Nothing stirs the heart more than the waves of the sea that not just inspires the imagination but also brings eternal joy to the soul. Ever since I set foot in The Republic of Maldives, I’ve left a part of my heart and soul somewhere on those stunning shores. The archipelago of the Maldives, with about 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, each more gorgeous than the other, is always a treat to the senses. Out of these, 220 islands are inhabited by the local population, while 100 islands are developed for tourism. Visiting atleast one of them must be on your itinerary, if you have even a teeny weeny bit of wanderlust and a taste for a few good things that life has to offer.
We arrived at the Velena International Airport, located on the island of Hulhulé, in the capital Malé. Maldives offers free visa for 90 days to all the travelers which is free on arrival. After our passport was stamped, we were escorted to the speedboat jetty for a 15-minute speedboat ride to the enchanting Lobigili island. With some chilled water, refreshing face towels and a boat hostess we arrive at OBLU SELECT Lobigili, even before we start to admire the deep blue water splashing in the ocean with the speed of the jetty. The Island Hostess, the Island Chief and a live saxophonist were waiting to welcome us at this dazzling adults-exclusive resort with open arms. After all Maldives is Lobigili – the island of love and the saxophone welcome rings in just that kind of an epiphany. In the Maldivian dialect of Dhivehi, ‘Lobi’ means love and ‘Gili’ means island. As we step into the Swing Bar which is where the reception area is, a champagne bottle is popped up and a bubbly is served, followed by a quick check-in directly at our private ocean villa. It’s almost like landing from the earth straight into heaven at the blink of an eye.
COLOURS OF OBLU is a dynamic collection of Indian Ocean Hotels and Resorts. You can expect nothing less than sheer magical beauty and large hearted hospitality at OBLU SELECT Lobigili by Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts. Everywhere your eyes turn even at the remotest corners you will be surprised with only exotic, pristine beaches that spell pure luxury and serenity. Besides letting yourself loose in some blissful and relaxed island living, you can also expect some diverse and bountiful experiences for every day of your stay here.
Idyllic tropical vistas are complemented by lush vegetation and nature-inspired designs. Surrounding the island are incandescent blue waters with coral reefs and vibrant marine life. This charming island also offers a unique heart-shaped, mini-island – perfect for intimate wedding ceremonies and private destination dining experiences. Immerse in a perfectly secluded and spectacular tropical adventure with plenty of relaxed and indulgent ‘us time’ at the romantic getaway amidst brilliant Maldivian vistas.
Our water villa opened up to the ocean in front. The first thing that struck me after the breathtaking view of the ocean was the gown with Love written all over it in different languages. It took me no time to shed off my airport look and slide on the gown. And lo and behold I surrendered to the magical love that this island beckons. There’s absolute privacy in the pleasant tropical designed contemporary villas that are crafted for an adults-exclusive escape.
Here are the kinds of villas you will find at OBLU SELECT Lobigili
SunNest Beach Pool Villa – These beach villas, located on the sunset side of the island, are surrounded by lush tropical gardens and palm trees and opening onto the pristine beach. We loved the vibrant tropical design and plush furnishing with a king bed, seductive open-air Maldivian style bath amenities with a charming bathtub, rain shower, and an open-air shower to bathe under a starlit sky. Outdoors, a private veranda with sun lungers and an ocean view pool are perfect for an intimate space to enjoy the sunlit Maldivian days.
Nest Water Villa – Perched over a brilliant turquoise lagoon, the water villa echoes tropical bliss. Contemporary and vibrant interiors, luxurious king bed, plush furnishing, beautiful ocean-framing windows, a seductive bathroom with a deep-soak bathtub and private overwater hammock is what you can expect here. Outside, a cosy overwater sundeck with two sun loungers offers the perfect spot to relax and soak in the endless ocean views.
SunNest Water Villa – SunNest Water Villa offers all the amenities and comforts of the Nest Water Villa along with a private infinity pool in the overwater deck. These villas are located on the sunset side of the island, so you can enjoy the spectacular Maldivian sunsets in the comfort of your intimate ocean view deck. You can also enjoy a variety of activities during your stay, in addition to culinary delights.
OBLU SELECT Lobigili gives everyone access to unlimited beverages -soft drinks, water, tea, coffee, and a selection of wine, beer, cocktails, and spirits. The minibar in the villa is complimentary and is refilled daily and you also get complimentary airport transfer on arrival and departure. Indian Ocean excursions, a selection of non-motorised water sports, and use of snorkelling equipment are included as well.
A Gastronomical Paradise for all Gourmet lovers
OBLU SELECT Lobigili offers a world of exquisite flavours with three restaurants (one underwater) and a standout bar with poolside seating, hammocks and swings.
Ylang Ylang – This All Day Dining Restaurant casts a romantic spell with tantalising world cuisine, a courtyard bar, interactive food counters, vibrant chic ambience and surreal ocean views. Choose from indoor and outdoor dining spaces and a library zone for a unique reading and dining experience. The tempting breakfast buffet spreads are lavish with made-to-order eggs, live counters serving waffles and pancakes, choicest selection of tropical fruits and juices, cold cuts, bread right out of the oven and Asian and Maldivian specialities too that we loved. After all, it’s best to try the local flavours as they will be authentic if you’re in that region.
