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The best of the Maldives Where to stay for a slice of paradise

The True essence of island paradise

a short boat ride from Male international airport transports you to this serene island escape. stretches of white sandy beaches and clear waters await you as you let the slow pleasures of life take over. dine under the brilliant night sky, pamper yourself with treatments from Talise spa, enjoy the range of water sports activities, and soak up the culture that surrounds you. For more information, please visit or contact your local travel agent.

Cover image: One&Only Reethi Rah. This page, top to bottom: Jumeirah Vittaveli; Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa. Next page: Banyan Tree Madivaru


The Maldives... the name alone is enough to conjure up images of palm-draped beaches caressed by tropical turquoise waters. If paradise had an address, this would be it. Comprising 1,192 tiny wildlife-rich coral islets, the heavenly atolls average a mere 1.5 metres above sea level, meaning you’re never far from a dip in the deep blue. Whether you’re a keen sailor or scuba fanatic, you’ll spot marine life like no other – turtles, sting rays, dolphins and sharks all call this area home. And, thanks to a policy that allows only the finest of hotel chains to offer accomodation on the islands, the onshore sights are just as tempting as the underwater ones. Take your pick from over-water suites on stilts, serene villas and garden abodes: this is desert island luxury at its most decadent. Only 200 of the islets are inhabited, and privacy is paramount, so you’ll have oodles of space to yourself. Better yet, it’s all as little as four hours away from the GCC... where better to spend a luxurious long weekend?

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ABOUT THIS GUIDE This may be one of the world’s most tempting destinations, but that doesn’t mean that choosing where to stay is simple. That’s why we’ve done the leg-work for you. Fancy a scuba diving adventure? Want to treat the whole family to a spa retreat? Hungry for gastronomic delights on the beach? Simply decide what you want to get out of your stay and find the hotel to suit your style. Your holiday of a lifetime starts right here... GETTING THERE The Maldives is well served by flights from the GCC, and direct flights are available to Malé (from there, hotels can organise transfers by speed boat or sea plane). For details, visit a Kanoo Travel or America Express Travel outlet. WEATHER The islands are bathed in sunshine for most of the year, but for the hottest temperatures visit


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between April and May – the mercury reaches a balmy 31°C average. At other times of year, climes are slightly cooler (expect 23-29°C, with November-January the chilliest months), although conditions rarely stay overcast for long. From April to October, watch out for the rainy season – downpours can be torrential (yet still spectacular). Peak diving conditions run from November to April, although the visibility remains excellent throughout the year. VISAS On arrival at Malé airport, vistors from all countries will be given a 30-day visa (the paperwork is simple, and can be completed at passport control). MONEY Though the official currency of the Maldives is the Rufiyaa (Rf), all resort hotels willingly accept US Dollars. At time of going to press, $1 was equivalent to 15.2Rf.

Be Special Be DeStineD for BaroS For nearly 40 years, we have been dedicated to one single goal: making you happy! You are special to us; we know you by name, not villa number. We are delighted to have you staying with us so we can attend to your desires and make your holiday special too. Come to Baros to celebrate the best there is; discover the Essence of the Maldives, and the holiday of your dreams! . Baros Maldives is a small exclusive coral island in the Indian Ocean ringed by a sun-kissed beach and a vibrant house-reef. The award-winning boutique luxury resort is proud of a long and outstanding history of service excellence. Awards include the Traveller‘s Choice by TripAdvisor in 2012 and 2011 as one of the Top Ten Hotels in Asia, and in 2010 as the Best Luxury Resort in Asia.

SONEVA FUSHI Best for... going back to basics While a ‘no news, no shoes’ policy may send some of you running for the hills, we’d urge against it: instead, switch off your iPads and iPhones and succumb to this desert island resort’s blissful philosophy. The idea is for guests to ‘luxuriously get back to nature’ – in practice, that means meandering around the Kunfunadhoo island resort (barefoot, of course) and making the most of its au natural splendours: bask on the coral lagoon-hugged beach; recline in one of its 65 residences (each is a vision of rustic charm); feast in its open-air restaurants; or submerge yourself in the ocean with a deep sea dive. Trust us, shedding your gadgets never felt easier...

