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Leading the way for luxury vegan travel in the Maldives

As the interest in plant based food shows no sign of slowing down, we are finding more and more luxury hotels and resorts embracing this demand. It wasn’t so long ago that you would often struggle to find a veggie option let alone a vegan option on the menu so it’s exciting to see things are changing. These luxury resorts are leading the way for luxury vegan travel in the Maldives by offering not just vegan options but vegetarian restaurants, vegan menus and even the very first 100% plant based restaurant in the Maldives. Read on to find out more about how we were literally spoilt for choice with the huge selection of creative plant based cuisine during our last trip to this tropical paradise. OBLU SELECT at Sangeli OBLU SELECT at Sangeli can be reached after a short and exhilarating speedboat ride from the international airport in Male. With a selection of beach and water villas, many with private pools, you can be sure to find the perfect residence for your Maldives vacation. The resort is owned and managed by Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts who previously opened the first ever vegetarian restaurant in the Maldives, Just Veg at Atmosphere Kanifushi. We’ve been. It was good. In fact, it was very good. Therefore we knew we were in safe hands. Breakfast let us dip our toes into the impressive food on offer at OBLU SELECT at Sangeli. There was everything you would expect from a luxury resort buffet but there was also a Maldivian curry that produced serious silence and knowing stares across our table. That’s how we eat when we know something is spectacularly good. It had long beans, potatoes and a coconut gravy that was full of all the spices that have ever sailed across the Indian Ocean to grace the tables of food lovers around the world. And then there were pancakes, prepared for us ‘off menu’ by the super helpful Chef Khem. Made with flax seeds and wholewheat flour they were healthy plant based pancakes, so we felt virtuous and content when we polished off a whole stack with a selection of the freshly made compotes that were available. Vegetarian restaurant in the Maldives – Simply Veg at OBLU SELECT When dining at ‘Simply Veg’ you can expect gourmet vegetarian cuisine with plenty of dishes that can be prepared vegan. The menu reads well with a selection of dishes with Asian and European influences; despite only staying for a couple of days we were determined to eat every vegan friendly option on the menu. You’ll be pleased to know that we succeeded and were suitably impressed. We enjoyed Thai curries and Maldivian curries that were packed with flavour, samosas that were crispy, perfectly cooked noodle dishes and hummus served with beetroot pitta. Our ‘Riso Verde’ was a very good risotto and the ‘Simply Veg Carpaccio’ was the sweetest of pineapple with lemongrass syrup and mint granita. We love that Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts have continued with their commitment to offering vegetarian and vegan food at their resorts and long may it continue… Amilla Fushi Amilla Fushi translates to ‘My Island Home’ and oh boy, would we love to call this tropical paradise home. A collection of luxury villas sit either amongst the swaying palms on the beach or overlooking the azure tropical ocean; everywhere you look oozes luxury and style. We’ve stayed before and enjoyed the vegan options but since our last visit things had got really exciting with the introduction of a vegan menu available throughout the resort. We can confirm that our excitement levels were sky high. Vegan menu in the Maldives – Amilla Fushi The extensive vegan menu (and we mean extensive) is available resort wide at each and every restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is a great concept meaning that you can select an item from the existing menu in the restaurant of your choice or you can request the vegan menu (and that’s where all of your plant based dreams come true). Breakfast choices on the vegan menu included tofu scramble, vegan omelet, plant based pancakes and the most incredible ‘Blueberry Oatmeal Waffles’ that were so good we ordered them every day. On the standard menu there was an excellent ‘Indian Breakfast’ and an even better ‘Arabic Breakfast’ which Chef Ameen ‘veganised’ for us. Simply