1. Relax & Rest With The Best
You’ll find Taj Exotica Resort & Spa spread across Emboodhu Finolhu island in the middle of one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives, where emerald palm trees meet aquamarine coral reef, resulting in a picture-perfect island escape. Just a 15-minute boat ride from Malé, once on the island you’re on ‘Taj Time’, meaning life slows down, so you can too. Exercise your endorphins with scuba diving or parasailing, sink into a hammock in The Rehendi Presidential Overwater Suite, then rediscover your inner calm at Jiva Spa. Book the resort’s International Getaways offer for a minimum of four nights, and all this awaits: a personalised butler service, welcome glass of sparkling wine, return combined speedboat airport transfers, breakfast and dinner at 24 Degrees, snorkelling equipment, non-motorised water sports and a complimentary stay for one child.
2. Shipwrecked In Paradise
In the North Malé Atoll, Taj Coral Reef Resort & Spa promises what it says on the tin, a stunning tropical island complete with epic underwater adventure, courtesy of its very own shipwreck. With all the exotic views and dramatic sunsets you need for the perfect holiday, a stay here is one of sophistication, the resort eschewing the usual ‘beach vibes’ for more a refined and elevated approach to luxury living. Book the Suite Saver offer to receive 25 per cent off Best Available Rate, a 45-minute spa treatment for two, daily breakfast at Bokkura restaurant, a glass of bubbles on arrival and complimentary snorkelling equipment to allow you to immerse yourself in Taj’s underwater kingdom. Those with an adventurous side can also take advantage of the resort’s PADI Certified Ocean Dive Centre.
3. Beyond The Beach
The Maldives offers so much more than sun, sand and R’n’R, with its beautiful underwater world a fascinating realm of endless discovery. This summer, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is putting the ‘Oh!’ into H2O, with a slew of incredible water-based activities that allow guests to explore the Indian Ocean like never before. Dip into Mother Nature’s swimming pool with the resort’s Whale Shark Tour, try a Manta Ray snorkel safari to get you up close and personal with the ‘angels of the ocean’ or venture into the deep with an ‘under the sea’ dinner at Ithaa. Leisurely sport enthusiasts can dip in and out of Catamaran sailing, kayaks and paddleboarding, while adrenalin-junkies can burn off energy with X-Jetpacks, X-Jetblades, Sea-bobs and Jet Skis. To truly get the most of your Indian Ocean adventure, you can also visit neighbouring islands to learn more about Maldivian culture, or linger over sundowners aboard a traditional Maldivian dhoni in search of dolphins at sunset. We’ll sea you there.
4. Eat, Play, Love
Renowned as a destination for couples and newlyweds, the Maldives has a romance all of its own. Perhaps it’s the notion of being castaway with the one you love, or the opportunity to steal time away unhindered by life’s many interruptions... Either way, Maldives’ island life is the epitome of amorous escapism. Grand Park Kodhipparu understands the need to indulge guests above and beyond the norm, using its beautiful tropical island landscape to its advantage at every turn.
A Reef Pool Water Villa will provide a lavish setting for your love-struck island adventure, where you can dip your toes in your own private pool or slip into the cerulean waters and swim or snorkel direct from your terrace. The island’s award-winning spa, is a peaceful sanctuary dedicated to holistic treatments designed to restore and revitalise one’s body. Its overwater rooms a haven for those seeking soulful serenity amid the ocean’s gently lapping waves. If food is the music of love, Grand Park Kodhipparu could write a whole songbook. Creativity knows no bounds here, with private dining experiences including sunrise champagne breakfasts, al fresco afternoon picnics and sunset cruises, to bespoke beach barbecues, a nature-filled in-jungle experience and private dinners under the stars in your villa; each and every experience tailored perfectly to your occasion. Endless love.
5. New And Approved
One of the newest kids on the Indian Ocean block is Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, making its debut in August on the bountiful island of Thilamaafushi. A 35-minute seaplane flight over the atolls, and set in nine hectares of flora and fauna, the resort is skewed towards curious and creative-minded travellers with an eye for natural beauty. Borrowing design aesthetics from Bauhaus, the resort takes its cues from the Paris-born brand’s mid-century and European heritage seen through a Maldivian lens, resulting in subtle, timeless glamour throughout. 154 villas are dotted from beachside to over the sea, each effusing contemporary elegance. For maxed out luxury, the three-bed Thilamaafushi Villa, with its sunrise views, private pool and lagoon access will do the job nicely.
6. The Art Of Wellbeing
Reaffirming the power of R’n’R, Vakkaru Maldives puts ‘care’ at its core, with one of its pillars, Self-Kare, a reference to the island’s myriad wellness experiences. Merana Spa is the beating heart of the island, embracing its visitors in a cocoon of holistic wellness, where intuitive treatments and ancient rituals fuse to create tailor-made journeys towards relaxation and rebalance. The overwater spa also has a warm-water whirlpool, cold plunge pool, sauna and steam room, as well as an ayurvedic treatment room, hair and nail salon and, to ensure ultimate zen, unending views over the ocean. When you emerge anew, continue your pursuit of happiness in a lavish overwater pool residence, before succumbing to the night with a barefoot sandbank dinner under the stars.