CONRAD MALDIVES RENGALI Best for... little princesses Those with daughters in tow will find delicious retreat amid the thatch-roofed villas of this luxe resort – at the Ice Cream spa. Here you’ll find a fantastical land where little madams can play at pampering courtesy of a kids’ spa menu jampacked with treats for four- to 12-year-olds. (While they’re at it we suggest you do the same at the resort’s adult Over-Water Spa). If your offspring aren’t prone to staying still for long, the treatment rooms’ sweet wafts of ice cream should stop them in their tracks – and if that doesn’t do the trick, the prospect of bubblegum pink nails and a Princess Me Facial should send them to a fairytale land in no time. The Maldives 2012


THE BEACH HOUSE AT IRUVELI MALDIVES Best for... a to-die-for room If a sublime suite always tops your getaway wishlist, few Maldivian rooms can better The Beach House at Iruveli Maldives’ Grand Water Pavilion. To reach it you’ll need to make for the northernmost atoll of the Maldives (otherwise known as ‘Haa Alif’), where its thatched roof can be seen piercing the skyline. Check in and you’ll soon be 6

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hovering over pristine waters on your private terrace by day and seeking blissful slumber beneath its timber structure by night. Best of all, though, is its wide open space (the perfect platform from which to appreciate those island vistas), not to mention its private swimming pool, dining area and sun deck – pad your way outside in a comfy bathrobe before dipping straight into that lapping Indian Ocean. Sheer bliss.

Naturally Exclusive... Island Hideaway, Spa Resor t & Marina at Dhonakulhi, Maldives Tel: +960 650 1515 | Fax: +960 650 1616 Email: Web:

FOUR SEASONS RESORT MALDIVES AT KUDA HURAA Best for... budding marine adventurers This luxurious resort has a plethora of activities on standby, whether you’re a keen diver or would-be sailor. Make a beeline for the Marine Discovery Centre (it’s run by local environmental consultants) to learn about the sharks, fish, dolphins and turtles that call the islands home. From there you can head off on a shark safari – the waters are teeming with harmless blacktip reef sharks – or watch spinners dolphins leaping into the air right beside your boat. The resort is surrounded by fragile coral reef too, presenting a stunning site for diving and snorkelling. The Four Seasons Explorer catamaran is also on hand to transport you to castaway shores and secret dive sites.

TAJ EXOTICA RESORT & SPA Best for… spa trekkers If it’s rejuvenation you seek, make for the edge of this tranquil resort where, surrounded by lush gardens and a crystal-clear private lagoon, the Jiva Grande Spa offers spa-junkies a heavenly escape. Treatments range from the sublime to the all-out decadent: inspired by ancient Indian royalty and the ayurvedic principles, the menu includes a 8

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deep-tissue warrior massage and time-honoured Indian bathing rituals. If you’re still on city time, the signature yoga treatment with meditation will help you ease into island life, and the Champi Indian head massage will vanquish any aches and pains. When you’re feeling peckish, there’s even a spa-side restaurant where you can enjoy a guiltfree feast of superfoods and vitamin-rich produce.

LUXURY OFFER IN THE maLdIvEs*. Three great reasons to take your holiday now. 1. 2.

stay five nights and pay four.

Receive a free upgrade to half board meal plan. 3.

Your kids sleep and eat for free.

The spectacular two-island Conrad maldives Rangali Island boasts the most luxurious villas, two spas and the best dining experience in the maldives, including Ithaa undersea restaurant, the only one of its kind in the world. Contact us now to book your holiday.

* Terms & Conditions apply. valid for stays from now till 25 december 2012. Conrad maldives Rangali Island For reservations contact

VIVANTA BY TAJ CORAL REEF MALDIVES Best for... that Robinson Crusoe moment You’ll crash through azure waves as you sail your way into Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef – an entrance that takes 50 minutes from Male. And what a way to arrive: once you’ve reached the resort’s cottonwhite shores it’s near-impossible not to stop and stare at the beach and water villas before you, each of which lends itself to standout features, from sun decks and swaying hammocks to open-air showers. In keeping with the resort’s far-flung feel, couples can enjoy some suitably secluded activties: water-lovers should seek out the ‘secret sandbank setting’ for intimate picnics for two (hugged by water, the bank is only accessible at low tide). Take your camera to capture the moment when the sun sets before your very eyes.

JUMEIRAH VITTAVELI Best for... hitting paradise in a hurry It takes a mere 20-minute boat ride to reach this Maldivian idyll from Malé Airport – ideal if you’re not the patient kind. And with surrounds like this, no one would blame you for being in a hurry. Reach dry land and you’ll slip into the swing of island life in no time: the resort has all the clear-blue waters and honey-tinged beaches you’d expect, along with stylish accomodations in the form of Beach or Lagoon retreats (choose between suites or villas). Our advice is to make a speedy retreat for your private pool and soak up the sun on a sala – or, for the more active among you, make the most of the fish-thick waters. Sports here are plentiful, the coral reef immaculate and diving opportunities divine. You’ll be loathe to leave quite so promptly...

