1. PRIVACY IN PARADISE
There’s a little cluster of islands in the South Malé Atoll where Anantara reigns supreme. Home to Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Veli and Anantara Naladhu Private Island, it’s the latter that holds most sway for those in search of luxury, exclusivity and seclusion. Here, your own private island allows you to hide away in one of Naladhu’s 20 private houses – each designed to feel like a home-away-from-home, and named after a flower or plant found on the island. Each comes with an infinity pool, and sea views, a private garden or a stretch of private beach. Oh, and a 24-hour butler service in which your Kuwaanu will meet all your personalised and most indulgent needs.
A curated wine list just for you? No problem. A private al fresco dinner under the swaying palms? Consider it done. The island is framed by sapphires seas and coconut palms, welcoming nature’s healing powers from every angle. Naladhu’s experiences continue along the same exclusive vein: swimming with whale sharks, snorkelling with over 2,000 species of fish, private yacht journeys aboard Nirvana, cooking classes, wine tasting, private castaways days on Gulhifushi and restorative spa treatments. Pure escapism.
2. PAUSE, PLAY, REWIND
A hushed haven in the Maldives, in a lagoon that serenades a promise of elevated and intuitive service, Cheval Blanc Randheli – a hotel from the LVMH group – revisits the codes of ultra-luxury hospitality, with bold modernity at its core. Its made-to-measure approach means that it’s never a ‘one glove fits all’ experience, with everything you could possibly wish for left in the capable hands of your Majordome (butler) to manifest. Arrive in style on Randheli island via the hotel’s private Cheval Blanc seaplane, a breezy 40-minute glide over the azure waters from Velana International Airport – then settle into one of the beach, overwater or horizon villas, each an homage to minimalist, modern design, where less is indeed more.
To up the ante, reserve the entire Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island – an exclusive hideaway accessed only by boat, with four bedrooms, a 25-metre long pool, a private spa treatment room, fitness centre and screening room, and a dedicated team of Ambassadeurs. Don’t miss a Guerlain treatment in the spa (exclusive to the Maldives), a dinner of gastronomic theatrics at Le 1947, and a sunset sail aboard Cheval Blanc’s dhoni, with champagne, canapés and, hopefully, dolphins.
3. PURITY OF MIND, BODY AND SOUL
Ritz-Carlton made its deubt in the Maldives last year, with the opening of über-contemporary resort, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. Located in an archipelago on the north-eastern tip of the North Malé Atoll, the area is famous for its untouched white-sand beaches and abundant marine life swirling away under the ocean. Designed by multi-award winning Kerry Hill architects, with a mission to be respectful of the visual impact on the environment, the hotel is a lesson in modern minamalism, exuding a warmth and familiarity that makes it feel like home.
There are 100 one- to three-bedroom villas to choose from, either set over the crystal waters or nestled along pretty beach coves, each blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. On arrival, you’re assigned an Aris Meeha, or island butler, to cater to your every wish and whim, 24/7. The resort also invites guests to embrace the beru, or circle of island life, and offers a unique way to engage with and protect the enviroment with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Program. There’s also a Photography Studio, led by a team of experts, which immerses guests in the world of picture taking and photo-editing techniques.
4. KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY
If you’re looking for a holiday in paradise that promises to cater to everyone, with just the right balance of adult entertainment and kid-friendly edutainment, you’ve come to the right place at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa – one of the most child-centric properties in the Indian Ocean. The Duplex Beach and Duplex Overwater Villas are some of the roomiest in the Maldives, spread over two storeys, with two bedrooms, an upstairs lounge area, three bathrooms, private pool and thatched roofs that are reminiscent of an upside-down dhoni. For kids, the resort’s FAMiLY by JW – Little Griffins Kids Club is where all the fun can be found.
Purposely built for young adventurers and curious minds, it features a kids-only pool, a 43-foot-long pirate ship and a vast line-up of 100 activities, from kite-flying and beach olympics to art classes and pizza-making sessions. Now you’ve got the kids all sorted, onto you... The resort has five restaurants, three bars, an award-winning wine room and Our Spa by JW, which promises to slow your world down. As experiences go, there’s snorkelling, dolphin watching, diving, parasailing, kayaking, kite-surfing... And the list goes on. Who said kids get to have all the fun?
5. RELAX INTO ISLAND TIME
The One&Only brand is synonymous with outspoken luxury and virtually unparalleled service and style, and the same is true of its home in the Maldives, on one of the largest islands in the North Malé Atoll. On a jewel strip among a string of coral atolls, lagoons and white sands, One&Only Reethi Rah is a joy to behold, all modern and magical, cutting a clean, contemporary shape across the Indian Ocean’s shimmering horizon. You’ll find six kilometres of private coastline, with 12 pristine beaches, two swimming pools, eight restaurants and a One&Only Spa.
For active bodies, there’s yoga, tennis, football, boxing, barrecore and a host of ultra-cool watersports. For something a little different, parasail over the fish, sail and fish the ocean on a private yacht, or use a Seabob to explore the underwater world. To refuel, try extraordinary Japanese-Peruvian fusion food at Tapasake, or go green at the purely plant-based Botanica with Matthew Kenney outdoor restaurant. When it’s time to retire, sink into a Grand Residence to max out on space and serenity.
6. A COUPLE'S PARADISE
An island designed as an adults-only playground is a welcome one, and found at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Offering two distinct resort experiences across two islands – Rangali-Finolhu and Rangali – it’s the latter where the sound of swaying palms and lapping waves have uninterrupted air-time. An intimate and idyllic retreat dedicated to those seeking true disconnection of island life. Here you’ll find 50 newly-renovated villas, with floor-to-ceiling windows, a sense of understated luxury, and a private sun deck with stairs dipping into the lagoon, for the perfect starting point for sun and sea adventures.
Start your day with a sunrise yoga session for tranquil moment of reflection, followed by a floating breakfast in your pool, before heading to the Over Water spa, to choose from 17 different rituals, each designed to strengthen, soothe, heal and illuminate. Custom-created in partnership with Colorado wellness brand ISUN, they channel properties of living water, essential oils and precious gemstones. Spend lunchtime lazing at the epic Quiet Zone infinity pool, watch sunset from your private sundeck, then enjoy a Teppanyaki experience under the stars at KOKO Grill, before retreating to your cosy cocoon.