Situated in the heart of the South Ari atoll renowned for pristine coral reefs and spectacular marine bio-diversity, one can take a plunge at the arrival jetty and instantly enter a magical realm inhabited by oceanic titans and runts alike.
One's desire to indulge gastronomically is greatly expanded when the wine and dine options are all inclusive. The daily buffets at Manta serve up hearty entrées over its pasta and roast stations and are complemented by an array of appetisers, fresh greens and desserts, spreads that are comforting and adequate but not spectacular. Two bars serve up cocktails at all hours and our favourite tipple is the rum punch that packs a tropical kick. The best way to enjoy a massage at the homey U Spa is to open the folding doors to let in the oceanic air and enjoy the massage au naturel.
There may not be butlers or room service in this resort but its all meals inclusive plan and fully stocked mini bars translate into a gastronomical abundance quite unmatched in the Maldives. The concept of a social island doesn't get better on an all inclusive plan where wine is served from the bottle and not by glass. Over such relaxed, sanguine atmosphere, one is free to gratify at will from dining barefoot at Manta the buffet restaurant to sipping wine on the villa's patio decks at night staring deep into twinkling galaxies far far away.
We love the whimsical yet rustic accoutrements of the villas which pares down the opulence without sacrificing the luxury. Senior water villas come with an open air bathtub set above the sandbar littered with jittery crabs. One can also retreat into the resort's whimsical shells to catch up on what's on the telly over a soda or beer, mundane activities that our daily existence isn't all that conducive for. Whatever one's plans are, there are plenty of options on this island both above and below the sea level to regale the senses.