The Maldives are tiny tropical dots of land in the vast Indian Ocean, with beaches and palm trees rising just feet above the waves and relying on rings of vibrant coral reefs for protection. Of more than a thousand islands barely one in ten is inhabited, and among these are some of the most secluded and spectacular resorts on the planet, exotic hideaways where your honeymoon suite is just as likely to be over the water as on the beach.
Settled by migrant fishermen and long supported by the sea, the Maldives merge land and water in a harmony richly expressed at the Huvafen Fushi Maldives resort, where spa treatment rooms go underwater and bungalows have glass floors to reveal the teeming life on the reefs below—even the resort’s hot tub hovers above the gentle waves. Remoteness is no signal for depravation, however—the resort also has the Maldives’ best-stocked wine cellar and several gourmet dining options to explore. Diversions range from reef diving to seaplane tours.
All-inclusive takes on higher meaning at the Constance Moofushi resort, where the signature Cristal package invites frequent toasts with fine wines and French champagne. Each end of this private island is strung with overwater guest villas, and activities include deep-water fishing, cruises aboard a traditional dhoni boat, and visits to the local fishing village of Himandoo.
Ever imagined dining inside an aquarium? That’s the experience you’ll get at the Sea.Fire. Salt.Sky. restaurant complex at the Anantara Kihavah Villas resort. Take a cooking class together to learn how to make traditional Maldivian huni havaadhu curry, try your hand at windsurfing in the lagoon, or hide away in comfort at a resort where every room is either over the water, has its own private pool, or opens onto a spectacular infinity-edge pool reaching out toward the endless ocean. Treatment rooms at the Anantara spa are located at the end of a jetty and open to the sea on all sides for an unforgettable experience.
With just forty-eight villas scattered across a private island, the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru offers plenty of romantic seclusion for newlyweds, who can also indulge in the ultimate private dining experience: a gourmet meal for two on a wave-kissed sandbar, delivered via speedboat. Or, cap days spent on the beach or beneath the waves with champagne and canapés in a dhoni, and stargazing at the Naiboli Bar.
The Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives is home, somewhat remarkably, to a golf course—and the resort’s unique amenities don’t stop there. Located on a lushly forested atoll, the Shangri-La offers plenty of distractions you won’t find in other Maldives destinations, like nature hikes and bike tours, tennis and the Eco Centre where you can learn about local conservation efforts. In addition, there are some gorgeous overwater villas and CHI, a spa located in its own private village.
From the international airport in Malé it’s just fifteen minutes by luxury speedboat to the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives, where sixty-four villas are arrayed on a large lagoon and guests are lavished with Taj’s legendary personalized service, including your own private butler. Couples can take their meals in the privacy of their villa or in a variety of mind-blowing romantic settings, including an exclusive ocean pavilion set amid the calm waters of the lagoon.
The Taj is just far enough away to feel isolated, yet the proximity to Malé offers the opportunity to explore the ancient capital of the Maldives with its vibrant fish and produce markets and the 400-year-old Hukuru Miskiiy mosque, built from local coral and famed for its lacquer work and carvings.
> Written by Bob Curley