Absolute Maldives Edition 2

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Visit maldives


Se a You . . . L ate r #StayHome #StaySafe #VisitMaldivesLater


Paradise, with a mindful touch Feed your soul with an enriching experience on our serene island within the Shaviyani Atoll. Relax in one of 60 luxurious villas, each with their own private pool, plush bedding and lavish spaces. Tantalise your taste buds with 5 restaurants, 3 unique bars and a wine room. Indulge at the Spa by JW or recentre yourself with a yoga or meditation class while the kids stay active at the Little Griffin’s Kid’s Club. Embrace the authentic and warm Maldivian culture whilst you become fully present, nourished and reconnected

JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa www.jwmarriottmaldives.com



Index 07 20 32 40 44 50 56 68 76 84 92 100 108 118 126 134 142 150 158 168

WELCOME TO THE MALDIVES HISTORY OF MALDIVES CULTURE OF MALDIVES ENVIRONMENTAL & WILDLIFE PROTECTION DIVING WEDDINGS NATURE - IMAGES BY STEFANO PERRONE KURUMBA KURAMATHI DHIGALI KANDOLHU VELASSARU MAAFUSHIVARU J W MARRIOT GRAND PARK BAROS MILAIDHOO NAKAI DHIGGIRI ALIMATHÁ STAR GAZING

Editor - Victoria Marie Emerson Guest writer - Judith Heede Guest writer - Alexandria Faure Photographer - Stefano Perrone Design - Pete Hayward - www.petehayward.design Owners - Publishers Simon Darcy Abbott - simon@absolutemagazine.co.uk David Camici - dcamici@absolutemagazine.co.uk

Cover image - Milaidhoo Island sand bank

ABSOLUTE is owned and produced by Make a Difference Media Ltd Absolute offices 1 Preston Road, Brighton, BN1 4QU

www.absolutemaldivesmagazine.com facebook UK @absolutemagazine / twitter UK @absolutesussex / instgram @absolute_mag


W E LC O M E TO

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Absolute Maldives

elcome to our latest international destination magazine; Absolute Maldives.

Despite this being a difficult time for the travel and tourism industry, we

wanted to showcase this stunning island nation and the many resorts that we have

been lucky enough to visit and experience first hand. We are here to offer you, the reader, our first hand knowledge and inside information on the many varied island options available to you. We have selected a group of island resorts that we feel offer an excellent mix of luxury, nature, family amenities and seclusion, helping

you to tailor your own perfect island hideaway for that ultimate Maldivian island experience.

The Maldives has so much to offer from its 100+ hotel islands. As well as being a

place to sun worship and relax, the islands are an ideal base from which to discover the stunning beauty of the oceans and coral reefs that surround each resort. Teeming

with breath-taking marine life, the world-class diving sites allow anyone from novice to expert to discover what lies beneath the waves. Take a boat and try fishing, try

your hand at many water sports offered, or just simply relax under the star rich skies at night.

Absolute Maldives brings you the full story of the islands, delving into the nation’s

rich history and culture, from their humble beginnings as trading posts or outlaying

fishing outposts to their current number one position in the global travel market for

luxury escapes. These islands will surprise and deliver an experience like no other or anywhere else on Earth. Enjoy.

ABSOLUTE


Holidaying IN MALDIVES

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The main reason to take a seaplane ride is for the aerial views – it’s a thrilling excursion and a practical mode of travel in one.

visit to the unique islands of Maldives is unforgettable; not only

because 99 percent of this tiny nation is ocean, but simply because of

its outstanding beauty. The explorer and archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl,

famous for his Kon-Tiki expedition and historical discoveries in Maldives sums it up perfectly in his book “The Maldive Mystery”: “That afternoon

we passed the most beautiful palm islands I have ever seen. With the sun low on our starboard side it threw a glowing sidelight on the tiny islets, which seemed to float by like flower baskets ... Under the spell of this

picture of an earthy paradise I made an entry in my notebook that the

Maldives are even more beautiful than any of the coral atolls in Polynesia.” Heyerdahl was not the last one to fall in love with the islands. Prince

William and his wife Kate enjoyed the islands in 2014 and Celebrities

like the Beckham family, Kate Moss and countless Hollywood actors like

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise and Milla Jovovich can be seen regularly in one of the many exclusive resorts.

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“thanTheanyMaldives are even more beautiful of the coral atolls in Polynesia.”

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Holidaying IN MALDIVES

LUXURY

RESORTS

The St. Regis Starwood Group’s St. Regis Vommuli resort has added another sparkling star to Maldives' hotel heaven. In November 2016 the 77 villa resort opened its doors in Dhaalu atoll, about 45 minutes flight from Male. The very spacious and bright villas are surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, beaches of fine white sand and a beautiful turquoise lagoon. Clear lines and a contemporary design work in perfect symbiosis with this idyllic landscape. The luxury villas all have a private swimming pool with pool deck and provide beautiful views of the sea or the tropical gardens. The house reef with its schools of fish swimming in crystal clear water above colorful corals are an invitation for guests to go snorkelling. Five specialty restaurants offer delicious culinary creations, all of which can also be taken privately in any beautiful corner of the resort. The spacious spa area with its warm seawater pool and its incomparable views make a stay at the St. Regis Vommuli Resort unforgettable as it can be. Villingili Resort & Spa by Shangri-La 17,000 coconut palms, huge Banyan trees, 45 plant species and three freshwater lagoons enrich the extensive grounds of the Shangri-La BB´s Villingili Resort Spa. The still little-developed Addu Atoll enchants with untouched nature, an unspoiled underwater world and palm-fringed white beaches. In addition to its beauty and its luxurious equipment the luxury hotel stretches over six kilometres - a rare size for the usually smaller islands - and every guest receives a bike to use around the island. This is the only Maldives island with its own a 9-hole golf course. The villas of the Shangri-La BB´s Villingili Resort Spa are spread over the whole island and guests can choose beeteen romantic beachfront cottages, glamorous over water bungalows or even tree houses. Adventurers can dive around the beautiful house reef or explore the ship wreck not far away or take a trip on a 20 metre sailing yacht. The Shangri-La sets new culinary standards, with dishefrom the the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea or the Arabian Gulf to entice the palate and there are two bars at which you can enjoy exotic cocktails with great views over the lagoon.

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Hurawalhi Island Resort Opened in December 2016, the lush Hurawalhi Island Resort, in the Lhaviyani Atoll, is well abreast of environmental issues, but that doesn't mean it has skimped on lavishness. The adult-only resort (guests must be a minimum of 15 years old) features an undersea restaurant, a tropical champagne pavilion, spa, and a collection of 90 generously proportione ddesign-led villas strung across the glittering lagoon. The accommodation is perfectly positioned, to make the most of those jaw-dropping sunset panoramas. With a strong environmental focus, Hurawalhi uses solar panels, its own water-bottling plant, energy saving solutions, hot water recovery and even has an in-house marine biologist. Importantly, it is also collaborating with Manta Trust, the marine conservation and education specialists, to provide educational guided dives and snorkelling excursions to spectacular nearby reefs and shipwrecks. The island is a nesting site for green turtles and a breeding ground for manta rays which Manta Trust helps preserve as well as educating visitors on these endangered creatures. Carrying on the focus on nature, the Duniye Spa offers treatments based around the healing traditions of Asia and Africa, including the use of locally sourced ingredients. The ‘5.8’ Undersea Restaurant is an adventure in itself, so called because it is submerged almost six metres underwater. Surrounded by impressive marine views, the minimalist-designed restaurant focuses on romance – and every table is set just for two.

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Holidaying IN MALDIVES

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Despite the influx of tourists, you can still experience the island dream that the Maldives is known for – you just need to know where to go.

BUDGET TRAVEL These glorious islands are no longer reserved for the rich and famous and Maldives can now also be enjoyed on a budget. In 2009, the Maldivian government allowed local residents to open their own guesthouses and restaurants to tourists. Previously travellers were limited to the resort islands, but now they can visit and stay on any local island. Homestays, hotels and guesthouses have started popping up everywhere. The facilities come in a full range – from basic to luxurious – including private beaches, swimming pools, diving schools, and spas. Despite the influx of tourists you can still experience the island dream that the Maldives is known for – you just need to know where to go.

Aveyla Manta Village Baa Atoll is known for superb marine life with regular sightings of magnificent manta rays and gentle whale sharks . This region is designated as a UNESCO marine bioreserve. Accessed via domestic flight, Dharavandhoo Island lets you truly get away from it all. Aveyla Manta Village is s one of the guesthouses that strives to achieve resort quality, while maintaining an authentic local feel unlike many guesthouses, the beachfront property offers an inhouse spa and a dive centre. Arena Beach Hotel Close to Male, Maafushi is one of the islands that has rapidly adopted the guesthouse habit, and offers a wide choice. This gives it a lively nighttime atmosphere compared to some of the other isolated islands. Arena Beach Hotel has 19 rooms with either sea or garden views. While at the more expensive end of the “budget” range, the hotel is located only steps from its own private beach where leisure activities like snorkeling and diving will allow you to explore its beauty. Maafushi Island is just a local ferry ride away from Male, so getting there is fairly easy and quite cheap. Maafushi has the most guesthouse beds of any local island, and therefore, offers the lowest room rates.

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Holidaying IN MALDIVES

The Amazing Noovilu Accessed easily via speedboat from the capital, Mahibadoo is in one of the very best atolls for marine life spotting and beautiful beach enjoyment. It is not the metropolis that Male is and at a mere fraction of resort prices could be the perfect way to experience the real Maldives. The small boutique guesthouse The Amazing Noovilu is only 3 minutes away from a beach with a beautiful reef and the five spacious rooms all have air conditioning and daily cleaning service. The garden leading into the guesthouse is shaded by small palms and banana trees, and there are lawn chairs and a small outdoor kitchenette. The island itself can be walked around in an afternoon. There are ATMs, small conveniences stores and plenty of coffee houses. Activities are the real treat, because the owner Mazin acts as your tour guide. He offers manta watching and whale shark snorkelling tours in his speedboat, offering a relaxed but essentially private-tour atmosphere. Thundi Guest House Thundi Guest House is located in the beautiful island of Fulidhoo in the Vaavu Atoll, 57 kilometres from Male. The island is just 675 metres long and 200 metres wide with a population of around four hundred. Despite its small size, Fulidhoo has a mosque, school, health centre, community centre, council offices and a number of general stores selling snacks and basic supplies. The sandy main street running down the centre of the island also has a number of souvenir shops selling colourful sarongs and dresses, but they only open twice a week when guests from a nearby resort come to visit. It’s entirely uncommercial with no restaurants or bars, but the guest house offers authentic local food. Vaavu Atoll can be reached by public ferry in about 3.5 hours and costs only a few Maledivian Rufiyaa. Thodoo Island Thoddoo island in the Ari Atoll is known throughout Maldivesin the country for its thriving plantation. One-third of the total area is agricultural and it is one of the largest exporters of fruits and vegetables in the Maldives. The island is larger than many, about 2 km in length and 1 km in width - so hiring a bike to explore it makes sense. Thick bushes grow along the coast and numerous pathways take you to the ocean. naturally, most people visit this part of Maldives for underwater adventures: there are several coral reefs located near the island, some only a short swimming distance away. Enthusiastic snorkellers will be in heaven here. Budget accommodation like the Serene sky Guest House or the Todhoo Retreat make the ideal base for discovering the area. Serene Guest house offers packages for all types of travellers -honeymooners, solo backpackers, families and divers can all find a deal perfectly adjusted to their needs. You can get to Thoddoo directly from Male in one hour by speed boat; the publiuc ferry takes four hours.

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Hotel transfers don’t usually excite most of us, but in the Maldives things are different.

TRANSPORTATION

WEATHER

Hotel transfers don’t usually excite most of us, but in the Maldives things are different. Forget long minibus rides from the airport or endless hours stuck in a taxi. The unique formation of this island nation means that to reach your exclusive resort you’ll need to cruise or fly. Some islands can only be reached by boat while some require a seaplane ride. But for others you’ll have the choice between the two.

As a tropical monsoon climate, the Maldives have plenty of sunshine with temperatures around 30°C throughout the year. The dry season is associated with dry northeast winter monsoons, has little rain and lower humidity and lasts from December to April. The rainy season (associated with humid southwest monsoons and strong winds and storms) from May to November is wetter, characterized by stronger winds and rain. For divers, both the dry and wet seasons have their advantages: during the dry season, visibility is superb, due to currents beginning to flow from the northeast in November.The currents start to weaken in February. During the wet season, the water temperatures are a couple of degrees lower. This seems to inspire entice larger numbers of hammerhead sharks and reef sharks to congregate, and to do so in shallower waters than in the dry season. Visibility isn't as good, however, as there are less currents. It is believed that the tourist season in Maldives lasts from November to April. At that time there are more sunny days and less overcast ones. But because of the El Nino influence and global warming the seasons have shifted. Nowadays it is sunniest in May-June. The best time to go to Maldives is from January to March. The catch ist the price - at this time the prices are the highest and there are practically no discounts. The so-called “low season” lasts from May till the end of October. During these months it is more likely to rain, but everything is relative because the weather is different on various atolls.

Speedboat Speedboats are the most cost-effective option and are usually included in your package costs. The process is effortless. Once you arrive at Male airport, your speedboat will arrive at the jetty just across the road from the terminal. Hop aboard, feel the wind in your hair and enjoy the anticipation of spotting your hotel coming into view. Speedboats are operated by individual resorts and come in various forms, but all offer a comfortable start to your holiday. Depending on the location of your resort, you’ll pass other islands en route – both resort islands and tiny uninhabited ‘picnic islands’ and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins. Seaplane A seaplane is far quicker at transporting you from A to B where 3 hour boat journeys are easily reduced to a 30-minute flight. The main reason to take a seaplane ride however is for the aerial views – it’s a thrilling excursion and a practical mode of travel in one. The seaplane terminal is just a short bus ride from the main airport, and seaplane charter flights depart at scheduled times during daytime. Seaplanes in the Maldives are small, and you’ll be enjoying this experience with a few other passengers travelling to/ from several resorts in the same area. Needless to say, your focus should be outside the windowas you soar over picture-perfect islands of all shapes and sizes and, as you climb higher, see the reefs, lagoons and atoll formations.

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“Barefoot In Paradise”

FOUR STUNNING ISLANDS ONE AMAZING EXPERIENCE w w w. n a k a i re s o r t s . c o m


A HISTORY OF

MALDIVES

Model Layla Harris Image Darren Black Photography Locations Kurumba and Kuramathi islands With thanks to Qatar Airways Clothing by Kankan Seychelles / Beyond the Sea Seychelles / Pursuit the Label Swimwear

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INTRODUCTION

Like no other place on earth the Maldives are today's

epitome of a tropical island paradise. With their famously crystal clear waters, this Indian Ocean archipelago

is a dream destination for travellers from all around

the world. It’s not just honeymooners who choose the

islands for a romantic getaway; the islands are top of the

bucket list for families, nature lovers and anyone seeking peace and quiet. Divers and snorkelers find their mecca underwater: colourful coral reefs, schools of fish or

even the gigantic manta rays are a common sight on any adventure in the ocean.

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A HISTORY OF

MALDIVES

THE HISTORY OF MALDIVES Long before the first tourists set foot on the islands, sailors from Egypt, Greece and China found their way here. It was in 2000 B.C. when they used the equatorial channel for a safe passage from Africa to India and Arabia. Sri Lankan Buddhists followed in 500 B.C. and until 1153 A.D. And Buddhism was the dominant religion here before islam. Even today, one can find the remains of the first settlers within the many mosques in Maldives that face the sun and not Mecca. Islamism came into the country with the Arab travellers who traded with the islands and in 1153 A.D. the last Buddhist King Dovemi Kalaminja officially converted, taking the name Sultan Muhammad al Adil. Many Maldivians consider this the cornerstone of their country's history. A series of six dynasties consisting of eighty-four sultans and sultanas followed, and Islam remains the state religion until today. The country has been an independent state throughout its known history, except for a brief period of Portuguese occupation in the 16th century. The Portuguese, who were already well established in Goa in western India, decided they wanted a greater share of the profitable trade routes of the Indian Ocean. In 1558, after a few unsuccessful raids, Captain Andreas Andre led an invasion army and killed Sultan Ali VI. He ruled Male and much of the country for the next 15 years. There was ongoing resistance, especially from Mohammed Thakurufaanu, the son of an influential family from the northern atoll of Haa Alif. Thakurufaanu started a series of guerrilla raids, culminating in an attack on Male, in which all the Portuguese were slaughtered. This victory is commemorated annually as National Day on the first day of the third month of the year. There is a memorial centre on the island of Utheemu today to the Maldives’ greatest hero. In the 17th century, the Maldives accepted the protection of the Dutch, who ruled Ceylon at the time. They also had a short-lived defence treaty with the French and maintained good relations with the British, especially after the British took possession of Ceylon in 1796 and then included Maldives as a British protectorate. This was officially recorded in an 1887 agreement, in which the sultan accepted British influence over Maldivian external relations and defense. The British had no presence, however, on the leading island community of Male. They left the islanders alone and Maldives continued to be ruled under a succession of sultans. After a public referendum in 1968 the sultanate was abolished and the Maldives was declared a republic and has been a stable democrcy since the introduction of multiparty elections in 2008.

