One&Only Reethi Rah

Review of One&Only Reethi Rah review by Varun Sharma

The One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives has graced just about every awards list since it opened back in 2005 and still remains at the top of the tree as simply one of the most romantic places on earth. Located on its own 44 hectare (109-acre) private island in North Malé Atoll, the One&Only Reethi Rah offers 122 luxurious villas discreetly positioned along the sweeping bays of the island. It is serviced by eight restaurants, lounges and bars to appeal to every palate and a whole host of other facilities for recreational enjoyment. 

There are 12 pristine beaches of soft white coral sand, three swimming pools, each with its own tropical setting and striking features and a wide range of water activities including setting sail on a local dhoni or a speedboat from a fleet of six luxury yachts and boats or learning to dive from the resort’s PADI Instructors. Other outdoor facilities include two jetties, two floodlit tennis courts, a climbing wall and a FIFA-approved professional synthetic grass football field. The award-winning Spa offers 13 treatment rooms, a WatSu pool, a Chi Pavilion for yoga and meditation and a Spa Courtyard with steam, saunas and vitality pool. There is also a state-of-the-art fitness centre with outdoor Queenax training area, a nail studio and a hairdresser, barber and a NEO Boutique. Children are welcomed with an array of innovative complimentary activities from the KidsOnly programme.

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Surrounded by the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, One&Only Reethi Rah has made its home on one of the largest islands in North Malé Atoll, formerly known as King’s Island. 

Part of a garland of islands stretching north to south across the equator with just one sixth of the country’s 1,190 islands inhabited, this glittering archipelago has remained much unchanged since ancient mariners first sailed these waters. 

Situated around 700 kilometres (430 miles) southwest of Sri Lanka, the resort is a 45-minute luxury yacht or private speedboat transfer away from Velana International Airport at Malé or 15 minutes via private seaplane for the ultimate in smart arrivals.



The 122 spacious thatch-roofed villas are carefully positioned in lush greenery along the inlets of the island to ensure both privacy and uninterrupted panoramic views of the ocean. Among the largest villa accommodation in the Maldives, each is attended by a personal Concierge and a dedicated Villa Valet. There are 90 Beach Villas and 32 Water Villas set above the clear, protected waters of the lagoon, each enjoying large verandahs with spacious decking, seating areas, sun beds and a hammock slung up between two palm trees. 

The Beach Villas occupy their own stretch of sandy shore with direct access to the beach with the interiors designed by the renowned John-Michel Gathy. The bed, the seating area, the sunken terrazzo bathtubs for two are all prominently positioned to look out over the beach to an endless azure blue sea. All rooms come with dressing areas, air conditioning, flat screen televisions, minibars with kettles, espresso makers and medium sized bottles of alcohol and free bottled water replenished daily.

Gathy’s design is contemporary, intertwining traditional Maldivian elements and tropical woods with subtle Balinese touches. There are vaulted wooden ceilings, polished marble floors, textured rugs, high wooden ceilings and trim, wooden shutters, mid-century modern furniture and crisp white linens. For island exploration, there are custom One&Only bicycles waiting at the villa for each guest.

For those who prefer a pool, the Beach Villa with Pool enjoys a similar design aesthetic but with a sleek 23 square metre infinity pool and cabana beds for two. The Grand Beach Villa with Pool retreat offers two guestrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a 50-square metre swimming pool, a terrace with canopied day beds, a private garden and direct access to white sands and the turquoise sea. With ample room for everyone, this is perfect for families.

The Grand Sunset Residences are the largest villas on the island with the longest stretch of private beachfront. Private roads lead up to these residences which are closed off by an electronic gate for even greater privacy – perfect for larger gatherings. Past guests have included Tom Cruise, The Beckhams and Gordon Ramsay.

With three bedrooms, each residence sleeps up to seven guests and are exceptionally spacious with a private 50 square metre swimming pool. There is a unique outdoor living and dining area where guests may enjoy meals prepared by a dedicated chef and a private outdoor cinema with LCD projector and fire pit. Two four-seater golf carts are provided for getting around the island.

For many however, no Maldivian escape is complete without an over water villa. High stilted walkways lead to a cluster of immersive villas again sharing a similar design style but with an over-water split level deck with sun loungers and a direct staircase into the ocean. Some prefer to relax on the netted hammocks suspended over the water. One category up, and villas include a stunning infinity pool stretching from the deck to the water’s edge. The ultimate over-water accommodation is the Grand Water Villa with Pool, located on the island’s west side.

