The topographical signature of the Maldives is flatness. The 26 atolls are formed on the semi-submerged rim of ancient volcanoes, with the average height of land above sea level only 5 feet (1.5 meters).

This horizontality is evident in the overall resort layout of Six Senses Laamu, in which buildings are dispersed evenly on land and over the water. They appear to first inhabit the island, located at the southwestern tip of the atoll, and then be in the process of spreading out judiciously to the northeast, over the turquoise lagoon of Laamu Atoll.

Being the only resort on this atoll, the resort’s embrace of the water has an exploratory character. The 70 Water Villas are spread evenly over three jetties in a very geometric and rhythmic order. In contrast, the main cluster of public facilities (including arrival jetty, bars, restaurants, and dive school), which is also built over the water, is crouched precariously close to the western edge of the atoll. Just beyond, the water color changes abruptly from safe turquoise to unknown indigo blue.

On the island, guest facilities include 26 Beach Villas, wellness facilities, and garden restaurant. Back-of-house facilities and staff accommodation are concealed in the center of the island.

The exploratory nature of the guest experience is exhibited throughout the resort by the buildings’ interaction with nature.

For example, the four couple’s treatment nests that comprise the spa are directly inspired by the tangled birds’ nests discovered atop the screw pine forests that cover the island. At the same time, the random pattern of woven branches that make up the semi-transparent external shell of these nests provides only a modicum of privacy. Guests are barely shielded from the sights and sounds of the forest outside.

Interaction with nature is also encouraged by the provision of plentiful catamaran nets suspended out above the water in the public facilities. The visitor can even retire directly onto such a platform, positioned right beside specially placed dining tables. In the water villas, opportunities for interaction with the lagoon abound, from open-air showers, glass-over-water bathtubs, and the option to set off snorkeling directly from the verandah of each guestroom.

  • LocationOlhuveli, Maldives
  • Date2011
  • Interior designerP49 Deesign & Associates