The string of small coral atolls in the Indian Ocean that are known as the Maldives has to be one of the most idyllic places on planet Earth. They make the perfect holiday destination for a honeymoon, a romantic holiday or just a relaxing luxury holiday with great diving thrown in just for good measure ! Here are ten reasons why you should visit the Maldives –
1. Amazing unique accommodation
The Maldives are well known for providing luxurious accommodation, beach front villas and water villas but now the Banyan Tree has introduced a new style of accommodation to the Maldives with its premium resort, Madivaru. Just six tented pool villas – each with large living, eating and bathing tents – provide guests with a luxurious alternative to the traditional Maldivian beachfront properties and over-water villas.The bathing tent features a pair of spa beds for enjoying private in-villa treatments, including signature Banyan Tree Spa massages and facials, while the resort’s in-villa dining option offers guests a romantic and intimate evening meal.
2 Underwater restaurant
Spanning two islands and joined by a wooden bridge, the lavishly-refurbished Conrad Maldives offers a range of dining experiences, topped by the innovative Ithaa – the world’s only undersea restaurant. Eight metres below sea level, the restaurant enjoys views of reef and marine life thanks to an aquarium-style arched roof.
Booking two weeks in advance is recommended as the restaurant can only seat 14 diners – but the planning is well worth it for this sensational dining experience. Rays and sharks will swim and swoop overhead as you tuck into delicious pan-fried Maldivian white fish and other local delicacies.
3 The Ultimate Spa Holiday
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives is true excellence, featuring an ESPA spa that supersedes many luxurious well being experiences on the planet. Guests can luxuriate in swirling vitality pools and crystal steam rooms, or feel the invigorating affects of stimulating ice fountains before experiencing signature treatments devised by renowned spa guru, Susan Harmsworth and her team. Couples can also book into one of two over-water private spa suites.World-renowned podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez offers a range of magical manicures and chiropody treatments, and a resident nutritionist is on hand to devise a detox, weight management or stress-reducing menu for the duration of your stay.
4 Great for families – Island Hideaway, Donakulhi
Despite its romantic name, this beautiful resort has excellent facilities for families – from youngsters through to teenagers, including the Tender Hearts supervised kids’ club, with various activities, bicycles and a playground. Experiences for active families include speedboat trips, dolphin safaris and big-game fishing cruises.Head to the water sports centre and try your hand at water-skiing, wake-boarding, windsurfing, canoeing, diving and snorkeling, or, for lazier afternoons, spend time in the infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean. Land activities include a gymnasium, two tennis courts, table tennis, beach volleyball, billiards and bicycles to cycle around the island at your leisure.
5 The Chic Maldives Retreat – W Retreat, Fesdu
Modern comfort and aesthetics are key to the ambiance of this resort, and the W Retreat features 78 villas in four different styles, all with private pools, sundecks and outdoor tropical showers. The two bedroom Ocean Haven retreat also comes with an infinity-edge plunge pool and panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.It’s the tiny details that make this retreat extra special. Dotted around the resort are Sweet Spots – mini bars with complimentary drinks and ice creams – while the W approach to tailor-made service is evident through services such as checking what time guests prefer their turndown service to allow optimum privacy.
6 The Green Retreat – Banyan Tree Maldives, Vabbinfaru
Environmentally-conscious visitors can do their bit to secure the future of Maldivian marine life with a stay at Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru. The resort ensures minimal damage to the environment by constructing villas on the footprint of previous properties, obtaining water by desalinating sea water and avoiding pesticides in the resort’s thriving herb and vegetable garden.Marine biologists create ecological awareness by teaching guests about the ocean and its fragile life. There is also the opportunity to participate in reef cleaning, coral transplantation and support the unique Green Sea Turtle Conservation Programme, rearing young turtles in a natural lagoon habitat.
7 Out-of-this-world diving – Baros
Baros is known for its world-class diving and just a short boat ride away are 25 outstanding dive sites that guests return to year after year. Closer to shore is the house reef, one of the best in the Maldives, just 30 metres from the beach.The large dive school at Baros is run by an experienced team who can instill a wealth of knowledge about the local sites and marine life. Baros is the perfect place for both novice and seasoned divers, and instructors will be able to suggest outstanding locations according to currents, seasons and weather conditions.
8 The escape for lazy, luxury seekers: Huvafen Fushi
Small and sumptuous, Huvafen Fushi nestles on a tiny island and is an idyllic retreat for couples looking for an indulgent escape. Sleek, over-water beach bungalows feature delectable Italian Frette bed linens, designer furnishings and Bose or Bang & Olufsen music systems, while the superb staff caters to your every whim.Stroll to one of the three restaurants or the lively bar where you can take part in wine tasting with the resort’s sommelier, assisted by the Maldives’ largest wine cellar, and book in for a massage at one of the world’s first underwater treatment rooms. Huvafen Fushi is escapist bohemian luxury at its best.
9 The private retreat: Soneva Gili
Check in to Soneva Gili’s Private Reserve and you’ll enjoy the ultimate in Maldivian escapes. The Private Reserve comprises of five buildings with two master suites, each featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with ocean views, plus a relaxing two-person bathtub built over coral gardens and an open-air private bathroom.An en-suite guest room is available and a large central open-plan living area includes a sea garden, natural coral pool, sun decks and dining area, plus a private spa facility with sauna, steam room and treatment pavilions. The resort’s Six Senses spa is excellent and treatments can be transferred to the Private Reserve, easily arranged through your personal butler.
10 Island hopping and cruising – Four Seasons resorts
Island hopping isn’t easily done in the Maldives, however, if you like the idea of a dual-resort stay or a stay on land one week and a cruise the next, Four Seasons resorts offers a solution.Landaa Guraavaru on the Baa atoll is a luxurious retreat with 102 thatched beach and water villas that cater for both active families and couples seeking romance, or choose Kuda Huraa, featuring 106 luxuriously-appointed beach pavilions, stilt-mounted bungalows and suites, geared towards adult-only holidays and honeymoons. Stay in either resort and add on the Four Seasons Explorer cruise, a private three-deck, 11-cabin catamaran to explore all that the Maldives has to offer.
Alternatively try the Atoll Explorer where you can spend a week on this 20 cabin small ship and explore several of the islands and be pampered at the same time !