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In 1968 the sultanate was abolished and the Maldives was declared a republic and has been a stable democrcy since the introduction of multiparty elections in 2008. TOURISM & ECONOMY THEN AND NOW It is not only thanks to the recent politics that the Maldives are growing steadily into a modern society. Before the 1980ies the country lived from fisheries - with its abundance of aquatic life and species of fish Maldives has shipped about 90 percent of fishing catch in dried form to Sri Lanka. But the real economic boost came with tourism in the 1980s. George Corbin, an Italian travel enthusiast and explorer, who arrived on a cargo ship from Sri Lanka in 1971 arguably set the ball rolling by bringing some Italian journalists and photographers down to the islands after falling in love with their beauty. A year later he managed to bring a total of 266 international tourists to Maldives and soon afterwards the first resort - Kurumaba Village - was built, Air Ceylon started to operate a schedule air service between Sri Lanka and the islands. From then on the number of visitors increased rapidly and today more than 1.3 million tourists a year visit the island state. Today Male International is at its limits with capacity and the government is looking to make significant infrastructure improvements. But a lacking infrastructure is not the only issue the state faces these days: fears of immediate sea level rise, fresh water and sanitation problems, waste and coastal protection are also challenges the government is trying to solve. A lot of small islands face erosion and ground water contamination and need sewerage networks and new harbours. Plans to relocate local inhabitants to bigger islands so that the newly deserted coral islands could be handed to developers is high on some of the politicians agenda. An increase in tourism will hopefully bring in the money that's needed to follow through with these plans, but while some support the idea of mass tourism and mega-developments others favour a more low-impact, more sustainable approach to development. They would rather explore green initiatives, high tech zones, tax-free offerings and suchlike, in an attempt to woo the global elite and injections of fresh capital.



A HISTORY OF

MALDIVES

THE CAPITAL Male has been the seat of the Maldives’ ruling dynasties since before the 12th century. Some trading houses appeared in the 17th century, along with a ring of defensive bastions, but Male’ did not acquire the trappings of a city and had a very limited range of economic and cultural activities. Visitors in the 1920s estimated the population at just 5000. Serious growth really only began in the 1930s with the first banks, hospitals, high schools and government offices appearing. Only when tourism brought with it an expanding economy, the city really burgeoned and lateron growth emerged as a problem. The smallest capital in the world holds about a third of its national population and the island which covers just six square kilometres is intensively built-up: narrow streets host a mix of shops, new and old apartment blocks, office buildings and the President’s home, the Mulee Male, which was built in 1913 as a center for political activity. This neat and rather modest colonial-style bungalow is not open to visitors. The National Museum with its handwritten Qur'an engraved on the walls, and old artefacts from the buddhist era are worth a visit! The golden-domed Grand Friday Mosque dominates the skyline of Male and has become the symbol of the city. The plain building was built in white marble and can be visited outside prayer times. The main market is an adumbral, absolutely authentic hangar-full of Indian Ocean aromas; betel nut, freshly caught fish, fruit, vegetables and fabrics and for those looking for small souvenirs this is the place to go to!

THE ATOLLS Visitors arrive at Hulhule Island international airport and most of them head straight to one of the many resort islands spread over an area of more than 820 square kilometres. Only about 100 of the 1200 small coral islands and sandbanks are used for touristic purposes with 220 inhabited by Maldivians. Most of them are not longer than one kilometre and can be explored easily on foot. At first sight they may seem alike: shallow sandbanks rising just a metre or two above the sea, they are covered with coconut trees, tropical flowers and the odd dramatic Banyan tree. A belt of white sand embraces these little slivers of heaven in the middle of turquoise shimmering lagoons. This unique beauty is the reason guests chose the Maldives for their holidays; to relax in the shadow of the trees, to forget about the hassles of urban life and to feel the sand between their toes. They come to surf and sail, to snorkel and to dive or to simply read a book on the beach. But anyone’s who’s looked through a travel brochure or browsed the internet for hours knows how difficult it is to choose just one beautiful island over another...

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NORTH & SOUTH MALE ATOLL From a bird's eye view the 26 atolls of Maldives look like pearls on a string surrounding shallow blue lagoons - a breathtaking sight that provides a unique memory for visitors flying over the atolls to land in the geographical centre: the North Male Atoll. Together with South Male Atoll it is home to many of the country’s most famous and best-established resorts and all the islands here are within easy reach of the capital city and the Maldives’ international airport. Famous luxury hotel chains like One & Only, Banyan Tree, Sheraton and Four Seasons are located here and offer everything the seasoned traveller could wish for: gourmet restaurants, spas, top notch service, fairy-tale beaches and last but not least, a lot of privacy. But not only the luxury island resorts of the atoll attract visitors - since the Male Atolls were discovered by shipwrecked surfers in the 1970s, they have emerged as a leading attraction on the international surf scene. Today, spots like Jailbreak with its pristine right-handed barrels for hundreds of meters, close to the island of Himmafushi are known among surfers around the world. Surf camps and guesthouses in the North Male Atoll, like on the island of Thuludhoo in the Kaafu Atoll offer budget accommodiation and plenty of boat charters in the area take their wave riding guests to the surrounding main breaks.

Since the Male Atolls were discovered by shipwrecked surfers in the 1970s, they have emerged as a leading attraction on the international surf scene.

Away from the young surfer crowd, the exclusive resorts Huraa, Himmafushi and Dhiffushi island lie in the blue sea like oases. Lush palm trees, bright red hibiscus flowers and tropical fruits make them seem like scenes from Robinson Crusoe. Even though the islands still belong to the North Male Atoll, they are far less developed than neighbouring islands and are mainly inhabited by fishermen. A couple of hundred inhabitants, a few charming guesthouses, little souvenir shops and old mosques make these rural islands a perfect destination for a day trip. A similar atmosphere can be found on the islands south of the channel that separates North from South Male Atoll. This is partly due to the lack of people – there are only three inhabited islands here – and partly to do with the fact that the uninhabited islands are spread out so you really feel that you’re remote from the hustle and bustle of Male and its surrounding islands. The biggest island in South Male Atoll is Maafushi, with a population of about 1200 people and quite a few guesthouses. Indeed, during high season there are as many foreigners as locals on the island, making it the Maldives' most cosmopolitan and progressive inhabited island. It can be reached in just a couple of hours by public ferry from Male. Nearby Guraidhoo has a busy port used by both fishing dhonis and passing safari boats. Sultans from Male sought refuge here during rebellions from as early as the 17th century, while today it’s popular with budget travellers who stay at the affordable guesthouses. Visitors from nearby resorts can actually walk across the lagoon at low tide when the water is very shallow.

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A HISTORY OF

MALDIVES

ARI & NORTH ARI ATOLL Ari Atoll is located west of the Male Atoll and at 80 kilometres from north to south and a width of 30 kilometres it's the second biggest atoll in the Maldives. Like Male Atoll it is separated into a southern and northern part, and it’s well known for diving. One site, Ukulhas Thila is a heaven for underwater adventurers with its long and narrow pinnacle, a flat top and reef slope down to 30 metres. At the end of the reef top divers discover underwater treasure: a cleaning station for mantas. From December to April mantas go there to get their skin, gills and teeth cleaned by parasites and bright blue striped cleaner wrasse. The mantas will hang around, sometimes for hours, patiently waiting their turn at the cleaner station – ideally for the watching divers. Mahibadhoo is the capital of South Ari with around 2000 people. There are now several guesthouses and it's a good place to experience life in a large Maldivian town. Other inhabited islands are dotted around the edges of the atoll and a few have ruins or artefacts of ancient Buddhist and Hindu settlements. Well known hotels in this area are the Conrad Rangali and two resorts of the Mauritian Constance group. ADDU ATOLL The southernmost atoll of the Maldives is close to the equator, and about 450 kilometres away from Malé. During the Second World War it was used as a base for the Royal Navy. Today all that is left is an old wreck of the oil tanker British which is a must-see for divers in this area as well as the many underwater caves where one can often spot turtles and little sharks. Addu Atoll also has the highest point in the Maldives: the island Villingili is 2.4 metres above sea level.

RAA & BAA ATOLL These two atolls opened to tourism only a few years ago, and offer a variety of dream islands and interesting dive sites. The Raa and the Baa Atoll are separated by the Moresby channel and belong to the northern atolls of the Maldives archipelago. Most of the islands have a dense and natural vegetation with the typical "Bacardi feeling" travellers long for. In Raa atoll only one island hosts a hotel, while the ‘local’ islands in Baa Atoll are known for their arts and crafts and the art of weaving.

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Other inhabited islands are dotted around the edges of the atoll and a few have ruins or artefacts of ancient Buddhist and Hindu settlements.


Most of the islands have a dense and natural vegetation with the typical "Bacardi feeling" travellers long for.

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A HISTORY OF

MALDIVES

ARI & NORTH ARI ATOLL DHAALU & FAAFU ATOLL The islands of Dhaalu and Faafu lie south of Ari Atoll and like Raa and Baa Atoll, they were only developed for tourism recently. The famous Norwegian archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl dug out several important sites from the pre-Islamic Buddhist era on the island of Kumundhoo in the Dhaalu Atoll. Known locally as Us-Kunna the remains form a stone circle - 156 feet in circumference and 10 feet in height - likely remains of an ancient Buddhist stupa (the oldest Buddhist religious monument). The ruins of a hawaitta (archeological mounds) known as the Jaadi Valhulithan stand on the western periphery of the island of Vaikaradhoo. The apparent remains of a mosque with a cemetery and a large well were found on the nearby uninhabited island of Vaikaramuraidhoo and evidence suggest it was built between the 15th and 17th centuries. FELIDHU ATOLL This relatively little populated quiet atoll includes the Vattaru Atoll and is inhabited mainly by local fishing communities. But it has one of the world-renowned diving reefs on its eastern edge: Fotteyo Kadu. With its colourful corals and lively schools of jacks, sergeant fish, whitetip reef sharks, turtles and sometimes eagle rays it should be on every diver's wish list when visiting the atoll.

MEEMU, LAAMU & THAA ATOLL The atolls south of Male are little pieces of heaven, floating on the surface of the dark blue sea. With their secluded beaches and untouched nature the resorts in this area are ideal for lazy holidays; tourist are still relatively rare in this area of Maldives. Meemu Atoll has eight inhabited islands and only three of them have resorts. The islands here are known not only for their superb dive sites - experts come here to dive Eagle trail, Jumping Jack tunnel and the two brothers. Meemu also has some excellent surf breaks on its eastern edge like Veyvah Point, Boahuraa Point and Mulee Point, which are gradually being explored by more adventurous surfers. The diving sites around Laamu and Thaa can get quite challenging with strong currents in the canals. Inexperienced divers might be better staying above the surface and visiting some of the archaeological sites. At the northeastern tip of the atoll, on Isdhoo, a giant black dome rises above the palms, belonging to the 300 year old Friday Mosque. It was probably built on the site of an earlier temple, because it faces directly west, rather than towards Mecca.

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HAA ALIFU ATOLL Lying about 280 km away from Male is the northernmost atoll of the Maldives, and possibly the most historically interesting island in the Northern Atolls. It is the birthplace of Sultan Mohammed Thakurufaanu, who overthrew the Portuguese rule in the 16th century, and the island is centred around a memorial to this Maldivian hero, complete with a small museum and library. Elsewhere in the atoll is the capital island Dhiggaru: here you'll find the only tea room run by women in the country. At the very top of Haa Alifu, Uligamu is the ‘clear-in’ port for private yachts arriving in Maldivian waters. It has health and immigration officers, so yachts are able to complete all entry formalities there. The remaining islands of the northern atolls are known for their remote appeal. The Barefoot EcoHotel on Hanimadhoo island made the headlines around three years ago as the Maldives' first resort to open on an already inhabited island. For 40 years the government had wanted to avoid having a traditional Islamic community living side by side with tourists practising their more liberal - bikini-wearing, alcoholconsuming lifestyles. But on Hanimadhoo the local community is part of the hotel: many of the staff are local people and if they are not from the island, then a many are young students working for the summer to earn money while studying. Unusual touches include the resort's relaxing zen-music provided by a renowned Maldivian DJ - Ngie - who happens to be a woman. From the eco-designed beach villas, blending into the natural habitat of the trees and tropical bushes that line the shore, to the pieces of art created entirely from reclaimed coral – this is the perfect oasis of calm to unwind and regenerate body and soul. But it is not only the design that is pure: the management follows the ecotourism principles of uniting sustainability and conservation. Renewable energy, ecologically grown wood, fairtrade construction standards and a solid waste management programme were put in place so as to have minimal impact on the local environment and reduce the resort's carbon footprint.


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CULTURE Maldivian culture reflects many influences gathered from around the Indian Ocean basin; India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, Persia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Africa. All kinds of customs and traditions from this lively melting pot have helped form a unique culture over the centuries.

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aldivian dance and music show African influences, with rhythmic beating of drums and songs in a language resembling that of East African countries. The so called "Bodu Beru" meaning “ Big Drums” in Dhivehi – is the most popular traditional music here and almost every inhabited island has its own troupe to play at special functions, festivals or simply to entertain hotel guests. The bands - wearing traditional sarongs and white sleeved shirts - usually use up to four drums made from hollowed coconut wood and covered on both ends with manta ray skin or goat hide and are beaten with a variety of percussion instruments. The performance begins on a slow and mellow tempo and increases to a very fast pace, while the dancers move all around an improvised stage, in a very vigorous demonstration that sometimes looks almost as if they have gone into a trance. In local cuisine, it is South Asia that has had the greatest influence with highly spiced curries combining coconut milk and fish served with traditional flatbreads known as ‘roshi’. It’s no surprise that the main staple is locally caught fish, and noone forgets the taste and flavour of that Indian Ocean catch! There are a few ways to prepare fish in a traditional way: the "Garudihiya" is a soup with the whole fish thrown inside. Don't be scared of the strong smell, the taste is all the better! Another strong tradition, fortunately abandoned today – is using turtle meat, though this is now illegal, and happily has now been replaced by chicken in the modern Maldivian kitchen. The most common side dish is no surprise - rice, just as in most South Asian countries. One local invention of note is "Masbaiy" a special kind of paella where rice and tuna are spiced up with coconut milk, curry, chilly and a lot of onion - a challenge for European tastes at times, but a must for fans of spicy food. Vegetarians have great options to chose from, especially the half-moon shaped dumplings filled with potatoes known as "Peteez", or "Biskimiya" (fried pastry) with an egg and soybean filling. If you have a sweet tooth you must try "Kirukeyo", a special kind of rice pudding made with coconut milk, bananas and cinnamon. Besides a wide range of international dishes most of the hotels offer also traditional dishes. However the preparation is usually tourist-friendly with less chilly, and adapted to an international taste. The islands also adapted to tourism when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Forbidden in the Islamic culture, hotels do offer cocktails, wine, beer and the local brew, "Raa", which is a sweet toddy made from the crown of the coconut palm.

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It’s no surprise that the main staple is locally caught fish, and no-one forgets the taste and flavour of that Indian Ocean catch!

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CULTURE

Maldivians are known for being skilled craftsmen; the intricate stone carvings found in the Friday Mosque in Male are a living example. Traditions are passed from one generation to another and the arts and crafts made today are a testament to these ancient skills. Lacquer ware is probably the most popular form of art in Maldives along with Kunaa mats. Lacquer ware is a very important part of the country's history and collectors from all around the world travel to the islands to acquire antique pieces. Lacquer work includes different carved wooden objects such as vases, jewellery boxes, bowls, baskets. The craftsman shapes the wood and then coats it layer after layer with different colours. Black, red and yellow are traditionally the most used colours and were made from the juices from trees and insects in the early days. Green can also be seen sometimes, while gold and silver are used to add appeal to special pieces. When the coating is finished and dry the items are polished with dry coconut leaves. Wooden lacquer artwork can be found all over the islands with the most famous region being Thulhaadhoo in Baa Atoll. Thulhaadoo craftmen used to supply the royal Maldivian families and acquired a very strong reputation in and outside of the country. While the lacquer work is mostly done by men, the weaving of Kunaa mats is a tradition that was passed from mothers to daughters. The most beautiful pieces were used as royal gifts from the sultan of Maldives to the Dutch and British governors of Sri Lanka. Nowadays these mats are still offered to visiting diplomats, foreign dignitaries and other VIPs visiting the islands. Traditionally used for sleeping, seating or praying, the size of the mats vary accordingly. The reeds used to create these mats are cultivated and gathered on the local islands, dried under the sun and then dyed in a natural colour, or sometimes in yellow, brown or black. Another old craft that reflects Maldivian heritage and is still carried out by few Maldivian artisans is jewellery manufacturing. The people from Rinbudhoo on the northern rim of Dhaalu Atoll have the reputation of being the finest jewellery makers in the Maldives. According to Maldivian legend, the chief jeweller of the Sultan taught the islanders after getting exiled to Rinbudhoo island for stealing the king’s gold which was in his care. They have passed the art on from generation to generation.

The weaving of Kunaa mats is a tradition that was passed from mothers to daughters. The most beautiful pieces were used as royal gifts from the sultan of Maldives to the Dutch and British governors of Sri Lanka.



CULTURE

Today the manufacturing of such jewelleryhas become very expensive and therefore many craftsmen have moved into other professions. However a new generation of Maldivians artisans are little by little rediscovering this ancient art, and are sometimes commissioned to create such objects for special occasions. From the most ancient times Maldivians used the wood of different trees to create vases, kitchen utensils, cutlery, jewellery boxes and various containers. More recent times have seen a concentration on miniature models representing the old Maldivian culture and way of life. One the most famous example of these miniatures is the new art known as Dhoni crafting. Dhonis are the original traditional Maldivian wooden sailing boats and are still used as transportation or fishing vessels. Wood carvings are sometimes painted or lacquered and make wonderful souvenirs.