Service & Facilities


The One&Only Spa is a sea-facing sanctuary for the mind, body and soul, focusing on revitalising face and body treatments inspired by Asian beauty traditions. A serene space, located in a secluded garden setting, The Spa’s facilities include a therapeutic vitality pool, crystal steam rooms and saunas that are available for private hire. Using ESPA’s all-natural products to relax and refine, The Spa offers treatments ranging from soothing and restorative massages to detox, contour and specialist pregnancy programmes. For the ultimate indulgence, retreat to the couple’s suite, a one-of-a-kind over-water treatment room. With a traditional thatched roof, private ocean-front bath and heat-therapy room, it is a tranquil space to experience a customised treatment from the Only Couples Collection menu.

On the wellness side, guests may take advantage of the on-demand Barrecore workout in the privacy of a villa, can realign in the Watsu pool - the first of its kind in The Maldives - or can take a guided meditation or yoga session in the over-water Yoga Pavilion. To stretch out those muscles at the end of a day, head to the sea-facing fitness centre with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, a Queenax outdoor functional area, a fitness juice bar along with the resort’s unique Raw Fitness beach offering.  One on one training sessions are designed to help guests achieve their fitness potential with disciplines including Power Plate, kinesis programmes, cycling, boxing and kick boxing.

For top to toe treatments, head to the Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio by Bastien Gonzalez or to the One&Only Hair Salon and Barber&Blade salon.

This expansive island boasts 12 pristine serviced beaches of silky white sand with loungers, parasols and cabanas. For those who prefer a swimming pool, there are three available. There is a shaded family-friendly infinity pool which includes miniature hammock-strewn atolls with gentle curves creating natural inlets for playing and splashing. For adults only, there is the iconic Lap Pool – a stunning 30-metre swimming pool that stretches out into the lagoon creating the illusion of floating on the ocean. It also features a built-in Jacuzzi and a carved stone lounge bed. Alternatively, head for the beautiful lagoon-style main pool, surrounded by palm trees for that extra bit of shade.

When it is time to play, guests can choose to snorkel or dive through a string of reefs, marvelling at the diversity of Maldivian marine life or can experience a wide range of water sports from canoeing to pedal boats, windsurfing to jet skis, water ski and flyboard from the resort’s Splash Water Sports Centre. Go stand-up paddle boarding and snorkelling, charter a yacht for a grand fishing adventure for tuna or sailfish or take a personalised cruise on a traditional dhoni boat around the islands. The resort will even organise a private seaplane to take in an aerial view of the surroundings and maybe spot dolphins, sharks and hawksbill turtles at play.

Other outdoor facilities at Club One include two floodlit championship grade tennis courts, a rock-climbing wall and a FIFA-certified professional synthetic grass football pitch. For creative types, there is even an artist’s studio for art or pottery classes conducted by the resort’s resident artists. If you have the urge to shop, there is the NEO Boutiques for a unique shopping experience.

For families, the activities are split into age groups. KidsOnly offers creative play and outdoor activities for children aged from four to nine while OneTribe offers sailing lessons, arts and crafts, mini discos and more for nine- to eleven-year-olds with a chillout zone of Playstations and cinema nights. For Teens, those aged twelve and over, there are scheduled activities including sushi cookery lessons, chocolate making, pottery classes and banana boat rides.



One&Only Reethi Rah is most people’s idea of the ultimate luxury beachfront holiday, cast away from the worries and stresses of everyday life. From the beautifully designed villas carefully positioned to capture postcard-like views from every angle to that infinity view of the turquoise blue ocean to the shaded gardens and palm trees.

The dedicated staff will cater to every whim before you can even dream it up, The Spa will pamper and renew and with revigorated energy levels, there is just about every activity you can think of available including swimming with sharks, playing with dolphins, snorkelling down to the coral or cruising around the oceans. The resort will even invite you to become an eco-warrior to help the resort team protect the delicate ecosystem in the Maldives.

This is barefoot freedom at its most luxurious and most decadent.

Restaurants & Bars


The eight restaurants, lounges and bars will surely have something for everyone’s palate and preference, however discerning.

Tapasake offers a Japanese-Peruvian fusion menu in stunning over water pavilions with a central oversized granite and stainless-steel sushi counter for sushi and sashimi. Classic teppanyaki dishes are fired up by the chefs with superior cuts of meat.

Botanica by Brent Savage is an atmospheric outdoor restaurant with outdoor cooking with garden-grown fresh ingredients. The menu is curated by Chef Brent Savage known for his original vegetarian and contemporary cuisine, sourcing much of its ingredients from the chef’s garden and the surrounding ocean.

Reethi, another over-water restaurant, offers a wide range of breakfast dishes by day and at night, transforms into three different food spaces – Earth for fine French dining, Fire offering the full spectrum of Asian flavours with vibrant Maldivian, Sri Lankan, Chinese and Thai specialities and Aqua – for seafood lovers delivering authentic Italian flavours.

