Magnificent Maldives: 7 beautiful resorts to visit before you die
Words by Rob Chilton
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Your at-a-glance guide to some of the most beautiful Indian Ocean retreats
The word wanderlust won't even come close to the emotion you'll feel when looking at these sublime travel destinations in the Maldives.
Diving, snorkelling, tennis, boat trips and a surf simulator can be enjoyed at this contemporary resort that is enveloped by lush tropical greenery. Cheval Blanc has an elegant, slightly minimalist look created by renowned architect Jean-Michel Gathy plus modern art from Vincent Beaurin.
Journey: 40min seaplane from Male Airport
Fresh from a year-long renovation that saw each piece of furniture in the 45 over-water villas made from upcycled materials, this eco-minded resort aims to balance the body and soul of guests with its barefoot luxury policy. Since opening in 2000, Gili Lankanfushi has been a pioneer in eco-tourism and has a dedicated marine biology team taking care of the wildlife in the lagoon.
Journey: 20min speedboat from Male Airport
A new series of breathing workshops designed to calm the mind is typical of Milaidhoo Island’s laidback outlook. Fifty thatched-roof villas - each with a private pool - sprawl across 13 acres of this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that has a Maldivian atmosphere thanks to interiors that have been crafted by locals.
Journey: 30min seaplane from Male Airport and then a 15min speedboat
Famous for elegant design and jaw-dropping luxury, this resort from One & Only also has a caring side with a turtle rehab centre caring for injured sea turtles rescued from the ocean. Blessed with six kilometres of coastline, One&Only Reethi Rah is a diving paradise with surrounding reefs that are home to white-tip sharks, butterfly fish, Napoleon wrasses and endangered turtle species.
Journey: 20min seaplane from Male Airport
The only resort on the remote Laamu Atoll, Six Senses Laamu is a secluded bolthole of style and sophistication. Take a cruise and you’re sure to see bottlenose and spinner dolphins frolicking in the clear waters. Then retire to your cosy villa, all of which are made from local and sustainable materials. Get ready for dinner of the local catch, paired with ingredients from the property’s organic garden followed by a visit to the ice cream parlour for a free scoop.
Journey: 35min seaplane from Male Airport and then a 15min speedboat
With its own reef, the Adaaran Prestige Vadoo at the gateway to the south atolls is ideal for divers. With 50 above water villas that are luxuriously laidback with their own private pools, this is a playground for both families and romantic couples.
Journey: 15min speedboat from Male Airport
Beautiful thatched bungalows made from New Zealand pine and shaped to echo local fishing boats provide havens of tranquillity for guests at this super luxurious resort. High ceilings, huge windows and private decks create the illusion of being outside 24/7 while glossy teak floors inside are a treat for your feet.
Journey: 40min speedboat from Male Airport
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