The oldest Maldivian dress, the Dhivehi libaas, is a perfect demonstration of Maldives’ most exceptional embroidery techniques. This traditional dress is adorned by a very unique cloth piece called Kasabu viyun. Kasabu viyun entails silver and gold laces hand stitched into the neckline of the Dhivehi libaas. Unfortunately very few people sill practice this traditional work and it is not only very difficult but also expensive to obtain a high quality piece. Even though people use sewing machines these days, the most complicated part of the work is still done by hand. The libaas have evolved over time, but you can still see many women wearing the traditional dress in the streets of Male or on the local islands. The traditional libaas is worn with an underskirt tissue piece called feyli. Feyli is an important piece of costume for both men and women and records show that it has been a part of the Maldivian culture since as far back as the 14th century.

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An emerald jewel in the turquoise Maldivian waters. Acres of luxuriant vegetation. Spectacular beaches tapering into an endless sandbank. Catering to all budgets, choice of villas range from the individual Beach Villas to the idyllic Water Villas with Pool. Savour exquisite dishes from 12 superb restaurants catering to diverse taste buds. Sip exotic cocktails in the 7 bars conveniently located in beautiful settings around the island. The island's vast size opens up an array of activities on the island or in the water. Younger guests find thrilling options at Bageecha Kids Club, featuring fun and educational experiences. Kuramathi Maldives – a retreat that offers unique experiences for all in a natural setting.

Kuramathi, Maldives Kuoni (01306 747008 or www.kuoni.co.uk) offer seven nights Full Board at Kuramathi in a Superior Beach Villa including flights on SriLankan Airlines from London Heathrow and transfers in resort. The price for selected departures in March 2020 based on two adults sharing is from £2299 per person, with a saving of up to £753 per couple.

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www.kuramathi.com info@kuramathi.com +960 666 0527


AQUARACER CALIBRE 5 Chris Hemsworth works hard and chooses his roles carefully. He handles pressure by taming it, and turning it to his advantage. #DontCrackUnderPressure was coined with him in mind.

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Indian Ocean Islands Spearhead Environmental & Wildlife Protection The Indian Ocean, with its azure crystal clear waters, is home to some of the world's most beautiful island Nations; Seychelles, Mauritius, La Reunion, the Maldives and Madagascar to name a few. These incredible destinations are teeming with exotic flora and fauna, scrumptious delicacies and a vibrant culture to experience. However, one aspect that has become a crucial movement to sustain the natural beauty of these nations is ecotourism! As the global community cries out to the world's leaders for the protection of the environment and marine life, these pristine island nations are spearheading environmental and wildlife protection in innovative and creative ways through their local people. The Maldives is made up of 26 natural atolls lying north to south across the equator. The population of the island nation is spread out over 194 inhabitable islands with a third currently living in the capital of Malé. The other 105 islands are self-contained popular tourist resorts.

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These pristine island nations are spearheading environmental and wildlife protection in innovative and creative ways through their local people.

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Indian Ocean Islands Spearhead Environmental & Wildlife Protection

The Maldives Matter Project "Transferring knowledge regarding sustainable agriculture, making the country self-sufficient and independent on imported produce." The Maldives Matter project came about when the founders finished with a master course on the Maldives and experienced the need for action, and stepped in. They formed a plan to solve the problems the Small Island Developing State and hence the Resilient Island Foundation was born. Developing concepts to plans, and plans to reality focusing on three important pillars: sustainability, impact and economic feasibility. Developing large scale, financially feasible projects with a big impact. The profits of the project go towards solving other problems that require financial investments such as the solid waste management, plastic soup, coral bleaching, protecting animal habitats, marine environments and safeguarding islands from floodings.

The Maldives Matter Project is a unique and innovative plan to realize a high-tech, high-end productive and self-sufficient greenhouse in the Maldives. The greenhouse will cool during the night to enlarge the difference in day and night temperature. This way it is able to produce crops that cannot be grown within the current climate. Therefore the project will not compete with current farmers, but supply the locals with high qualitative and fresh vegetables instead of imported crops reducing the dependence once again to imports and reducing the carbon footprint. The greenhouse will be one hectare in size and consists of supporting facilities which include a PV panel field, biodigester, desalination plant and water storage. It will not only provide electricity and freshwater to the greenhouse, but will also provide water and renewable electricity to the local surrounding community. The biodigester of the Maldives Matter Project will be able to process all of the organic waste“to reduce the amount of imported food, to educate the local community in high productivity horticulture and to implement a circular economy“

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The Maldives Matter Project is a unique and innovative plan to realize a high-tech, high-end productive and self-sufficient greenhouse in the Maldives.

The greenhouse will be able to produce high quality crops. Something the Maldivian tourist industry asks for and their biggest target groups are the resorts, hotels, guesthouses and safaris. Besides bringing the small island nation fresh vegetables, renewable energy and freshwater, the Maldives Matter Project will be blending the location to be a place where innovation and education can take place for the local people. www.resilientisland.com info@resilientisland.com

GoECO - Marine & Turtle Conservation Coined as an amazingly unforgettable experience in the Maldives, this initiative provides volunteers with the opportunity to work alongside professional marine biologists to rehabilitate sea turtles at a local center. Volunteers can be involved in every aspect of the rehabilitation cycle, as well as take part in crucial activities such as rescuing, measuring and feeding turtles! For the marine conversationalists and the environmental enthusiast this project bridges enjoying paradise whilst at the same time taking part in efforts to rescue and rehabilitate turtles. A typical day participating in this conversation initiative involves exploring uninhabited islands, snorkelling in the worlds most azure and crystal clear waters, as well as learning from highly experienced marine biologists.

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Wakatobi

The Dive Island of the Maldives

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akatobi, located at the world’s epicenter of coral reef biodiversity, is a designated UNESCO Marine Biosphere Reserve that attracts discerning divers from across the globe. The world-class destination combines an upscale diving operation delivering exceptional service to its guests with a reef conservation program which, in guaranteeing the pristine quality of the reefs for those guests, delivers sustainable income and development support to the local communities. As you arrive on the island of Wakatobi, you cannot help but feel a million miles away from the the daily grind. In the secluded location of this island there is no traffic noise, no pollution and no other divers for at least 100 miles. However, despite the remote location, Wakatobi Dive Resort offers a very civilised existence. Accommodation comes in the form of hand-crafted villas and bungalows, each spacious, quiet, comfortable and just a few steps from the ocean. All are air-conditioned with wi-fi satellite internet access, along with comprehensive amenities. All your meals and snacks (chefprepared in the beachside restaurant) are included throughout your stay, and so divers are well and truly looked after and fueled ready for their next adventure. Whether you are diving or snorkeling amongst the vibrant protected coral reefs bristling with marine life, enjoying a rejuvenating spa at the resort, taking in a glorious sunset with your favourite cocktails at the jetty bar, or perhaps indulging in a romantic beach dinner, Wakatobi Dive Resort provides a unique and enriching experience. Whilst diving at Wakatobi, you can see the greatest variety and diversity of marine life. You’ll not only see beautiful vistas or pristine coral reefs, but also abundant colourful reef fish and rare and unusual cryptic ‘critters’. New and undocumented species continue to be discovered at Wakatobi. There are, of course, other locations where you can see larger schools of fish, bigger animals and experience more adrenaline-filled underwater ‘rides’, but for sheer reef scenery and marine life variety, Wakatobi simply has to be experienced to be believed.

For sheer reef scenery and marine life variety, Wakatobi simply has to be experienced to be believed.

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Nowhere else do you have such ease of access to miles of pristine reefs with diverse topography, life and highlights. The Wakatobi region is considered to be the epicenter of coral reef biodiversity. 85% of the world's coral reefs are located in the Indo-Pacific region, and as you travel either east or west from the epicenter of biodiversity, the number of species decreases. At the Western edge of the Indian Ocean, or the Eastern edge of the Pacific, you will only find about 25% of the number of species that are present at Wakatobi. The Atlantic/Caribbean region has even less diversity, less than one tenth the number of species found in the Indo-Pacific. For instance, the Atlantic/ Caribbean region has fewer than 70 species of corals while the Indo-Pacific has over 700 species. The environment influences biodiversity. Coral reef ecosystems need warm, clear waters to thrive. If there’s too much runoff from large rivers or urban growth nearby, the reefs can be choked by siltation or pollution. The waters must be warm, but not too warm. Below 25 C, coral growth is retarded. Above 29 C, the symbiotic algae living in the corals begins to die off and stress the corals. Depth is important too. Very shallow waters have too much temperature fluctuation and disruptive wave and surge action. Too deep, and light is diminished, which decreases diversity. At about 20 M depth, there is plenty of light, and not much wave action, even during large storms, so more species can survive.

Wakatobi itself is blessed with more than 50 mapped and named dive sites all within a short distance of the main resort, all accessible by the resort’s day boats. Boat rides range from 10 minutes up to a maximum of an hour for a few of the furthest sites. The reefs around Wakatobi are actually continuous, so to call a dive site a ‘site’ is a little misleading. Most of the dives sites are identified at locations on the continuous reef where dives are started and the team have generally selected these starting points because of some unique underwater typography or marine life that is common to this spot. Nowhere else do you have such ease of access to miles of pristine reefs with diverse topography, life and highlights. In other locations you collect the good dive sites together over large areas with perhaps long and arduous boat journeys in between and might not even get close to what Wakatobi offers out there right at the doorstep. In Wakatobi you can enjoy diving 365 days a year. There is no period or season unsuitable for diving, with only 4 dives being skipped in the last 10 years. The climate is drier than in other parts of Indonesia, and the location is nicely protected by the surrounding reefs and islands.

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Generally speaking there are two seasons: Easterly winds from June to October, and Westerly winds between December and April. November and May are usually transitional months. July and August see a slight increase in wind, and the sea ripples somewhat; visibility is still fine. The weather in these months is a little cooler than the months on either side, making it a great time to visit for those who prefer to sleep without using an air-conditioner at night. The temperature in Wakatobi generally ranges between 26 - 30 degrees Celsius, making the resort a year-round holidaying spot and perfect winter sun escape! When it comes to water temperature, the warmest water in Wakatobi is found in the upper water layer around late October, when temperatures may reach 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). The coolest time falls in the latter half of August with a minimum temperature of 26 degrees Celsius (78 degrees Fahrenheit). From March until May the temperature averages 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 degrees Fahrenheit), June averages 27 C (80.6 F), July 26 C (78.8 F), September is between 26 - 27 C (78 81 F), October 28 to 30 C (82 - 86 F). From November until March the temperature averages 28 - 29 C (82.4 F- 85 F). The water temperature range is ideal for coral growth and there is no coral bleaching in Wakatobi. Underwater visibility is phenomenal, being mostly between 20 m and 50 m, with an average of 35 m or 100 feet. There are no rivers or lakes bringing sediments, therefore visibility is not affected by rain. Known as the ‘house reef,’ shore diving at the Wakatobi Resort is world-famous. Some guests never even on a boat dive because the reef and wall right in front of the resort provides enough territory and diversity to keep them exploring for several days. There is no need to swim long distances as divers are offered 'taxi-boat' services to transport you them up current to extended parts of the House Reef to explore or enjoy a beautiful drift back to the jetty. Wakatobi’s House Reef is a cornucopia of marine life and snorkelers can wade in directly from the beach or enter from the jetty ladder. The seagrass shallows are refuge to species such as filefish, coconut octopus and halimeda ghost pipefish, while areas surrounding the various coral heads host numerous colourful juveniles, cuttlefish, crocodilefish, moral eels, juvenile green and hawksbill turtles and more. Additionally, at least seven species of anemonefish have been counted in the area surrounding the jetty and Jetty Bar! The dramatic drop off where the House Reef wall begins offers glimpses out into the blue and down the wall - turtles, bumphead parrotfish, rays, mild-mannered triggerfish, boxfish, pufferfish and midnight snapper can be seen among many other species. Snorkelers (and freedivers) at Wakatobi receive the same level of support as scuba divers. All of the dive sites are rated for suitability for snorkelling based on the reef topography. Snorkelers who join the morning and afternoon boat excursions are accompanied by a professional snorkel guide who is versed in the marine life found on our reefs. Snorkeling equipment as well as camera and video systems are handled by the team and will already be on the boat when you step aboard. Towels, snacks and camera assistance are also provided and the boat crew constantly monitors snorkelers while they are in the water.

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Underwater visibility is phenomenal, being mostly between 20 m and 50 m, with an average of 35 m or 100 feet.

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The House Reef is monitored by shored-based staff, who also have access to a taxi boat if needed. Additionally, if you are a lessexperienced snorkeled, you can engage a Private Snorkel Guide to assist with your snorkeling skills, marine life encounters and anything else to help you get the most from your snorkeling experience. Guests can even night dive any night on the house reef in front of the resort. Simply gear up in the diver preparation area and walk-in off the beach! The team behind the Wakatobi Dive Resort pride themselves with staying at the very forefront of innovation, offering exclusive and pioneering dive experiences to their visitors. Fluo Diving is an example of this, allowing visitors to experience a new dimension in diving so exclusive that more people have seen Earth from space than have seen corals in this totally new light! Not to be confused with phosphorescence, or bio-luminescence, fluorescence is the absorption of one wavelength of light (or colour) and the re-emission of another, totally different wavelength of light (or colour). A fluorescent object under white light reveals its true colour. But under near UV light, it absorbs the blue and re-emits a fluorescent colour, transforming the blue into a brightly glowing, totally different colour. Thus, underwater, marine animals that fluoresce have the ability to convert one colour into an entirely different colour! Beneath the glistening surface of the Wakatobi waters lies a photographer’s paradise, with unbounded opportunities for underwater photography and videography, ranging from dramatic drop offs, breathtaking coral gardens and pinnacles for wide angle shots down to the most minute and exotic marine creatures for macro fanatics. The exuberant vitality of the reef systems means that whether pro or leisure photographer, every dive will deliver an awesome array of images in your viewfinder. With many of the guests being underwater photographers, the resort provides state-of-the-art facilities for working on your camera. The camera room is climate-controlled and has large work tables and storage shelving for all your camera gear and the workbenches have cushion pads to protect your equipment. The team provide voltageregulated power to charge all your batteries and there is plenty of light to allow you to work on your camera. Perhaps one the most appealing factors that keep divers returning year after year to Wakatobi is the fact that their stay at the resort supports the protected conservation zone. The entire Wakatobi region has been turned into a sustainable protected marine park. The local village and surrounding communities have enthusiastically adopted the conservation plan and as a result, illegal fishing, reef walking and other activities detrimental to the coral reef have been halted. Part of visitor’s payment for staying and diving at Wakatobi goes back to the community to sustain and support this new way of living; living in harmony with and in respect of the coral reef ecosystem. www.wakatobi.com

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With many of the guests being underwater photographers, the resort provides state-of-the-art facilities for working on your camera.

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Saying 'I do'

in the Maldives It doesn’t get much more romantic than this.

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The most popular type of wedding ceremony in the Maldives is a beach wedding. These usually take place at sunset

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magine taking your wedding vows on a picture-perfect tropical beach at sunset, or perhaps on a sandbank in the middle of the ocean, or even a deserted Robinson Crusoe island. For all the lovers in the world, the Maldives brings to life that romantic fantasy wedding, offering a whole variety of options to suit every couple. In fact, you needn’t even take your vows on terra firma at all. How about diving below the sun-kissed ocean and tie the knot in the Maldives whilst wearing scuba gear, surrounded by tropical fish! Although bursting with romance, an important factor to be aware of is that weddings are not legally-binding in the Maldives unless they are Islamic. That therefore means that your marriage ceremony can be carried out in the same kind of style it would at home, with you filling in the legal paperwork to make the marriage official. However, this doesn’t stop the Maldives from being one of the most popular places in the world to get hitched! And couples can make their wedding vows in all kinds of exciting locations… The most popular type of wedding ceremony in the Maldives is a beach wedding. These usually take place at sunset, because it’s less hot then, and also because the sunset makes an incredible backdrop. And let’s face it, no bride wants to be dripping sweat all over their dress, with makeup smeared across their face! With the pleasant temperature and amazing early-evening light, your wedding is guaranteed to be picture-perfect. Wherever the wedding takes place, be it a hotel, a beach, a restaurant or on a remote island the resort can provide a celebrant to lead the ceremony. Resorts in the Maldives generally all offer celebrants as part of the package, together with flowers, a cake, champagne, entertainment and photography, all laid on for the Big Day. All of the details are taken care of by the resort’s experienced wedding co-ordinator, so you don’t need to worry about the planning – just choose a wedding package, then relax and enjoy yourselves!

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The sky’s the limit when it comes to making your wedding ceremony special, so most resorts are ready to go the extra mile to ensure you have everything you want for your special day.

After the all-important ceremony, your big day event usually concludes with the bride and groom celebrating with a candle-lit dinner, a sunset cruise or a commemorative tree-planting ceremony. Special extras such as commemorative photo albums, massages, floral baths and champagne breakfasts are often also included in the wedding packages, or can be requested at an extra fee. If you’d like to give your wedding a Maldivian flavour, most resorts offer the opportunity for the couple to wear traditional Maldivian wedding clothes, and to have the ceremony read in Dhivehi (the local language). Together with the Maldivian flair, the ceremony is accompanied by traditional Maldivian ‘Bodu Beru’ drumming. The sky’s the limit when it comes to making your wedding ceremony special, so most resorts are ready to go the extra mile to ensure you have everything you want for your special day. It’s well worth taking advantage of their local knowledge and host of trusted suppliers, purely for piece of mind and ensuring their quality. The precise contents of the wedding packages vary slightly from resort to resort, so it’s best to check with your resort to find out more. If you’d like to plan something very unique, just make sure you give them adequate notice before you arrive, so they can help to work out the logistics for you, in order to make sure everything runs like clockwork!

