The Maldives may need no introduction, but for newcomers wanting to dip their toes into island life, Vakkaru is the perfect prelude. Style doesn’t overcome substance here, the balance between untamed wilderness and manicured grounds is just right; hiding adults-only sophisticated-chic alongside kid-approved activities and restaurants catering to the fussiest of palettes within the fronds. Combine that with a butter-soft sand halo framing the region’s best assets for both sun-worshippers and diving-devotees, it’s kind of everything you could wish for.
30 minutes by seaplane from Malé lands you at this quick-access-castaway-escape. Clean elegance dressed in earthy rawness, the beach villas were built around the lush greenery of the old coconut plantation that once stood here, enveloped in an embrace of palms from which Vakkaru gets its name. And while uninterrupted 360 degree views are presented on an azure platter wherever you turn, the overwater lodgings with their curving boardwalk give them a more exclusive feel.
…a family affair with grown-ups in mind. Vakkaru doesn’t care if you’re three or 73, absolutely no one misses out on this almond shaped islet. With more adult-orientated hangouts in the form of the serene overwater spa or uber cool lagoon bar (they’re really serious about mixology) proving to be sacred spaces to unwind, it’s no longer just about the kids.
After a long day in the Parrotfish Kids’ Club – where they spend more time exploring the outdoors than anything else – and polishing off their new favourite meal, little islanders can be found settling down in their own enclave. A special feature of the family villas where a moving wall separates their bedroom from the master.
You can’t go wrong with any villa or residence here, but there’s a couple of stand outs of course. The low-key-escapists seek the pool villa residence with its round-the-back walled pool. While for total isolation, the overwater residence is the one. Complete with an outdoor spa, bespoke service and even a separate staff entrance – it’s basically the resort in miniature.
Vakkaru is prime real estate situated in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Baa Atoll. Further out from the main inhabited islands, it’s privy to some of the most stunning ocean biodiversity, with the island itself having three deep underwater holes to dive right into alongside instructors from the Splash Watersports centre.
While on the subject of underwater worlds, the pièce de résistance of time here is by far chartering a private para boat to the nearby Hanifaru Bay. A mecca for manta rays and whale sharks between May and December, there are limits on how many people can snorkel the area daily, making the experience with these gentle giants all the more intimate.
The Maldives has a hot, tropical climate with sunshine all year round. The most popular months to visit are between November and April during the north-east monsoon when it is dry with very little wind. Whilst there may be rain during some of the summer months, with ever-changing weather patterns and excellent offers, this is becoming an increasingly popular time to travel.
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