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The Maldives are, quite simply, perfect. Pockets of paradise created entirely by nature, with angel-white sand and irresistibly blue sea. And while Man made the resorts which bring all of this splendour together, the real magic is the Maldives’ back-to-nature tranquillity.
1. What are the Maldives?
The Maldives are a chain of almost 1200 individual coral islands peppering the Indian Ocean just south of Sri Lanka. These islands are divided into 26 ring-shaped atolls (collections of islands), with the most popular being:
Of these 1200 islands, only about 200 are inhabited, but that also means that some of them are only used as ‘Picnic Islands’, for day-trips and a lucky few who desire an entire island to themselves.
2. Why go
The Maldives are like a collection of Victoria Secret models; not one of their 1200 islands are blemished. From the beaches, arguably the best in the world, to an underwater world of spectacular marine beauty, we’re told the Maldives are the ultimate tropical escape, and the truth is, they are. The Maldives live up to every expectation, AKA the exotic holiday of a lifetime.
Traditionally, the Maldives were the go-to for recently hitched honeymooners, but with all there is to do, from parasailing and snorkelling, to hammerhead diving and visiting tiny island cities jam-packed with fresh fruit markets and boat trips, you really can make the Maldives your own.
4. When to go
High season falls between December and February, but if you like to add a little surfing to your ultimate getaway, surf season falls between March and October.
5. Know before you go
The Maldives is a Muslim country, which grants it spectacular must-see Mosques such as the one made entirely of coral on the island-city of Male. But it also means there are rules, none of which apply at any of the island resorts, BUT if you book yourself onto a day trip to a local island, there won’t be any alcohol available, PDA is illegal, and women shouldn’t wear togs or revealing clothing.
6. Getting there
Getting to the Maldives from New Zealand requires a couple of flights, usually stopping in both Singapore and the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. Flying via Singapore provides the ideal opportunity for a city-stop off. Enjoy a little urban madness before the calm.
7. Getting to your atoll and resort
Transfers are by domestic aircraft, by speedboat or seaplane, and if you’re staying at a resort, all your transfers will be pre-arranged. The luggage allowance for seaplanes and domestic flights is usually 20kg, plus 5kg hand luggage per person, so don’t overpack!
8. Getting around
To get between islands you’ll need to catch a mixture of boats, ferries, planes and sea planes. The latter take off from the water and are like taxis, with no set schedules, but a regularity which responds to public demand. It’s always wise to prearrange transportation with your agent before departure.
The single thing you need to know about the Maldives’ luxury resorts is that ALL OF THEM sit on their own private isle. In fact, only about 200 islands are actually inhabited, and 87 of these are exclusively resorts. If that’s not the once-in-a-lifetime deserted island dream, we don’t know what is.
10. Over-water bungalows
This is what you came for, right?
If you’ve ever lusted over the dreamy image of an over-water bungalow, with idyllic turquoise water and stilts firmly bedded into a golden seabed, chances are, you’re looking at the Maldives. This is where Utopia exists - from the top of private steps leading into crystalline water and hammocks lazily swinging in an ocean breeze. These luxurious abodes feature everything from sunken glass-bottom bathtubs to private infinity-edge swimming pools. Ask us about personal, 24-hour butlers, interior glass floors and outdoor rainforest showers.
11. All-inclusive options
Many of the resorts sprinkled across the Maldives’ atolls are all-inclusive, which makes sense when you’re a million miles from reality. Facilities usually include restaurants, bars, spa, and operated tours, and in general, all your meals and drinks are included in the cost of your room (three main meals a day). Alcohol is usually served between 11am – 11pm as part of your package and your minibar will be replenished daily.
HOT TIP: Sometimes all-inclusive guests are restricted to limited dining venues, but receive a credit to use towards other establishments. Alternatively, ask us about upgrades which allow you to dine anywhere.
Year-round hot, tropical climate, with temperatures rarely dropping below 25°C and an average sea temperature of 27°C (yippee). May – October is the cheapest time of year to travel to the Maldives, but it’s also monsoon season so a daily shower or two is likely.
Soneva Fushi Island Resort
For complete, exotic bliss, the highly sustainable Soneva Fushi on the Baa Atoll invites guests to abscond into a jungle hideaway, where villas boast palm-frond roofs and garden bathrooms. Couples can spread out, in utter peace, on tropical terraces and slivers of ocean-fronting beach, or, if you’re a large group, why not try the island mansion? A nine-bedroom ‘Residence’ tucked away in tropical foliage. A resort within itself, complete with four separate thatched abodes, sunken dining area, bamboo walkways, pool slides and a floating 18-person lounge skimming the lagoon pool, it’s the closest thing to heaven below the clouds. You can even indulge in spa treatments in the residence itself, with a sauna and steam room just metres from your bedroom.
Bespoke dining experiences
Soneva Fushi Island Resort: Boasts 10 unique food and beverage venues, but two definite stand-outs include:
Soneva Jani: Sister-resort, Soneva Jani not only offers ‘So Engaging’, a five-person dining venue with a mystery menu, and ‘So Imaginative’, an experimental tasting room, other extra-special dining experiences include:
In the Maldives there are options for all types of visitors, including miniature ones.
With so many resorts on their own atoll, the water is calm, warm and the sandbars are shallow – you’ll be hard pushed getting your kids out of them. Most resort islands also have their own ‘house reef’ allowing for shallower, inner-reef snorkelling. Perfect for learners and first-timers, you’ll find plenty of bright, colourful fish as well as the odd sea turtle - if you keep your collective eyes peeled.
Older teens might like to dive with hammerhead sharks, or soar high above the islands as part of a paragliding experience, while dolphin cruises are an easy please for kids of all ages. The Maldives are home to four different types of dolphin and they are present year-round.
If you’re after dedicated kids’ clubs and babysitting, ask us about which resorts best suit you and your children’s needs.
A riot of colour awaits at the bottom of your over-water villa, that’s how startling the marine life is in the Maldives. With water visibility smashing the 30-metre benchmark, the Maldives’ sea garden is one of the richest, oldest and most dazzling ecosystems on the planet. Warm waters are perpetually inviting, and whether you choose to go snorkelling straight off the beach, or embark on an excursion, you’ll be rewarded with an underwater odyssey of exceptional clarity and colour.
The compact, island capital of the Maldives is six square kilometres of urban-meets-Utopian chaos. Imagine a nugget of New York sitting on its own tropical island, with high rises and apartment blocks crammed into every inch of available space, until they meet brilliant blue sea. Malé is a curious, cosmopolitan must-see and you can meander around it in just a few hours, visiting the golden-domed mosque, fish market, fruit vendors and super bright buildings.
Open air cinemas
There's no better way to spend a balmy Maldivian evening than outdoors at the flicks; a drink to-hand, a classic playing on the big screen and the sea gently lapping in the distance. Cinema Paradiso at Soneva Fushi Resort is an under-the-stars movie experience with beach loungers, popcorn and ice-cream. And if your frosted refreshments need a bit of a kick, get acquainted with the cocktail list. The outdoor cinema at Velassaru Island Resort is also a hit. Slouchy beanbags succumb to the sand and the screen enjoys a dreamy ocean backdrop. For something more intimate, ask us about resorts which offer couple’s private screenings, complete with a secret beach and your favourite film.
DIVE straight into the Maldives and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime holiday you’ll be reminiscing about for decades. Click Here for all our Maldives holiday deals.
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