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LUXURY RESORTS: The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, Maldives
Style:  Traditional Maldivian
Scene:  Relaxed luxury with an adventurous edge
Seen in the lobby: Diving equipment, cooking classes, excursions and cocktails
 
As we stepped off the seaplane onto the dock of the resort, we were greeted by a welcoming committee. Hostess Dorothy warmly remarked that after our long-haul flight, 'You must be very tired, but you are in Paradise now'.  A cliché? Maybe, but looking along the boardwalk leading over the crystal clear water towards the resort, it was evident that we really were.
 
Of course it is stunning - the water is as blue as azure, the sand is as fine as talc, the sunsets are colourfully bright, the fantastic weather, beautiful vegetation, amazing views - but what else did you expect? This is the Maldives after all.
 
The location is undeniably stunning and the recently refurbished and rebranded The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi takes the experience to a different level with lots to offer luxury travellers. This resort is the flagship property for the Sun Siyam Resorts group. 

the sun siyam iru fushi
the sun siyam iru fushi
aqua retreat at sun siyam iru fushi
wine cellar at sun siyam iru fushi
dhoni boat
trio at the sun siyam iru fushi
waters edge at the sun siyam iru fushi

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, located in the Noonu Atoll in the Maldives, features 221 luxury ocean-front villas, including 70 over-water bungalows, eleven bar and restaurant choices, a twenty-room tropical spa. Yet, despite being one of the larger Maldives resorts, it is surprisingly intimate and the beach, spa and restaurants never felt overcrowded.

I was staying in one of the resort's beautiful Ocean villas. The design of the villa ensured that I was in a cocoon of privacy even while sitting on my balcony. The only time I realised that I actually had neighbours was when I ventured down into the ocean. After renting snorkelling gear from the dive centre I was able to explore the clear water under my villa and see the vibrant and exotic fish swimming close to me. (While at dinner, I did overhear from one of my fellow guests that they had even spotted a turtle while snorkelling off the edge of their villa).

My villa also featured a small section of glass floor near my bed - the underwater lights meant that I was able to spot the underwater world co-existing beneath me.

Throughout my stay I found myself amazed at the beauty of the resort and the island. My iPhone is now filled with images of amazing sunsets, beautiful flora and white sandy beaches - I found myself, as did fellow guests, constantly deleting data and apps in order to make space for even more beautiful images.

Dining options at the resort are varied, and delicious. In total there are eleven food and beverage options including the 'Iru Buffet Restaurant' featuring live cooking stations for breakfast and dinner, an over-water restaurant serving Asian-fusion cuisine and a beachfront restaurant serving steak and fresh seafood.

For pre or post-dinner cocktails and drinks The Luxury Travel Bible readers should head to 'The Wine Cellar'. The selection of vintage wines is almost as impressive as the stunning views of the island.
 
'heartfelt service with a wider dedicated focus of the surrounding community'.

Both the beautiful adult-only infinity pool and the family-friendly pool feature a bar, serving creative drinks and snacks throughout the day. While reclining and sipping an Apple Long Island Ice Tea at the Reflections Adult Pool, TLTB realised that life was pretty good.

After all that relaxing and indulging, it's important to take some time out for a little more pampering. The resort's beautiful spa features a menu that includes beauty and relaxing treatments and traditional Maldivian treatments that donate part of the proceeds to charities that support island community initiatives.

While the resort is appealing to couples, it is also a great choice for families - perhaps one of the most family-friendly in the Maldives.

As well as a dedicated family pool, little luxies can head to the kids club for fun activities such as sand painting, gecko hunting, mask making.

Should you ever tire of the sandy beaches of the resort (doubtful, but should it happen), there is plenty to keep guests entertained. In keeping with the philosophy behind the brand, the Sun Siyam group aims to provide 'heartfelt service with a wider dedicated focus of the surrounding community'.

The resort wants guests to not only experience the luxury on offer but to also to have more of an understanding and appreciation of local culture. Therefore excursions can be organised to local communities and atolls. One afternoon TLTB took part in a highly entertaining Maldivian cooking class that gave us a greater insight into the local cuisine and revealed some of the secrets behind the dishes being served each night at the restaurants. 

On our final evening TLTB boarded the slightly optimistically named 'Sunset Lucky Dolphin' cruise on a traditional dhoni boat. My fellow passengers and my initial enthusiasm for spotting wildlife was quickly forgotten as we sat sipping champagne and watching the beautiful scenery go by.

Sadly all good things must come to an end, so as you walk back down the boardwalk toward the seaplane that will take you back to reality, be prepared for a serious case of post-Iru Fushi blues.
 
Check in: Noonu Atoll - Republic of Maldives
Ultimate Luxury:  Book into the Celebrity Retreat for the ultimate luxury Maldives experience. The oceanfront two-storey Celebrity Retreat's three bedrooms cater for parties of up to ten in full privacy due to its hidden location amidst lush foliage.
Most Indulgent Moment: Pre-dinner drinks at the overwater 'Bubble Lounge' - the resort's dedicated champagne lounge. Picking your vintage from the iPad menu is pretty cool too.
The Little Things: To get your holiday off to the right start, the dedicated Sun Siyam Iru Fushi lounge for guests at the Sea Plane airport, while you wait to be flown to the resort. The complimentary massage was extremely welcomed after the long-haul flight.
Junior Luxies: Welcomed with open arms, they will have as good a time as the adults (perhaps more so). The resort currently offers a Family Offer "Children Stay, Play and Eat for Free'. Complimentary accommodation is offered to a maximum of two children aged under 12, when sharing the adult room.
Dress code: Relaxed resort chic, comfortable for during the day, stylish for cocktails and dinner at night.
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Resorts Link: www.thesunsiyam.com/irufushi
Sarah Bryans 24/3/14
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