Having been to dozens of other islands in the Maldives, it is rare that an island completely exceeds my expectations. Six Senses Laamu is a resort I have been interested in since its opening, but I never booked because of various concerning elements past travelers have reported in their reviews. I am glad i finally visited because many of those concerns were unwarranted. It is not perfect (no island is), but several elements of the resort are the best I've seen among all the other islands I've visited in the Maldives.
Accommodations: The villas are simply beautiful. Very rustic with a real Robinson Crusoe atmosphere throughout. They may not be the largest or most luxurious in the Maldives, but they are very spacious and well designed. If you've ever stayed at Soneva Fushi, the villas at Six Senses Laamu are very similar in appearance and feel. Natural materials abound, and the villas perfectly capture the essence of a desert island paradise- without compromising on luxury and comfort.
We stayed in a water villa, but the beach villas are pretty much the same as far as the interior is concerned. The deck of the water villa is incredibly private compared to other water villas in the Maldives and boasts many unique features. The sunken dining area with glass panel was a joy to use, as were the comfortable sunbeds perched right at the water's edge. The upper level consists of a small sitting and viewing area, but this largely went unused aside from the novelty factor.
Service: Staff were excellent as has been reported in many of the previous reviews. Six Senses Laamu utilizes a personal butler system called the GEM or Guest Experience Maker. Each villa gets one, and they are there to meet all requests and ensure a wonderful stay. The resort receives quite an ethnic mix of guests, and it is admirable to see the staff members adapting to treat each guest with the kind of service they prefer and expect. The reservations department also deserves praise for taking careful note of our requested villa numbers. Due to the rather unique layout of the resort, there are certain villas that are more ideal depending on your specific preferences. We are very happy that the resort made a real effort to allocate the villa that we would most enjoy. With so many guests requesting the same ones, it is not easy.
Dining: Six Senses Laamu has a very large overwater dining complex. It is quite unlike anything I have seen in the Maldives. Some people have complained about it being an eye sore in the natural environment as it is also one of the first things you see upon arriving at the resort. Despite that complaint, the complex follows the same rustic design found elsewhere in the resort. We ate mostly at Longitude and Leaf and found the quality of food to be excellent and comparable with other luxury resorts in the Maldives. The ice cream parlour was also a welcome retreat in the scorching Sun, especially since the treats were complimentary. Overall, the resort offers a varied mix of restaurants (you can find both à la carte and buffet dining) that is sure to please.
Setting: The resort is located in the Laamu Atoll (as its name suggests), which is one of the southernmost atolls. Six Senses is the only resort in this atoll, which means there is no traffic like seaplanes and speedboats passing by on a regular basis like in the Ari and Malé Atolls. It is the quietest resort I have ever visited along with Park Hyatt and Robinson Club in the even more southern Huvadhu Atoll.
The resort sits on an island that is quite large in size and fairy densely vegetated. Bicycles are provided to get around, but I didn't feel the island was large enough that they were a necessity. There are a handful of islands visible in the distance from the resort. Most of them are inhabited islands, but they were not visually intrusive at all (unlike the one adjacent to Soneva Fushi). A bigger issue is the erosion along the lagoon side of the beach. This has rendered many of the beach villas unsuitable for use and also required the construction of unsightly sandbag structures. This is an unfortunate consequence of nature but hopefully one that can be mitigated with time. I do hope the resort comes up with better alternatives than the eyesores that currently line that section of the island. We really missed having the ability to walk on a powder soft beach all the way around the island. But perhaps the most impressive thing about the setting of Six Senses Laamu is the stunning lagoon. The lagoon is one of the largest I've seen and certainly the most beautiful. The brilliant and intense turquoise of the lagoon is guaranteed to take your breath away, and it is perhaps the most amazing vista I've seen in the Maldives yet. It more than made up for the disappointment of the eroding beach and sandbags.
House Reef: I was extremely surprised by the house reef. Many of the reviews suggested that it was poor or unimpressive. This could not be further from the truth. I suspect this is due to the fact that the house reef is not marked on any map of the resort and that people are not actually exploring the proper areas. There is very little to see in the lagoon around the island, and the area around the Chill Bar is also unimpressive as far as corals and marine life. The proper house reef lies to the west of Jetty A and extends all the way to the resort's private Sandbank. Even after snorkeling the very best house reefs in the Maldives like Park Hyatt, Robinson Club, Mirihi, Angsana Ihuru, and W Retreat, I would probably rate Six Senses Laamu in the Top 3 house reefs in the Maldives. The only minor fault is that the house reef doesn't surround the entire island (it's more of a straight line) like all the other top house reefs I've snorkeled. But quality beats quantity any day in my book, and the house reef at Six Sense Laamu is absolutely pristine.
The coral growth is incredibly dense, healthy, and large along the drop-off. Just gorgeous to look at if you're into corals (mostly hard corals) as much as fish. That being said, the abundance and variety of marine life is also one of the best I've seen in the Maldives- possibly due to the resort's location at the edge of the atoll. Huge schools of fish are regularly sighted, along with the usual reef fish you find in the Maldives. Sea turtles were frequently spotted on the house reef, and there is also a nice mix of larger fish like sharks, rays, moray eels, Napoleon wrasse, etc.
Conclusion: Overall, Six Senses Laamu was one of our best experiences in the Maldives yet. Aside from the minor complaints listed above, we really loved everything else about the island. We are happy to have had the opportunity to visit the resort rather than putting it off again based on the expectation we would be disappointed with the house reef and natural setting of the island (both of which amazed us). It is definitely a resort I would visit again and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to those seeking a world-class house reef and barefoot luxury in a stunningly beautiful setting.
- Also Known As:
- Six Senses Laamu Hotel Olhuveli Island
- 6 Senses Laamu
- Six Senses Laamu Hotel
- Six Senses Laamu Laamu Atoll, Maldives
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dolphins spin all along the shores of Six Senses Laamu, located in the pristine Laamu Atoll. From Male’ Airport, it is just a forty minute flight along the beautiful Maldivian coastline followed by a short speed boat trip. Offering 97 villas, both overwater and on the beach, and an abundance of dining options, water sports, spa and other great activities. Service is second to none with your butler overseeing every need from arrival to departure. ... more less
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