Destination Focus - Maldives
Maldives has deep blue seas, turquoise reefs, white sandy beaches and palm trees. It is also a place full of character, where its people have long spent their days languishing in the very essence of idyll living. While it is the perfect place to sit on a beach and watch a sunset with a cocktail in hand, it is also a geographical marvel, knowing that there are thousands of fish swimming around the vivid corals just a few feet away from where you sit.
In essence, this is the place for relaxation. Expect to lose all sense of time, what day it is and what’s going on elsewhere. This is the home of ‘no news, no shoes’ after all.Savour gourmet dining, spectacular diving and the most enchanting ocean sunsets. And if the stunning views aren’t enough, the activities and experiences on offer range from cultural homestays to desert island trips and a plethora of watersports. The underwater world here has been the subject of countless documentaries – the highlight perhaps being the chance to drift alongside manta rays (best seen between June and October).
Many of the islands are surrounded by wonderful coral reefs, often with fantastic marine life just moments from the shore. And if it’s man-made and underwater, then chances are that it’s a ‘world first’: there’s an underwater spa, underwater music club and underwater restaurant, all found on different islands.
The choice of accommodation in the Maldives is impressively diverse – from tiny hideaways with just a handful of rooms to larger, all inclusive resorts with abundant facilities; authentic, rustic retreats to cool and contemporary hotels; and simple beachfront bungalows to the most exclusive overwater villas. Sand floor bars, overwater restaurants, open-air bathrooms and – at the luxury end of the scale – private Jacuzzis or plunge pools are archetypical of a Maldivian resort. Aside from on the capital, Malé, there are no high-rise buildings to blot the landscape here. And boarding a speedboat or seaplane to transfer to your hotel is far more exciting than the everyday taxi ride.
It's no surprise that the Maldives is a favourite with honeymooners - romantic candlelit dinners under starry skies, secluded hideaway accommodation and palm-fringed beaches come as standard. If that isn’t enough, exclusive upgrades, seaplane transfers, private lounges and bespoke experiences make for an extra special honeymoon. And, although it might not be the obvious choice for families, the Maldives is a natural playground and a number of family-friendly resorts offer kids’ clubs, activities and family beach accommodation – some with double-storey villas or two adjoining bungalows.