7. Adventure Island
Promising a summer of discovery, Joali Maldives is calling on all young explorers, artists and dreamers to transport themselves to the tropical emerald isle and experience the resort’s new roster of activities, centred around culture, oceanography, the environment, astronomy, health, sports and the creative arts. With the resort’s Summer Family Offer, curious minds can stay, play and eat for free (from July 1 to September 30), ensuring little travellers can focus on the more important business at hand – having fun. Kids can immerse themselves in a two-week discovery camp, or simply take advantage of all the island has to offer.
From swimming with manta rays and spotting majestic whales to learning to water-ski and snorkelling with the resident marine biologist, Joali is a treasure-trove of possibility. Designed with families in mind, the family beach villa with two pools is also sure to impress even the pickiest of mini globetrotters. Dive in and have fun.
8. The Hills Are Alive
Live the life of a modern-day tea planter at Camellia Hills, a stunning cliff-side boutique bungalow hotel near Dickoya, in Sri Lanka’s crisp hill country. An Indian Ocean holiday with a different, and with just five bedrooms, Camellia Hills offers both privacy and serenity all swaddled in a tea-wrapped backdrop, where verdant panoramas of neatly manicured tea estates make way for views over the mirror-still Castlereagh Reservoir. Brimming with culture and charm, days here are spent swimming lengths of the garden pool, hiking to waterfalls, boating around the reservoir, white-water rafting or finessing the art of a traditional Sri Lankan curry with a cookery class. Stay in a Lakeview Bedroom for four-poster luxury and sunrise views from your private terrace.
9. Natural Selection
While many love the Maldives for its picture-perfect panoramas, others prefer the Seychelles, for its more rugged and natural topography, where big boulder beaches pave the way for inland forestry and an abundance of waterfalls. One resort capitalising on is beautiful surrounds is Raffles Seychelles, plumped pretty on the idyllic island of Praslin. With an uber-exclusive ethos, seclusion and serenity is paramount, with the perfect blend of space and privacy.
The Raffles Seychelles Signature offer combines the best of both the island and the hotel, with a private one-way 15-minute helicopter transfer from Mahe with incredible birds-eye views, daily breakfast for two, a romantic candlelit in-villa dinner and three nights or more in an Ocean View Pool Villa (or above), complete with private plunge pool, outdoor pavilion and bath with views over the opal-hued ocean.
10. Wilderness Tails
Touted as one of the most private, secluded and secure resorts in the Indian Ocean, National Geographic coined Fregate Island Seychelles as ‘part tropical paradise, part wild isle’. A mini Galápagos in the Seychelles, surrounded by sapphire seas, guests can disappear into the island’s conservation sanctuary, dipping between seven beaches – one often voted the most beautiful in the world – and 16 beautifully appointed villas, where the grand private infinity pools spill into the blue horizon. Giant tortoises roam the resort, while scarlet fodies dance over breakfast trays and fruit bats glide through blue skies. Nature-fuelled pleasures include diving, fishing and hikes along the 11 kilometres of forest trails. To raise the bar, Fregate allows you to dine everywhere with its ‘white linen anywhere you wish’ promise, from beach to the branches of a banyan tree.
11. Secret Island Escape
Mauritius is another wild destination in the Indian Ocean that promises a more rugged holiday experience. When paired with One&Only’s Saint Géran’s approach to elevated living, it’s a winning formula for holidaymakers seeking peace, palm-fringed panoramas and luxury on another level. Villa One is something of Indian Ocean legend – a supremely private estate, with two elegant bedrooms, a light-flooded indoor/outdoor ambience, infinity pool, terrace, private stretch of beach and floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean. Thrill-seeker, sun-chaser or spa devotee – the resort is yours to explore, allowing you to exercise or simply exercise the right to relax at will. For a one-of-a-kind experience, a secret mangroves kayak tour is pretty special.
12. The Good In Globetrotting
In a post-Covid world, there’s been a shift in the importance of travel balanced with the need to give back to the countries and communities we visit. This is where award-winning responsible travel company, Ker & Downey Africa steps in, with its pioneering tours placing eco-minded travellers in the heart of the action. Its newly-launched 10-day Marine Conservation Safari in the Seychelles gives guests a more meaningful experience that will see them actively participate in conservation initiatives, including a coral reef restoration project, combined with stays at both Four Seasons Resort Seychelles and Four Seasons Desroches.
Other experiences include a traditional Creole cooking class, a private guided excursion around the surrounding islands and, from September to March, guests can witness baby hawksbill turtles hatching on the beach and making their way into the water.