Which Maldives Island is For You?
The Maldives is home to some of the best beaches in the world and has a wealth of world-class hotels. Each island and hotel has its own character and quirks and it is crucial to be aware of the nuances between each resort, before working out which one is right for you. Luckily, our team of experts have hopped on speedboats and seaplanes to explore each resort and every atoll. Read on for some of our insider knowledge…
1. SONEVA FUSHI
For a Robinson Crusoe-style stay
One of the originators of the relaxed luxury ethos of the Maldives hotels, Soneva Fushi never puts a (bare) foot wrong. And while there may be ‘no news and no shoes’ current running through the resort, it can still be a hive of activity – if you want it to be. We can arrange complimentary yoga tuition in the tree-tops, or head to the fully operational observatory at night to gaze at the stars. Time is just as happily spent lounging on the so-perfect-that-it-looks-photo-shopped beach, cycling round the island, or exploring the coral reef which is, unlike most islands, right there. Quite simply, owners Sonu and Eva Shivdasani have created their very own castaway paradise here and we strongly recommend that you stay tuned for the opening of their new sister resort, Soneva Jani, this autumn.
Henrietta, Founder and Co-Owner, travelled with her daughter:
‘Soneva Fushi is also a real treat for foodies, with restaurants run by ex-Noma chefs and a dizzying amount of cuisines to choose from. Our favourite was the pretty ‘Fresh in the Garden’, which is set on stilts between wooden walkways above the extensive herb garden.’
2. JA MANAFARU
For the ultimate private getaway
Sitting 75 minutes north of Malé by seaplane, JA Manafaru may seem like a journey too far after a lengthy day’s travelling. But the payoff is a stay in a castaway’s paradise. This wonderfully remote resort is exotic, with a pleasingly empty skyline – it is the Maldives just like you imagined it would be. The far-flung location also means that there are no limits on water sports, so whole days can be lost bobbing about on that crystal water. With the main focus on privacy, each room on land is carefully hidden amongst the lush greenery.
Florence, Destination Expert, travelled with her sister:
‘Joyfully, every villa has its own freshwater private pool and we loved our secluded Beach Studio, which had a ginormous bathroom, complete with Jacuzzi tub and private access to the beach. And only once during our stay did we see someone walk past our room! A highlight was the castaway picnic on a private island, organised by our lovely villa host, Sam. Restaurant wise, we quickly discovered our favourite, White Orchid, where we sat most evenings, drinking cocktails while watching the sunset’.
3. GILI LANKANFUSHI
For the most amazing over-water villas
The first all over-water hotel in the Maldives, the vibe at Gili Lankanfushi is pure romance and is a winning choice for couples looking for a private getaway. Just a short speedboat ride from Malé and you are there, although this does mean that there is some boat traffic whizzing by. Still, rush-hour on Oxford Street this is not. Foodies are spoilt with a top-notch Japanese restaurant, where you can try your hand at sushi-making, or even building your own zen garden. At some point during your stay, it is well worth swimming or canoeing out to ‘One Palm Island’, to spend the day marooned on the resort’s desert island retreat.
Florence, Destination Expert:
‘This resort is home to some of the largest and most palatial spacious over-water villas I have ever experienced in the Maldives (and I have been to over 20 different islands). We loved the seclusion of our ‘floating’ Crusoe Residence, which is unattached to any jetty and can only be reached by our private boat. A highlight was having our bed made-up on the roof terrace of our villa on the last night of our stay. I will always remember sleeping under a ceiling of stars, with the only noise being the water lapping below and the wind whistling gently through our mosquito net’.
4. PER AQUUM NIYAMA
For an action-packed holiday
Niyama is a young, fresh, but still carefully considered take on the Maldives, which is obvious from the moment you slip on your electric wristband key, find the welcome message painted on your villa’s mirror and spy the (regularly restocked) complimentary ice cream in the mini bar. Split into two islands, ‘Chill’ and ‘Play’, your choices are clear-cut. Relax in the spa on ‘Chill’, with its welcome big-city-style late opening hours, or venture over to ‘Play’ to dance among the fish at underwater nightclub, Subsix.
Florence, Destination Expert:
‘We wanted to do more than just lie on the beach with a book so we really appreciated the extensive and unusual range of activities such as sea bobbing, jet packing and an art class with the resident artist. There’s even a Simulator Room and indoor cinema if you want some time out of the sun.’
For an incredible value honeymoon
Baros has plenty to recommend itself as a honeymoon destination. First off there’s its intimate size, which means staff are attuned to every guest’s needs and personal touches are just that. Then there’s the remarkably peaceful ambience rippling through the island, due in part to the 12 and up rule. Baros is also home to one of the best coral reefs in the Maldives, and they have even created their own shipwreck for the most inspiring snorkelling. It is also worth mentioning that the resort is slightly more affordable than other Maldives options.
Penny, Destination Expert, travelled with her boyfriend:
‘The water villas are good, but ideally, you want one with its own private pool. We loved our Beach Villa, which was more private and had direct access to the beach. Our favourite restaurant had to be The Lighthouse, with its freshly-caught grilled lobster and views out over the Indian Ocean.’
6. AMILLA FUSHI
For a family holiday to remember
Bursting onto the scene at the end of 2014, Amilla Fushi is less Robinson Crusoe retreat, more sleek and modern design-led hideaway. All cool whites, clean lines and geometric villas, the resort’s feel is contemporary but still warm, thanks to some thoughtful touches like the giant bean bags scattered around and the outdoor cinema. Perfect for families, there are specially designed areas for children of all ages, including a juice bar and a host of arcade games. Each villa also has its own butler, who plans and designs all manner of activities to keep everyone entertained, while the strip of restaurants feels more relaxed than some of the other hotels, with one even offering a Maldivian take on fish and chips…
Chris, Director and Co-Owner, travelled with his family:
‘Amilla Fushi is ideal for young families, not only because of its secure layout (which is not as spread out as other Maldivian islands), but also because of its fantastic children’s club and complimentary nanny service. All the villas are impressive, but the top choice has to be an ethereal private treehouse, complete with floating swimming pool.’
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