and a maximum of flawless milk-white sand.
The hotel can arrange seaplane transfers from Male International Airport. The transfer is just over an hour and a round-trip adult fare is $1,269.62, for children (aged two to 11) it’s $759.22 and under-1s travel for free. Flights only take place during daylight hours; to guarantee a same-day transfer, your arrival time into Male must be before 3pm and your departure flight must be after 9.30am.
Forget wheels and be thankful for your own two feet: when you’re not coursing across waves in a boat, you’ll be cycling or strolling around this car-free island.
Ask our Smith24 Team about domestic flight and speed boat transfers; once these are arranged, you'll just need to let the resort know the full names of all guests at least 72 hours before arrival.
Worth getting out of bed for
Want to bank some brownie points with your bedfellow? Book in for the spa’s massage workshop, so you can take some of Six Senses’ tried-and-tested relaxation therapy home with you. Kids and adults will both be bowled over by the Jungle Cinema, tucked away from the beach. Settle down with some popcorn on the deck chairs and relax. There are twice-weekly scheduled showings but the space is also available for exclusive hire, for those who can’t bear the rustling of sweet-wrappers and occasional burst of mid-movie chatter. If the idea of having your eyes glued to a screen when you’re in tropical paradise leaves you cold, go sunset fishing. The locals swear it’s the best time to go out; if you’re fruitful, the chef will cook up your catch for dinner. Go looking for spinner and bottlenose dolphins on an aquatic safari, with glasses of chilled champagne to keep you refreshed on the traditional dhoni. If you loved reading Robinson Crusoe, opt for the Crusoe picnic experience: a gourmet lunch on your own private island. You can also stake out your own sandbank for the day for sunbathing, cocktails or a barbecue dinner (we hope proposal-planners are taking notes). You’re in prime surfing territory: Yin Yang is the Maldives’ most famous break. The biggest waves are from June through til September. Of course, this is also watersports-central: go snorkelling in front of Chill Bar to spy the most eye-bogglingly beautiful fish, or go on a night snorkel or a tour of the house reef. The atoll also offers amazing diving, and the chance to spy reef sharks, barracuda and sting ray.
You’re on a private island: make the most of the hotel’s onsite dining venues (there are eight at your disposal).
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this tropical hotel in Laamu and unpacked their sunglasses and sarongs, a full account of their luxury beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives…
We’re wordy types, normally, but when it comes to Six Senses Laamu, we find ourselves swapping verbosity for visual, two-word phrases: ‘jungle cinema’, ‘private island’, ‘white sand’, ‘blue sea’, and so on. These little nuggets transport us from the normal to the tropical, quicker than you can reach for ice.
Island castaways of all ages will feel like lords of Laamu, as soon as they remove their shoes (no news, no shoes – that’s the philosophy here) upon arrival and put soles on sand. But before you start picturing a bare beachy paradise involving just sun, sea and sand, let us remind you of the weeks' worth of activities on offer here: more watersports than you can shake a dolphin at, a cinema in the jungle and plenty of on-demand romantic experiences, should you want to make paradise a bit more, erm, paradisiacal: a sunset cruise on a dhoni, for example, dinner for two on a deserted beach, or a private picnic on your own island.
If you need further proof of the hotel’s desire to dazzle you, just listen to this: all guests are ‘given’ a bicycle to wheel around the island on, and every guest’s bicycle has their own initials on it, and cushions on the pedals to protect your bare feet. Whoever said ‘less is more’ clearly hadn’t seen Six Senses Laamu.