sensational. Lunch and dinner was an absolute pleasure wherever we decided to dine. We enjoyed dishes from the standard menus and also from the vegan menu; being able to ‘mix and match’ was a blessing. Vegan calzone? check. Vegan calzone with vegan cheese? check. Vegan tacos? check. Vegan fish and chips? check. Yes, you heard us right, theres a fish and chip shop at Amilla Fushi and we enjoyed tofu fish, chips and mushy peas. OMG. We even had one of our favourite comfort foods of all time, vegan mac ‘n’ cheese which was divine. Don’t worry, there are cakes too and the ‘Dark Chocolate and Coconut Macaroon Tart’ served with coconut ice cream and fresh fruit was irresistible. Amilla Fushi haven’t stopped with the launch of their vegan menu, since our visit they’ve worked with Swedish ‘vegan food designer’ Chef Tora Flora for a ‘vegan takeover’ with her creating beautiful, tasty and entertaining dishes for their lucky guests. Onwards and upwards for vegan delights at Amilla Fushi. Soneva Fushi Last and by no means least is the peerless Soneva Fushi. It was the final stop in our luxury vegan tour of the Maldives and we were eager to experiece what is considered to be one of the finest resorts in the Maldives by many and even one of the finest resorts in the world. Their efforts to lessen the environmental impact are huge and they have been at the forefront of many planet saving initiatives. Soneva Fushi currently recycles more than 90% of their waste and is moving towards zero waste and becoming carbon neutral. There have been no plastic bottles on the island for more than 10 years (way before it was fashionable) and they filter, mineralise, alkalise and bottle their own drinking water. Being eco friendly is in their DNA at Soneva Fushi so it only makes sense that they have opened the first and only 100% plant based restaurant in the Maldives. Eat less meat, save the planet, it makes sense and is oh So Soneva. When your vegan breakfast is served under the shade of majestic trees, on the pure white sand adjacent to the pristine ocean, life is good. When the plant based options include vegan croissants and vegan fermented coconut butter life is very good indeed. Breakfast at Soneva Fushi also featured vegan Danish pastries from ‘Vegan Corner’ in the bakery, and two of our all time favourite foods; masala dosa from just over the Indian Ocean in Southern India and Hoppers from the even closer home of Sri Lanka. Trust us when we say there was much more on offer, but we were more than content with our croissants / butter / pastries / dosa / hoppers combo. The perfect start to the day. Vegan restaurant in the Maldives – Shades of Green at Soneva Fushi This was the moment we had been waiting for, dinner at Shades of Green, the first and only 100% plant based restaurant in the Maldives. This unique farm to table concept is set within an organic vegetable garden and dining here was an experience for sure. We enjoyed home made kombucha shots as we were guided through the organic garden whilst picking, smelling and nibbling on leaves. We were encouraged to forage in the undergrowth to find ‘hidden’ amuse bouche. We were invited to sit around the fire pit awaiting the charred pumpkin which was spiced with Maldivian curry paste. We were offered organic and vegan wines that paired with our amuse bouche. We were in love with Shades of Green. Our multi course meal was served in six categories titled Cleanse, Raw, Crispy, Grain, Fire and Sweet. The dishes were creative and fused Maldivian and Southeast Asian with Nordic culinary techniques such as smoking, pickling and fermenting. The setting was extraordinary. The service was friendly and personal. The food was like nothing we’ve ever tasted before. We were in the Maldives, at a vegan restaurant savouring a plant based meal that we will never forget. We were blown away with the creative plant based cuisine on offer at these ground breaking luxury resorts. They are certainly leading the way for luxury vegan travel in the Maldives and we thank them for their commitment. Others will surely follow and this can only be a good thing. The Maldives is part of a fragile eco system and anything to lessen the impact of tourism is a good thing meaning not only do these plant based and vegan dining options taste mighty fine they are saving the planet too! Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paul Eyers