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www.maafushivaru.com e: reservations@maafushivaru.com | t: +960 668 0001


images by stefano perrone www.instagram.com/nemophotographer

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Making Moments n time Experience paradise on earth at Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives. A luxurious one-islandone-resort destination featuring a collection of 120 idyllic beach-front pool villas, breathtaking overwater villas and spacious two-bedroom villas. Just a mere 20 minutes’ speedboat ride From Velana International Airport, barefoot luxury and the stunning beauty of Maldives awaits you Booking tip -Plan and book your dream holiday with minimum 30 days in advance and enjoy a 35% discount on Best Available Rates

+960 6651111 | rsvn.gpkd@parkhotelgroup.com www.parkhotelgroup.com/maldives @grandparkkodhipparu



K U R U M B A www.kurumba.com

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Flying the Sussex Nest…

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ussex-by-the-sea has its many charms; the sea, the rolling countryside, quaint little villages and action-packed towns and cities. It’s easy to have the perfect staycation in Sussex with so many adventures to be had right on your doorstep. However, if you want to escape to sunnier climes, then allow us to point you in the direction of a completely different sanctuary of enchanting colours and adventure; ‘Kurumba Maldives’, The Maldives’ very first private island resort. A whole new world to inhabit and explore, this 5 star resort’s peerless blend of luxury and tranquillity tempts many a visitor to its sandy shores time and time again.

Flights from Gatwick are 13.5 hours to Malé International Airport and so weary travellers will welcome Kurumba’s convenient location just 10 minutes from the airport. Upon reaching the resort and having received welcome refreshments from the staff, the journey will soon become a distant memory as you sink your feet into the powder soft sands and feast your eyes on the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, lush gardens ablaze with frangipani, hibiscus and bougainvillea stretch across the island and shady coconut groves loom over 180 luxury bungalows and villas.

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Feast your eyes on the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, lush gardens ablaze with frangipani, hibiscus and bougainvillea stretch across the island and shady coconut groves loom over 180 luxury bungalows and villas.

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K U R U M B A

Visitors certainly have their every need catered for with no less than nine categories of accommodation. What they all have in common is a fresh and modern design, plus plush state-of-the-art facilities.

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Visitors certainly have their every need catered for with no less than nine categories of accommodation. What they all have in common is a fresh and modern design, plus plush state-of-the-art facilities. Whilst the introductory Superior and Deluxe rooms have a graceful contemporary Maldivian style with open air showers and sunny oceanside balconies, the resort’s signature Deluxe Bungalows and Deluxe Beachfront Bungalows each feature their very own private garden containing an outside shower and spacious decking veranda for sunset tipples. The bungalows themselves are hidden amongst the lush fragrant tropic flora just yards from the pure white beaches corralling the island. Each boasts a giant free-standing bathtub, a luxurious dual-basin bathroom, a glass-walled shower and a king-sized bed to collapse into after a hard days sunbathing If that isn’t enough to send you to seventh heaven, guests wanting even more luxury and privacy can opt for Kurumba villa rooms, starting with the Private Villa with Jacuzzi, and the Garden Pool Villas that offer plunge pools within your private open-plan courtyard with rain shower to cool off. Kurumba’s Deluxe Pool Villas are even more sumptuous with the additional luxuries of a large private pool with a waterfall, day bed and wooden terrace. For those who want a taste of the ultimate A-list lifestyle, the largest and most extravagant villa on the island is the Royal Kurumba Residence. Measuring a whopping 768 square metres in diameter and housing two bedrooms, two private pools, a huge living area and veranda, this opulent suite has played host to celebrities, local dignitaries and even heads of state. Well if you can’t beat them, join them!


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***** Our discerning Sussex foodies will be well-catered for with a total of 8 restaurants based within the resort, serving an eclectic selection of the world’s finest cuisines. Deciding whether to visit the main restaurant for unhurried all-day dining, savour far-eastern sushi and teppenyaki at the over-water Hamakaze or to feast within the palatial Lebanese décor of Al Qasr is not an easy decision. Making a choice between the delicious Indian, Chinese and Italian menus of Mahal, East and Duo, respectively, is equally difficult. For guests who want to season their meals with a pinch of Maldives romance, Thila offers a unique beachfront setting in which to dine; relish the finest grilled seafood by candlelight surrounded by a panoramic vista of the ocean. Finally, those wishing to make the most of their private garden, balcony or hired yacht can request an intimate dining experience for two. For those social butterflies that are looking for more of party atmosphere, the resort features three bars: Kalhu, for karaoke kings, Athiri, set on the beaches for the best sunsets and the lively Beach Bar, where guests can share a cocktail and convo in the company of live bands and local dance acts. No resort is complete without a spa and Kurumba certainly delivers on that front. Surrounded by soothing reflection ponds, the Veli Spa is an oasis of serenity in the heart of the island. Here, guests can enjoy a dedicated yoga session, unwinding in the relaxation lounge, de-stressing in the single or couples treatment rooms or indulging in reflexology and exotic body wraps and polishes. For a more romantic experience “The Spa Under the Stars” offers couples a chance to watch the sunset whilst enjoying a unique cowrie shell massage using local hand-pressed Coconut oil.

No resort is complete without a spa and Kurumba certainly delivers on that front. Surrounded by soothing reflection ponds, the Veli Spa is an oasis of serenity in the heart of the island.

Life at the Kurumba Resort isn’t just for the sun and spa-seekers – the sporting and adventurous amongst us have a whole smorgasbord of activities to entertain. The Sports Centre offers a fully-equipped gym, pool, and three floodlit tennis courts and if water sports are your passion the Dive School offers a full range of PADI diving courses. Explore the spectacular dive sites of The Maldives as dazzling shoals of iridescent tropical fish, (friendly!) reef sharks, manta ray and turtles wait to greet you. Once you’ve met the fishy locals, try your hand at Kayaking, water-skiing, windsurfing and parasailing at the spectacular Water Sports Centre and keep the littl’uns entertained with the Fun Tubes and Banana Rodeos. This is all in addition to a wide-range of fascinating local excursions including a Sand Bank Picnic, the ever popular sunset cruises and even night-fishing under the stars. They say that everywhere is nice, but home is best. But if you fancy an escapade and swapping your cup of tea for a tantalising cocktail, your cosy armchair for a luxury sunbed next to a warm glistening shore and your bathtub for an alfresco shower amongst tropical foliage, then the Kurumba Resort is the perfect heavenly retreat to get that extra slice of luxury.

FACT BOX

www.kurumba.com

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K U R A M A T H I I S L A N D R E S O R T S www.kuramathi.com

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cross the sky-blue waters of the Indian Ocean lies an island renowned for its natural beauty; Kuramathi Island Resort. From the 1 km long sandbank that extends from the tip of the resort to the stunning house reef with promising encounters and its wide sweeping beaches offering panoramic views of the ocean, this is a majestic paradise. Upon arrival you will feel like you are on a remote island. However, this resort is easily accessible as transfers from Male International Airport take just 20 minutes by seaplane and 90 minutes via speedboat. How you choose to spend your time on this magical island is up to you. Whether you want peace and quiet whiling away hours in the spa and lazing in the tropical sun, adventure exploring the natural majesty of the Indian Ocean, glamour socialising with fine food and good company, sipping a cocktail by the ocean’s edge, Kuramathi Island Resort will undoubtedly be an unforgettable memory. Villa accommodation on the island blends contemporary design and nature. Choose from Garden Villas and Beach Villas nestled in lush vegetation, Deluxe Beach Jacuzzi Villas that face the lagoon and new Sunset Pool Villas. The new twobedroom Beach Houses are expansive duplex-style villas with separate living spaces, located just a stone’s throw away from the water’s edge and able to accommodate up to six adults; ideal for a getaway with friends or a family holiday. Alternatively, couples can find complete bliss in Deluxe Water Villas and Water Villas with a pool, both featuring spacious bathrooms with glass-paned doors leading out on to the expansive sundeck over turquoise waters. Mirrored on the west side of the island, the Sunset Water Villas, with a pool, are just steps away from the resort’s iconic sandbank, perfect for a romantic stroll. Sunset Pool Villas inhabit the beachfront, each boasting endless views direct from the bedroom to the azure sea, a luxurious bathroom with freestanding bath and outdoor rain shower, and a sundeck inset with 18sqm private infinity pool. For added pleasure, all of the new villas also include expanded mini bars with a winechiller housing over 30 hand-selected, international wines, perfect for total indulgence or a festive toast.

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Visitors certainly have their every need catered for with no less than nine categories of accommodation.What they all have in common is a fresh and modern design, plus plush state-of-the-art facilities.

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Dining options are diverse and All Inclusive guests are allocated a buffet restaurant determined by the location of their villa. If you book the Select All Inclusive package, you’ll have the option to eat at other restaurants offering a great choice of cuisine. The resort boasts an impressive nine à la carte restaurants all offering diverse culinary experiences. A firm favourite with visitors is the classic Reef restaurant, known for its seafood dishes and the fresh catch of the day concept showcasing reef fish such as grouper, mahi mahi, rainbow runner, red snapper and trevallies. It is located on the lagoon side of the island, set in splendid grandeur over water. The middle of the restaurant is truly unique with teppanyaki grills on the left and right-hand side; a new dining experience named Kobe offering authentic Japanese cuisine and finery of cooking meats and vegetables on an iron grill. The al-fresco terraced restaurant Inguru offers stunning views over the ocean and enticing light dining options during the day and Asian fusion cuisine at night. Perhaps the most exciting and majestic new addition to the resort is the Champagne Loft, overlooking the splendid Indian Ocean. Adding to the many bars located throughout Kuramathi Island, Champagne Loft is a special place for couples to drink a glass of Champagne from an eclectic selection of over 45 varieties. Furnished with an elegant ambience and interior; local architecture is inspired and infused with a contemporary touch. Chic furnishings are splayed around the lounge from comfortable loungers to wooden tables that can seat small groups.


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There are activities a-plenty available at the resort. If the adventurer in you is keen to explore, exciting times lie ahead as you travel to the mysterious aquatic realm of the Maldives without even dipping a toe in the water! A brand new red semi-submarine seating 12 offers the chance to sight the beauty of the famed prime dive/snorkelling spot of Madivaru twice a week. A variety of water sports, diving and excursions are also available. The house reef offers hours of adventurous snorkelling and when you have had enough of being active, try some of the innovative therapies available at the spa for ultimate relaxation. The staff at the resort are truly customer satisfaction focused and experts in their respective fields. They offer a welcoming and friendly service and are there to cater to your every need. Add to all these luxurious faciites, amenities such as the Bageecha kids club, a sports centre, gym, swimming pools, medical centre with hyperbaric chamber, Eco Centre, boutiques, laundry, library, wi-fi internet and you have the perfect blend to create a retreat that offers unique experiences for everyone in a natural setting.

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The staff at the resort are truly customer satisfaction focused and experts in their respective fields.


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Voted 2015 World Luxury Spa Awards as Best Luxury Resort Spa - country winner and surrounded by soothing reflection ponds, the resort’s Veli Spa is an oasis of serenity in the heart of the island.

With a total of eight restaurants based within the resort, each offering an eclectic selection of the world’s finest cuisines, thoroughly spoilt guests are well catered for. Deciding whether to visit the main restaurant for unhurried all-day dining, to savour far- Eastern sushi and teppenyaki at the over-water Hamakaze or to feast within the palatial Lebanese décor of Al Qasr is not an easy decision to make. Making a choice between the delicious Indian, Chinese and Italian menus of Mahal, East and Duo, respectively, is equally as difficult. For guests who want to season their meals with a pinch of Maldives romance, Thila offers a unique beachfront setting in which to dine; relish the finest grilled seafood by candlelight surrounded by a panoramic vista of the ocean. Finally, those wishing to make the most of their private garden, balcony or hired yacht can request an intimate dining experience for two. The resort features three bars: Kalhu, for karaoke kings, Athiri, set on the beaches for the best sunsets and the lively Beach Bar, where guests can share a cocktail and convo in the company of live bands and local dance acts. Voted 2015 World Luxury Spa Awards as Best Luxury Resort Spa – country winner and surrounded by soothing reflection ponds, the resort’s Veli Spa is an oasis of serenity in the heart of the island. Here, guests can enjoy a dedicated yoga session, unwinding in the relaxation lounge, destressing in the single or couples treatment rooms or indulging in reflexology and exotic body wraps and polishes. For a more romantic experience ‘The Spa Under the Stars’ offers couples a chance to watch the sunset whilst enjoying a unique cowrie shell massage using local handpressed Coconut oil.

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D H I G A L I I S L A N D www.dhigali.com

Promising unforgettable moments, exquisite romance and true Maldivian beauty, Dhigali is the newest island resort from Universal Resorts and matches contemporary luxury with the pure natural beauty of the Maldives.

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ake a 45 minute seaplane journey from Malé Airport and you arrive on the Raa Atoll, where Dhigali brings modern minimalist design to this wonderfully remote part of the Maldives. Domestic flights from Ifuru/Dharavandhoo Airport are also available and including transfer by speedboat, take just 70 minutes. Surrounded by a pristine coral reef and crystal clear lagoon, this 5 star sanctuary invites guests to cast away in unspoilt luxury and rich Maldivain culture.

Be it amongst lush vegetation or upon the shimmering ocean, the resort’s 8 room categories are all spacious hideaways featuring contemporary décor and natural textures. The island itself is corralled by 20 Beach Bungalows and 33 Deluxe Beach Bungalows to the south, and 63 Beach Villas which line the north and south western beaches. Nestled under a canopy of palms these beach front sanctuaries provide luxurious intimacy, effortlessly marrying the interior and exterior. At 115sqm the Beach Villa’s spacious room layout can sleep 2 adults and 2 children, making it the perfect choice for families. Deluxe Beach Bungalows are slightly larger and include open air bathrooms. Outside, spend your days relaxing in the private deck’s day-bed or opt for the Beach Villa with Pool which includes a private plunge pool overlooking the sparkling Indian Ocean.

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Be it amongst lush vegetation or upon the shimmering ocean, the resort’s 8 room categories are all spacious hideaways featuring contemporary décor and natural textures.


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These villas offer unfettered views over the stunning Indian Ocean

Embracing the island’s perimeter are Dhigali’s impressive overwater bungalows. Extending from the south eastern side of the island is a jetty hosting 24 Water Villas, each one rising out of the lagoon on stilts. These villas offer unfettered views over the stunning Indian Ocean, and Dhigali’s house reef, from floor-to- ceiling glass doors in the expansive bedroom, or via the over-water deck leading down to the crystal clear waters below. Similarly, from the south-east of the island snakes a further jetty housing 16 larger Lagoon Villas with Pools.

Ultimate luxury can be found in Dhigali’s 2 Suite categories, 3 Beach Suites with Pool and the exclusive Dhigali Suite, each representing unparalleled splendour. All have private expansive pools, and at 400sqm the Dhigali Suite is the ultimate sanctuary, with its own courtyard, open-air bathroom and sprawling infinity pool. All of the resort’s accommodation comes equipped with an array of modern amenities as standard. The natural beauty of the island is the heart and soul of this unique resort experience. Guests can unwind on superb golden beaches including Dhigali’s private sandbank, during season extending up to 250 m from the island or explore the island’s house reef, teeming with marine life like lion fish, eagle rays, turtles and mantas. Dhigali offers access to stunning underwater reefs and areas of outstanding beauty, where divers and snorkelers can discover seasonal groupings of manta rays, a variety of stunning corals and huge schools of tropical marine life, as well as the opportunity to spot Whale Sharks, arguably one of nature’s most magical experiences.

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Indulge in luxuryDhigali style- by going all-inclusive which includes access to all à la carte restaurants on the island

Dhigali’s innovative and authentic cuisine explores the spices of Asia, the classic tastes of Europe and traditional Maldivian flavours in its 5 restaurants whilst their 2 bars, Haali and East are perfect settings to enjoy a cocktail. There’ll be a particular focus on fresh Asian dishes, including the specialist Asian restaurant, Battuta. Guests can choose to stay on bed and breakfast, half board, or full board. Alternatively, indulge in luxury- Dhigali styleby going all-inclusive which includes access to all à la carte restaurants on the island, and an enticing array of indulgent refreshments.

Hidden amongst the island’s idyllic tropical gardens, the Dhigali Spa is a lush sanctuary with 12 treatment rooms, making it one of the largest in the Maldives. Featuring an outdoor plunge pool surrounded by lush natural greenery, the spa offers indigenous therapies and healing traditions. Whether it is a catamaran, a wakeboard or a banana boat, those looking for more adventure are offered a comprehensive and diverse programme of activities at Dhigali. PADI courses are available for divers of all ability, as well as water skiing, windsurfing, snorkelling and a fully-equipped fitness centre. Away from the resort itself, a variety of excursions and extraordinary experiences are at the guests’ fingertips, including sunset and dolphin discovery trips, sports fishing and a ‘Maldives Experience’ tour. Take keep the whole family entertained, there is an expansive Children’s Club which includes complimentary outdoor and indoor programmes for children aged 3-12.

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K A N D O L H U I S L A N D www.kandolhu.com

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ailed as Maldives’ best kept secret, Kandolhu is a small lush island and a sanctuary of tranquillity and beauty. The island is ringed by an intricate, pristine coral garden, renowned amongst snorkelers and divers as one of the best in the Maldives. Intimate and tiny, encircled with white sand and surrounded by pure turquoise ocean, this haven of peacefulness is located in the heart of the Maldives, in North Ari Atoll, just a 20 minute seaplane flight from the airport, which feels a world away. Despite the resort’s impressive 5 star rating, the resort puts agreat focus on giving its guests an ‘island experience’ instead of a typical hotel stay. Petite and perfectly formed, this island offers a real Maldivian experience where guests are enveloped in luxury.

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“verySomething unique for the Maldives, where islands of this size are very rare.ˮ


“absolute Find quietude and peace, and enjoy serenity with your loved one.”

