1. A SENSE OF FREEDOM
Freedom and wellbeing sit at the core of Cora Cora Maldives, one of the archipelago’s newest resorts. A boutique resort of 100 keys, its mission is to help holidaymakers experience the Indian Ocean’s unique energy on their own terms, and redefine what luxury means to the individual. The island is a kaleidoscope of colour, creating a fresh take on Maldivian interior design and a vibrant energy that permeates the living spaces through to the experiences. But its contemporary nuances are in balance with the country’s heart and heritage, with original artwork and books in the rooms and a licensed art gallery and museum dedicated to celebrating the history and culture of the Maldives.
Playing the freedom card, the island has an app, allowing for flexibility of reservations and booking activities, a ‘Grab & Go’ corner where guests can order their food to take-away and eat at leisure, and a Premium All-Inclusive meal plan to make dining during your stay as easy as possible. For instant access to the island’s crisp white beach each morning, the Two Bedroom Family Beach Pool Villa or Two Bedroom Lagoon Pool Villa with Slide will keep kids – big and small – entertained from dawn to dusk. Or, to find yourself in the crystalline waters the moment the sun makes an appearance, the Lagoon Pool Villa will do nicely. When you’re not sunbathing or snorkelling, there’s a Tsunami Ghost Island visit, dolphin cruise and fishing, or for a more languid approach, there’s MOKSHA® Spa & Wellbeing Center for a slice of fitness, kindness and self-care. The freedom of choice is endless at Cora Cora.
2. THE REAL MALDIVES
Found at the northern tip of the Maldives, JA Manafaru is as remote as they come. No light, water or noise pollution from neighbouring islands, just you and a boundless tropical island experience. Once frequented by locals long before it became a resort, artefacts found on the island are now on display at its Maldivian Cultural Centre; a visit promises to enrich your stay with tales of the ‘real’ Maldives.
The all-natural island envelopes its 84 beachfront and over-water accommodation in both greenery and azure blue waters, with three residences perfect for families and multi-gen travel. Dine around the resort with the All-Inclusive meal plan, trying Asian cuisine at ocean-front White Orchid Lounge or seafood and steak under the stars at Ocean Grill. Join in a Maldivian cooking class, fishing trip or dolphin cruise to really explore JA Manafaru’s Maldivian magic.
3. QUIETUDE OF SOUL
If privacy and seclusion are what you seek this summer, a stay at Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita will tick the right boxes. Lapped by turquoise waters – which are perfect for water sports – on the east coast of the island, the secluded resort sits on the edgy of an idyllic lagoon. Tropical gardens, an exclusive Four Seasons Beach at Ile aux Cerfs and private gardens and pools within each villa and residence, escapism is high on the experience list.
There’s also an award-winning Spa and an Ernie Els-designed course offering a little yin and yang. A Sanctuary Beach Pool Villa gives you peace and privacy, while the Four Bedroom Premium Deluxe Residence Villa sleeps eight across lavish indoor space, with a rooftop terrace and views over the rolling golf greens.
4. A HOUSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
One of the newest and most exciting openings in the Indian Ocean is Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts, an intimate oceanfront retreat nestled deep in the south of Mahé. Overlooking the sandy shores and calm waters of Anse Aux Poules Bleues, known as the Aquarium of Wonders, the hotel is centred around crafted, multi-layered experiences that allow each guest to celebrate the destination in their own way. Unearth Seychelles’ beauty from the air with a helicopter tour, sail its crystal waters on a private yacht or scout the island on two wheels to the scent of ocean air.
The hotel is home to 41 living spaces, each with commanding views of the ocean, sun-kissed balconies and a warm, contemporary design inside. For family travel, the two-bedroom Cliff House or three-bedroom Bay House both offer hand-crafted hospitality. Spend your days on forest treks, rock fishing or hiking to waterfalls, or simply recharge at the hotel’s anpe wellness sanctuary or by its infinity pool. Relinquish yourself to a Seychelles adventure and enjoy Creole cuisine at Moutya, journey through Japan at Azido, take a bite out of Italy at Muse, and explore the philosophy of ‘root, fruit and spice’ at Indo-Seychellois bar, Kokoye.
5. THE ART OF GOOD LIVING
One of the benefits of having two island resorts in the Maldives, both unique in their own way, is the parallel experience you can offer guests. JOALI Maldives and JOALI BEING are two such island resorts, located in the Raa atoll and just a 15-minute boat ride from one another. JOALI Maldives, is an artistic haven, a wonderland of adventure for the free-spirited where joy leads the way. The island is a living, breathing art gallery – the first and only art immersive resort in the archipelago – with one-of-a-kind installations weaved throughout the resort, inviting dialogue between international art forms and indigenous influences, craftsmanship and materials. Its villas continue the art immersion, each with their own bespoke designs, creating havens of blissful luxury that redefine sustainable glamour and bringing a sense of cultural purpose to paradise.
