1. FOR THE WAVE HUNTERS: GILI LANKANFUSHI
From April to October, the Maldives is an exhilarating surfers’ paradise with tropical water temperatures, consistent swell and low crowds. Some of the world’s best surf breaks are on the doorstep of luxury resort Gili Lankanfushi in the North Malé atoll, which shares the same stretch of reef as the famous “Jails” surf break, with another three of the most renowned breaks just a 10-minute boat ride from the resort and several more reached within 20 minutes. Choose from open tubes at “Cokes”, thrilling racetrack waves at “Honkies”, or mellow waves at “Ninjas”, or stay in the calm of the lagoon, ideal for novices. With its own “surf shack”, Gili has teamed up with renowned surfing company Tropicsurf to offer expert instruction for all levels and from the age of eight upwards, with all lessons and surf trips bespoke and tailored to guests’ needs. Lessons start at US$125 per hour and include equipment hire. Villas (based on two sharing) at Gili Lankanfushi start at US$1,385 a night excluding taxes.
2. LEARN SOMETHING NEW: LUX* SOUTH ARI ATOLL
You hardly need to rustle up a reason to choose the chic, unconventional Lux* South Ari Atoll as your Maldivian hideaway, but “Six new Reasons To Go LUX*” have premiered at the resort, offering guests some highly unique signature experiences to bolster their already idyllic holiday. First up, LUX* Photo Fanatics is a unique photography-workshop experience – ideal for capturing unforgettable moments on your holiday. Or, between snorkelling and spa going, guests can drop into Junkart Studio & Gallery, a creative space where they can create new-from-old contemporary art made of recycled materials. Families now have Little LUX*, a dedicated beach area for the little ones, gourmands can test out their culinary skills in the pizza kitchen with Master Chef in the making, while more on the eccentric side, LUX* Worry Box invites guests to let their worries go up in smoke, quite literally, by shedding a bean a day away. Finally, Wanderlust Library is a new addition in which to disappear for an afternoon spent thumbing through some of the world’s greatest travel books.
3. FOR ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY: KANDIMA MALDIVES
Smart, playful and different, Kandima Maldives is a new game-changing Maldivian destination that offers a seriously stylish and colourful island vibe in the Dhaalu Atoll, with the largest pool in the Maldives measuring 100 metres – quite a feat for an island that’s a mere three kilometres in length. With 274 smart and stylish studios and villas, from the spacious Family Sky Studio or the Aqua Villa with Jacuzzi and direct access to the ocean from your own private deck, families, couples or groups of friends will find their own piece of “wow” at this spirited resort. With a diving school and marine biology centre, an art studio, and full array of fitness activities, from aerobic, Zumba and boot camp classes to yoga, the island also has 10 unique restaurants and bars offering a dine-around-the-world experience with perfectly grilled steaks at Smoked to Far East fine dining at the Sea Dragon. The starting price for an “Oh-so Kool Love@K” package is US$4,570 excluding taxes for four nights, available until 23 December, 2017.
4. FOR STARRY-EYED COUPLES: MILAIDHOO ISLAND MALDIVES
Fat Ming L’Amour, Smoo and Buttercream – these are just some of the names of stars in the galaxy above Milaidhoo, christened by loved-up honeymooners. The resort’s “The Perfect Honeymoon” package offers starry-eyed couples the chance to name their own star, a process that comes complete with a souvenir certificate and coordinates, during their truly indulgent stay. Some of the romantic inclusions in the offer are a one 60-minute spa treatment for two at the spa, one private three-course candlelit dinner on the deck of your villa, as well as a Milaidhoo signature cake on arrival, a bath with flower petals, scented oils, candles, and a bottle of champagne and chocolates during your stay. So what will you name your star? The sky (or the galaxy, rather) is the limit, but it may just be the perfect opportunity to test out those quirky names...before you name your child.
5. FOR CASTAWAY-STYLE DINING: KANUHURA MALDIVES
If you’ve ever dreamed (and haven’t we all?) of being a castaway on a stupendously beautiful tropical island, Kanuhura, a stunning resort in the Lhaviyani Atoll, can make the fantasy come true. On the resort’s petite Masleggihura island, where baby sharks splash in the shallows and herons swoop, guests can enjoy lunch – either at a table or sunbed lounges or even with a picnic – dining on champagne, fresh coconut, fruit skewers and a cake selection. Live cooking in the sand is another option. Jehunuhura (pictured on the left) is another beautiful island only a two-minute boat ride away from Kanuhura, or if you’re feeling energetic, just a 300-metre swim. With a photogenic sandy beach and a small manicured “jungle”, the island is home to Drift restaurant where guests dine beneath the palm trees on a light lunch with grilled fish and meat and fresh salads or just a refreshing drink or coffee. There are even showers, toilets and sun beds, meaning you can spend the entire day there before returning to Kanuhura. Castaway paradise, found.
6. FUN WITH THE FAMILY: SONEVA JANI
Even on a far-flung island, the Easter spirit is alive and kicking with Soneva Jani creating the World’s Greatest Easter Egg Hunt, set to take place on Easter Sunday (April 16th) in partnership with the luxury chocolate brand Valrhona. The recently opened island resort, located in the Medhufaru lagoon in the Noonu Atoll, actually comprises five islands, the largest of which is Medhufaru, with its own outdoor cinema experience, Cinema Paradiso. Some 300 wooden Easter eggs will be hidden around Soneva Jani, which can be traded for the real thing at The Gathering. After the hunt fun, it’s canapés and drinks at North Beach at 6pm where the most successful “egg hunter” will receive a special Valrhona prize. Two-bedroom water retreats, with a private 13-metre swimming pool, open-air bathroom with tub, shower and lagoon access, start from US$11,553.
7. FOR A WORRY-FREE GETAWAY: FURAVERI ISLAND RESORT & SPA
It’s usually grown ups who profess their undying adoration for the Maldives, but children too, tend to fall in love –and why wouldn’t they? With empty, white-sand beaches and hours spent “Nemo” spotting in cerulean waters, not to mention the fabulous kids’ clubs, the Maldives is also a paradise for children. But all that fun can add up (for parents, at least), which is why the “Experience Family Package” at Furaveri Island Resort & Spa, set on a tropical 23-hectare coral island in the Raa Atoll, makes so much sense. With free return domestic transfers for a family of two adults and two children below 12, you and your brood will also enjoy free breakfast and dinner buffet (kids dine free all day), with a 25 percent discount on motorised watersports and spa, and a complimentary family sunset fishing session. It’s safe to say you’ll never want to leave once you make yourself at home in one of Furaveri’s Beach Pool Villas or Dhoni Pool Villas, fringed by mature tropical foliage and offering privacy, direct beach access, semi al fresco bathrooms and oversized sun decks with private pools. But be warned: once your children spot the kids’ club – staffed by certified carers and packed with toys, with a sand-filled outdoor playground, playhouse and a huge slide – neither will they.