Maldives

An intense colour palette enveloping a thousand isles and boundless seas

Overview

What’s the best date you’ve ever been on? How about gazing at the translucent rings on Saturn at Soneva Fushi’s own observatory while a resident astronomer explains how Maldivian fishermen follow the stars over the Indian Ocean? Then, feeling hungry, negotiate the hanging rope walkway across to the resort’s tree-top restaurant, a fairy tale spot with delicious fresh cuisine served high above the jungle gardens, sugar white sand and azure ocean below.

Well, it’s one way to work up an appetite. Or kayaking, paddle-boarding, jet-skiing, snorkelling, parasailing, windsurfing, kite-surfing, spa treatments or just relaxing in a private paradise that is almost too good to be true. Kick off your shoes, lose your worries and reset mind and body.

Lying 600 miles southwest of Sri Lanka and India, this island nation is truly remote and as such has boasted a reputation for exclusivity and uber luxury. The archipelago is dispersed over a vast 115 square miles and is broken down into the main groups of Malé Atolls, Central Atolls, and South Atolls. Only about 200 of these idyllic isles are inhabited. Several are made up entirely of a single top class resort offering the highest levels of service and comfort such as OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo, Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru and Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi. In 2009 however, the Maldivian government granted permission for guesthouses to welcome overseas visitors making it possible to travel the Maldives on a more attainable budget. If you can splash out however, the low May to October season is the time to do it. Statistically there is a higher amount of rainfall but overall there is still plenty of sun with highs around 29 °C. Costs at this time can as much as halve and you get much more space on the resorts. Seas can be a little rougher which is fantastic for surfers and there are of safe areas to swim as many islands are protected by the encircling reefs.

Island Hopping

Once the not insignificant question of budget is out of the way, you may still find it difficult to decide between islands. Look carefully as some resorts specialise in honeymooners, in families, in watersports, or in Ayurvedic Spa treatments. Due to the distance between islands many people pick one resort and stay for a couple of weeks. Wonderful though that is, it is possible to visit local islands such as Maafushi, Guraidhoo or Dhiffushi. Each has a distinct personality and is fascinating to explore, meeting people, wandering unpaved streets past cafes, mosques, schools and beautiful local beaches. Not least, you can visit Malé, one of the smallest capitals in the world with its bustling fish market, colourful buildings and national museum.

Diving

The true wonder of the Maldives lies under the water which sparkles with so many vibrant shade of blue. Here you’ll experience some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world with unbelievable visibility and excellent chances to spot whale sharks, manta rays, sting rays, dolphins, sea turtles and shoals of tropical fish in their thousands. Most resorts offer diving excursions and lessons while enterprising locals have established live aboard diving experiences which can last a week or more.


Low Season Saving

Up to 30% versus peak pricing


Tourist:Local Ratio

Peak Season

Low Season

4:1
2:1


Flight Time from UK

15 Hours

Low Season Months

Jan Feb Mar Apr May
28°C
216mm
8hrs
Jun
28°C
172mm
7hrs
Jul
28°C
147mm
7hrs
Aug
28°C
188mm
7hrs
Sep Oct Nov Dec

Hotels

Top Experiences

Stay in an Overwater Villa

Serene thatch-roof cabins where you can drift to sleep with the ocean right there below you. Many offer rustic luxury, while the most expensive are the size of a house with their own plunge pool and even a slide into the lagoon.

Learn to Surf

From one-to-one lesson from onsite resort professionals at Six Senses Laamu or Anantara Dhigu to week long retreats, low season is your chance to learn a new talent or hone your boarding skills when the surf is up.

Hanifaru Bay Protected Biosphere

July to October is the best time to see hundreds of huge Manta rays, and sometimes whale sharks, at this stunning UNESCO marine site. Monsoon driven plankton are scooped into the bays channel causing a feeding frenzy.

Insider Tips

  • Huvafen Fushi resort is home to the world’s first and only underwater spa. Indulge in luxury treatments in a serene, soothing and surreal world below the surface as shoals of tropical fish go by.
  • Try a Maldivian Breakfast. Mas huni is a delicious mix comprising tuna, onion and chilli, all finely chopped and mixed with grated coconut and served with freshly baked roshi flatbread.
  • A strong Muslim culture means you’ll need to agree to bring in no idols for worship, bibles or pork products. Outside of the resorts you’ll struggle to buy alcohol and on local islands Friday is a day of rest.

Good To Know

  • In low season when availability is at its maximum, many resorts will offer you a complimentary room upgrade upon arrival. If none is forthcoming just politely ask, they can only say no.
  • Resorts situated in the Northern Atolls tend to get less rainfall than resorts in the South, so head a little further away from the airport to get the best of the weather and a more isolated experience.
  • The island of Kuda Finolhu is one uninhabited island you can visit on a day excursion. Take a picnic, swim in the crystal clear lagoon of Maadhoo Beach and walk on trails through thick vegetation.

Food & Drink

Minus Six Meters M6M.

££££

Dine in the deep at Atmosphere Ozen’s underwater restaurant. An elegant space with stunning views of the ocean’s tropical marine life, specialising in, you guessed it…seafood.

The Crab Shack.

£££

The latest offering from Soneva Jani, this idyllic outdoor venue at the end of a sandbank serves up just about any tasty connotation of crab, while the upstairs deck is perfect for sunsets.

Meeru.

££££

At Constance Halaveli resort you can enjoy super fresh seafood and steaks cooked on an open grill right beside the sea. Dig your toes into the sand as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean.

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