1. As pristine as the marine world surrounding it, brand-new Dhigali Maldives is Universal Resorts’ latest addition to its portfolio, having opened June 1, 2017. A genuine escape nestled within the remote Raa Atoll, a 40-minute seaplane journey that shows off the string of islands that make up the Maldives – an unforgettable sight from above – delivers guests to a destination of serenity that is Dhigali. With palms swaying gently in the breeze, the Indian Ocean lapping peacefully at the shore, and its own sandbank on the sunset side, the tropical oasis boasts unspoiled luxury and modern accommodation designed in contemporary minimalist style with king-size beds, rainfall showers and state-of-the-art technology. 180 bungalows, villas and suites are spread across eight room categories including spacious Beach Villas ideal for families that can host two adults and two children (who, from ages 3-12, will enjoy an expansive complimentary children’s club), and sumptuous Lagoon Villas set atop stilts over the crystalline water with endless ocean views and a private plunge pool.
Although being on a private island may seem limiting, the world of indulgences and activities is endless, with water sports calling out for active mornings of windsurfing, kayaking, sailing lessons and more. Surrounded by the wonders of the Indian Ocean, it would be remiss not to set out on an excursion to watch dolphins play in the surf as the sun sets, visit a local island for a taste of Maldivian culture, or even a thrilling afternoon sports fishing. And featuring a spectacular house reef with a rainbow of coral and fish – and even manta rays during some seasons – the opportunity to explore the underwater world is always at your fingertips. This is all sure to work up an appetite and thirst, which can be sated at five restaurants and two bars, each offering a unique experience, from beachside Faru with freshly grilled meat and seafood, to Haali the ultimate place to watch the sunset with a refreshing cocktail in hand. For any vestiges of lingering stress or tension, Dhigali Spa, one of the Maldives’ largest, is the cure with indigenous therapies performed amid a tranquil garden setting.
2. Offering the feeling of seclusion without isolation, Velassaru Maldives, a short 25-minute speedboat ride from Malé International Airport, is the answer. Don’t let the ease of access diminish the exceptional qualities of the destination, as Velassaru boasts one of the largest turquoise lagoons in the region and is one of the exclusive members of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Located on the beach and overwater, 129 cosseting bungalows and villas in natural teak, stone and thatch are never more than steps away from white-sand beaches – some of which now offer a refreshed experience with new furnishings in the Water Suite, Water Villa and Water Villa with Pool categories, not to mention the brand-new Deluxe Villas with bright, split-level bedroom and living-room spaces. Stepping beyond your island home, enticing dining and drinking venues can be discovered where teppanyaki is served overwater, gourmet fare is presented beachside and innovative drinks and tasty tapas are enjoyed alongside a technicolour sunset at Chill Bar. Romance is also on the menu, and the island is an extraordinary destination for renewal of vows ceremonies.
Those seeking rejuvenation, respite and an atmosphere of immersive well-being are well taken care of thanks to The Spa at Velassaru, which features a hydropool perched over the lagoon, relaxation and steam rooms, and 10 overwater treatment rooms with uninterrupted seascape views. Pampering treatments indulge the mind, body and spirit with thorough rituals, restorative facials, body scrubs and wraps to leave the skin silky smooth, and massages to suit every preference. And to end a day on a peaceful note? Head to the beach for a complimentary sunset yoga session that takes places three days each week, leaving you in an extra positive state of mind.
3. If it’s a family or active escape you’re seeking, Kurumba Maldives has the charisma and action to give guests of every age the ultimate island experience. Once arriving in the Maldives, no time is wasted as the resort is a mere 10 minutes from the airport via luxury speedboat transfer. Upon reaching the island escape, explore a wealth of events, activities, experiences – and stress-free all-inclusive meal plans that open up a world of cuisine throughout eight restaurants and four bars. Hungry for Middle Eastern, Italian or Asian – that and more is skilfully prepared each dayIn the sun-kissed afternoons, choose from extraordinary diving excursions – or snorkelling lessons and tours for first-timers – Zumba, Maldivian arts and crafts, glass-bottom boat tours, marine biology presentations, and the Majaa Kids’ Club for the little ones. As night falls, the island breathes new life with entertainment from talented Maldivian artists, movies under the stars, sunset kayak excursions, and DJs and karaoke.
Comfortable, island-style accommodations range from airy rooms steps from the lagoon and Beach Villas with Jacuzzis, to the Royal Kurumba Residence fit to pamper a group of friends or large family. One of the new Deluxe Pool Villas are the ideal choice for many guests, with a private pool and spacious balcony, king-size bed, indoor and outdoor showers, Bose Bluetooth speaker and aromatherapy amenities. An in-villa wine cellar and “make your own cocktail” amenities are unique touches that make this villa stay a truly memorable one, boasting privacy and Maldivian views that are unparalleled.
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