General Manager Abdul Latheef describes Kandolhu as, “...something very unique for the Maldives, where islands of this size are very rare. We offer guest the chance to experience a Maldives that is not typically seen. Kandolhu is the perfect combination of ‘small island Maldives’ and complete indulgence. It is an island that will make you feel like Robinson Crusoe, but with numerous luxuries at your disposal. Find quietude and peace, and enjoy absolute serenity with your loved one.”

Exclusive and intimate, the island features just thirty luxury villas across five different categories, each distinct in design and many housing private pools. Villas are scattered around the island, on the beach with sea views or set over the water with direct access down to the sparkling ocean below. Each villa offers Maldivian architecture and distinctive natural elements, combined with modern interiors, and contemporary designer furnishings. Modern-day luxuries enhance the experience further with creature comforts including king-size beds, guest iPad, Go Pro, Wi-Fi, Bose surround sound system and an espresso machine. The flooring, by Parador comes from certified, sustainably managed forests. While outdoor pieces from Rausch Classics invite guests to relax in the alfresco areas of the villas, enjoying stunning panoramic views and complete privacy.

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Guests at Kandolhu Maldvies are spoilt for choice as the resort offers highest restaurant-to-room-ratio in the Maldives, having recently opened its fifth restaurant; Mexican and Peruvian street food offering Ata-Roa. Serving up authentic, simple and light street food with classic and unique takes on ceviche and tacos, the mouthwatering menu was created by Executive Chef Mickaël Farina inspired by his recent trek across South America. The Sea Grill opens as the sun sets over the island and invites diners to savour fresh seafood, sizzling cuts and experience the unique taste of the tandoor, while for a flavour of the Far East, guests can dine at Banzai and indulge in vibrant sushi and fresh specialties cooked with flair on the teppan, under the starlit sky.

Superb gastronomy from a range of cuisines is housed across a further four gourmet restaurants. The Market serves a selection of a la carte international favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast includes classic from ‘Breaky Bruschetta’ (tomato and avocado salsa and rocket herb on toasted country loaf) and ‘Garden Bagel’ (rocket, pickle, hot English mustard, grilled zucchini and eggplant) to Eastern Congee, whilst Lunch and Dinner feature mouth-watering essentials such as the re-imagined ‘New Nicoise Salad’ (green bean salsa, cherry tomato, kipfler potato, confit artichoke with olive vinaigrette) and ‘Scarpetta’ (Vegan spaghetti, tomato, basil and black olive). Olive boasts sweeping ocean views complimented by Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Starters include ‘Olive Tartare’ (cantaloupe melon dice and soup, blood orange vinaigrette, rice tuile and gold leaf, followed by ‘Red Paella’ (bomba rice, capsicum to ways, lemon and tarragon salsa) and finished with a delectable range of vegan ice creams and sorbets.

For a flavour of the Far East, guests can dine at Banzai and indulge in vibrant sushi and fresh specialties cooked with flair on the teppan, under the starlit sky. For a lazy day, in-villa dining offers a menu featuring international and local specialties, to be enjoyed in your own private haven. While for pure romance, a Beach Dinner allows guests to feel the sand beneath their toes, while enjoying a bespoke gourmet meal.

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The spa menu, with a heavy focus on Voya products, brings guests “organic beauty from the sea” – the perfect partnership to the resort’s nature-based approach to the art of relaxation.

Kandolhu launched their Vegan offering across their four gourmet restaurants in 2018. Having always offered bespoke Vegan dining choices for guests curated around seasonal produce, the move to design the menus came as a response to veganism as a lifestyle and not just a dietary requirement. With Kandolhu’s team of internationally renowned, and award winning chefs constantly innovating exciting dishes the menu development has happened naturally through fresh flavour combinations that effortlessly complement the existing restaurants’ menus.

Kandolhu offers three meal plans, to suit every need; Bed & Breakfast includes a sumptuous buffet breakfast either in The Market or in-villa, A La Carte Dining includes breakfast, lunch and dinner at any one of our exquisite restaurants. For complete indulgence guests can opt for the Ultimate All-Inclusive, which adds to the extravagance of dining at any of the restaurants, by including a wide range of drinks ranging from, beers, cocktails and fresh juices to a fantastic selection of bottled wines. Also incorporated with the Ultimate All-Inclusive plan is a well-stocked invilla wine cellar with 26 handpicked, globally accredited wines, as well as the option of a private snorkelling tour, or sunset cruise with champagne and canapés.

No Maldivian holiday would be complete without a beach bar and Kandolhu’s provides stunning panoramic views of the lagoon and the azure sea beyond. Guests can also enjoy the water sports centre which includes diving and non-motorised sports (most on a complimentary basis), a gym and an array of excursion options, from snorkelling safaris to big game fishing. Varu Spa at Kandolhu indulges guests in an expansive wellness experience with 4 treatment rooms complete with beautiful wet areas set into private gardens. The spa menu, with a heavy focus on Voya products, brings guests “organic beauty from the sea” – the perfect partnership to the resort’s nature-based approach to the art of relaxation. Choose from a wide range of treatments including massages, body wraps, natural scrubs and much more.

Guests can walk around the island barefoot in just minutes and snorkel one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, rich in both coral and fish life and just a stone’s throw from the beach.


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V E L A S S A R U I S L A N D Sophistication and tranquility awaits you upon the South Malé Atoll, as Universal Resorts present you ‘Velassaru,’ a resort that pairs contemporary luxury with the natural beauty of the Maldives. With its pearl-dust beaches, turquoise lagoon and myriad coconut groves the island is a magical setting for this 5-star resort and is quite possibly the finest resort accessible via speedboat.

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ontemporary and unique, the resort’s accommodation is dotted through the island and boasts 26 Deluxe Bungalows, 25 Deluxe Villas and 30 Beach Villas to the north. Located within their own private tropical garden just steps from the beach, the Deluxe Bungalows are subtly integrated into the natural foliage and provide a spacious intimacy; expertly crafted, these buildings are designed across two expansive levels with minimalist interiors and colourful accents. Beach villas are slightly larger and look out onto the beachfront with a sprawling sea-facing terrace, 10 of these villas have recently been upgraded to Beach Villa with Pools, each boasting 20 square metre private swimming pools. For those who want to feel like they are literally walking on water, the northern tip of the island brings guests a jetty hosting the 17 airy and luxe Water Bungalows now all with swimming pools, each one rising out of the lagoon set on stilts. These villas offer exceptional uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, whether from the king-sized bed through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors, or via the over-water deck leading down to the crystal clear waters below. Similarly, from the southwest of the island snakes a further jetty housing 28 spacious Water Villas and the resort’s exclusive Water Suite with a 10 metre long infinity pool.

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These huge villas represent unparalleled splendour, four with private pools and all feature king- size silk draped beds and a full sea-facing wall opening out onto an expansive terrace above the lucid waters of the lagoon. For those looking for that extra touch of luxury, Velassaru offers the one and only Pool Villa, Deluxe Villa with Pool, and Water Suite all with large private pools. All of the resort’s accommodation comes equipped with an array of modern amenities and comforts as standard. The natural beauty of the island is the heart and soul of the resort experience. All spa, leisure and dining facilities have been created to celebrate the setting. The ocean is never out of sight. Guests have a wide range of dining options to choose from with several restaurants located close to the main reception and pool. Savouring continental and Asian cuisines at Turquoise is an intimate affair with its panoramic ocean backdrop, whereas Vela has a casual vibe and a creative international menu.

Etesian offers Mediterranean gourmet dishes of the finest kind with truffles, cheeses and a wine library to envy. From a south-east facing jetty the oceanfront food theatre of Sand serves Eastern, Pan Asian and Continental cuisines from the live hot stone grill. Teppanyaki over the lagoon showcases contemporary Japanese cuisine with a creative twist. The ever-changing buffet at Vela ranges from local specialties, to European Classics and much, much more. Guests can enjoy stunning ocean views, freshly mixed cocktail and perfectly chilled wines and beer paired with a delectable and unique selection of International Tapas, at the alfresco Chill Bar. Alternatively, Velassaru private dining allows guests to eat from their own menu in a location of their choosing. Why not lunch for two on your own desert island for the most romantic day imaginable?

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A location of exquisite romance and beauty, Velassaru has been designed for couples, families and the young at heart.

Guests are likely to round off their evening in the chic setting of the spectacular beachfront bar of Fen. With cocktails to live music and the Maldivian sunset, Fen is the signature Velassaru experience. For those seeking total relaxation, The Spa at Velassaru is an experience not to be missed. One of the most beautiful over water spas in the Maldives, its ten treatment rooms, pool and yoga pavilion are all set on stilts over the clear blue lagoon allowing uninterrupted ocean views. The Spa offer guests signature treatments and rituals that are created to provide an authentic healing experience in the essence of Maldives. All treatments are done with locally sourced natural ingredients, like Virgin Coconut Oil rich with Vitamin E that complement the beauty of the island. The resort provides many opportunities for those who are a little more active. The beaches themselves vary from the broad and open to the small and secluded and the local waters are perfect for snorkelling or diving. Immersion, the resort dive school offers a full range of PADI courses for divers of all levels. With over 60 reefs teeming with vibrant marine life, guests have ample opportunity to explore the world’s best dive sights.

Velassaru also offers windsurfing, catamaran, kayak hire and fishing trips, to compliment the fully-equipped gym and hard tennis court, as well as complimentary morning yoga, morning cruise and snorkelling tours. Excursions to desert islands are available plus the chance to take sea-plane photo flights, providing you with a bird’s eye view of the mysterious atoll formations, or glide across the ocean on a sunset cruise.

A location of exquisite romance and beauty, Velassaru has been designed for couples, families and the young at heart. A stunning resort with distinctive style and personality combines affordable chic with true Maldivian hospitality.

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An elegant and unique Maldives resort, Maafushivaru is an island that epitomises all that one dreams of when dreaming of the Maldives. Located in the pristine South Ari Atoll, Maafushivaru is 350 metres in length and walkable in just over 10 minutes. Oozing with small island charm, this world-class resort is characterised by lush vegetation and it’s surroundings of powder-white soft sand and a house reef that a myriad of tropical fish call home.

Aimed at couples seeking romance, the stunning five-star Maafushivaru resort has recently completed a full renovation and the the team are looking forward to welcoming guests when they are able to travel. The team at Maafushivaru embrace a collective aim to ensure guests make memories that will be forever cherished. The resort offers an experience that respectively combines a Maldives from times-gone-by with the contemporary luxuries of the present, distinguishing it from other Maldives resorts.

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aafushivaru is the first long-haul DER Touristik Hotels & Resorts, under the lti brand, to launch in 16 years and will do so across Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the UK, Maafushivaru will be exclusive to DER Touristik’s tour operator brands (DERTOUR, Meiers Weltreisen, ITS Reisen, JAHN Reisen, Kuoni UK and Switzerland as well as Manta Reisen in Switzerland). Guests arriving at this unique resort can expect the highest levels of service, fine dining, brand-new rooms and an atmosphere of total relaxation. The 81 new guest villas, include Beach Villas, Beach Pool Villas and Duplex Pool Villas, each with a spacious design and an abundance of chic touches and must-have mod-cons. The entry-level Beach Villas feature private sea facing sun decks and semi-open garden bathrooms with rainfall showers; whilst those wanting their very own hideaway can opt for the Beach Villa with Pool which includes a private plunge pool overlooking the sparkling Indian Ocean. Capturing the true flavour of The Maldives, Maafushivaru brings fine-dining to this paradise setting at the striking Moodhu Grill, lti Maafushivaru’s signature restaurant. Offering fresh meat and seafood with a range of dishes from its tandoor oven, Moodhu’s delectable

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dining choices and stunning sea views make this is a must-visit at the resort, while Umi provides an over water teppanyaki experience, Cielo, set above the Water Bar is an all-day dining restaurant with a Mediterraneanfeel menu. Poolside, Las Tapas, will present lighter lunchtime bites, while Water Bar offers refreshing drinks overlooking the turquoise waters and Cuisine Gallery offers Mediterranean cuisine infused with local and regional flavours. Perfect for foodies, the island offers Half Board, Half Board Plus* and Dine Around All Inclusive**, all of which offer a perfect chance to dine in luxury and experience a delectable range of dishes from around the world and closer to home. Half Board includes breakfast and dinner at the Cuisine Gallery, Half Board Plus additionally includes a wide range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including selected international branded spirits, an extensive cocktail list and a selection of bottled wines. Other benefits offered in the plan include complimentary snorkelling equipment and non-motorised water sports. Guests wishing to have the fullest experience at Maafushivaru can choose DineAround All Inclusive which also includes breakfast at the Cuisine Gallery, with lunch and dinner at any of the operational à la carte restaurants on the island.


Guests arriving at this unique resort can expect the highest levels of service, fine dining, brand-new rooms and an atmosphere of total relaxation.

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Although most guests are inclined to explore and island hop, Maafushivaru has ensured that everything you could possibly need is available right there on your doorstep. An infinity edged fibre-optic lit swimming pool is available for guests who prefer a dip in the cool fresh water and for those who fancy curling up with a book, a library lounge is available, featuring a coffee/tea service with books and magazines in different languages, and board games. You will find many places overlooking the azure seas to relax and curl up with a favourite book, including a sundeck that doubles up as a great spot for a private dinner. A complimentary Wi-Fi internet service is available in certain public areas And for those who enjoy a spot of retail therapy or just need a few essentials, ‘The Boutique’ offers a wide selection of souvenirs, local items, toiletries and beach wear.

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A truly unique jewel in this Maldivian treasure is Lonubo, the resort’s private castaway island, just 500m from the shores if the resort For the daring and raring to go, a whole range of diving and snorkelling trips are available to guests, as well as fishing, visits to local islands and romantic cruises at sunset. Maafushivaru’s transformation has been fundamentally linked to its stunning surrounds and the conservation and protection of these have been at the forefront of the development throughout. The marine world that surrounds the lti hotel can be best described as utterly sublime, with an array of flourishing and vibrant marine life. It’s easy to spot a shark or two, and you might just bump into a whale shark during one of the snorkelling trips organised by the island, led by our resident Marine Biologist. Those looking for adventure can explore life below the waves with the Dive Center at Maafushivaru, which offers PADI qualifications and courses for all levels from beginners to experienced divers. Diving is spectacular around lti Maafushivaru Maldives, with several dive sites promising big fish encounters, colourfully complete with coral gardens, in warm temperate waters that provide excellent visibility. A truly unique jewel in this Maldivian treasure is Lonubo, the resort’s private castaway island, just 500m from the shores if the resort, Lonubo offers guests the opportunity to experience the Maldives as it once was, a true utopia, unencumbered by the modern world, but with the comfort for its luxuries. Ringed by a lively coral reef and with a verdant interior, concealing a villa for two, a picnic on this paradise isle can be capped with a private dinner or even a spa treatment for the ultimate getaway. Come the end of the day, be sure to visit the Océane Spa; a truly natural well-being experience. Situated on a quiet corner of the island on its own jetty, the spa is the place where inner beauty is blended with the beauty of the landscape. Each treatment on offer is individually designed to help you realise your ultimate state of wellbeing. The extensive menu offers signature couples therapies as well as single massages, facial and body treatments, using VOYA’s organic skincare line and Yonka products for skin care.

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The marine world that surrounds the lti hotel can be best described as utterly sublime

A range of Spa care programs are also available and can be personalised, depending on the length of stay and tailored to each guests’ needs. The full refurbishment and transformation of this exquisite island, while maintaining the unique properties of the original resort has resulted in a perfect synthesis of nature and indulgence; a paradise reimagined and it’s ready for you.

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JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa is a sanctuary of scenic luxury. With over 60 expansive and stylish overwater villas and beach villas

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eady to receive those in pursuit of luxury, elegance,

adventure and above all privacy, the island of Vagaru, on the Shaviyani Atoll, has recently welcomed the opening of JW Marriott's first resort within the Maldives; The

JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa. Synonymous with beautiful properties in gateway cities and distinctive resort locations

around the world, the global luxury portfolio caters to today's sophisticated, self-assured travellers, offering them the quiet luxury they seek in a warmly authentic, relaxed atmosphere

lacking in pretense.

Edging the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, JW Marriott

Maldives Resort & Spa is a sanctuary of scenic luxury. With over 60 expansive and stylish overwater villas and beach villas, you

can find total respite relaxing upon the plush bedding, cooling off within the private pools and sun seeking upon the decks, which

all feature stunning views of the shimmering blue ocean beyond. The resort places a strong emphasis on privacy and so all private decks and pools are specifically designed so they can't be seen from the outside.

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No matter which villa you choose, you can be sure that style and serenity comes as a given, with each room drawing inspiration from the natural surroundings and local Maldivian culture

The villas themselves start at an enormous 234sqm – larger than the average London flat, and there are four ultra-expansive villa types, all with private pools. The two-bedroom, three-bathroom Duplex Beach Pool Villas sleep up to five guests and have upstairs living areas and direct beach access ideal for families, whilst the Duplex Overwater Pool Villas with upstairs living areas have unsurpassed views of the Laccadive Sea. Beautiful One-bedroom Beach Pool Villas and sunrise and sunset Overwater Pool Villas are also available. No matter which villa you choose, you can be sure that style and serenity comes as a given, with each room drawing inspiration from the natural surroundings and local Maldivian culture, incorporating colours and materials that highlight the island destination. Traditional charm is interwoven throughout the resort's architecture, with thatched roof villas designed to be reminiscent of inverted Dhoni boats, the traditional Maldivian wooden fishing vessels, and slanted roof tips recalling white herons dipping their heads into the water. Headed up by food and wine expert, General Manager Marc Gussing, the resort has one of the most impressive culinary offerings in the Maldives. There are five restaurants with one in a treetop setting and one overwater, and top chefs from some of the world's most celebrated restaurants.

