ozen reserve bolifushi - origine cabanas

All you need to do is look at one photograph of the Maldives and you’ll instantly add it to your bucket list. Famed for its crystal clear waters, impressive marine life and sun-kissed sandy isles, the Maldives comprises almost 1,200 islands, with just 187 of them inhabited. 

Slotted in the Indian Ocean, the South Asian country shot to popularity when the first resort opened in 1972. Now with over 170 resorts, honeymooners and families have been flocking here to get a taste of the Maldivian lifestyle for themselves. 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it had always been a dream to one day visit, so when I was asked to visit the OZEN COLLECTION, let’s just say, I’ve never replied to an email quicker. 

The OZEN COLLECTION is made up of two beautiful paradise islands, each complete with its own quirks and luxury facilities, from five-star spa treatments to out-of-this-world dining destinations. 

Here’s everything you need to know about these islands and why they should be added to your lust list pronto… 


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Located just a speedy 35-minute boat ride from Malé International Airport, the moment you pull into OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI, you know you’re about to have a magical experience. Situated in the mesmerising lagoon in South Malé Atoll, the resort is made up of expansive white beaches, turquoise waters and a palm tree-lined entrance. 

Having just jumped off a 10-hour red eye, we were both feeling a little worse for wear but were immediately put at ease as soon as we stepped off the speedboat. Expect to be greeted with a traditional Maldivian welcome, complete with the sound of a Sangu horn, a necklace made from a coconut leaf and fresh coconut water or Champagne arrival. 

Every ounce of the experience here has been perfected, from the seamless hospitality and picturesque villas down to the dedicated butler service – a special shout out to Iboo who catered for all of our needs while we were here. 


Home to 90 stand-alone villas and reserves, each complete with its own private pool, we settled in for three nights in the Earth Pool Reserve Sunset three-bedroom retreat. 

Expansive, elegant and abrim with corners to hide away in, this reserve is the perfect location for a family vacation. Spread across two floors, the master bedroom opens up over the pool and the decking area, boasting cosy sofas, loungers and even an outdoor shower to cool off in. The reserve also boasts an additional upstairs double bedroom with a bathroom and balcony, a downstairs twin room with a bathroom, a spacious lounge area and a pool table and games room with a balcony overlooking the ocean. We often spent our mornings lazing by the loungers, hopping from the pool to the ocean and back again. 

Sunset facing, walk less than ten steps and you’re greeted with crystal clear waters and a sandy stretch of beach, complete with your own personal loungers perfect for catching the sundown, a glass of fizz in hand. As you can expect, the sunrise and sunsets here are beyond breathtaking and are well worth soaking up while in paradise. Sunrise is usually around 6am while sunset is around 6pm. 

For couples, there are perfect one-bedroom villas both sunrise and sunset-facing, complete with private pools and sprawling views over the ocean. 

Of course, if you’re picturing yourself in a villa on stilts like you’ve seen splattered across your Insta feed, there are plenty of Ocean Pool Suites available. Perfect for families and couples alike, many of the suites come complete with their own private slide ferrying straight into the ocean. 


From relaxed buffet breakfasts and multi-sensory dining experiences at VISTA DEL MAR to modern Levant cuisine at SANGU BEACH to fine dining at ORIGINE, here’s what you can expect…


For a laid-back affair, VISTA DEL MAR is the ultimate spot to visit, serving up flavours and dishes from around the world, with a subtle Spanish inspiration. Expect live demonstrations, sushi counters, buffet-style items and plenty of sweet treats and ice creams to cool you down. With dining set on the beach boasting lagoon views and a warm ocean breeze, it’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 


Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, SANGU BEACH specialises in modern Levant and Moroccan cuisine. The sandy-floored restaurant sits right on the beach and we enjoyed meze-style dishes featuring dips, zingy salads, freshly made pitas and flavour-packed mains. 


With the Maldives’ handy Indian Ocean location, we knew we were in good hands at TRADITIONAL SAFFRON serving up saffron-themed historical dishes served on a traditional thali. This was one of our favourite spots of the whole trip, with views out overlooking the Ocean suites and breezy open-air location. 


For a fine-dining experience to remember, ORIGINE is open for breakfast and dinner, with pre-booking required. Despite specialising in seafood and French cuisine, we had one of the best vegan five-course meals complete with a wine pairing to date. This is the type of restaurant we can envision a lot of proposals, anniversaries and celebrations happening. 