The Beach Club at Club One is a very casual, chic environment with private cabanas, double sized sun beds and oval rattan swings. The menu is Latin American with local seafood, salads, burgers and woodfired meats with sweet cravings satisfied by a visit to Sweet Paradise.

Rabarbaro meanwhile offers rustic Italian fare - pizza, burgers, gelato and Italian snacks - by the pool for long, lazy lunches and relaxed drinks.

Hidden at the northern tip of the island, is Fanditha and the Fanditha Bar, offering an Arabian dining experience with Levant-inspired drinks and casual meals at this beachfront eatery. With tables, swinging seats, oversized cushions or canopied day beds, try an apple-flavoured shisha from the dedicated Shisha Master or a mezze feast.

By day, The Rah Bar is a relaxed sanctuary serving a light and healthy menu, transforming into a vibrant cocktail bar in the evening. After dark, enjoy dry martinis and mojitos, muddled by mixologists and dance into the night on the beach.

Of course, if too tired after a full day of sunbathing and swimming, there is always the private dining option of an in-room supper. For romantics, experience a luxury sandbank dinner out on the beach or walk up to the treehouse for a magical dinner in the treetops, high up in the tree’s canopy.


One&Only Reethi Rah recognises that the guest experience is in many ways dependent on its natural surroundings as well as the culture and the people of the Maldives. Of particular significance are the surrounding coral reefs of the Indian Ocean which are part of the eight largest coral reef system in the world as well as several endangered marine species that live there. To preserve the destination, One&Only Reethi Rah is committed to best practices in environmental and social sustainability. To help achieve these goals, the resort partnered up with EarthCheck in 2018, the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for sustainable travel and tourism.

The property has implemented an Environmental Management System that is in tandem with their operational activities, enabling them to meet the requirements of the EarthCheck company standards. The resort team strives towards minimising their environmental footprint by implementing sustainable initiatives and action plans to reduce the use of energy and water as well as effectively managing waste.

Where possible, One&Only Reethi Rah will also employ and empower suitable local applicants first and sustainable products and services will be sourced locally in accordance with Fair Trade principles.

The resort’s Maakaanaa Committee is responsible for improving the resort’s sustainable performance which is fully supported by all One&Only Reethi Rah colleagues, management and relevant stakeholders.

One&Only Reethi Rah is currently designated EarthCheck Silver Certified.

What We Love

  • Service - This is hugely important on a luxury island adventure – whichever ocean you are on. One&Only have got it perfectly right here – discreet but always faultless. The resort is one of the bigger true luxury properties – very much aimed at families but couples can find intimacy too. Couples will prefer villas on stilts on the ocean … whereas families would prefer beach villas with swimming pools.

  • Beaches - The island boasts twelve beaches. You can often find yourself walking on a long soft stretch of fine white sand completely by yourself. Those “footprints in the sand” moments are magical…

  • Restaurants and bars - They are - without exception - excellent. There is an excellent choice of cuisines and indeed a delicious dish for every time of day. Despite being an island in the Indian Ocean, you will still get all the little treats - like your favourite branded condiment here. There is no scrimping at One&Only Reethi Rah! This is undoubtedly my favourite One&Only property.

    Varun Sharma

What They Love

  • Authenticity - Guests at One&Only Reethi Rah are able to immerse themselves into a paradisalisland dream that is enveloped in the humble charm, resplendent beauty and calming nature of the Maldives. Celebrating and embracing the incredible location that we are gifted with makes every experience at One&Only Reethi Rah a unique and inspiring one, and why so many of our guests continue to return year after year.  

  • Space & privacy - There are many physical luxuries to desire while on vacation, but space and privacy go beyond what one can buy. Here at One&Only Reethi Rah, we pride ourselves on providing guests with a feeling of complete seclusion and privacy as soon as they arrive.
  • Our people - Behind every guest experience, and every impeccable detail, lies a team of talented, passionate, and devoted individuals. One&Only Reethi Rah is a fully self-contained private island with an incredibly busy 24-hour operation, which is no easy task to run. I am immensely proud of the strong and synchronized team that are collectively at the helm of the operation, as without them, we quite simply couldn’t do what we do so well.
    Jan. B. Tibaldi
    General Manager
    One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives helps you find the best offers on any hotel by comparing the prices of all leading hotel suppliers in a single search.

About the author
Varun Sharma
With over 25 years of experience in luxury travel journalism, Varun is responsible for all the content you see on He works closely with all the hotel and airline brands that appear on the website. BBC-trained, Varun has appeared in print, on radio, television, and now online media - having worked for outlets including the BBC, Telegraph (UK), MSNBC, Travel Channel and Cond...
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