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Emerald, the Italian treasure in the Maldives: dining in a natural Eden

Giovanni Angelucci
Copertina emerald maldives 2023 12 05 01 42 05

For many, the word "Emerald" simply means "emerald," but for others, it's also the Italian luxury 5-star group led by the Scarapicchia family, with over 40 years of experience in building and managing all-inclusive luxury facilities in the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, and East Africa.

The resort

Welcome to the Maldives, with its approximately two hundred resorts that have long been the sought-after destination for many, not just couples and families. So, where to go? If you're reading this article, you're obviously travelers in search of beauty and good food, and the sign that suits you best is undoubtedly Emerald. Actually, Emeralds.

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Yes, because to the Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa, born in 2019, a noble younger sister (only in size) has been added after a year—Emearld Faaru Fushi, a jewel where you can feel good and return home better than before. But let's take it step by step: the first, with four valuable years behind it, is spread over a 20-hectare property on Fasmendhoo Island in the Raa Atoll, one of the largest private islands in the Maldives.

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It is reached by a forty-minute seaplane ride from Malé International Airport and welcomes guests in its 60 Beach Villas and 60 Overwater Villas, those marvelous (luxurious) stilt houses you see in advertisements, designed by American architect Edward David Poole to be perfectly integrated into the surrounding environment. Everything, including the rest, is built using indigenous materials such as bamboo, natural stones, and Langhi Langhi leaves, in a skillful combination of tropical inspirations and contemporary design. The place is truly alluring, moving around on bicycles, and the hospitality (a keyword in all Maldives resorts) here is truly special.

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The cuisine

And then there are the restaurants, four in total, plus two bars, because after sunbathing, getting a massage, repeated dives, and eighteen swims in the Indian Ocean, what else to do but indulge in culinary pleasures? Everything works perfectly according to the Deluxe-All Inclusive signature formula, and you can choose from various brands.

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Firstly, the Aqua restaurant, the largest one open from morning to evening, with a wealth of options, different every day, especially at dinner, where the chef presents a different theme every night: from Maldivian to vegetarian, Arab corners, Moroccan dishes, and on weekends, the flavors of Vietnam and Thailand. Then there's the Beach Club Grill Restaurant, where you can (well) eat Italian, and the two Amazònico and Le Asiatique: the first offers the flavors of Central and South American cuisine with recipes from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru (with Nikkei cuisine), and Chile, with selected meats and grill cooking; the second is a zen oasis to enjoy good Eastern cuisine, including Thai tom yum goong, Chinese siew-mai, Japanese uramaki, and Korean bokkeumbap, even experiencing the teppanyaki sensory experience, discovering traditional Japanese grill cooking by choosing from four different menus.

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In short, there's no chance of getting bored, and you'll hardly eat the same dish during your stay. But who is behind this huge pleasure machine? He's the strength of the Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa, Chef Aldo Cadau, who has been here since the opening, becoming much more than just a chef. A fixed smile, skill, experience, taste, and the calm spirit necessary for this life—he's the one who will give you that added value not present among the voices of the package when purchasing the vacation; but he's there ready to welcome you, and surely to make you regular customers.

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"Every six months, we change the menus based on customer feedback, we note everything so we can study and make statistics. Much depends, of course, on the markets and their products. This involves training the guys, and when we're ready, we get to work. I have Ravi, my right-hand man from South India, essential in all the work," he explains. In the Aqua restaurant, lunch is a celebration of edible cultures, from the vegetarian section to Indian cuisine. "We often have Jainist customers who - besides being vegetarian - don't eat any 'vegetable creature' like onions, potatoes, carrots, roots, turnips, or bulbs in general. In short, we have to satisfy everyone, and to do that, we need to organize ourselves well, but above all, always surprise: every evening is different, and every dinner speaks of a country in the world; on Mondays, for the Maldivian evening, ladies from Maduvvari even come, working on coconut crafts for the local craftsmanship and plating their experience and flavors; it's all very ethnic and engaging.

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"At the Beach Grill, we've added some Arab dishes for lunch, even though it lends itself well to Mediterranean cuisine. Salmon, shrimp, calamari, scallops, and eels for sushi are imported, but much is local, and everything is caught with a hook 200 meters from the reef, never with nets; my favorite remains the jobfish, similar to sea bass, or groupers and amberjacks, many types of snapper, there's something for everyone. We're working on building vertical gardens to increase production, as space is limited on the island: basil is the best to grow locally, then tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, Maldivian spinach, papaya, bananas, coconuts, and pumpkins. And among the upcoming novelties is the Arab evening, a Bedouin dinner made through an underground concrete structure like an oven to cook and then eat among carpets, pillows, and a lot of taste." And the cream in carbonara? "Fortunately, it's less and less requested...", Cadau smiles.

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But besides the chef, there's also Nash Kanyangarara, a friendly and knowledgeable head sommelier for all the restaurants, who was among the promoters and responsible for the Underwater Wine Project, the underwater cellar whose bottles of Tuscan Sangiovese age at a depth of 30 meters for at least six months: "The environment is ideal for wine rest thanks to the minimal impact of sunlight, constant temperature, and pressure changes; all this ensures that the wine rests and ages optimally," he explains.

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And then there's the Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa on the homonymous island in the Raa Atoll, with the same line of thought and details, on an island four times smaller but with the same turquoise lagoon. Born just over a year ago, this gem makes you fall in love in the same way but with greater intimacy. 80 villas, a water tennis court, an enchanting spa whose massage area resembles the hull of a wooden ship, and here too there's the Deluxe-All Inclusive formula to indulge in. Five restaurants in the hands of Chef Moreno Casaccia, able to offer a valid and varied selection of world cuisines (the simple Wagyu hamburger is also particularly delicious) to pair with wines selected by sommelier Joseph and two bars: the Eclipse Bar on the pier is unmissable, where you can enjoy Maldivian sunsets sipping a drink.

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Emerald is proof that the Maldives are not just a picture to admire repeatedly every day but also a destination to savor. You just need to know where to go.


Emerald MaldivesResort & Spa

Address: Fasmendhoo Island, Maldive

Tel: +960 658-2100


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