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All tastes are catered for, with guests invited to feast on a wide range of cuisine that includes and goes beyond classic Maldivian dishes.

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The plethora of exquisite restaurants are dotted throughout the resort; delight your palate with distinctive Japanese, Italian and global cuisine, along with treetop dining and buffet breakfasts at our diverse dining destinations. All tastes are catered for, with guests invited to feast on a wide range of cuisine that includes and goes beyond classic Maldivian dishes and features produce grown within the Chef's very own garden. Highlights include vibrant Thai dishes created by a former Nobu Chef in a treetop restaurant, authentic Japanese Teppanyaki, poolside Woodfired pizzas made in a traditional pizza oven, and freshly caught seafood in a fine-dining, overwater restaurant. Meals are complemented with a choice of sake, Japanese whisky, rum cocktails, smoked cocktails, and both new and old-world wines. It is only right that the drinks offer is as impressive as the cuisine upon the resort and JW Marriott certainly achieve this with three fully-serviced


The island's surrounding natural reef benefits from the island being far from Male and civilisation and is therefore teeming with sea life, waiting to explored.

bars that feature 98 different types of rum and an expansive wine cellar with over 300 labels - an exceptional offering for a remote private island with only 60 villas. For those special and more intimate occasions, in-villa dining and destination dining options are also on offer for couples or families. When you're not gazing out at the pristine sandy beaches and stunning azure waters from your overwater villa, how about enjoying taking a dip yourself any taking the team up on one of the resort amenities, water sports, dive sites or a trip to the vibrant coral reefs around Vagaru Island. As the resort is situated in the untouched Northern atoll of Shaviyani, it is a 55-minute seaplane flight to the north of Male. The island's surrounding natural reef

benefits from the island being far from Male and civilisation and is therefore teeming with sea life, waiting to explored. Conservation is key and so the resort has it's very own on-site marine biologist who ensures the pristine reef remains untouched and in perfect health whilst overseeing aquatic expeditions including diving and snorkelling. When it's time for some essential rest and relaxation, the adults-only infinity swimming pool on the tip of the island is an ideal destination for adults looking for some peace. Meanwhile a chic adults-only club house with cigar room, shisha room, a billiards table and more is available to guests looking for some action and are over the age of 18.

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Led by qualified multilingual instructors, youngsters can partake in a series of educational activities including informative beach walks where they are taught how delicate the ocean environment is.

JW Marriott resorts are highly regarded for their familyfriendly feel and amenities and this resort is no exception. The iconic FAMiLY by JW Kid's Club called Little Griffin's is the place to be for all those little nippers seeking adventure and activities. With a 13m pirate's ship, kid's sleeping areas, a servery, games, and educational animated activities, little ones will be kept entertained for hours. Led by qualified multi-lingual instructors, youngsters can partake in a series of educational activities including informative beach walks where they are taught how delicate the ocean environment is, the importance of keeping the beach clean and the impacts of plastic pollution on marine life. The instructors also take children on an island exploration where they are given an insight into the different animal and plant species on the island, designed to encourage a love for wildlife. Sparking the imaginations of the mini guests, the active experiences at the Little Griffin's Kid's Club include a Quidditch and Gaga Ball tournament inspired by Harry Potter,

a high activity team sport combining the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping. Designed to spark creativity in children, Little Griffin's also holds arts and crafts classes, and family pizza making and cupcake decorating for both children and their parents. After a day of activities, children can relax at one of the Little Griffin's outdoor movie nights. With the children happily occupied at the kids club, there is no better time to visit the iconic Spa by JW, overwater gym and open-air yoga pavilion that offers cutting-edge and indulgent spa treatments and a daily schedule of yoga and fitness activities. Thats said, wellness is not just limited to adults at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa. The Spa by JW offers treatments specifically tailored for children including facial and head massages, mini manicures and mini pedicures, whilst the Little Griffin's Kid's Club offers beach yoga. www.marriott,com

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G R A N D P A R K K O D H I P P A R U Experience your own paradise on earth at Grand Park Kodhipparu, Park Hotel Group’s first luxury resort

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uch is known about Maldives; a coveted holiday destination renowned for its pristine beaches and stunning scenery. It is also one of the places where time seems to stand still while you get busy with doing everything, or nothing.

Comprising of close to 1,200 islands spanning across the Indian Ocean, Maldives is a dream destination for many, with most international airlines flying into the Velana International Airport. Experience your own paradise on earth at Grand Park Kodhipparu, Park Hotel Group’s first luxury resort and your exclusive address in beautiful Maldives. Located on the island of Kodhipparu in North Male Atoll, famous for its dive sites and abundant marine life, the resort is just a 20-minute speedboat ride from the airport allowing you to save time on seaplane transfers so that you get to paradise in double-quick time. This one-island-one-resort destination invites you into an oasis of tranquillity with its collection of beach and water villas, dining venues and recreational spaces. More than just a destination for couples and honeymooners, the location in the North Male Atoll makes for many enthralling underwater experiences with renowned snorkelling and diving sites including wreck sites just nearby. The resort is also family-friendly with a wide array of children’s facilities including a kids club and kids activities. This is the ultimate island experience for the romantic, the active, the family and the foodie.

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Whether it’s a peaceful getaway from the bustle of everyday life or a wonderfully indulgent holiday guests are after, Grand Park Kodhipparu has everything at hand to ensure guests will make the best memories for life. “The Maldives have long been established as a leading and exclusive resort destination. At Grand Park Kodhipparu, we have created a unique gem that will appeal to the most sophisticated travellers searching for a truly Maldivian journey and experiences of a lifetime,” Mr Raffaele Solferino, General Manager of Grand Park Kodhipparu. Designed by world-renowned hospitality firm, Hirsch Bedner Associates, the resort showcases sophisticated architecture, state-of-the-art interiors and high ceilings of palm fringed roofing. Contemporary exteriors with Maldives’ traditional influence of wood and rattan have inventive rustic appeal and invite a calming and peaceful atmosphere. Neutral tones, natural fundamentals and spacious social settings balance the unrivalled beauty of the cobalt sea and tranquility. Take in the beauty and charm of Maldives in any of Grand Park Kodhipparu’s 120 idyllic villas. Featuring traditional Maldivian elements and contemporary comforts, all the resort’s beach, ocean and lagoon villas come with spectacular sunrise or sunset views and 65 of them come with private pools. Luxury is to have the choice to bask in paradise the way you like it. With the ocean or lagoon water villas, unwind with the soothing sounds of the waves while lounging at your terrace or relaxing in the plunge pool, steps from the ocean – ready for you to explore the colourful marine life. Wake up to a beautiful sunny day in one of the private Ocean Water Villas, located near the island facilities, offering limitless views of the sky and sea. Featuring a private terrace with sun lounger, inviting steps to the underwater world and an expansive bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower, this is your own haven where you can get reacquainted with nature. The resort’s Lagoon Water Villas are set amidst a calm crystal clear lagoon facing North of the island, with each private villa being perfect for a dip or swim around the shallow waters on the island. Unwind at the spacious private sun terrace or simply lie on the Maldivian hammock to bask in the sun. For the perfect private paradise experience, guests can request their own pool at their Ocean or Lagoon Water Villa. If, however, you prefer the sand and sea, how about choosing one of the beach pool villas surrounded by lush greenery and just a stone’s throw from the shoreline while remaining close to the resort facilities. Each villa comes with a private plunge pool facing the horizon. Listen to the waves lapping on the shore or walk on the beach to feel the white powdery sand beneath your feet as the beach is just steps from your terrace. For the ultimate luxurious experience, Grand Park Kodhipparu’s Grand Residences offer a dream holiday homeaway-from-home with two bedrooms, an exclusive living room, inviting infinity pool with panoramic ocean views and outdoor private dining area. Luxuriate in the uniquely designed bedrooms, exclusive living space and two bathrooms. Take your time to enjoy Maldives to the fullest as you watch hundreds of fish swimming idly from the villa’s glass floor, take in the panoramic scenery of the Indian Ocean or simply stargaze as you dine in this private sanctuary after nightfall.

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Situated next to the ocean, The Edge welcomes diners into its contemporary and open spaces designed to showcase unblocked views of its picturesque surroundings.


The resort’s Lagoon Water Villas are set amidst a calm crystal clear lagoon facing North of the island, with each private villa being perfect for a dip or swim around the shallow waters

When it comes to dining at Grand Park Kodhipparu, gastronomy is a subject not to be taken lightly, with the resort’s chefs producing exquisite and innovative dishes to inspire and delight. From casual dining at Breeze Poolside Dining & Bar and extensive buffet spreads at The Edge, to a feast of prime cuts paired with curated wine at specialty restaurant, Firedoor, the most discerning foodie is in for a treat at Grand Park Kodhipparu, all accompanied by unbeatable views. Situated next to the ocean, The Edge welcomes diners into its contemporary and open spaces designed to showcase unblocked views of its picturesque surroundings. Maldivian influences are reflected in the pinewood timbre flooring, roof and ceiling features and extended to the furniture and décor items created by local craftsmen. A variety of seating from cosy indoor lounge seating to overwater private pods is available, ideal for group mingling or those romantic dinners. For those looking for a more casual vibe, guests can enjoy a wide selection of international culinary creations from The Edge’s extensive buffet selection which also features live cooking stations where seasonal specialities are prepared on demand. Set against tranquil, panoramic ocean views, Breeze Poolside Dining and Bar serves lunch and light bites throughout the day. Offering modern, light menus with contemporary interpretations of Asian and Mediterranean classics, as well as old favourites like burgers, pasta and salads, Breeze is the perfect venue to refuel throughout the day. At sunset, Breeze transforms into an easy-going resort bar where inventive bartenders put together refreshing cocktails (and mocktails!) Fine wines and light snacks also feature alongside some easy beats at sunset. Breeze is also conveniently adjacent to the infinity pool with an adjoining wine cellar! Nestled in an intimate space away from the other resort facilities, Fire Door is a speciality restaurant that sets the stage for a special celebration. Upon entering, be greeted by a hive of activity at the show kitchen featuring an impressive Josper grill, set to fire up your appetite. At the heart of the restaurant, schools of colourful fish swim idly in the lagoon adding to the carefree and relaxed vibe as guests dine in privacy either indoors or alfresco.

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From the moment a guest arrives at Grand Park Kodhipparu, the team make it their personal aim and pleasure to ensure every guest has an exceptional experience of the island When it comes to a spot of rest and relaxation, leave your cares behind and enter a peaceful sanctuary looking out to the sea at award-winning The Spa. This idyllic setting advocates an holistic, healthy and sustainable lifestyle, ensuring that you step out from the signature spa sessions feeling restored and revitalised. Each session focuses on a renewed self after the session, body and skin care programs for a youthful and glowing self, or the Asian touch selection of Balinese or Ayurvedic for inner peace. The Spa features 7 over-water treatment rooms overlooking the crystal clear water of the lagoon and is partnered with Comfort Zone, the distinctive range of body and skin care treatments which are tailored to each guest and utilise natural-origin, paraben-free products. Established in Parma, Italy in 1996, Comfort Zone is one of the world’s most renowned brands for holistic products, using its range of eco-friendly creams and balms for all treatments. The brand promotes a soulful and healthy lifestyle and uses the finest natural-origin ingredients combined with science-based solutions to visibly improve skin, body and mind. The Spa also offers traditional salon services in its Beauty Salon, including classic manicures and pedicures, hair-cuts and styling as well as threading, ideal for guests celebrating their wedding or special occasions at the resort. No matter what signature session or treatment you have chosen, guests are invited to end their wellness journey in the Relaxation Room; a tranquil space with signature tea and healthy bites, or to embark towards a relaxing session of yoga. Be it the Hatha yoga or simple a sunset yoga, the session is perfect way to calm the mind and soul. The Spa offers an holistic wellness retreat program to recover, rejuvenate, and reactivate your senses with a mix of activities, spa treatments, and balanced cuisine to nourish the body. There’s a lot you can do when in paradise or you can choose to do nothing at all. For the adventure enthusiast, Maldives offers a wide array of water sports and worldclass scuba diving experiences. There are also a whole host of private dining experiences for the honeymooners and couples, and families are also welcome as the excursions and island explorations ensure your days are filled with fun and excitement. Maldives’ natural and beautiful landscape presents plentiful opportunities for many unique dining experiences. And how better to experience the destination than basking in the splendour of picturesque surroundings with one of the resort’s chef’s culinary creations from breakfast with champagne on a sandbank, an afternoon picnic at a private beach to an intimate gourmet meal in the privacy of your villa.

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Discover a dazzling underwater world in the North Male Atoll, home to a myriad of marine species, renowned dive sites and sharks’ point.

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For those looking to explore beneath the waves, the Scuba diving and Snorkelling experiences available are second to none. Discover a dazzling underwater world in the North Male Atoll, home to a myriad of marine species, renowned dive sites and sharks’ point. The dive centre is fully equipped with what you require including a team of PADI certified professionals for a memorable diving experience. The island is also located in one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, whee you can learn and discover what the underwater world offers as you snorkel around the island. You may encounter hundreds of colourful reef fishes, just metres away from your villa. Even more action can be found at the Grand Park Kodhipparu water sports centre; a candy store for fans of the sun and sea. With an endless list of activities to choose from, sports aficionados would be kept occupied for days, including catamaran sailing, parasailing, kayaking, snorkelling, banana boat riding, water skiing, wakeboarding, fun tubes riding, kite surfing, windsurfing and jet skiing. Beyond the resort, there’s a lot more to explore in the Maldives, so be sure to set aside time to embrace the beauty of the Maldives’s nature and culture with a selection of offsite excursions. Be it fishing in the traditional Maldivian way, a cruise on a Dhoni (Maldivian traditional boat) to watch the dolphins and enjoy the romantic sunset, or a visit to the bustling island city of Male for more exploration of the Maldivian life, Grand Park Kodhipparu team will organise it for you. From the moment a guest arrives at Grand Park Kodhipparu, the team make it their personal aim and pleasure to ensure every guest has an exceptional experience of the island that they are so very proud of and irrespective of whether they are honeymooners, families or adventure seekers, they leave with memories to last a lifetime. www.parkhotelgroup.com/maldives

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One of the very first resorts to open in Maldives, it’s been nearly 50 years since Baros first welcomed visitors to its shores. It was a time when locals travelled from island to island on wooden dhoni sailboats when the Maldives communicated with the world by Morse code. Much has changed since then, but more has stayed the same, ensuring Baros remains a place of astonishing natural beauty, cultural richness and feels as magical as ever. With the luxury of decades of experience, the team at Baros Maldvies have learnt over the years that authentic luxury isn't a gimmick, it's the sum of many different, carefully chosen parts. The services on offer are honed by seeing and understanding what works – what people love, keeping them come back for time and again. Sitting in harmony amongst the the natural beauty of their surroundings, the collection of handcrafted beachfront and overwater villas at Baros are built from timber and sandstone and designed to cocoon you in comfort, furnished with care and with a host of indulgent features for you to enjoy. To help preserve the island, the team at Baros work hard to protect the natural environment, from the house reef fringing the island to its natural jungle heart. In order to ensure the privacy of their guests, the island also strictly prohibits the use of Drones on the island.

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When you're at Baros, you have a world of incredible marine life within a short swim of your villa.

Baros Maldives is situated in the central southern part of North Male’ Atoll, just 25 minutes by speedboat from Maldives International Airport. Beginning with the coral-walled, fan-cooled cabanas of the original resort, Baros has become an icon of luxury in the Maldives. Throughout every chapter of the island’s story, Baros strive to offer the highest standard of Maldivian hospitality. From the heartfelt service to the ingredients in the dishes, to the artwork on the walls, to the pillows on each bed – these details, perfected, are what makes Baros so very unique. Whether you stay over the water or on our junglecovered shoreline, your accommodation promises to be surrounded by the greens and blues that characterise the island, with all of Baros within close reach. There are 45 Beachside and 30 Water Private Villas to choose from, many with private pools and each complete with a Villa Host to cater to guests every possible requirement. Rise early to greet the day and experience the early-morning hours in their perfect stillness. Stay up late and watch the stars from your deck. Spend your days exploring the flourishing house reef, a quick paddle away. Privacy, serenity and comfort; each of the villas at Baros Maldives is a world of its own, with everything you could possibly need. The exclusive Baros Suites can be discovered on the eastern shore of the island, via a winding pathway through the lush foliage and feature wooden floors and high ceilings in a traditional Maldivian concept. At the foot of the king-size bed is an ottoman concealing a television screen while on one side there is a work desk and on the other, a cosy reading nook. In the adjoining lounge, there is a 55” television with access to movies and Internet and a sublimely cosy sofa for relaxation. Sliding glass doors open on to an expansive wooden deck ideal for sunbathing or private dining under the stars beside 19ft x 10ft swimming pool (which has a hot and cold Jacuzzi) adorned with fibre optic lights for a magical ambience in the evening.

