The Ten Best Boutique Hotel Holidays in the Maldives
Too much pretty in the Maldives.
September 15, 2014
Journey to where the sugar-white sand is oh-so-sweet on the feet and there are more shades of blue than you can count. The Maldives will have you dozing off while fish glide by at Huvafen Fushi’s underwater spa, or diving off your private deck into a crystal clear lagoon to join them at Cocoa Island by Como. Each atoll is an idyllic natural wonder and Mr & Mrs Smith has some sensational sunseeker offers that will have you barefoot and blissful in no time.
One&Only Reethi Rah
A PADI National Geographic dive centre, 12 beaches and eight dining destinations make up One&Only Reethi Rah, a lush, sprawling Maldivian island retreat. From huevos rancheros in the morning to lobster gyoza at Tapasake in the evening, your palate will take an international trip each day. Hint: the island’s boutique, Neo, stocks Louboutin espadrille wedges designed especially for the resort, just in case you tire of flip-flops. Action-hungry travellers can zip from the Grand or Duplex Villas to the resort’s climbing wall in a golf buggy, dice with danger on a shark safari, then watch the sunset while swaying in a hammock between the palms on a private sandy stretch. Lazy landlubbers might find the hammock too hard to leave from dawn til dusk.
Cocoa Island by Como
An exquisite blue lagoon is the true champion at Cocoa Island by Como, although the villas are nothing to scoff at either. From outside, the overwater villas resemble tradtional dhoni boats resting atop the lagoon. Understated bright white interiors paired with timber furnishings make the turquoise waters the statement – even more so from your private sun-deck. Bend like the palms at yoga every morning then feast on the daily catch at Ufaa, where a combination of Mediterranean- and Thai-inspired dishes use only the best seasonal produce and local seafood. Como Shambhala Spa has world-class treatments and guided meditation to ease lingering tensions.
Anantara Kihavah Villas
Enjoy nature’s best at Anantara Kihavah Villas, where sandy beaches and island isolation are just the beginning. There’s an underwater wine cellar and an overwater spa with views into the azure lagoon in each treatment room – you’ll also find yoga mats, sun hats and beach bags at the ready in every villa. Sway in the ocean breeze on the Overwater Pool Villa’s hammock-strung terrace or sink your toes into your own stretch of sand in a Beach Pool Villa (wine-coolers included). Take a dip at night in the 49-metre pool where LED lights in the tiled floor mimic the stars above to create the perfect stage for romance.
Reef-fringed Veligandu Huraa is where you’ll find the boutique resort Naladhu and its 19 villas nestled between a sheltered lagoon and the Indian Ocean. Enjoy sea breezes from bedroom to bathroom – a glass panel is all that separates the soaking tub from your private pool and the horizon beyond. Dive, snorkel and swim until your heart’s content in this romantic water-bound paradise. Under a thatched roof overlooking the lagoon is the Living Room, where torches light up the night sky and you can feast on grilled tiger prawns, spicy lemongrass red snapper and more internationally inspired dishes that draw from fresh market ingredients.
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
An eco-friendly oasis on one of the largest Maldivian atolls, North Huvadhoo, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa instils immediate holiday calm. Floor-to-ceiling windows in minimalist villas ensure constant island views from verdant tropical fronds to azure waters. Fancy learning something new? Tackle the mojito mixology class, where you’ll have to try your concoctions so you know you’re getting it just right. There’s an intricate mosaic of marine life just steps (or strokes) away at the in-house reef, which you can explore with the resident marine biologist. Laidback foodies will love the Island Grill with its sandy floor and locally inspired dishes such as plantain ragout or Wagyu tenderloin with spicy papaya.
Baros is a boutique on the North Malé Atoll that’s sure to fulfil your castaway island dreams (with added luxury, natch). Hide yourself away in one of the secluded Water Pool Villas on the end of the winding jetty. Each has a private pool, canopied day-bed and personal Villa Host at your beck and call. Beach Villas are nestled among palm trees and tropical fronds and have an extra portion of privacy. Travel across the lagoon to a strip of sand for morning yoga practise, then explore the reef and learn about the resort’s coral planting programme that helps sustain the local marine habitat.
Everywhere you look you’ll discover a different shade of blue at Huvafen Fushi. The toughest decision you’ll have to make here is whether you want sand shores within reach in a Beach Villa or direct ocean dips from the overwater bungalows, which come with a private plunge pool. Visit the world’s first underwater spa, Lime, where you’ll float on a bed of relaxation while watching stingrays, clownfish and co. glide by. Enjoy fine dining paired with perfect wines at Vinum, but not before sampling something from the extensive cocktail list at UMbar — the Crouching Tiger (lemongrass, lychee, gin sake, ginger liqueur and jasmine tea) is delectable.
On the deserted Dhaalu Atoll, Niyama’s hovering overwater bungalows will make you swoon with their reclaimed wood exteriors, luxurious marble bathrooms and lavish rain showers. Brilliant azure waters, shimmering sands and lush palm fronds are standard here; Subsix, the world’s first underwater club, is anything but standard, with its aquarium-like feel creating definite wow-factor as you sip cocktails among vivid corals and flirty fish. Opt for a Beach Studio with Private Pool on the sunset side of the island for its prime people-watching potential — Number 14 is right in the thick of the action.
The sparkling Shaviyani Atoll has water-a-plenty, especially when you consider that all the villas at Viceroy Maldives have private plunge pools to boot. Beach Villas boast monochromatic elegance; the Water Villas’ cool greys, blues and timber furnishings allow no loud, colourful distractions from the sounds of the ocean. Wander up to Treehouse for spectacular views and delicious mezze platters at sunset and cross wooden platforms to find your own secluded dining spot. Be your own bartender in a private beach cabana for two and mix favourite tipples or tropical concoctions into the early hours.
Picture this: a crystal clear lagoon with vivid corals, swaying palms and tunes from the in-house DJ drifting on the sea breeze. Welcome to laidback luxury at Constance Moofushi. For a break from the party scene at Manta Bar, take your Moofushi Nasta Lemonade (home-made lemon and ginger marmalade with bourbon, fresh mint and cucumber) back to your Water Villa. Numbers 30–35 are perfect for counting stars on your private terrace and have the best of both worlds — sandy beach on one side; the Indian Ocean on the other.
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