One perception is that the Maldives is purely about over-water or beach villas. Whilst the accommodation may appear similar, dig a little deeper and they are very different in style. Some resorts are contemporary, others more rustic; you can choose a big island resort with plenty of activity or a small, intimate atoll for a total retreat. Laura Lamb, Sales Consultant, shares her discoveries…
Jumeirah Vittavelli - For Families
A short 20 minute boat ride away, this is an ideal option for families who do not want to travel too far away from Malé. Amongst the most spacious rooms in the archipelago, the villas feature some of the largest private swimming pools I saw during my time in the Maldives, whilst the beach suites offer a rare second storey for larger groups. A hub of activity, the Kuda Koli Kids Club and Teen Lounge here are fantastic, and children are spoilt for thrills with innovative and thought out activities around the resort. Honey facials and coconut massages - using ingredients hand-harvested by local communities - are just some of the junior treatments to calm active children at the Talise Spa. Be sure to grab a scoop of delicious homemade ice cream from the lovely little boutique avenue.
Insider tip: Start your day with an adventure and join the treasure hunt - the best way to explore the island.
Underwater discovery takes priority here with two centres devoted to diving and exploring the sea. Snorkelling in the Maldives is wonderful throughout the islands but nowhere matches the convenience I found at Baros. A spectacular house reef is just a few strokes from the beach so should you feel like snorkelling at 6am, you can swim out straight from the beach - no need to wait for a boat to take you out to a reef. Baros is where we spotted our first turtle; we also watched baby sharks swim into the lagoon. Out on the water with Shuga from the Marine team, we witnessed a school of dolphins glide through the ocean in the distance.
What's new? The overwater Lime Restaurant was extended and now includes a brand new infinity swimming pool that curves out over the lagoon.
Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa - Glimpse Maldivian Life Past and Present
Unlike some Maldivian island retreats where luxurious seclusion comes at the price of cultural isolation, here we were able to get a charming insight into the region's heritage. We were taken out by boat to a local island to explore the village mosques, coral stone houses, fish markets and local schools by bicycle. Discovering the uninhabited 'Port T', an old British naval base from the second world war, was unexpected and fascinating. At the most southerly point of the Maldives, it is definitely worth the extra flight to get to the atoll.
Insider tip: A truly unique experience, don't miss the chance to have a private seafood banquet arranged for you on the golf course surrounded by torches - the only one of its kind in the Maldives, it is an intimate and beautiful setting.