- Detailed Review
- Facts & Amenities
Almost perfectly circular and ringed by coral reefs, Vabbinfaru is a picturesque island oasis in the Maldivian archipelago. The Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru calls this little island home, blending its ethos of harmonious existence with nature with a heavy dose of island luxury.
Forty-eight villas with conical thatched roofs sit among the powdery white sand and namesake banyan trees. Natural materials like bamboo, tropical wood and woven grass meld with raw silks and luxuriously warm colour schemes. Four-poster beds are draped in ethereal mosquito netting, and tasteful modern furnishings extend from living areas to gorgeous bathrooms. French windows open to private outdoor spaces and all have private plunge pools and jet pools.
Do note that there is no main pool on the island, though – between the turquoise sea and private pools – a larger one is hardly missed. Beachfront Pool Villas plunk you right on the sand, while Oceanview Villas are a touch further away. The most blissful option is a stay in one of the Spa Sanctuary Pool Villas which come with unlimited spa treatments.
Set in a bamboo pavilion with clever indoor-outdoor sensibilities, the Ilaafathi restaurant (where you’ll have most meals) is both casual and romantic; we love that your feet stay in the sand while you dine. Meals here appeal to the international palate (and will appease even the pickiest eater); while Maldivian specialities are plentiful for those who want the quintessential island experience. Expect traditional, local music in the evenings, and get ready to dance.
The gorgeous reef enveloping the island makes Vabbinfaru popular with scuba enthusiasts (there’s even a shipwreck to explore), but non-divers aren’t left out. Take a PADI course or simply explore the shallower waters; a snorkelling trip will treat you to droves of marine life: sea turtles, stingrays and tropical fish – you might even see a few small sharks. All manner of water sports can be found above the waves, and while there is a small fitness centre, it seems a shame to exercise indoors while fresh air exercise options range from ping pong and beach volleyball to sunrise yoga.
If you’d like to help in the resort’s conservation efforts, you can volunteer your time doing anything from coral planting to stingray feeding. And do visit the spa at least once before you leave. Opt for an outdoor treatment room – we like the sunset jetty, perfect for a couple’s massage in paradise.
How to get here
20 minutes by speedboat from Male International Airport