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Designed to provide a haven of seclusion, the Baros Suites are specially created to maintain the utmost privacy and tranquillity with classic design, for guests to enjoy the freedom of space as well as the inspiration of tropical tranquillity and a chance to relax in solitude. Choose a Water Pool Villa and discover an oasis where the turquoise of your plunge pool blends with the blues of our lagoon. Behind the daybed on your sun-soaked veranda, a stairway descends to crystalclear waters, the house reef ready and waiting for exploration. You will find every comfort in your private cocoon over the water – rich teak floors, comfortable furniture and luxurious bedding, a library of books and indoor games, and every modern convenience. Your tropical overwater haven gives you the perfect balance of privacy and access. Enjoy your own secluded beach garden and shaded pool beneath tropical trees with Baros Pool Villas which provide a peaceful repose within steps of the lagoon. On your deck you've got a canopied daybed and sun loungers, where days can be spent bathed in ocean views. White sands, turquoise waters and the wonders of the house reef are just metres away. Inside, spaces that envelope with effortless charm – a comfortable bed, rich wooden furnishings and bespoke Baros amenities. Relax upon the shimmering waters of the lagoon in a Baros Water Villa - your own personal retreat and warm timber cocoon of tranquillity. The lagoon lies just beyond your canopied daybed, waiting for you to jump in and explore, while a wide timber deck lets you drink in endless ocean views. In the evenings, relax amid spectacular sunsets, and watch as the sky transforms into a light show of constellations. Inside, enjoy a private world of elegantly cosy furnishings and plush amenities, with thoughtful touches of indulgence everywhere you look. Gastromony upon the island is as exquisite as the scenery itself and the options available to guests are plentiful. Step aboard a dhoni for a dinner cruise for two or head to the Piano Deck with your own private chef, for an exclusive gourmet meal. Or how about settling in at The Lighthouse to watch the sunset with cocktails and canapés? At these gourmet Restaurants in Baros, every meal is yours to savour, every bite designed to inspire. The team have been creating culinary magic for more than 40 years, taking the time to perfect classic dishes, while innovating with new techniques and ingredients from around the world. From lavish buffet breakfasts by the pool to fine dining at the legendary Lighthouse, every meal is another opportunity for you to relish a favourite or try something more daring.

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Relax upon the shimmering waters of the lagoon in a Baros Water Villa - your own personal retreat and warm timber cocoon of tranquillity.

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Intimate and magical, The Lighthouse Restaurant rises over the lagoon, its towering white sail a beacon on the seas. Reserve your table under the stars for an unforgettable dining experience, perched over the water, with views that reach to the twinkling horizon. Enjoy the most succulent local seafood, tender steaks and modern classics infused with exotic flavour. For the ultimate in fine dining, have the resident sommelier recommend the perfect wines for your meal. Intimate dining over the lagoon, the aroma of spice drifting through the night – Cayenne Grill offers al fresco à la carte dining with a hint of Indian flavour. Order from a selection of the finest cuts and freshest seafood, grilled to your preferences. Perfectly marbled wagyu beef and young New Zealand lamb accompany a succulent selection of fresh lobster, prawns, crab and fish. Cayenne Grill celebrates the grilling traditions of the world, accompanied by premium wines from across the globe. Another day begins under the brilliant Baros sky, as Lime Restaurant starts you off deliciously with an indulgent buffet breakfast. Chilled Champagne, succulent seafood, Maldivian curries, Asian plates and classic cooked breakfasts begin your day as decadently or as wholesomely as you please. Sit inside in Lime’s cool interior or take your place outside on the deck for views across the lagoon. For lunch, try a hearty highlight

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like the massaman tuna, or choose from curries, snacks, salads, pizzas and sandwiches for something in-between. In the evening enjoy international and Maldivian cuisine served against the backdrop of an enchanting Baros sunset. Amble along a sandy trail to Sails Bar for drinks or snacks in an intimate and peaceful place. Sway in a hammock as the lagoon sparkles beyond the trees, or relax in a lounger as smooth music melts into the starlit sky. A gentle evening breeze rustles palm fronds overhead. A million grains of sand feel soft underfoot. Your steward brings you an icecold cocktail, the perfect toast to another entrancing day at Baros. It is hard for guests to pull themselves away from the spectacular surroundings and privacy of their private villa, however even at mealtimes, they are able to choose not see another person. Thanks to Destination Dining at Baros, guests can enjoy a fine dining experience anywhere on the island. Nowhere is off limits, from the comfort of their villa terrace, on the beach, to a romantic cruise at sunset on the resorts traditional wooden dhoni, ‘Nooma’ or secluded sandbank for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Private dining is also available on the ‘Piano Deck’, a unique wooden deck shaped like a grand piano, floating off the coast of Baros.


If you find yourself looking for adventure, you can be sure to find the perfect experience upon Baros Island. The lagoon beckons you to jump in, to swim with turtles and glide over corals. A sailing adventure tempts you across the seas, to see what you can see beyond our atoll. Champagne fizzes in your glass as you toast to another unforgettable moment. A million experiences await you, from daytime excursions on land and sea to intimate ceremonies and bespoke destination dining, Baros inspires blissful memories that will linger long after you have left the shores of Baros. When you're at Baros, you have a world of incredible marine life within a short swim of your villa. A shoal of barracuda glides gracefully on a tropical current. A turtle rises languorously from the depths. Wade into the lagoon and discover a world of bewitching beauty, with colourful fish and turtles drifting through the house reef, just 20 metres from shore. Or choose from the dozens of world-class dive sites less than an hour away from Baros – a boon for divers and an incredible bounty this close to Malé. There are many ways you can explore the Baros waters. Glide along the surface on a paddleboard or transparent canoe, plunge into a neon-coloured world of corals during a night dive or let our resident Marine Biologist guide you on a personalised journey of underwater discovery. Baros has direct access to 30 of the world’s best diving spots, and there is nowhere more secluded and calming than the spectacular underwater world of the Maldives. Transporting guests into their own underwater world, Baros offer Diving by Design programmers and a Diver Valet Service so they can marvel at the likes of manta and eagle rays, turtles and sharks and adventure-seeking pairs can even embark on fascinating ‘Fluro Night Dives’. A haven of relaxation, a sanctuary hidden in the trees – Serenity Spa invites you into a world of indulgent spa and beauty rituals. You can come here to escape for a few hours, or craft a personalised journey of wellness with a series of daily treatments. Everything here is designed to help you restore your balance and find your calm, from daily yoga sessions to therapeutic massage. For something beyond the ordinary, request a yoga session anywhere on the island, or enjoy a pampering treatment in the seclusion of your comfortable villa. www.baros.com

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M I L A I D H O O I S L A N D Set over 13 acres atop the Baa Atoll’s beautiful UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Milaidhoo Island Maldives is the ultimate romantic Maldivian escape for stylish couples who are seeking true escapism in a utopian setting. A tiny tropical island, Milaidhoo is an emerald drop of paradise wrapped in soft white sands, surrounded by a vibrant coral reef and lapped by warm turquoise waters.

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romising an experience that is unlike any other five star resort in the Maldives, at Milaidhoo, the team like to do things differently: they call it 'reinvented luxury’. They think of their guests not as holidaymakers but as storywriters, crafting their dream holiday. Having opened in November 2016, Milaidhoo is a boutique luxury resort close to Hanifaru Bay, 126km north west of Male. Ideal for nature lovers due to the exquisite coral reef, which encircles the island, it is a protected area and noted as an outstanding snorkelling and diving site in its own right. This tiny beautiful island, abundant with tropical greenery, measures just 300m by 180m and is fringed by soft deep white sand beaches. Everything at Milaidhoo has been custom made and made for comfort; crafted around the needs of the guest. Service is exceptional, always friendly, and in line with the resort’s ‘barefoot informality’ ethos. Above all, Milaidhoo are proud to offer a taste of the true Maldives, opening doors to Maldivian culture and unique experiences. When it comes to accomodation, you will be spoilt for choice, with each style offering its guest a place they may never have been before but where they instantly feel like they belong. Whether you choose a beach or water villa, each is spacious and filled with light. Outdoor living is what Milaidhoo do best: each villa opens up 180-degrees to allow the natural beauty of the Maldives inside. Indoors all around you are striking Maldivian elements, art pieces and contemporary custom-made furnishings thoughtfully designed for your comfort.

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The team at Milaidhoo are serious about food, focusing on authentic, light food with clean flavours. three restaurants and two bars are designed to appeal to your senses, offering outstanding dining in wonderfully informal settings. No shoes required. Ever. Milaidhoo recently launched new, spectacular Ocean Residence and Beach Residences – making them some of the most sought-after accommodation in the Maldives, perfect for getting that Instagram shot. Water babies can opt for the breath taking 475sqm Ocean Residence – an incredibly spacious and elegantly but authentically designed, thatched-roof villa, on stilts with unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean. The outstanding bathroom invites nature in by opening out to the ocean, with steps straight into the water allowing guests to explore Milaidhoo’s incredible house-reef direct from their villa. There is even a ‘secret’ loft deck hidden inside the roof of the villa, which is the perfect place for guests to chill out with a glass of wine, taking in the views. The completely private sundeck comes complete with swing chair, sun loungers, huge freshwater and infinity swimming pool. Guests of the Milaidhoo Residences receive a number of benefits during their stay, including a dedicated, 24hour butler, Champagne on arrival, a dedicated chef to personalize all meals according to preference, a pop-up cinema experience on the deck of their villa, one private, half-day boat excursion during their stay and lots more. Those who prefer dry land can choose one of Milaidhoo’s two 490sqm Beach Residences, created to showcase luxurious, informal, outdoor island living. Guests staying in the Milaidhoo Residences receive a number of benefits during their stay, including a dedicated, 24-hour butler, Champagne on arrival, a dedicated chef to personalise all meals according to preference, a pop-up cinema experience on the deck of their villa, one private, half-day boat excursion during their stay and lots more. The team at Milaidhoo are serious about food, focusing on authentic, light food with clean flavours. three restaurants and two bars are designed to appeal to your senses, offering outstanding dining in wonderfully informal settings. No shoes required. Ever.

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The story began over 5,000 years ago when The Maldives became a key port of call for traders sailing from Indonesia and India to Arabia with cargoes of cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, ginger and pepper.

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Possibly one of the few fine-dining restaurants that encourage its diners to come barefoot, Ba’theli restaurant at Milaidhoo Island Maldives is the first modern Maldivian restaurant in the Maldives. Reflecting its heritage, Ba’theli’s architecture takes its name from the local word for a traditional wooden sailing boat and has been built in the shape of three boats that stand on stilts over the lagoon. One ‘boat’ is the restaurant, the second a barlounge and the third, the kitchen. Guests can dine under the stars on the restaurant’s deck or inside the boat where a glass floor reveals views of the marine life below, all inhabitance of the resorts spectacular house-reef. Led by Maldivian chef Ahmed Sivath, Ba’theli’s dishes are steeped in Maldivian tradition, with each dish inspired from the Maldivian Spice Route. The story began over 5,000 years ago when The Maldives became a key port of call for traders sailing from Indonesia and India to Arabia with cargoes of cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, ginger and pepper. The Maldivians bartered coconuts, sun-dried fish, cordage and sails woven from coconut fibre, and cowrie shells (which became currency) for spice, rice, ceramics and silks. Locally-made cargo boats, ‘ba’theli', sailed throughout the archipelago with these goods, spreading knowledge about different lands, their customs and cuisine. This story comes alive at Ba’theli restaurant at Milaidhoo, as their chefs serve gourmet dishes using local herbs and spices to enhance natural flavours. The menu features classic Maldivian dishes which include appetisers such as: Garudhiya (famous Maldivian soup featuring lightly poached skip jack tuna, perfumed with young curry and pandanus heart), Bova Satani (chilled braised octopus salad, cabbage, dressed with kaffir lime and coconut oil), and main courses including: Bakari Sanaamugu Hiki Riha (Maldivian five spiced lamb loin, bitter snake gourd and chickpea gravy, brinjal fritters) and Filolhu Ihi Riha (grilled white snapper fillets, with Maldivian lobster , tomato essence, coconut espuma). Of course an array of mouthwatering dishes and curries inspired by the different atolls are also on offer including Maldivian lobster curry, northern archipelago slow braised beef curry and southern Maldivian chicken curry. Facing the west, Ba’theli commands idyllic sunset views and is reached on foot by an overwater wooden jetty. If you want to experience heavenly informal dining, then be sure to visit The Shoreline Grill, a beachfront grill where you’ll find superb meats and freshly caught local fish and seafood, simply cooked and beautifully presented. You can dine barefoot on the sand in a private beachfront pavilion, or inside the grill for a fantastic view of the show kitchens. For the tropical breakfast you’ve always dreamed of, make your way to the Ocean Restaurant, sit on the deck by the ocean and let the team deliver wave after wave of treats to your table. For lunch and dinner the style remains casually comfortable with international dishes perfectly presented from a la carte menu. Here, the key words are fresh, flavourful and friendly.

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If there’s a place to chill out and fall in love with the Milaidhoo infinity pool, whilst overlooking the ocean, then the Compass Pool Bar is it. When hunger calls, the team are right there, waiting for you with a tempting drinks list of the freshest of fresh juices, infused waters, cocktails and light meals, such as gourmet pizzas from our wood-fired oven; bento boxes; fresh salads; sandwiches etc. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down; find yourself a sun lounger and watch the area transform into a laid-back chill out lounge. Milaidhoo Island Maldives has also introduced a new, innovative concept: ‘mood dining’. The five different ‘moods’ guests can choose from are: ‘Deep Sleep’; ‘Getting into the Milaidhoo Mood’; ‘Sunrise Awakening’; ‘Curious Adventures’ and ‘Sunset Chill’. Each ‘mood’ consists of a specially curated food and drinks menu, served at a specific location on the island, all of which has been designed to alter a person’s mood. Some of these dining offerings are paired with spa treatments, special baths and meditation to enhance the experience. The theory behind the mood dining concept is that certain foods can affect body chemistry and therefore a person’s mood, for example creating a burst of energy, uplifting emotions or causing drowsiness and the desire to sleep. The location of the meal also helps shape the mood, with options of dining on deserted islands, sandbanks in the middle of the ocean, on a beach or simply on the private deck of the guest’s own villa. For guests looking to best enhance their sleep patterns, they can opt for the ‘Deep Sleep’ mood. It begins with a peaceful spa treatment in the early evening to physically relax the body. This is followed by a light dinner served in the guest’s villa with a menu designed to encourage sleep, using foods that contain naturally occurring substances that can bring on sleep. Following this, Milaidhoo’s resident yogi leads the guests in a private moonlight meditation session on the deck of their villa to calm and slow the mind. The evening ends with a scented candlelit bath, because the drop in body temperature after a bath triggers the body’s need to sleep. Famous for it’s pristine turquoise waters, captivating marine life and breathtaking coral reefs, Milhaidhoo Maldives offers world-class diving, water sports and fishing opportunities, as well as a whole array of excursions. The team pride themselves on offering guests ‘Milaidhoo Moments,’ where you’ll enjoy experiences that will make you feel a million miles from everyday life, enrich your life and excite your spirit of adventure. Don’t just go fishing: instead let the team arrange for you to join a Maldivian fisherman and learn how it’s done here. Don’t just go on an excursion; instead let a local take you by the hand and guide you through our culture and history. Don’t just do a cooking class; accept chef’s invitation to pick some local herbs with him and create a new dish together. Don’t just drink cocktails; join the sommelier or bar tender for a tasting class and see if you can concoct something good enough to make it onto the drinks menu.

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For guests seeking the ultimate seclusion, Milaidhoo takes once in a lifetime experiences to new heights with their new offering – ‘sandbank glamping under the stars’. Guests can opt spend the night as castaways under the stars on their very own private sandbank. Transformed with the luxury facilities of a Milaidhoo Villa, the sandbank comes with a canopied four-poster bed draped in muslin and a private yacht anchored nearby with all the amenities guests would expect to find back at the hotel. The castaway includes a sunset dolphin cruise with champagne and canapés as dolphins swim around them and the sun begins to set and after arriving at the secluded sandbank, cocktails are served followed by a four-course dinner. After dinner, as the crew sail away, guests are left to enjoy post dinner drinks by the fire before heading off to sleep under the stars surrounded by candles and lanterns that have been scattered across the sandbank. As the sun rises, guests can kick-start the day with the Milaidhoo Yogi who will take them through a sunrise yoga session before the butler arrives to serve a freshly prepared breakfast. When it comes to wellness, Milaidhoo offer you the opportunity to simply take time out and breathe. At the on site spa, blissful relaxation for your body and soul takes place in four over-water treatment suites which offer inspiring views of sky and ocean. Explore the holistic treatment menu which incorporates the powers of botanicals combined with entrancing healing traditions from Africa, using local herbs and plants. There you’ll feel the benefits of the organic and natural spa therapies offered by Elemis, TheraNaka and Coola. The over-water yoga pavilion hosts complimentary daily yoga or meditation sessions where all you have to focus on is your mind, body and soul. Thanks to the resort’s idyllic location and scenery, Milaidhoo Island Maldives is the most breath-taking setting for a wedding. Making for a truly spectacular day, Milaidhoo offers couples multiple options for a romantic ceremony. The ‘Love Floats Boat Wedding’, involves couples taking to the ocean and exchanging vows on board a beautiful traditional sailing dhoni, while the ‘Starlight, Starbright Candlelit Wedding’ sees couples declaring their love in a candlelit sunset ceremony on their own private sandbank. Or, for the ultimate party, Milaidhoo’s most extravagant wedding package, ‘The Milaidhoo Extravaganza’ offers the entire island exclusively for the couple and their guests. The hotel work with the couples’ wedding planner to create the wedding week of dreams for those who are after nothing less than the best. After the wedding, the newlyweds can begin their honeymoon at one of the Milaidhoo residences. www.milaidhoo.com

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N A K A I

DHIGGIRI RESORT NAKAI Dhiggiri is an island of about three hectares located nearby its sister resort NAKAI Alimathà in the quiet and fascinating Vaavu atoll, just 20 minutes by seaplane and 90 minutes by speed boat from Male.