No holiday is complete without a pool-side bar and OZAR is now a firm favourite. Expect cabana seating, a pool table, a giant chess board and plenty of cosy couple lounging spots dotted around the pool, it’s easy to spend hours lazing the afternoon away. This is also a prime sunset spot too – I don’t think I’ll ever find anywhere that matches the Maldivian sunset views than here! 


If you’re looking for an intimate meal for two, you can opt to add on in-room dining features, from barbecues to special proposal picnics. We opted for a floating breakfast experience one morning which was definitely a novelty treat, complete with freshly baked pastries, bread, fresh fruits, coffee and juices – truly a delight for when you’ve got a hazy head from the night before, which we definitely had! 


With on-stilt treatment rooms with views over the ocean to jungle-esque areas to relax with freshly brewed tea after treatments, the ELE|NA Spa is as perfect as you could expect. 

You’ll be asked to fill out a simple questionnaire pre-treatment, where you can express any concerns or areas you’d like to focus on throughout your treatment, before choosing between an array of options. All of their signature treatments are based on a holistic method that incorporates the five natural elements. 

We opted for a Kayakalpa Massage in one of the four overwater rooms, where we had the option to choose different oils that we preferred for our skin type. Beginning with a foot scrub, we enjoyed a 60-minute treatment complete with head and hand massages. While you’re on your front, you can even look down at the ocean watching the fish swim past below you. That is if you aren’t blissfully on your way to falling asleep mid-way through. 

Depending on the length of your stay, a spa treatment can be included in your spa or there is the option to add on additional treatments throughout your stay – which when you’re in paradise, it’s hard not to take advantage of. 

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Every reserve and villa comes complete with your own bicycles to navigate around the island. Take it at your own pace, stopping by the prime photo-op ocean swinging chairs, hammocks and over-water bridges. Children’s bikes are also available for those with their brood in tow. 


If you’re into water sports, every guest can make use of the complimentary snorkelling equipment and complimentary non-motorised water sports, including windsurfing, catamaran, canoes and paddle boards. We’d recommend taking full advantage of these, especially the snorkelling equipment. Around the spa area is especially good to spot marine life and corals. 


There are plenty of excursions you can add onto your trip, including diving trips out and semi-submarine explorations that’ll see you uncovering the underwater world, sea caves and ancient shipwrecks too. 

If you aren’t so adventurous, every day at 5pm you can look forward to seeing sting rays, eels and sharks during ‘feeding time’ located on the arrival deck without having to get into the water with them. 


If you’re holidaying with little ones, the on-site kids club is perfect for keeping them entertained with daily activities, including supervised games, creative activities and outdoor playing. 

There’s even the Maldives’ first and only ice rink located at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI, a fun novelty experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the heat.


ozen life maadhoo - earth villa aerial

A palm-painted paradise, OZEN LIFE MAADHOO was the first OZEN resort and is located a swift 45-minute speedboat ride away from Malé International Airport. Located in South Malé Atoll, this little island paradise is a mere 900 metres long and 80 metres wide but boasts sensational white beaches, turquoise waters and lush green vegetation. It’s home to 94 villages and one exclusive residence. 

Every view from MAADHOO looks like it should be in a brochure, from the blissful spa complete with saltwater pools to the underwater restaurant. Again complete with butler service – shout out to Forty for making our stay extra special – and a traditional Maldivian Sangu and drinks welcome, this uber-luxe destination was our home for three nights and completely blew us away with its beauty and hospitality. 


Whether you fancy living out your Maldivian dreams on one of the Wind Villas, complete with wraparound pools and views overlooking the lagoon or you fancy an intimate couple’s villa for two, OZEN LIFE MAADHOO has a reserve for every occasion. 

We booked ourselves into the sunrise-facing Earth Villa, a spacious one-bedroom beachfront villa with high slanting ceilings, a tropical garden and an incredible outdoor bathroom experience. Lined with a castle-esque net around the bed, giant pillows and bedding so comfortable it was hard to get out, the master bed takes centre stage in these villas. Completely secluded and private, the outdoor shower and bath are a fun addition to this little couple’s retreat. 

While their sunset-facing Earth Villas come with pools, the sunrise villas have the morning sun that warms up the ocean so we didn’t feel like we missed out at all. We often found ourselves basking on our deck with a coffee in hand before scurrying off for a morning dip in the ocean and shell hunt, snorkels in tow. 

For a real blow-out experience, families and groups can book into the OZEN Residence, a giant three-bedroom suite at the tip of the pier, with all-round views across the island and ocean, 35m overwater pool, personal gym, maid’s room with separate access, a small kitchenette, outdoor dining pavilion with private bathrooms for every bedroom and even a quirky ‘beach’ set in front of the pool. Pure luxury at its finest.


