By Thomas Shambler
The St. Regis Vommuli in the Maldives provides plenty of rest and rejuvenation for those looking to make the most out of a short time away from the office
There are times when a few days out the office become less of a treat, and more a necessity.
High-flying jobs come with plenty of responsibility and stress, but there are limits to what even the most talented executive can manage before burn-out sets in. Fortunately, the region is set right in the middle between Europe and Asia, making the Maldives the ideal weekend getaway.
Only a four-hour flight away, it lets travellers make the most of their time at their final destination. It's also home to some of the world's finest luxury resorts, and the newly-opened St. Regis Vommuli resort is currently one of its most talked-about.
No trip to the Maldives is complete without the addition of a seaplane, and the St. Regis is a swift 40-minutes flights away from the country's capital Male, so guests transfer from the airport to a smaller sea-port.
From the plane, the hotel on water appears as a giant, golden lobster rising out of the Indian Ocean, set alongside a massive beached whale shark - its gaping mouth turned toward the sky as if it were hoovering at the clouds.
The St. Regis' stunning resort in the middle of the Dhaalu atoll remote island resort has been causing a stir for its imaginative design since first opening its doors late last year.
As the seaplane pulls up alongside the giant lobster, guests are greeted by a personal butler on an electric buggy. While the villas are just a few minutes away, the ride serves as a tour of the property.
Rooms include the overwater villas and romantic garden villa hideaways set in secluded spots around the island. Each of the 44 'regular' villas has panoramic Indian Ocean views and direct access to the sea from a private terrace. The nature-inspired interior features a neutral colour palette, elegant furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Once you've settled in, it won't take long before island life takes over. There is little to do on this floating paradise, which means guests soon get used to the laid-back rhythm here. You swim, sleep, eat and drink the day away, and soon all memory of the outside world is replaced by stunning views and impressive marine life.
Scuba masks and fins are complementary, and no visit to Vommuli would be complete without exploring the reef around the resort. Its home to sharks, hawksbill turtles, stingrays and all manner of brightly-specked fish. An underwater cliff borders the floating villas, leading down into the lagoon, and a good place to try out scuba diving.
If relaxation continues to escape guests, The Iridium Spa is home to one of the largest hydrotherapy pools in the Maldives. It offers a range of traditional and modern treatments but also has an in-house Ayurveda doctor who can recommend a number of holistic treatments.
It is surprising how quickly sleeping and snorkelling can build an appetite, and foodies are sure to have fun on Vommuli. There are five restaurants on the island, including Cargo - for Middle Eastern-inspired dishes served in a garden area surrounded by foliage.
Alba is where guests go for breakfast, but also offers all-day Italian dining. Crust looks like a shack on the beach but provides pool-side food and beverages. Next, there is Orientale, predictably serving a myriad of Asian dishes but with emphasis on fresh ingredients. The resort's flagship restaurant - if there can be one in the middle of the Indian Ocean - is Decanter, which offers fine dining degustation.
It doesn't take long for the island to overwhelm and the outside world to melt away. Smartphones and wallets are left safely tucked away in rooms, while guests venture into the blue ocean or indulge themselves on land. Even if it lasts just a few days, the results will linger on for months in the memories of what must be one of the most fabulous resorts the Maldives has to offer.