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aavu is a "niche" atoll that is highly revered for its splendid diving spots and the distinctive naturalistic note which makes it unique. Its low population density and the small number of human settlements mean that stunning natural landscapes are still present in Vaavu, and are capable of conquering the eyes and hearts of those who pass through it. Completely renovated in 2016, the NAKAI Dhiggiri resort has reborn with a new look, but still rests its foundations on the values that have characterised its management over the last 25 years: the absolute love for Maldives and its magic, and respect for the environment both inside and outside the sea. Dhiggiri island features sweeping beaches of fine white sand, with the ocean beyond beckoning its visitors towards aquatic experiences made unique by some of the most famous dive sites in the world. Dhiggiri Resort offers its guests 34 Over Water Villas overlooking the ocean, 26 Beach Bungalows built on the sand, 1 Garden Bungalow with a small private garden covered by palm leaves, 1 Suite and 2 Junior Suites overlooking the Ocean. Choose one of the 34 Over Water villas of Dhiggiri and you will wake up listening to the sound of the sea and undisturbed views of the breathtaking horizon. The warmth and elegance of the teak that covers and furnishes its interiors match the sounds and the landscapes, awakening a sense of calm that will accompany you towards a day of relaxation and tranquility.

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The 26 Beach Bungalows are simply unique. Round shaped, they are totally covered in coral. The 26 Beach Bungalows are simply unique. Round shaped, they are totally covered in coral. Expertly preserved for over 30 years, this element, together with wood, is today the distinctive material of the entire structure. Recently built, the Garden Bungalow of Dhiggiri is designed for those who seek maximum privacy. This is an exclusive escape located in the heart of the island is surrounded by a real coral wall that encloses a spacious patio and a small private garden. The Dhiggiri Suite measures approximately 200 square meters and the cadjan roof of the structure is unique for its unconventional shape. The terrace of this suite is raised and overlooks the ocean, giving a breathtaking panorama, which can be comfortably admired relaxing in the private jacuzzi. The 2 Junior Suites measure approximately 100 square meters each and have two bathrooms, one of which has a fabulous whirlpool bath. Visit the restaurants and bars of Dhiggiri you let yourself be conquered by all the flavours of the Island. The extensive dining options have been designed to be as varied as possible, meeting the needs of all guests. In the Beach Restaurant you can taste the specialties of Italian and Maldivian cuisine and thanks to the “All Inclusive” packages available, you can experience the incredible range of dishes produced and designed by the Chef throughout your stay. Every day sees a different experience and flavours that can be enjoyed whilst gazing across the ocean. Centrally located, Dhiggiri Bar, with its all-inclusive and a-la-carte offer, is available to guests throughout the day until the early hours of the evening. With background music or just a relaxing silence, you can spend precious moments of peace drinking a coffee, reading a book or sharing time with your fellow travelers. Located on the tip of Over Water, Dhiggiri’s seafront restaurant is a truly unique location. Serving over water breakfasts in the morning, this restaurant is perfect as a lounge area in the afternoon and then come salive at night. Look out across the horizon and let your senses feast on the sheer poetry of sounds, colours and tastes combined as you sample the diverse a la càrte offering.

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Guests can also enjoy the tranquility of the Maadigha spa - a cosy and quiet place where one can abandon themselves and rebalance their senses, thanks to the best massage techniques from all over the world. To each movement the spa team takes on the task of regenerating mind and body. To each sound, the ability to awaken the mind and regain its natural inner harmony. Relaxing in NAKAI Alimatha’s Maadigha Spa is very simple: just enjoy the delicacy of the massages and the perfumes of essential oils, whilst experiencing the sensorial synergies that they can generate. Using a mix of ancient and modern techniques, let your therapist lead you along a path to true lightness to re-balance of body and mind. No matter which treatment you choose, you’ll discover unique ways of re-establishing, recharging and fully enjoying the most beautiful moments of the holiday. NAKAI Dhiggir is not only a tropical paradise for the sun, the beautiful beach and the nature that surrounds it. Underneath the water there is wonderful world to discover and guests can do it together with NAKAI Diving staff. The island of Dhiggiri is located close to a wide selection of unique diving sites. Many of them are sites within protected areas and some are famous for being included on the list of the best diving sites in the world. In the atoll of Felidhoo (Vaavu), there are numerous famous canals including Miyaru Kandu and Fotteyo Kandu. Miyaru Kandu, located only a 25-minute boat ride from the resort, is famous for its wonderful overhang where you can admire a large number of sharks and other pelagic fish. Fotteyo Kandu is known, instead, for its overhangs, for the multi-coloured soft coral, and for possibility of encounters with hammerhead sharks. Diving in the waters near NAKAI Dhiggiri is sure to delight and astound not only the more experienced divers, but also those who want to try recreational diving for the first time. Scuba diving in the Maldives is a true pleasure. The spectacle of the marine fauna, the colours of the coral reef and the intense underwater life are the basic ingredients for a story that you will want to tell everyone as soon as you come back home. The NAKAI diving center organises daily snorkeling and diving trips, both in the morning and in the afternoon, with the possibility of staying out half a day or the whole day, as well as offering guests the unique show of night diving, famous for being among the best and most fascinating ones in all of the Maldives. NAKAI Dhiggiri it is not only about diving. During their stay on the island, guests can experience many other activities that will constantly keep them in shape, whilst admiring one of the most beautiful place on earth.

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When we talk about NAKAI resorts, as varied as they are, there are three contstants you can be certain of: pure tourism, a love for nature and a total respect for the environment.

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The resort kayaks and catamaran give you the opportunity to sail across the astonishing Maldivian Sea and take a closer look at the coral reef that surrounds the island. In recent years, the NAKAI Group have been committed to developing a project that was deeply connected with nature. From the stars to the ocean, passing through the mainland, the team have worked to recount Maldives in a whole new and unexplored way. Thanks to the collaboration with the application development company Vito Technology and its "Star Walk 2" app, in September 2019 the team positioned their NAKAI constellations in the sky. Together with Astronomer, Stefano Perrone, the NAKAI Group are committed to photographing the night sky seen from Maldives, mapping it to a large extent and are almost ready to publish the first astrophotographic archive of Maldives. By finding new uses for innovative scientific instruments, the dedicated team were able to sample the electromagnetic fields of the ocean by translating them into sound and today the ocean has a voice which sings wonderful songs. Finally, thanks to the entry of Hulidhoo into the family, the team have been able to take another step forward in the world of ecology. The project for this island of the NAKAI Group is totally dedicated to agriculture, with fruit and vegetables being produced right there on the island for the benefit of all the NAKAI resorts (Alimathà, Dhiggiri, Maayafushi and Velifushi) for an unprecedented kilometer-zero project. When we talk about NAKAI resorts, as varied as they are, there are three contstants you can be certain of: pure tourism, a love for nature and a total respect for the environment. www.dhiggiri.nakairesorts.com

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A L I M A T H Á VAAVU ATOLL The Vaavu’s atoll, located not far away from the equator, is a small diamond in the Maldivian archipelagus. Vaavu is 65 km away from the capital Male and it can be reached with a 20 minutes seaplane flight or a 90 minute sea trip.

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he atoll’s capital is Felidhoo and with its 1500 residents it is Maldive’s less populated atoll. With its characteristic boot-shape, extending for 11 km in length, the Vaavu’s atoll can be considered one of Maldive’s best places to admire the nature in all of its beauty. Amazing scuba diving sites, shores and crystal clear water are the elements that can be found in this little piece of paradise.

The word Alimathà originally meant “face of a woman”. The island today has a shape that resembles an heart, drawn by its beaches of fine white sand immerse in the waters of the Maldives. It’s also surrounded by a beautiful and colorful coral reef habited by hundreds of fish species. The Nakai Alimatha’s resort have available for its guests 96 bungalows, 34 over water rooms and 26 garden rooms with a private garden. NAKAI Alimathà is the perfect mix between relaxing on a white sand beach and enjoying several activities, from scuba diving to dozens of sports which can be played on the island. Nakai Alimatha’s resort offers its guests 96 bungalows, 34 over water rooms and 26 garden rooms with a private garden.

The 34 over water rooms of Nakai Alimathà are oriented true north and open in a fan-shape that turns to both dawn and sunset. Located in the quietest corner of the island, the rooms are surrounded by an atmosphere of calm and tranquility and are the perfect choice to enjoy the magic of the horizon lying on your own private balcony.

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The 96 beach bungalows overlook the white coral beach of Nakai Alimathà and lie along the entire circumference of the island.

The 26 garden bungalows of Nakai Alimathà are surrounded by the greenery of the island, barely covered by the high vegetation shade, in the heart of the resort. These are the ideal setting to enjoy a unique freshness and a patio with a private garden that offers privacy and intimacy. The 96 beach bungalows overlook the white coral beach of Nakai Alimathà and lie along the entire circumference of the island. From the deck you can observe the horizon through the trunks and leaves of the palm trees and it takes just a few steps to reach the shore of the sea to enjoy the warmth of the sun in a state of complete relaxation. At Nakai Alimathà’s restaurants you will experience all the flavours of the island. With the two formulas, “all inclusive” and “a la càrte”, you can taste the full range of the Chef’s menu. In the two restaurants you can experience both Italian and the Maldivian cuisine with exciting and deep flavors to accompany your stay on the island with a constantly changing and fulfilling offer. At the Nakai Alimathà Beach Restaurant, overlooking the resort’s main beach, the night becomes a place of quiet and privacy. With the possibility to dine indoors or under the starry sky, the Beach Restaurant offers tasting menus that enhance the raw materials of the Maldivian sea according to the canons of Italian cuisine. This is a place of great charm and intimacy, and the perfect destination to treat yourself to that special dinner. If you look for sun and freshness, Nakai Alimathà’s bar is a perfect place for every hour of the day or night. The large counter spans 360°, providing service to the various areas of the bar. In fact, it’s possible to enjoy the piano bar live music in one area and then take a visit around the bar and let the music be the background to a conversation between friends. In addition to the internal areas, the Bar has two outdoor areas, one inside the island and a large balcony overlooking the sea, perfect for relaxing in the morning or after lunch and enjoying the starry sky at night. The all-inclusive offer is accompanied by an offer made by a great variety top quality products and proposals for every occasion.

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This is a place of great charm and intimacy, and the perfect destination to treat yourself to that special dinner.

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Guests can also enjoy the tranquility of the Maadigha spa. A cozy and quiet place where one can abandon themselves and rebalance their senses, the spa offers the best massage techniques from all over the world.

Right on the most important shore of Nakai Alimathà, you will find the Beach Bar. The Beach Bar is the perfect place to relax under the sun, with cold drinks and salty/sweet snacks. Due to its position, which is orientated west, in the evening hours the Beach Bar is a special place to admire the unique colours and sights of the sunset. Recently opened, the Nakai Alimathà’s Horizon Bar is perfectly described by its own name. Oriented towards the sunset, its seats on the sea, made with tree trunks, give a direct access to the horizon. The position of the Horizon Bar, located close to the over water rooms, makes the last hours of the day a poem of sounds and colors. This is the perfect place to greet the sun, before having an aperitif and a romantic dinner. Guests can also enjoy the tranquility of the Maadigha spa. A cozy and quiet place where one can abandon themselves and rebalance their senses, the spa offers the best massage techniques from all over the world. To each movement the therapist entrusts the task of regenerating mind and body. To each sound, the ability to awaken the mind and regain its natural inner harmony. Relaxing in Nakai Alimatha’s Maadigha Spa is very simple: just enjoy the delicacy of the massages, the perfumes of essential oils and experience the sensorial synergies that they can generate. Ancient and modern techniques lead guests along a true path to lightness and re-balance of body and mind. A visit to the spa is a unique way of re-establishing, recharging and fully enjoying the most beautiful moments of the holiday. Nakai Alimathà is not only a tropical paradise for the sun, the beautiful beach and the nature that surrounds it. Underneath the water there is wonderful world to discover and guests can do it together with TGI Diving staff. The island of Alimathà is located near a wide selection of unique diving sites. Many of them are sites within protected areas and some are famous for being included on the list of the best diving sites in the world. In the atoll of Felidhoo (Vaavu), there are numerous famous canals. Among them the two most famous are undoubtedly Miyaru Kandu and Fotteyo Kandu.

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Miyaru Kandu, located only a 25-minute boat ride from the resort, is famous for its wonderful overhang where you can admire a large number of sharks and other pelagic fish. Fotteyo Kandu is known, instead, for its overhangs, for the multicolored soft coral, and for the possible encounter with the hammerhead sharks. Rakeedhoo is a canal area populated of fish, sharks and sea eagles, while in the inner part of the channel all the walls of the cliffs are covered with soft coral and gorgonians. Diving in the water near Nakai Alimathà can delight not only the more experienced divers, but also those who want to try for the first time the recreational diving. Scuba diving in the Maldives is a true pleasure. The spectacle of the marine fauna, the colours of the coral reef and the intense underwater life are the basic ingredients for a story that you will want to tell everyone as soon as you come back home. The diving center TGI Maldives has been operating on Alimathà since 2006 and is an SSI. It organises daily snorkeling and diving trips, both in the morning and in the afternoon, with the possibility of staying out half a day or the whole day. Not to mention the unique show of night diving, famous for being among the best and most fascinating ones in all of the Maldives. Nakai Alimathà is not only about diving. During the stay on the island guests can experience dozens of other activities that will constantly keep them in shape, whilst at the same time admiring one of the most beautiful places on earth. With the resort’s kayaks and catamarans you can have the opportunity to sail across the astonishing Maldivian Sea and take a closer look to the coral reef that surrounds the island. On Nakai Alimathà there ais one tennis court in red clay and and a five-sided football pitch. www.alimatha.nakairesorts.com

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LUXURY UNDRESSED www.velassaru.com

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A s t ro n o m y a n d P h o t o g r a p h y in The Maldives by

S t e f a n o

S

P e r r o n e

tefano Perrone was born in 1978 in Italy and is a researcher, now based in The Maldives, specialising in Natural Sciences and Astronomy, or more precisely, Cosmology. Fuelled by a lifelong love of nature, Stefano soon found his second passion in life; photography. Absolute Maldives met with the islands’ infamous star-gazer to learn, in his own words, how his journey began and what is written in the stars.

‘Personally I think that photography is something metaphysical. It is the ability to immortalise a moment in time that makes it magical and one of the most beautiful forms of art and science, fused together. For over twenty years I worked around the world in areas so remote that sometimes they didn’t even appear on the maps. It wasn’t until December 2017, when conducting some personal research and photographic material collection, I arrived on the island of Dhiggiri, one of four islands owned by the same company. I had discovered a real piece of paradise. Tropical palm trees, beautiful plants and flowers surrounded snow-white sand, enveloped by waters so blue that they appeared almost unreal. Hiding below these glistening waters were coral reefs, teaming with life. It was as if I was in a utopian fantasy, with each day starting with a breathtaking sunrise. The sun looked so big and intense that you could feel the radiation upon your skin. Endless colours swept through the island every evening, like the scene in the most beautiful of dreams. When the night comes, the sky and all its stars performed a show that was so incredible, I couldn’t begin to find the words to describe it. It was for that reason that I decided to photograph them, to show this phenomenon to the rest of the world.

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“Thanks to the island’s

absence of light pollution, it allows incredible visibility,

surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.ˮ

I decided to embark upon creating the first ever photographic archive of the Maldivian night sky. At the time, I remember being blown away that this didn’t already exist and so with a bit of audacity and a lot of patience, I proposed the project to the scientific community and owners of NAKAI. This is the company that own the islands Dhiggiri Resorts, Alimatha Resort, Maayafushi Resort and Ara Resort. They immediately supported me 100%, especially as the owner and General Manager, Mr. Marco Mingoli, is a nature-loving person with a deep knowledge of it here in The Maldives, plus an interest in science. In the end, they took me on as an official astronomer in Dhiggiri, where we are now the only island in the Maldives to offer guests exclusive evenings dedicated entirely to astronomy. Guests set sail on a boat trip, guided by myself, to discover the stars and other incredible phenomena observable only at night, here in the magical world of The Maldives. The rest of the time, amongst other thing, I dedicate to the collection of photographic material at night. Thanks to the island’s absence of light pollution, it allows incredible visibility, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. It is this that makes it a highly recommended destination for astrophotographers, hunting for stars. All year round you can see the arc of the Milky Way with the naked eye, continuously crossed with shooting stars. After only three months of launching my project, the photographs I have taken have aroused the interest of various scientific communities and other companies in the sector. I have had the privilege of visiting and experiencing some extraordinary places in my life, but The Maldives are simply magical. It is unique with its diverse landscapes, it’s ocean with a thousand shades of blue dance softly and the nocturnal phenomena of the nightly bioluminiscence. When sailing upon a boat in the middle warm, calm waters within the Maldivian coral reefs, the bioluminiscence is so intense you cannot distinguish between the lights in the water and the stars in the sky. Sunrise after sunrise, sunset after sunset, night after night, my reflexes and I are always there to capture the succession of shows that nature offers. As a documentarian (specialising in technical support) I have worked all around world from the mountains to deep underwater caves. I have worked in Antartica, Brazil, Costa Rica, Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Nicaragua and Zanzibar, together with most of the top international TV brands and universities. The Maldives is already a well-known photography destination for it’s underwater world, but now as we start to look at sky day and night, the work I do here is creating an astrophoto archive that the international scientific community and wide sectors can use to study and gain a better understanding of this paradise called The Maldives. I have no doubt that these beautiful islands will see the photography tourism market that I have started continue to grow and grow.’

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Making Moments n Time A luxurious one-island-one-resort destination featuring a collection of 120 idyllic beach-front pool villas, breathtaking overwater villas and spacious twobedroom villas. Only 20 minutes’ speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, barefoot luxury and the stunning beauty of Maldives awaits you

Booking tip -Plan and book your dream holiday with minimum 30 days in advance and enjoy a 35% discount on Best Available Rates

+960 6651111 | rsvn.gpkd@parkhotelgroup.com www.parkhotelgroup.com/en/maldives @grandparkkodhipparu