From underwater dining to traditional Maldivian fare, every dining destination here is a must-visit… 


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The piste de resistance of the dining at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO is, of course, M6m, the speciality underwater restaurant. Located on the tip of the silted pier, the restaurant is situated six metres below sea level and will see you dining while marine life swims around you. It’s truly out of this world and you’ll likely spot a few sharks swimming around – we dined here for dinner but headed back the next morning to see the restaurant and underwater during the day and it didn’t disappoint. 


Opening for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Palms is the buffet-style restaurant on the resort, serving up a wide selection of international cuisine with live stations, sushi counters and a la carte menu during the evening. Come dinner time, you can easily spend the evening here dining and listening to live music performances.


THE TRADITIONS is a restaurant that’s split into two. First up, Peking was probably our favourite experience of the whole trip and saw us venturing to the origins of Chinese specialities, from hot and sour soup to mapo tofu. 


The other half of the restaurant is Indo-Ceylon, which goes back to its South Asian culinary roots, serving up Sri Lankan and Indian cuisine. 


For a traditional experience, LONU serves up age-old Maldivian recipes reimagined as small plates. Light, fresh and authentic, we felt like we were dining like true locals of the island. 


Open from 9am to 1am daily, JOIE DE VIVRE is the resort’s beautiful pool bar. It boasts plenty of beach loungers, cosy tables and sunbeds where you can enjoy cocktails, wines and light snacks. Meanwhile, upstairs there’s a gin bar that’s open at nighttime. 

Hadhu Bay Beach Club, located by the water sports area, serves up cocktails and light bites too. 


ozen life treatment rooms

Home to overwater treatment rooms, a gymnasium, a salt pool, steam sauna facilities and a boutique, the ELE|NA Spa is slightly bigger with more facilities. Before our treatment, we decided to take full advantage of these facilities, soaking up the views over the lagoon from the salt pool. 

Following the same holistic principles as OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI, we settled in for a rejuvenating jet lag facial to prepare us for our long flight ahead the following afternoon. Beginning with yet another nourishing foot massage and cleanse, we were able to choose the oils and let our specialists know of any preferences we may have had. It finished with a light head massage with coconut oil and was so good my partner ended up falling asleep!



Similar to BOLIFUSHI, here you can look forward to complimentary snorkelling equipment and complimentary access to use the non-motorised water sports across the lagoon. 

Eager water adventurers can book in for various excursions from underwater semi-submarine trips to daily snorkelling tours that’ll see you swimming amongst whale sharks. You can even start your diving journey here too, exploring shipwrecks, marine life and corals.


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Take to your own personal bike and ferry yourself around at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO. Each guest at the Earth Villas has their own villa bike, while those in the Wind Villas can pick up a bike at the bottom of the on-stilt area. 


There are a few extra activities that take place across MAADHOO, including sunset white parties, beach-side cinema experiences and DJ sets in the pool-side bar. 


Bring your best tennis whites and book yourself in for a round of tennis at the resort’s new artificial grass tennis courts. Boasting lagoon views and swaying palms, this might just be the prettiest location for a game of tennis. 


From adorable mini loungers and shallow natural salt pools to a miniature football pitch, OZEN LIFE MAADHOO’s kid’s club boasts an array of activities to keep the kids entertained during their stay. There are options for all ages to get involved in with babysitting services available. 


Island hopping around the Maldives is actually relatively easy. While there’s only one major airport in the country – Malé International – many of the resorts can be easily hopped to and from via seaplane or speedboat – making this the ultimate luxury travelling utopia. For the OZEN COLLECTION, it’s easy to combine a trip to both resorts, with each accessible to visit via speedboat. 

Where we stayed: Ozen Reserve Bolifushi

Getting to the island: Guests are met by the Bolifushi team at Malé International Airport and escorted to the OZEN COLLECTION Lounge before a 35-minute speedboat ride to Bolifushi Island. Transfers are available 24 hours a day. 

Telephone: general inquiries +960 665 8423 | reservations +960 665 8423

Email: [email protected] 

Website: www.theozencollection.com

Where we stayed: Ozen Life Maadhoo 

Getting to the Island: Just 35 km from Malé International Airport, guests are met by the OZEN COLLECTION team and escorted to the lounge before a 45-minute speedboat ride to Maadhoo Island. Transfers are available 24 hours a day. 

Telephone: General inquiries +960 400 2222 | reservations +960 939 5353

Email: [email protected] 

Website: www.theozencollection.com

Learn more about the OZEN COLLECTION at theozencollection.com

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