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VICEROY MALDIVES Best for... whom size matters If you’re looking for space to stretch out in, why not check in to a lavish three-bedroom villa? The Viceroy Maldives’ offerings are tipped as the largest in the islands. Privacy-seeking couples will love the master suite’s sunrise vistas and 60-square-metre pool (flanked by a private walled garden), while a Jacuzzi is just a few steps from the open plan living area. What’s more, all of this is just the shortest of strolls to the beach. For


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families, the champion-sized pool table and games room will keep the kids quiet while you wallow in the lagoon, and a media lounge with Mac Minis and wi-fi throughout ensures there’s a wealth of entertainment the whole clan can enjoy. Each villa is detached, too, so you won’t have to worry about the little ones keeping the neighbours up. With invilla dining at any hour of the day or night, there’s no need to see another soul while you’re here, but a choice of four eateries ensures a delectable evening out.

DUSIT THANI MALDIVES Best for... divers If you love life underwater, there are few better places to head than this beautiful bolthole. Here you’ll find Hanifaru Huraa and Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, just a quick boat ride away. A seasonal feeding ground for manta rays and whale sharks, it’s considered one of the best dive sites on earth, with a rainbow of marine creatures. Now’s the perfect season to visit, too: July-November marks the reef’s most


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populous time – and the resort’s resident dive leaders will guide you to all the top spots. You’ll find thriving stretches of coral surrounded by a turquoise lagoon close by as well – just pick up complimentary snorkelling gear from the hotel and head off to explore. And if the sight of all that fish has left you hungry, head to the Sala Bar for overwater views of the ocean, or the beach-side Sand Bar: both are within splashing distance of those incredible reefs, so you’ll be perfectly placed for an adventurous night dive too.

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HUVAFEN FUSHI Best for... that once-in-a-lifetime experience Once you get over your initial delight at arriving at this picture-perfect resort, a place where thatchroofed bungalows peer over powder-white sand and transluscent waters, you’ll find surprises in abundance: the highlight of which has to be LIME, an underwater spa that really is one-of-a-kind. Treatment rooms’ glass-panelled walls provide a

window into an underwater world – and, believe us, there are few more relaxing sights than that of exotic fish floating by while your skin is immersed in natural ingredients from the sea. But the magic doesn’t stop there – ocean bungalows come with glass floors, while either a 68-foot designer yacht or more modest Maldivian dhoni are on hand to carry you out to the wide open sea…

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JUMEIRAH DHEVANAFUSHI Best for... a great escape If your heart’s set on escaping cosmopolitan life, this is the place to flee to: a 55-minute domestic flight and 15-minute speedboat ride, or an hourand-45-minute private seaplane transfer is what it takes to get you there (either of which will have you feeling like James Bond). And, once you do sink your bare feet into its southern sands, you’ll

agree the extra leg work was well worth it. Here you’ll have your pick of two islands, each of which is spilling over with paradise charms – lush, tropical fauna, untouched beaches and, for diving fans, some of the biggest (not to mention beautiful) coral the world can offer. What’s more, as an all-suite resort – some of which come with private pools – we can think of few more luxurious spots to be stranded in...

KANUHURA, THE MALDIVES Best for… indulging your little ones You deserve a holiday – and surely your little ones do too? Kanuhura’s kids’ club is the islands’ finest: the minimum age at most resorts is four years old, but here it’s just two. So, whether you’ve a tot or teen in tow, there’s plenty to keep them entertained – they’ll love making friends while playing sports, and quiet types will feel right at home in the childfriendly internet café and library. Outside, there’s a natural world of wonders at their finger tips; a guide will take them to discover the animals and plants that call the islands home – and introduce older children to marine life on supervised snorkelling trips. Meanwhile, you can rest easy at the lagoon-side massage pavilion or head beneath the waves on a diving excursion. Come nightfall, trained babysitters are on hand to bed your babes down, while you unwind at the beach-side lounges and restaurants. The Maldives 2012


CENTARA GRAND ISLAND RESORT & SPA MALDIVES Best for... going all-in The Maldives has an innate ability to relax you within seconds of you setting foot on its pillow-soft sands, but to maintain that blissful state throughout your stay the last thing you’ll want to consider is how much you’re spending to enjoy the fruits of paradise. The solution? A fantastic allinclusive resort like this, which permits you to eat and drink at will and at no additional cost. In fact, your only worry while you’re here is how best to spend your days: diving amidst the colourful sealife to explore the sunken ship and house reef? Reclining in the splendid spa while a masseuse works their magic? Or, of course, you could simply enjoy the splendour of your Deluxe Water Villa. Bliss.

