Sea Spa: Total Body Reboot at the Anantara Kihavah resort, Maldives
by Charlotte Hogarth-Jones
Looking for the best spa in the Maldives? Charlotte Hogarth-Jones reviews the Anantara Kihavah resort and its medical spa on Kihavah Huravalhi Island.
Where is the Anantara Kihavah Resort?
Hidden away on the tiny island of Kihavah Huravalhi in the Maldives. The resort is located on the Baa Atoll in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and keen divers and snorkellers will delight at the chance to swim with giant manta rays and sea turtles, and explore the coral reefs nearby. There are 80 individual beach and overwater pool villas and residences to choose from, including one four-bedroom, and two three-bedroom properties, and four seperate restaurants (Teppanyaki, Asian, Mediterranean and fine-dining), along with a beachside snack bar. Plus, you’ll find a fabulous cocktail bar at the foot of the hotel’s impressive in-house observatory too.
What’s it like?
For some time Anantara Kihavah has remained a well-kept secret by sports stars, Hollywood actors, Silicon Valley tech tycoons and the like, and its equally popular with young families and loved-up honeymooners too. The vibe is less flashy than some Maldivian resorts, and even at full occupancy there’s still a wonderful air of peacefulness and privacy throughout. That doesn’t mean service takes a back seat, however, and Anantara has the facilities, exceptionally attentive and personal staff, and refined, elegant cuisine that marks it out as one of the finest properties in the area. Now the resort has gone one better than its competitors, by launching the only medical spa in the vicinity, which is overseen by a team of nurses and doctors from the famous Cocoon medi-spa in Bali.
What treatments to have at the Anantara Kihavah Spa?
Well, it depends how brave you’re feeling. At entry-level, there’s a simple IV drip – one 30-minute session delivers a cocktail of different vitamins into your system and promises to boost your immune system, counteract the grim effects of jet lag, and just generally pep you up. It’s a minimal time commitment for good results, and it’s best done the day you land at the resort, to start your stay off with an instant boost.
If you’re looking to upgrade a treatment that you’re already familiar with instead, than involving diamond microdermabrasion in your facial is a great option. A diamond-tipped wand delivers deep exfoliation and gives baby soft skin, minimising pores, fine lines and acne scarring in the process. It’s far gentler than it sounds, and the results are immediately apparent. You can have the treatment on its own, or as part of the Silk Peel Dermal Infusion, which also involves LED red light therapy to brighten the skin, and galvanic iontophoresis, to tone and help products (in this case a hyralonic acid serum and peptide collagen moisturiser) penetrate deeper. For influencer-worthy Instagram shots, there’s also microdermabrasion in the Cleopatra 24 Carat Gold facial, which finishes with a lavish 24 carat gold mask.
If you’re feeling braver, there’s colonic hydrotherapy, which aims to rid the body of toxins and undigested food in the digestive system – you’ll need more than one session to see the full benefit of treatment, so it’s good to plan a couple throughout your stay, and to continue sessions with a local practitioner once home. Lastly, there’s the spa’s highly sought-after “Vampire Facial”, where your own blood is removed, and separated out into platelets, before being massaged onto the skin following microneedling, where miniscule pinpricks are made in the skin, in order to reduce wrinkles and stimulate collagen production. It might sound scary, but medi-spa devotees say this is the future if you want to look better long-term, and you even get a vial of platelet serum to continue with post-spa. From November, the spa will also launch further new facilities, including ice pools and infrared saunas too.
Restaurants, bars and lounges at the Anantara Kihavah
In truth, you could relax anywhere at Anantara Kihavah, and you’ll find plenty of secluded tables for sundowners or a quiet moment with a fresh coconut water, while all restaurants and bars have a beautiful view of the glittering turquoise waters of the magnificent Indian Ocean. The resort’s underwater restaurant SEA is a must for something different. Corals in the area have suffered in recent years, and some nearby reefs are now recovering from bleaching. The coral nurseries set up by the hotel surrounding the restaurant, however, are thriving, and it’s a joy to watch fish large and small, tiny sharks and turtles, that are lured in by the vibrant colours. On top of this, the wine selection is stellar, and the decadent tasting menu is a treat, with dishes including everything from Wagyu beef steaks, to indulgent chocolate desserts. It’s easy to while away a few hours in this cut-off paradise under the waves, and the restaurant serves only a handful of tables for lunch, as well as dinner.
Best by boat
Fortuitously, this low-key yet luxurious resort is also brilliantly equipped to deal with superyachts, and regularly hosts up to five big boats during the festive season. It’s three hours from Gulhi Falhu by motor, or around a 7-hour sail, and you can dock just 200m from the hotel’s beaches. They’ll happily send therapists, yoga teachers and personal trainers onboard, and can accept last-minute bookings for restaurants and 4, 3, and 2-bed private villas, should you decide to divert your course. One things for sure – you won’t regret it if you do.