To derive feelings of reassurance and calm from the ocean might sound laughable to some considering its mercurial nature. Just a few short weeks ago, I considered myself one of them. And yet, it seems I’ve become a convert in my four-day stay at The Standard Maldives, a five-star resort perched atop the sandy white beaches of Huruvalhi Island.
The revelation arrives midway through my DIY Hammam session; a shining specimen of the resort’s distinctive charm. Unlike conventional Hammam treatments—surmised as an exfoliating massage and facial followed by a communal bath—I am spared the thorough rubdown and ministrations from a therapist. Instead, The Standard Maldives allows you to conduct the ritual yourself utilising an array of black soaps, clay masks, and body lotions. Thoroughly slathered in cream, I waddled over to the heated block in the centre of the room and sprawled myself over a fluffy towel. In the distance, I could make out the sound of waves crashing over the shore, and bicycles—the resort’s preferred mode of transportation—rattling down the boardwalk.
My body is devoid of the self-consciousness that plagues it on a day-to-day basis, exempt from the anxiety that comes with undergoing a stranger’s assessment and touch. And just like that, in this moment of empowerment, an association forms: a sense of comfort from the ebb and flow of the sea.
Naturally, there are many such instances of self-discovery during my time at The Standard Maldives. Boasting 115 overwater villas; a protected house reef to facilitate boating and diving activities; as well as six distinguished restaurants and cafés to choose from, there proves to be a multitude of venues to facilitate profound introspection.
Despite this, I found myself to be the most engaged at The Standard Spa, the host to a variety of wellness-related services in the vein of yoga classes, mud experiences, and vibrational skincare therapies.
A stretch in the sand
In my case, I kicked off my Maldives journey with a Hatha Yoga class set in a sunlit room with wall-to-wall windows showcasing the surrounding seascape. Over the course of sixty minutes, I proceeded to shift and contort my body into a variety of positions designed to release stress, tension, and congestion. My instructor was imperturbable and patient with regard to my inexperience, skilfully adapting exercises so they were better suited for my form and condition.
Yogis would be pleased to know that there are a multitude of lessons available that delve into various methods across multiple terrains, such as Ashtanga, aerial, and even aqua yoga. For those who prefer meditation, there are also options in the form of Pranayama breathing exercises, walking meditation, mantra meditation, and sound meditation.
It’s safe to say, however, that a single session of any of the above is enough to put you in a more relaxed state of mind. My muscles felt loose and languid, demonstrating a type of ease that has continued to evade me back at my desk-bound job in Singapore. Of course, it likely has to do my instructor’s thoroughness in ensuring I achieved a good stretch—or perhaps it is simply the prospect of a massage and facial soon to follow; the crown jewels of The Standard’s Spa.
Rejuvenate and recharge
Personalised treatments are to be expected at The Standard Spa. While its comprehensive menu might come off intimidating to skincare novices and/or the severely jet-lagged, you can rest easy knowing that you are in the hands of seasoned staff with a trained eye. All apprehension over selecting the right facial was abated after a consultation with my therapist, who astutely deduced that I had just landed in the Maldives a few hours ago. For my plane-parched skin, an intense jolt of hydration courtesy of the Rose Diamond Signature Facial; a 90-minute long procedure comprising hyaluronic acid, retinol, and safflower ceramides to moisturise and brighten.
The facial is also accompanied by a back massage and mask, which makes it a favourite amongst travellers looking to decompress after a long-haul flight. I emerged feeling—and appearing—significantly more refreshed than before, with all hints of inflammation as well as dryness having been dispersed under her nimble fingers.
The massages, too, are certainly not lacking in the bespoke department. Everything from body wraps to salt inhalation is on the table, all of which is crafted with intent and purpose. Think immune recovery, detox, and even insomnia, for those in desperate need to shake off the vestiges of jet-lag. After some deliberation, I opted for The Standard; a meld of bodywork techniques, hydrotherapy, and essential oils to help soothe and work out any knots of tension. 60-minute and 90-minute variants are available—in either case, the end result remains the same: heightened flexibility and a type of weightlessness that comes with having reduced muscle tension.
A feast to behold
Delectable health-conscious fare serves as the perfect finishing touch to a getaway dedicated to self-care and recovery. Creamy pots of yoghurt, juices, and freshly-made omelettes are a fixture at Kula, The Standard’s all-day dining room. There is also the chance to enjoy a floating breakfast comprising a platter of fresh fruit, bread, and coffee; an Instagram-worthy spectacle to be documented and enjoyed in the privacy of your own plunge pool. Should you be seeking more abundant fare, however, be sure to make a reservation at Guduguda, which features a lineup of celebratory Maldivian cuisine simmered in rich, original flavours.
A personal favourite of mine: the octopus fried rice, that comes with chunks of perfectly seared squid punctuated with hints of herb and spice—an apt and hearty conclusion to a day of relaxation and contemplation.
Find out more or book a stay at The Standard Maldives here.