BANYAN TREE MADIVARU Best for... the personal touch This spacious resort on the pristine island of Madivaru is a haven of lush gardens and barelytouched beaches. You won’t have to share your slice of paradise, though – there are only six villas, so you’ll feel like you’ve got the whole island to yourself (not to mention thoroughly spoiled by the attentive staff). The suites are in Banyan Tree’s signature safari style: think all-natural timber, rattan furniture and lavish ceiling canopies. Each residence comprises three separate tents, including one for sleeping (you’ll sink into that divine king-size bed), one for living (with a romantic dining area) and a third for bathing (complete with oh-so-deep tub and two treatment beds for in-villa massages). You won’t even have to leave your tented palace to dine: the resort’s chefs are on hand to rustle up gourmet creations, whether it’s a lazy breakfast in bed or a decadent pool-side dinner you crave.


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ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH Best for... gourmands As if the Maldives weren’t tempting enough, this stunning all-villa resort offers some of the finest dining you’ll find on the islands. The Rah Bar, a barefoot stroll from the main pool, is just the place to munch on juicy salads, wedge-like sandwiches, and fresh fruit smoothies from the all-day menu – and, come nightfall, the lounge is transformed into a candlelit hangout with live music. Tapasake, a formal Japanese eatery, serves up sushi, sashimi and tepenyaki on the edge of the protected lagoon – at dusk, sup on the delicately-prepared seafood as the sky turns pink and the sun disappears into the horizon. Head to Reethi for Asian and Mediterranean munchies: dining comes with a serving of drama here, as the chefs can show off their skills in the openplan ‘show kitchen’. It’s open for all meals of the day, too, and boasts a private dining room for special events. Organic produce is the dish of the day at Chef’s Garden, the newest addition to the resort’s star-studded array of eateries. Sit outside, surrounded by tranquil gardens, and tuck into lovingly-prepared local fare. Night owls, meanwhile, should head to beach-side Fanditha for sensual shisha, a Mediterranean à la carte menu, and latenight parties under the stars...


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THE ISLAND HIDEAWAY AT DHONAKULHI MALDIVES SPA RESORT & MARINA Best for... a private paradise Island boltholes don’t get much more secluded than this: perched on the virgin island of Dhonakulhi you’ll find a handful of boutique residences, no fewer than 30 metres apart. Each one is nestled in lush tropical forest, hidden from view, with direct access to a private stretch of sandy heaven. What’s more, 95 percent of the land is untouched, so your only neighbours will be of the feathered and furry varieties. Check into one of the two Hideaway Palaces for some of the most spacious suites in the Maldives; both of which are gloriously cut off from the world by the turquoise waters of the shallow lagoon and infinity pools. The Maldives 2012


BAROS MALDIVES Best for... grown-ups For a truly blissful escape, couples will do well to seek out a stay at Baros – here you’re unlikely to hear a peep out of place: its for adults only. Water villas will ensure yet further quiet time, hovering over your personal patch of ocean bed, where you can soak up the Indian Ocean rays on your private deck by day and by night look forward to clambering into a silk-clad four-poster bed. And if you do grow restless (though with environs like this, we doubt it), meander to the resort’s house library, challenge your beau to a game of table tennis, or leave dry land behind and make for a nearby dive site to explore what treasures lie below the surface (with some 30 sites nearby, you’ll be spoiled for choice).

SHANGRI-LA VILLINGILI RESORT & SPA MALDIVES Best for... golf widows The Shangri-La’s offering is perfect for those with itchy feet: set atop sea-rooted stilts, each of the resort’s villas is a beautiful abode that can be reached by a timber walkway. But, if the thought of being holed up all day isn’t your idea of bliss, the nearby nine holes of the resort’s stellar Villingili Golf Course will fulfil any golfer’s fantasies: the first of its kind on the Maldives, you can perfect your swing on some seven-and-a-half hectares shaded by palms. Those who find themselves abandoned by their golf-playing partners, meanwhile, will discover CHI, The Spa just a stroll away – indulge in an Ayurvedic treatment or try yoga on a sea-facing pavilion. 24

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A secret hideAwAy surrounded by unspoiled luxury

hidden away in the southern Maldives is the enchanting Jumeirah dhevanafushi. carpeted in abundant foliage, the resort is surrounded by white sandy beaches and a spectacular coral reef. enjoy sense-stimulating feasts at our unique dining venues, rejuvenate at the overwater spa, or seek adventure with an exhilarating array of water sports with your personal butler on hand to cater to your every desire. For more information, please visit or contact your local travel agent.

Maldives Guide_Sep'12  

Travel guide to the Maldives

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