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Daydreaming our Honeymoon at the One & Only Reethi Rah Maldives

4 Nov

Guys, it’s cold today. Like space-heater-in-the-bathroom kind of cold. It’s also been almost TWO MONTHS since we tied the knot and went on our amazing honeymoon, so it’s time to relive some of those memories. Last month I previewed our trip put together by Lynn at Bella Vacations, but the Maldives offered so much more.

Before I pile on the photos, a word about the location. If you’ve ever considered vacationing in the Maldives, which is made of a chain of thousands of teeny little islands off the south west coast of India, you know how difficult it is to choose among the many many many resorts. Each island is one, in fact. My head was spinning round and round on Trip Advisor and travel blogs as they all looked amazing. Truly paradise. Fortunately Lynn helped narrow the field and shifted my focus to the One & Only Reethi Rah. We got a great vacation package and the complicated decision was made very simple. Many Maldivian resorts are tiny. Like 10 – 30 villas/huts/whatever tiny. That also means that there are likely to be fewer food choices. Being stranded in the middle of the Indian Ocean with only one restaurant that may be underwhelming weighed heavily on my mind, and we went whole-heartedly after the Reethi Rah, which boasts 4 separate restaurants + three more options for lunch.

So grab your hot chocolate, imagine it’s a coconut mocha, and enjoy the splendor that was the One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives.

Welcome! Reethi Rah translates to Beautiful Life, which indeed it is on this gorgeous island.

One and Only Reethi Rah boat dock arrival

The accommodations were extremely generous and secluded, although we had to move from our original room that was located next to the main restaurant. This was our villa for most of the week on the sunset side of the island. We had beach cruisers to make our way around the island on our own terms. Perfect mode of transportation!

Reethi Rah Villa with bikes

This was our back yard after transferring rooms. It was pretty overcast this day, but the sun still beat through being at the equator. I spent many hours reading and knitting on our loungers listening to the surf and wind. Aaaaahhhhh take me back!

Our private beach with hammock and lounge chairs

Can you say spacious? And the sliding glass doors that open to your beach? Heavenly.

Panoramic photo of our Reethi Rah villa

And I really, really, really, really  miss this bath tub/small pool. Our dedicated Villa Host ran a few baths for us during the week with special oils and salts, as well as lots of orchid flowers from the garden on the island.

Bathtub filled with bubbles, orchid flowers and surrounded with candles

We began each day with ocean-side continental breakfast at Reethi Restaurant, complete with the Financial Times delivered to our villa, fresh fruit, hot items made to order and great espresso drinks included in our board.

Breakfast table ocean side

How about this view just over the railing? Fish swimming by as they do. The dark masses in the left are coral reef frames placed through the Reethi Reefs propagation project.

Fish swimming by directly off the restaurant deck.

After breakfast, it was off to find a hammock or chaise lounger, snorkel, read, nap, you know….live the tough life. So there was a lot of this:

Laying in a hammock on our beach

And snorkeling. This is just off of the beach at Club One – it was a cloudy, overcast day and visibility was still amazing. The resort gives you snorkel gear when you check in so you can take it with you each morning and pop in the water whenever you feel like swimming with the fishes. In a good way, of course.

Reethi Rah House Reef underwater snorkeling photo

We did, however, take a snorkeling excursion with resident Marine Biologist Zoe at two reefs a short boat-ride out of the resort. Absolutely breathtaking.

Underwater photo of tropical fish and coral reefs

We came across a feeding frenzy,

Underwater photo of the fish in a feeding frenzy eating algae on the coral

and even a green turtle!

Green Sea Turtle underwater

Can you spot the lobster?

Underwater photo of coral reef and a lobster

We took most meals at the Reethi Restaurant, which actually has three separate sections – the main international dining room, Aqua with Italian fare, and Fire, which featured Indian flavors. Dinner at any of these were included in our board with an additional charge for lobster or Wagyu. Every meal was memorable!

We enjoyed a romantic (super-moon) moonlight dinner at the best table on the deck one evening and feasted on lobster and steak. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Dinner table on the deck by the water under a full moon.

One night we dined at the Chef’s Garden, which serves only seafood and fresh ingredients. Preparations are made in the little hut kitchen just next to the dinner tables scattered around the garden and Orchid House. I need one of these grilling contraptions:

Fresh seafood at Reethi Rah Chef's Table restaurant including lobster, shrimp, tuna

Ah, and the orchids!!!

Orchids

Rather than taking home a souvenir, we decided to leave one in supporting the Reef Project with a coral reef frame. Yes, we rick rolled our wedding guests during the ceremony and left a version on the Reethi Rah House Reef.

See the blue-ish spiky coral to the left of the fish near center of the photo? That’s what’s growing on ours. It’s Acropora humilis, for all of you marine biologists…

Coral reef and fish off the Reethi Beach

We got to attach pieces of live coral to our frame with zip ties before selecting a location in the reef to be its new home.

Attaching coral fragments to a frame to be placed among the Reethi Rah House Coral Reef

Here is Zoe placing our reef frame just off of Reethi Rah Club One, where we spent our first day snorkeling. She checks on the frames periodically and uploads new photos to this website where we can check on progress. We already have fish hanging out in our frame! Our frame is RR125 – check it out!

Marine Biologist Zoe placing our coral reef frame in the ocean

It’s really interesting to learn about the Maldives and tourist economy. The Reethi Rah resort island is actually half man-made. It opened after the 2004 Tsunami that devastated large portions of Maldivian reefs. As the island is half-constructed, the original house reef was also smaller than the island you see today. The reef propagation will help grow the house reef and attract new marine life contributing to a healthier environment around the resort.

I caught a fish! A little grouper that was damn tasty. It would have been better with bun and rice paper rolls…but what can you do!

Holding the grouper fish I caught while hand line fishing

They even gave us a red snapper that another guest caught and didn’t want to eat – how crazy were they?

Grilled Grouper and Red Snapper fish

Sunsets at Fanditha were not to be missed! Their  Magical Hour (buy one get one) drink special is not to be missed! As it so happens, the restaurant was just next door to our villa. And by next door, I mean a 2 minute walk.

Sunset over the ocean at Fanditha restaurant

It truly was the most amazing vacation experience I have had yet. The service at Reethi Rah was top notch – even a bit over the top, if we’re being honest. Everything was exceptional quality and the resort makes every effort to make your stay enjoyable. That week is exactly what my husband and I needed after the wedding to unwind, connect, and make some memories.

Thank you, Reethi Rah!

Sunrise on the beach looking out to the water villas

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