The Maldives Islands can be found in the Indian Ocean, 435 miles south-west of Sri Lanka. The 26 atolls of Maldives encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets of which less than 200 are inhabited. Until the early 70’s, tourists hadn’t set foot on the islands, but today 90% of government tax revenue is generated from import duties and tourism related taxes.
The main ‘hub’ for the Maldives is the island of Male and although British Airways have recently introduced a new route flying direct to Male, Qatar Airlines also offer an extremely efficient service with an exceptionally high standard, stopping off in Doha.
Your chosen island and its proximity to Male will determine your onward transfer arrangements. Male is relatively central amongst the islands so the closer Atoll’s can be reached by speed boat or private yacht, whilst those further a field would require a sea plane transfer.
It’s hard to believe that whilst all of the islands have pure white sand and turquoise seas, that the resorts can be so diverse and offer such a wide variety of facilities.
On Terry’s recent educational visit to the Maldives, he visited six of the most prestigious islands, all of which have something very different to offer.
Taj Exotica resort & Spa is located very close to male with only a 15 minute speed boat transfer. For those not wishing to have too far to travel once they have arrived in Male, this would be a perfect option. Whilst this hotel is ‘family friendly’ it does not have any children’s facilities so would be far better suited to couples or honeymooners. With an amazing spa that is a member of the ‘Leading Spa’s of the World’ including over water treatment room that look onto the clear blue waters of one of the largest lagoon in the Maldives. This resort has accommodation on both the beach front and over water.
Kanahura is a member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World and a 35 minute seaplane ride from Male. This is a slightly larger island with 95 villas and has both beach and over-water accommodations which can take children as long as they are 6 years and over. A fantastic resort for families with a fully equipped kids club starting at 4 years and taking them up to 11. The Kids club is complimentary and baby sitting can also be arranged locally for a small fee.
There are beautiful nature walks on the island and you can walk the entire circumference in approximately 40 minutes. Additionally there is dolphin and turtle watching, sailing, water skiing, diving and floodlit tennis courts on a small neighbouring island. A cinema, gym, arts & crafts museum and library can also be found on this small island that is actually more like a village. Plenty to do for all ages and those looking for more than just sun and sand.
One & Only Reethi Rah is one of the largest islands in the North Atoll (6 hectares) and is reached by taking the 1 hour luxury yacht ride from Male. Again one of the larger islands with 130 villas (both beach and over-water) it is has won many accolades including Conde Nast Number 1 Hotel in the World and it is easy to see why. The villas are some of the largest in the world with high airy ceilings, enormous baths and luxurious furniture. Each villa also comes with its own bicycles; however there are plenty of golf buggies roaming the property if the bike doesn’t take your fancy.
Again an island with plenty of activities and perfect for families. Kids club, tennis academy, badminton, football, game fishing, shark & turtle watch, PADI diving, superb spa facilities, water sports, snorkelling, motorised and non motorised water sports, and various excursions. If you happen not to be travelling with children or if you wish to just escape from them, then there is an adult’s only pool, which has been featured in many high profile travel publications.
It’s the little extra touches that make Reethi Rah so special, for example, a foot washing and relaxation ritual when you arrive at your villa. Complimentary i-pods on the beach, sunglass cleaning facility, fruit kebabs and mini smoothies brought to your sun longer and complimentary afternoon tea. The food is also superb with a large variety of cuisines, but if staying over a weekend, do not miss out on the Sunday champagne brunch – the most amazing array of food imaginable. For couple and families alike.
Soneva Gili by Six Senses is a short 20 minute boat ride from Male. Soneva Gili has only over-water villas so is not suitable for young families. It is known for its rustic charm and sustainability as the core purpose of Six Senses Resorts & Spas is ‘To create innovative and enlightening experiences that rejuvenate guests’ love of SLOW LIFE’. SUSTAINABLE – LOCAL – ORGANIC – WHOLESOME – LEARNING – INSPIRING – FUN – EXPERIENCES.
The 45 villas are very spacious and have a real ‘back to nature’ feel about them. In addition to having upper floor sundecks they also have decking directly above the lagoon. This property boats a number of residences which would suit those travelling as a larger group but the ultimate in accommodation at Soneva Gili must be the Private Reserve. This comprises of 5 separate building, all linked over water and only accessible by boat, private spa, live in butlers (Mr & Mrs Friday) who are on call 24 hours, fully equipped kitchen, water slide, deep water coral pool and much, much more. Non motorised water sports are complimentary on the main island. This property would be perfect for honeymooners and couple or whish to escape from the ‘hum drum’ or everyday life
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has 150 villas situated on two islands which are linked by a long jetty. Alternatively you can take a Dhoni which runs between the islands every 10 minutes. It takes 30 minutes by sea plane to reach the island from Male as it is situated in the South Ari Atoll. Both beach and water villas can be found here, but one of the hotels islands, just accommodates over-water accommodation. There are 7 restaurants including the worlds first all glass under sea restaurant – be sure to make your reservation early as it only accommodates 14 people and is booked up many months in advance. This property boats not one but two spas on respective islands and also an ‘ice cream spa’ for children aged 3-12. Another property that would work well for families as it also has a complimentary day time Kids Club, but if you wish your children to take part in the evening activities, while you enjoy a quite dinner then a small charge is applicable locally. All of the water sports facilities that you would imagine including big game fishing and glass bottom boat rides. If you want a variety of activities and choices of dining options then this would be a great option.
Huvafen Fushi is a 30 minute speedboat transfer from Male. This resort is the ultimate in bare foot luxury as each of the 43 bungalows (both beach and over-water) has its own plunge pool. A variety of dining options to suit all including Vinum, a bottled cave housing in excess of 6,000 bottles of wine. Aquum Spa is the world’s first underwater spa and treatments are truly out of this world.
Other facilities include an over water gym, yoga pavilion, complimentary non motorised water sports, fibre optic swimming pool and excursions including sand bank snorkelling. For the more discerning client wanting privacy but superb accommodation and impeccable service then look no further.
As you can see there really is an option for everyone and to discover which island would suit you best, please do not hesitate to give Terry a call on 01428 658 777.