'Vaxication' in the Maldives: What to Know About Vaccine Tourism
With vaccination programmes continuing apace, the prospect of having a “vaxication”—a term coined to describe the first trip people take after getting their jabs—is closer to becoming reality. The Maldives is best placed to receive an influx of travellers as its border has been open to international tourists since July 2020 and its set-up allows for natural social distancing. The local travel industry has also been quick to implement protocols including rapid testing upon arrival and before departure as well as when transferring resorts.
Apart from welcoming vaccinated travellers, it was recently reported that Dr Abdulla Mausoom, the Maldivian Minister of Tourism, has confirmed that they’re working on a 3V initiative, which stands for “visit, vaccinate, and vacation”.
It aims to offer travellers two doses of Covid-19 vaccines several weeks apart encouraging weeks-long stays in the island nation. The minister did highlight the shortfall in supply as a potential road bump and stressed that the country’s immunisation programme that began in February still prioritises residents with workers in the tourism industry getting inoculated first.
With this positive news, it surely doesn’t hurt to daydream about lazing on a sandy atoll and there are plenty of new places to choose from. One is Ithaafushi—The Private Island, the latest addition to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives resort, which at nearly 345,000 sq ft makes it the largest of its kind in the country.
In Dhivehi, the local language of the Maldives, its name means “Pearl Island”, which befits this crown jewel of Hilton’s luxury portfolio in the region. The expansive private island has a two-bedroom overwater villa, a three-bedroom beach villa and a four-bedroom residence that together accommodate a total of 24 guests, who can spend their days relaxing by the myriad pools or snorkelling in the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean.
Ithaafushi - The Private Island has a 24-hour personal concierge and a separate wellness concierge to attend to every whim, from organising elaborate sundowner parties to arranging bespoke fitness training and spa treatments. “Guests familiar with our Waldorf Astoria hotels have come to expect the most personalised service from our dedicated team of personal concierges each time they stay with us. At Ithaafushi - The Private Island, this is taken to a whole new level,” says Nils-Arne Schroeder, vice president of luxury and lifestyle for Hilton in the Asia-Pacific.
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Those staying at Ithaafushi also have access to the many amenities and restaurants of the main resort, including The Ledge—a modern grill by Dave Pynt of Burnt Ends, the Singapore chophouse that ranked number five on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 list. The private island is also a breeze to get to, only requiring a 40-minute yacht ride or 15-minute seaplane flight from Male Airport.
Come summertime, said to be the best season to visit the Maldives, travellers can choose not just a new resort, but a completely new hotel brand. Singapore-based Capella Hotel Group is opening the inaugural property of Patina Hotels & Resorts in a few months.
Patina Maldives is part of the Fari Islands archipelago on the North Male Atoll. The Fari Islands is comprised of four different islands, two of which will be home to other luxury hotel brands The Ritz-Carlton Maldives and Capella Maldives.
(Related: 5 Luxury Boutique Hotels to Visit Around the World Once it’s Safe to Travel Again)
The first-ever Patina hotel features 90 one- to three-bedroom villas and 20 studios designed by Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan of Studio MK27, who adhered to the principles of biophilic architecture resulting in spaces defined by a calming, natural feel. Guests can freely move to and from the various islands within the archipelago—choosing from the total privacy of their suite or heightened interaction at the nearby Fari Marina Village and Fari Beach Club. Only a 50-minute boat ride from Male, Patina Maldives is an ideal place for an extended holiday or a luxurious work-from-hotel arrangement.
(Related: 6 Nature-Inspired Hotels and Resorts with Elements of Biophilic Design)