The Maldives, over 1100 islands spread across 26 idyllic coral atolls with turquoise crystal lagoons teeming with colourful fish and bright coral landscapes, perfect for snorkeling and diving. The beaches of white sand are pristine and secluded and most resorts offer special honeymoon, birthday and anniversary deals. We have a selection of beautiful resorts either a boat ride or short float plane transfer from Male, the capital. Sound like heaven on earth?
Every resort in the Maldives is its own private island, and with over 100 to choose from the only problem is selecting where you want to stay.
Three of our favourite resorts are:
Makunudu is an exclusive hideaway of swaying palm trees, glistening beaches and sparkling waters. Unique bungalows set in the lush tropical vegetation and right on the sea front are built and furnished in a traditional style to reflect the local character and vibrancy of the island environment.
Coco Bodu Hithi is an island, rich in vegetation with naturally designed sandy walkways and coconut trees. 100 designer villas and suites offer a new choice of distinctive and spacious accommodation, fusing contemporary and tropical influences. Every villa offers indulgent bathrooms, with designer fixtures and luxury amenities.
Gili Lankanfushi is a sanctuary hidden from the world. One of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives, it is set in a sparkling lagoon, with jetties threading across the shallow waters to over-sized villas on stilts. Enjoy spectacular water views and a host of creature comforts. Come ashore for some great dining and equally great wines from the Gourmet Cellar. The Spa offers everything for perfectly balancing the senses, and the resort has its own fully – equipped PADI diving school plus a variety of water activities.
The Maldives can be a year round destination but the seasons are dominated by the monsoons (May – Oct). The best sunny weather is during the dry season from December to April when accommodation is at a premium.
Stunning, beautiful, serene aptly describes the Maldives. I was fortunate enough to visit four resorts in the Maldives. The two that stood out were Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili, both Six Senses properties. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of your busy lives, then the Maldives is the perfect place to do that.
We flew with Singapore Airlines into Male, and transferred by floatplane out to a small island landing strip and then by speedboat to Soneva Fushi. The island is covered with lush vegetation and surrounded by sandy white beach. You are greeted by beaming staff and given a welcome drink, before having a relaxing check in and taken to your private villa. The beauty of the island is that the villas are positioned between the vegetation so you have the utmost privacy. There are only 65 villas, which capture the very essence of a luxurious castaway fantasy. Each villa opens to its very own stretch of white sand beach just a few steps away, whilst many also include private swimming pools. Each bathroom extends to a private garden. Six Senses really care about the environment and have their own vegetable and herb gardens.
After a couple of nights we were then in for a real treat at Soneva Gili Resort & Spa. I though that I’d seen luxury at its best but realised I had arrived in heaven! Soneva Gili is located in one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives, with jetties threading across the crystal clear water out to spacious over-sized villas that provided spectacular water views of the ocean from every room in my villa. In fact the standard villa’s are bigger than my 3 bedroom house! I came back to NZ with wonderful ideas for our home renovation about creating a walkway out to the shower surrounded in glass. It didn’t really have the same appeal when you don’t have the stunning blue Maldivian sea beneath the walkway. The thought was there! We were given bicycles to get around the island on, as did every other villa. You need not want for anything in your stunning villa. Six Senses think of everything! If you’re a honeymooner, or a couple just wanting to revive your romance, then Soneva Gili is the ultimate resort. -Kate
Currency Rufiya (Rf)
Language Maldivian Divehi – and English is widely spoken
Why we love it Everything about the Maldives is wonderful; lazy forever-summer days on white sandy beaches, hotels that really understand the meaning of luxury, snorkelling and diving to match the best in the world, sparkling waters, fresh seafood and good wine but we especially love the over-water bungalows at Soneva Gili & Six Senses Spa heaven on earth (or water).
Weather The Maldives has a warm tropical climate with little daily change in temperature year round. The hottest month on average is April and the coolest, December. The weather is determined largely by the monsoons. February is the driest month while May and October record the highest average monthly rainfall. The southwest monsoon or hulhangu from May to September is the wet season. Rough seas and strong winds are common during this period.
Social customs & quirks Maldivian women have always held a very important role in both the community and family. It has been said the republic was once a matriarchy with women regularly officiating as rulers. Today women still hold many positions in government and business – you go girls! Don’t forget the ‘No shoes’ rule – once you arrive at your gorgeous island resort, you can throw away the stiletto’s and walk barefoot for your entire stay. The best thing is no-one will look twice and will give your feet (and you) the break they deserve.
Festivals & events As a mainly muslim country, Maldivians celebrate most muslim festivals: Ramadan, Kuda eid, Eid-ul A’haa and the Prophet’s birthday. Independence Day is held on 26th of July and is celebrated with traditional dances and military parades. Republic Day in November and National Day (on different dates as with most muslim festivals they follow the lunar calendar) are also cause for much celebration.