Paul Eyers is co-founder of Vegan Food Quest who write about luxury hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia with a focus on sustainable travel, eco travel and vegan travel. Currently based in Malaysia, Paul also writes about sporting events and some of the finest golf courses throughout the region.

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  1. I look forward to reading these updates, seeing the plant based food world grow is very encouraging. Good to see such variety now.
    Seeing such amazing dishes should help show others that you can have great meals without having to sacrifice an innocent animal.

  2. The Maldives has been on my list for a long time and I’d love to visit. These resorts look pretty impressive, i will certainly have a closer look at them!

  3. It’s good to see more vegan options. I’ve found it so difficult just going to local areas let alone travelling and trying to find places that have a decent menu. There are more vegetarian dishes but vegan dishes are still pretty few and far between. Or they’ll have vegan stuff but it’s really bland and pretty unappealing. I think with more emphasis on the environment and more people turning towards a vegan lifestyle those options will continue to open up. I hope so anyway! These places sound fab.

    Do Oblu Select at Sangeli do ‘off menu’ dishes at request or was it a special one off? I do like the sound of those plant based pancakes! That place and Amilla Fushi look amazing with such crystalline clear water, gorgeous. ‘My island home’, that’s so sweet! It’s great these places are considering the smaller aspects of dining like with the vegan coconut butter and vegan pastries and croissants. I’ve been to places that claim to have a vegan menu for brekkie only to find half the options aren’t actually suitable and the additives like butter and other sauces and such aren’t vegan either. I’ll have to keep these places in mind if I ever make it back to the Maldives!

    1. Thank you for your comment Megan. Whenever we check into a luxury resort or hotel we ask to meet the exec chef or f&b manager to discuss our diet. This without fail has always led to them being willing to create ‘off menu’ items. You just need to ask! Finding vegan butter always makes us happy and those pastries were INCREDIBLE!

  4. The Maldives is one of the best travel destinations for romantic getaways, and I am a fan. I love visiting blissful and tranquil places such as these, with crystal clear waters and the sound of the wind flowing through your ears. What makes it better is that it is open for people who have different lifestyles and preferences. I am not vegan but I appreciate the dishes, especially if it’s really well made. The OBLU pancakes look absolutely delish. Perfect start to your day. I know mashed bananas and oatmeal make great vegan pancakes.

    1. So good that you know that mashed banana and oatmeal can be used to make vegan pancakes and you’re not even vegan! The Maldives are indeed unique and incredible. For us, adding these vegan food options make us be happy indeed…plant based food in paradise…

  5. Where to begin? Everything you’ve written about looks and sounds absolutely wonderful. The Maldives has long been on my list of places I would love to visit. The location looks fabulous, an idyllic dream. The resorts you stayed at all seem to offer the vegan traveller everything they might wish for. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be Soneva Fushi – not least because of their efforts to lessen their impact on the environment.
    Many thanks for your interesting and informative reviews.

    1. We also love that Soneva have such a commitment to the planet. We hope that others follow their lead and make the necessary changes. Each of the resorts were superb and we would also struggle to choose a favourite. Thank you for your comment!

  6. I’ve always wanted to go to the Maldives and these vegan friendly luxury resorts look incredible, thank you for writing about them!

  7. Great article, the photos are amazing and the food looks sublime, fantastic to see these luxury venues embracing the plant food movement. You don’t have to be a vegan to appreciate what moving over to a predominantly plant based diet does for your health and the environment.

    1. Thank you for your comment Mark. There is no doubt that a plant based diet is a win win situation for plant / health / environment and of course the animals!

  8. Although it’s a lifestyle it does seem like it’s more of a trend at the moment, which goes hand in hand with eco and global warming concerns. There’s definitely a lot more talk of veganism these days and I think the options are opening up now. I have a few vegetarian friend who’ve found eating out quite challenging over the years, so I can only imagine how much more difficult it is with being vegan because you’re having to consider far more products and aspects when you travel, eat, buy clothes, etc. It’s fab to see the Maldives offer up plenty of options and they look really good too, not bland and boring like some vegan dishes I’ve seen being served sometimes. Those Amilla Fushi waffles look so, so good!

    1. thank you for your comment Hannah

      firstly, yes the waffles were amazing and that’s why we had them every day during our stay!

      if we term the current upturn in veganism as a trend it’s most certainly a positive trend and one that i think will stick around for a long time and continue to grow…

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