Lunches and Dinners are fragrant culinary affairs where you can tuck into delicious artisanal pizzas, savour melt-in-your-mouth tandoors or order entrée dishes off a board menu. At night, the menu features heart-warming soups, risotto, plates of pasta. I also liked the options of refreshingly healthy salads and mouth-watering desserts from the cold room.
The Swing Bar – This is the heart of OBLU SELECT Lobigili with the Infinity Pool and the bar overlooking a fabulous turquoise lagoon. The eye-catching Swing Bar perfects the art of breezy, beachside relaxation during the day and the colourful riot of stylish swings and hammocks allow you to sink into bliss with a glass of chilled wine at sunset with the dazzling colours in the sky. The sprawling infinity pool, one of the largest in the Maldives, with a sunken bar and great music ensures that perfectly crafted drink is never far away. We sipped on our summer slushes, energising frappes, fragrant ice teas, and handcrafted, aromatised cocktails and also nibbled on some Hedhika, local for crisp fried Maldivian snacks in the evening. Starlit nights come alive with aromatic sundowners, an exhilarating party vibe with a hypnotic DJ and Live Band performances that spark passion!
GAADIYA 17 – This one’s a creative spin on traditional food truck meals. Dinners here are an informal, vibrant and indulgent affair with aromatic grills of certified, farm-raised game meat. A board menu of grab-and-go grills and Mexican favourites add to the fun element, while open-air dining on the beach with starry skies, soft music and warm ocean breeze add to the feel-good vibes. Distinct flavours are perfectly complemented by handpicked white and red wines.
Only BLU – The largest underwater restaurant in the Maldives takes you on a sophisticated gastronomic journey. ONLY BLU curates three-course Prix Fixe menus with the option of Meat, Seafood or Vegetarian menus. As you descend into this charming horseshoe-shaped restaurant, an open kitchen showcases the chefs’ artistry in an inviting display. All the window tables in the restaurant offer a front-row seat to the brilliant coral reef of Lobigili island. A welcome glass of sparkling wine is served on arrival, followed by a selection of the finest hot and cold appetizers served on a three-tier stackable platter. You can expect impeccable modern gourmet fare, decadent desserts and curated red and white wines, beer and beverages.
ELE | NA The Spa – ELENA The Spa offers an indulgent and intimate spa experience designed exclusively for couples and adults. The tranquil spa complex is where you can get completely pampered. Walk into an open air beach facing space that opens out into four secluded double treatment rooms with a couple’s bath enclosed in a lush tropical garden. The highlight is a soak in one of the private outdoor bathtubs overlooking the soothing turquoise horizon. Spend a relaxed afternoon here enjoying some of their special couple’s massages – designed exclusively for OBLU SELECT Lobigili resort.
Some of the signature treatments include – Lobi Dhooni (Love Bird), Hithun Hithath (Heart To Heart), Dhekanbalun (You & Me) and a choice of coconut shell massage or Maldivian sand massage, coconut body scrub, nourishing scalp treatment, face mask, and bath ritual. You can also try the Couples therapy that uses organically treated bamboo stalks to massage the body followed by a relaxing facial and bath ritual.
For the fitness freaks there’s a fully equipped, overwater gymnasium with group activities like beach yoga, strength training, floating meditation and pilates conducted throughout the week.
If you love the marine world, then try the Diving Experience at the PADI and SSI certified Dive Centre at Lobigili, with its multilingual team that will guide you through the wonderful underwater world of the Maldives. If you’re not into Scuba diving you must try some Snorkelling or Watersports. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, Lobigili island offers a rich house reef just a short swim from the eastern shore and some of the best dive and snorkelling sites in the North Malé Atoll just a short boat trip away. Water lovers can also enjoy an array of both motorised and non-motorised water sports at the PADI & SSI Certified Dive School & Watersports Centre.
Excursions & Cruises – You can also enjoy complimentary Sunset Fishing and Guided Snorkelling Trip. We were lucky to spot a large pod of playful dolphins flaunting their high-speed antics, almost as if they were putting up a show for us on our Sunset cruise. It was double whammy when we caught a fish on our Fishing cruise. You can also take a private full moon cruise.
Some of the additional facilities that you can ask for include a Private Movie Night on the white, sandy beach under a starlit sky, Personalised Fragrance throughout your stay after a consultation, a Romantic Photoshoot and a Private Beach Bonfire.
While OBLU SELECT Lobigili resort is the perfect choice for every couple in love or for anyone who wants to rekindle romance, what also stands apart at this island is its warm, welcoming and friendly staff, always smiling and ready to offer any kind of assistance. From the entire staff up to the amicable General Manager, every single person deserves a special mention and accolades for their exceptional hospitality.
How to reach: There are direct flights from Bangalore to Malé. Guests are picked up from the Male or the Velena International Airport and transported on a speed boat to OBLU SELECT Lobigili, the island of love.