Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

COMO Maalifushi


COMO's signature contemporary magic in the Maldives

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COMO Maalifushi


The southerly Thaa Atoll

Travel Information

Fly to Male International airport and then it's a short transfer

Top Tips

The COMO Shambhala spa is a treat but swimming with elusive whale sharks is an ethereal experience

5-Star X-Factors

Contemporary style and 5 star service with an Asian twist, in a spectacular setting

COMO comforts in the Maldives

It is becoming increasingly rare to be able to experience Earth’s perfection in its purest and most untainted form, but that is exactly what you find in the Maldives. Our latest trip to the Maldives ended at the serene setting of COMO Maalifushi in the southerly Thaa Atoll.

The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, embracing more than 1,000 coral islands. After ten days experiencing the riches of the Maldives at Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Six Senses Laamu, we arrived at COMO Maalifushi.

My first impression of this gorgeous island was how stylish, yet relaxed everything was. I had already become ridiculously accustomed to the turquoise clear waters, white sandy beaches, fish-filled lagoons and the remarkable settings the other resorts enjoy, but the signature COMO magic set a distinct mood from the moment we stepped onto their main jetty. Comfortable chic...staff in khaki and white with easy smiles and charm to match, awaited our arrival with scented, cold hand towels. A golf cart then took us on a short tour of the island before heading to our villa. We drove through the sand-packed pathways past lush coconut palms, sea hibiscus, beach gardenia and banyan trees, which create plenty of shade; while the tropically scented air was divine. Almost every plant, tree, shrub and flower in the Maldives is utilized in some way for construction, food and medicine and this 5-star resort uses many indigenous flowers in its Shambhala spa oils and to garnish its creative cuisine.

There are 65 island villas and overwater suites to choose from; the island villas benefit from either being positioned in the heart of the tropical gardens with space for children to run around and play, or on the beach. Water villas enjoy a romantic over-the-water experience with private terraces from which you can slip directly into the sea. Either way, the rooms are open plan, with french doors folding back to reveal private terraces, some with outdoor showers and lap pools, and blend contemporary, fashionable furniture and lighting with elegant wooden floors that ensure a cozy and inviting feel. I need to mention the beds because we slept incredibly well and the pillows were divine!


We stayed in a Water Villa facing the ever-glorious sunset. All water villas are linked by walkways carefully positioned to enjoy the shallow lagoon below. At night, they light up the ‘coral gardens’, as we liked to call them, that are centred in the walkways, so you can see fish duck and dive in the glistening evening waters - a real treat. There is a definite ‘wow’ factor when you look at how the architecture allows you to remain connected to the magic of where you are whilst respecting the life force below your feet. COMO keeps the environment natural and adds simple elegance, which is the best way to highlight the remarkable landscape. Each villa has a private terrace with a lap pool and a lounging sofa on a raised platform - a perfect spot to watch the sun set directly in front you, which I did from beginning to end, mesmerised by the explosion of colour and sense of peace it brought.


Although it usually never rains from November through April, the heavens did open on one of our days and frankly, it didn’t matter. I spent much of my time in the COMO Shambhala spa. Having visited their flagship retreat in Bali, I was already familiar with their healthy living philosophy of ‘Shambhala’, ‘sacred place of bliss’, and their ideology of balancing mind, body and spirit. What that translates into is a holistic approach to the treatments and activities they offer within the spa’s calm and setting.

Unlike other 5-star resorts, where the gym is a token addition, COMO Shabhala’s gym is high tech and has all of your work-out needs, along with a yoga and pilates studio. The treatment rooms are in water villas over the lagoon where I enjoyed one of the best deep tissue massages ever, as I listened to the ocean’s lapping ripples just below. I took an advanced yoga class with the spa’s resident instructor and learned loads of different breathing techniques from his wealth of knowledge. The changing rooms are relaxing and tranquil with steam rooms, water features and a hot tub to soak in, and I must add the COMO Shambhala scented oils, a mixture of lavender, eucalyptus, geranium and evening primrose to name a few, are so sublime I bought bottles to bring back for the reminder. COMO Shambhala Retreat at COMO Maalifushi allows you to have a full wellness experience with all of your senses being addressed; I could have stayed all day.


But...just as I was contemplating more time in the spa, the sun began to shine again and a sunset dolphin cruise suddenly became an alternative. It didn’t disappoint. The dolphins hunt for food all day in the open ocean and then, just before sunset, they swim back to the lagoons to sleep, usually playing all the way.

Our captain was a master at finding just the right spot to be able to watch hundreds of energetic and acrobatic spinner dolphins jump and leap, spinning through the air - they were everywhere! That and a glass of champagne to toast the moment, the boat trip ended another perfect day.

From December to April each year, as night falls, you can also take an evening expedition to swim with whale sharks, the largest fish on the planet. This is one of the most ethereal encounters you can imagine, although, sadly, not possible during my stay due to sea conditions. See our special offer for more details.


There are three restaurant options alongside 24-hour in-room dining, which I must add provided the most delicious fresh herb omelette for breakfast on our terrace. The Tai restaurant is Japanese, serving innovative sushi and sashimi, with a cocktail bar offering stunning sunset views. Thila Bar serves up freshly cooked pizzas, salads, fresh fish and family-friendly dining. There’s an open-air pool bar with a football table and laid back music, lending itself to a great spot for hanging out with a cocktail menu in hand. And then there’s Madi Restaurant in the centre of the island where the menu is light and flavourful with a range of local, Mediterranean, Indonesian and Thai-accented dishes served all day, complemented, of course, with a COMO Shambhala menu supplement for flavourful, healthy options. I joked that no matter what we ate, we felt healthy doing it which was a bonus considering the indulging going on.


The truth is with a Maldivian trip, you can spend your day simply snorkelling and swimming with the thousands of species of colourful reef fish and eat local, fresh fare and feel a million miles away in a sanctuary of peace, relaxation and natural splendor. There are no loud speed boats with water skiers whizzing by, or cars, traffic or any unwanted noise, aside from the odd seaplane.

This is a place to truly unwind. While other islands preach ‘no news, no shoes’, because it takes a lot to get here and the resort’s number 1 desire is for you to disconnect and relax, COMO Maalifushi honours all that it is naturally given and then combines it with 5-star service, an Asian twist, excellent cuisine and stylish contemporary accommodation that leaves you leaving wanting to book your return and pinch yourself that you were there.

Jennifer Hamm
Jennifer Hamm

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer