Best of the Best
The enduring appeal of the Maldives shows no sign of abating
The last few years have seen some sensational openings and refurbishments in the Maldives, so we’ve put together a collection of three of our favourites. And what a sheer showcase of paradise they are.
If we could rate them six stars, we would.
The Place Beyond Time
Known as ‘the place beyond time’, The Nautilus offers complete flexibility and freedom, giving the island a bohemian feel, where you can dance to your own beat. Breakfast at dinnertime or a dip in your own private pool at midnight. A personal butler on hand to cater for your every whim? Why not.
The Nautilus opened in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, in January 2019. The resort has a small but wonderful selection of over-water ocean houses, with one, two or three bedrooms, living room, sun deck and private plunge pool.
When it comes time to explore, paddle in transparent canoes, all the better to spot the rainbow of fish swimming under your bottom, or snorkel to see whale sharks and manta rays.
"Freedom is the key here. Eat and drink what you want, when you want… three restaurants without closing times, creating bespoke, individual culinary journeys for each guest."
Make sure to visit the Dive Centre – where your imagination is positively encouraged for water based adventures – such as sailing with dolphins, desert island dining, exploring sandbanks or casting a rod into the deep-sea.
ART LOVERS PARADISE
It’s a mean feat for a luxury resort in the Maldives to stand out, but Joali has managed it by doing the opposite to others. Where rivals champion rustic-chic, Joali has gone all-out with marble floors, plush rugs and immersive art. It is decidedly different and proud of it.
Choose between beach and over-water villas with up to four bedrooms, staggeringly high ceilings and an incredible amount of space whether it’s just the two of you, or with little ones in tow.
It will be difficult to leave your villa but venture out and you’ll find four fusion restaurants as well as lovely touches such as a whiskey lounge, chocolatier and ESPA Spa. Snorkelling trips often result in seeing mantas and whale sharks and given that the Raa Atoll has fewer resorts than others you won’t see many humans.
"If you enjoy design and attention to detail, you'll love Joali. It is a place where sophistication is valued but not flaunted and where good old-fashioned service is top notch - the team is made up of some of the best in the industry."
Art lovers will enjoy the art trail around the island’s verdant interior, and if inspired, you can create your own tropical Gauguin in the studio.
In typical Soneva style, Soneva Jani, the most recent addition (2016) to maverick hoteliers Sonu and Eva Shivdasani’s collection, is a continuation of its blend of sustainable holidays, where every care is taken to preserve its beautiful surroundings and the inhabitants that call it home.
Coming to Soneva Jani has a feel-good factor borne from its careful custodians – this translates as simply a truly fantastic holiday in paradise. Located on one of the larger islands in the Maldives within the Noonu Atoll, and coming with its own lagoon, Soneva Jani is a resort of great natural beauty, life here is about enjoying it mindfully. Explore the underwater ocean creatures, ride your bike through sandy, palm-fringed tracks, and have a picnic on a deserted beach. The overwater villas, made from local wood are spacious and enhanced by their rustic-chic vibe; roofs open right up to reveal starry skies or pink-tinged mornings. Elsewhere on the island, there are gastronomic treats such as the renowned chocolate room, plus a cheese room that states savoury cravings. As the day draws to a close, watch sunset from a secluded spot, decide on dinner plans, head to the spa or watch a movie at the overwater cinema.
"The place to come for big family gatherings in a true tropical paradise. Castle-like overwater villas are large enough to sleep eight, and the curvy waterslide is popular with big and little kids."
Throw yourself into eco-living at Soneva and make the most of its opportunity for immersion in pristine nature such as stargazing in the observatory, surfing with recycled surfboards and observing turtles with the resident marine biologist.
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