On Bodufushi island, also in Raa Atoll, JOALI BEING brings the art of wellness front and centre as the region’s first nature immersive wellbeing island retreat. Here, a journey of transcendence awaits within the confines of an ultra-luxurious sanctuary, one that evokes both harmony and positivity. There are 68 well-living spaces, each with their own pools, as well as wellbeing-bar setups, meditative musical instruments wellbeing games on request. Your wellness journey is woven around the Four Pillars of Mind, Skin, Microbiome and Energy, with different Immersion Programmes ranging from five nights to three weeks. The island also has KAASHI, a hydrotherapy hall created around the idea of healing through water; AREKA, quiet zones with an ice grotto, vitality pools, sauna and consultation rooms for personalised diagnostics; SEDA, a sound therapy hall; and a resident herbologist at AKTAR who will craft bespoke balms and tonics.
6. SUN-KISSED IN THE SEYCHELLES
Kempinski Seychelles Resort Baie Lazare is located so perfectly, it is surrounded by dense tropical greenery on one side, sparkling cerulean waters of the lagoon on the other, and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites close by. The vivid landscape mirrors the hotel’s vibrant style, whilst there’s an air of serenity that seeps through its walls too.
The palm-lined beach stretches almost as far as the eye can see, inviting long lazy days perched on a sun lounger. But for those with a more active inclination, the diving here is excellent, with coral reefs, submerged granite formations and long-sunk shipwrecks all waiting to be discovered. Stay in a Hill View Room to immerse yourself in nature, or a Sea View Garden Room to be close to all the Indian Ocean action.
7. THE MAGIC OF MAURITIUS
One&Only Le Saint Géran sits on a private peninsula, where the most tranquil of seas merge with sugarcane-covered mountains in a flurry of aquamarine and verdant green. Book the standalone Villa One to discover luxury on another level, with its spectacular swimming pool, private terrace and dedicated butler. Then spend your days kayaking through mangroves, island hopping, discovering waterfalls, chartering a yacht or snorkelling around the resort. Adventure and discovery is on your own time here. Be certain to make an appointment at the pool-facing spa for serenity on tap and Nature’s Resonance by ESPA, then jump aboard the resort’s 33-foot luxury speedboat for an exclusive lunch at sea.
8. A PARED-BACK BEAUTY
Located on the Shaviyani Atoll, featuring one of the country’s largest resort lagoon, Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi, is an ode to escapism. This ‘secret water island’, as dubbed by locals, is home to 120 villas, each connecting you with the island’s natural beauty, four restaurants, an art studio and Willow Stream Spa, which draws its energy and vitality from the island. Try aerial yoga, Pilates, boxing and HIIT, before winding down with a 120-minute locally-inspired Coconut Experience. Book a Three Bedroom Water Sunset Villa for a rustic take on Indian Ocean elegance.
9. ISLAND LUXURIES
When a hotel is located in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, you’re in for something special. Anantara Kihavah’s barefoort paradise makes the most of its setting, built without one tree being moved or removed from the island. The design pays homage to the seafarers of old, fusing Indian Ocean, Arab and Portuguese motifs with indigenous materials. Dipping into your private pool, snorkelling with manta rays and Hawksbill turtles, and stargazing into the night after dinner on a deserted sandbank or at underwater restaurant Sea are how your days will play out in paradise.
10. A GRAND HOTEL
Grand Park Kodhipparu is the first luxury resort by the Park Hotel Group, and its first entry into the Indian Ocean. Sitting pretty in the North Malé Atoll, just a 20 minute boat ride from Malé itself, it’s a peaceful sanctuary tailored to dedicated wellness journeys that are unique to each guest and perfect for those seeking optimum health from their holiday. Its award-winning spa features treatments that use enhanced Asian touch techniques of Balinese or Ayurvedic designed to achieve inner peace, and it has also recently introduced Tibetan meditative ‘Sound Healing’ therapy to its roster of treatments.
Each private sanctuary comes with breathtaking views, be it from a Beach Pool Villa, Reef Pool Water Villa or the most luxurious of accommodations, the Grand Residence. Truly immerse yourself into island life with a ‘Float and Dine’ private dining experience, and choose a floating breakfast in your villa pool, or for something more out of this world, a sunset dinner from a private floating deck in the lagoon, with a special menu curated and served by your private chef and butler. There are three specialty restaurants around the resort, as well as myriad exclusive dining experiences, with a choice of half-board, full-board, Kodhipparu Feast and Kodhipparu Indulgence meal plans to allow guests to treat themselves how and when they want. A true gem in the Indian Ocean, a stay here is very grand indeed.