Hotels & Resorts

Review: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, and Its New Massive Overwater Reef Residence

One of the world’s deepest natural atolls now has one of the Maldives’ largest private villas on one of its most luxurious resorts.

Park Hyatt Maldives: Arrival Jetty Park

Arrival Jetty Park.

By Duncan Forgan

Oct 26, 2022

YOU MIGHT NOT CONNECT a sense of commonality with an 895-square-meter personal estate where space—and lots of it—is one of the defining features. But Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa’s show-stopping Overwater Reef Residence was conceptualized as a way of bringing people together in an era where the distance between loved ones has been both pointed and poignant.

“The pandemic has been such a terrible time in so many ways,” says Nikolaus Priesnitz, general manager of the resort, as he guides me around the myriad highlights of the new residence: a labor of love unveiled in August. “But one of the few positives has been how it has enhanced our appreciation of spending quality time with loved ones. There’s been a heightened awareness of nature and how vital it is to our collective well-being. 

Park Hyatt Maldives: Aerial View
Aerial View Park Hyatt Maldives Island

“Keeping those factors in mind, our new residence allows larger groups to connect in a unique residence that embodies harmony with nature.” 

Located just 55 kilometers north of the equator in Huvadhoo Atoll, one of the world’s largest and deepest natural atolls, the resort is famous for its unspoiled appeal. Elsewhere in the Maldives, controversial land dredging projects have been approved by the government to facilitate the development of luxury housing and new resorts. But down here in the far south of the nation (getting to Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa involves an hour-long domestic flight from Male followed by a 30-minute speedboat ride), Mother Nature is resplendent.

Park Hyatt Maldives: The Overwater Reef Residence Front View
The Overwater Reef Residence

Sandy paths weave between coconut palms and Indian almond trees to secluded beachside villas constructed from dark wood in the Maldivian style. An incredible 360-degrees house reef, that extends around the island for two kilometers, teems with healthy corals and marine critters such as blacktip reef sharks, surgeonfish, parrotfish, and turtles like Ben, a friendly hawksbill who is regularly seen grabbing onto rocks and feeding on sponges. 

Other resort highlights, meanwhile, include a 44-meter main pool flanked by the open-fronted Dining Room, airy bar, and main beach and The Vidhun Spa, which embraces Maldivan holistic wellness with treatments based on hoonu (cooling), fini (heating), and hiki (hydrating). For divers and watersports fans, the resort’s Blue Journeys PADI Five Star Dive Center looks after overwater and underwater expeditions.

Park Hyatt Maldives: The Vidhun Spa Ayurveda Treatment
The Vidhun Spa Ayurvedic treatment
Park Hyatt Maldives: Turtle around the resort
Turtle on the house reef

With these elements like these in place, it’s not like the resort needed much fixing. Nevertheless, there’s no denying the pulling power of a presidential-style residence that ranks among the grandest in the country, with features such as 85-inch TVs, a 16-meter-long freshwater infinity pool, a private state-of-the-art gym, and a personal chef and butler.

I’m in the Maldives with my partner sans our five-year-old son. Therefore, a one-bedroom beach pool villa, with its 180 heavenly square meters of minimalist luxury encompassing dark woods, cream terrazzo floors, pool and cabana, and direct access to the beach and the cyan-blue gin-clear waters of the Indian Ocean, is more than adequate for our needs. We achieve full appreciation of our very own private paradise over the course of three gloriously empty kid-free days of flitting between cabana, ocean and the floaties in our pool.

Park Hyatt Maldives: The Overwater Residence Twin-Bedroom
The Overwater Residence twin bedroom
Park Hyatt Maldives: The Overwater Reef Residence Dining Room
The Overwater Reef Residence dining room

Strolling around the plush interior of the new overwater reef residence, however, I get a sense of what an incredible refuge this would be for extended (or extensive) families or groups of friends. The in-villa gym provides traditional fitness kicks—albeit with a remarkable over-reef outlook unavailable at your average exercise room. But I nurture my daily step count by doing circuits of the residence’s three suites, the extensive outward-facing living/dining area with its panoramic view of the ocean, and the giant terrace that snakes 180 degrees around the residence.

The residence design was a collaboration between Thailand’s Quatre Architect and France-based Atelier Donatien Carratier. Inspired by the lagoon and the house reef, the color scheme is draped in aquamarine shades, while the structure blends modern and tropical touches. Other luxury trimmings include toiletries by Le Labo Bergamot 22, a humidor for cigars, surround sound speakers, and a fully stocked wine and champagne fridge. 

The scale of the undertaking is incredible. Indeed, multiple challenges including supply chain issues related to the pandemic and the unpredictable Maldivian weather meant that the residence took around two years to construct. Another factor in the villa’s extended gestation was the care taken to uphold the resort’s sustainability mission. As a result, no corals or marine life were destroyed, no heavy machinery was used, and materials including timbers, cement, and stone slabs were transported by hand.

Park Hyatt Maldives: Island Grill
Island Grill
Park Hyatt Maldives: The Pool
The pool

On our final night at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, resort chef Lokanathan gives us a display of his grilling skills on the terrace barbecue. Settled into the sunken lounge next to the infinity pool, we sample delicacies like Maldivian rock lobster and A5 Wagyu tenderloin. The waves rolling into the reef provides the soundtrack as Priesnitz toasts a farewell with glasses of Tattinger.  

Tomorrow, a long march back to a reality of school runs and urban overload in Bangkok awaits. For now, I’m happy to extend my suspension of disbelief in what may just be the ultimate fantasy residence for a little while longer.

hyatt.com; entry-level beach villas from US$675 per night; beach pool villas (the room type we stayed in) from US$900 per night; overwater reef residence from $12,825 per night.

All photos courtesy of Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.

Sponsored by Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto
private jet yacht; magellan jets

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