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A HOLIDAY GUIDE TO THE MALDIVES

When you think of the Maldives, your mind instantly conjures up pictures of white sandy beaches, impossibly blue water and luxurious water villas placed in what seems to be the middle of the ocean. It really is a tropical paradise in the truest sense of the words. It’s also the perfect location for your next island getaway. In fact, the only thing left to do – aside from booking your trip of course - is to check out our handy holiday guide to the Maldives.

THE MALDIVES

The Maldives – or Republic of the Maldives as is it officially called - is a sovereign archipelagic nation positioned in the Indian Ocean. Located on top of a vast underwater mountain range, it is comprised of 1,192 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls and covers a land area 298 km2, making it the smallest country in Asia. Although the temperature remains fairly constant year-round at around a perfect 28 degrees Celsius, the country is dominated by two seasons: the dry season associated with the winter north-eastern monsoon and the rainy season, which brings strong winds and storms. Given its tropical climate, rain is always a possibility although February and March historically see the lowest rainfall.

Given its proximity to the Middle East and Asia and of course its abundant natural beauty, the Maldives has become a popular tourist destination over the last few decades. As a result, there are now numerous resorts to choose from catering to all tastes and desires. To help you in your selection, we’ve listed a few of our favourites here:

ONE & ONLY REETHI RAH

Located in the North Male Atoll, the award-winning One&Only Reethi Rah resort is popular with A-listers and well-heeled travellers alike. Ideal for couples and families looking for a relaxed yet luxurious getaway. The name Reethi Rah translates to “beautiful island” and, despite opening more than decade ago, the resort continues to live up to its reputation. This year it was voted the number one hotel in Africa and the Indian Ocean for the second year running by readers of The Telegraph’s Ultratravel magazine. Guests can make the most of the resort’s expansive facilities, which include tennis courts, rock climbing, a FIFA-certified football pitch, boutique shopping, cookery lessons and art classes. There’s also 12 beautiful beaches to visit and a well-equipped dive centre. If you prefer to just explore the island at a more leisurely pace, bicycles for guest use are assigned to each villa.

THE FOUR SEASONS MALDIVES AT LANDAA GIRAAVARU

The Four Seasons never fails to deliver a spectacular resort experience, and the Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru is no exception. The theme of the resort is sustainable luxury living, which makes sense given its location on its own island situated in the remote Baa Atoll - a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. To get there, you take a 40-minute seaplane journey from the Maldivian capital of Male, an unforgettable experience all its own. In total, there are 106 villas in the resort, but they are well-spaced so that you can still have a very private experience if you want. The three-acre Ayurveda Wellness spa is popular with guests, as is the Marine Discovery Centre, which teaches visitors about the beautiful marine life in the area and the steps that being taken to promote its conservation. There’s also a world-class diving school and excellent snorkelling conditions for those who want to explore the beautiful underwater world for themselves.

COMO COCOA ISLAND

If you want to escape from the world for a bit and retire to a simple yet bliss-filled paradise, then COMO Cocoa Island might be the choice for you. Located on the small island of Makunufushi, which is part of the South Malé atoll, it is a mere 40 minutes from the capital Malé by speedboat. Only 33 water villas make up this resort, each decorated with a minimalist aesthetic and a private terrace. More understated than the other options on our list, it offers a chance to clear the mind and truly relax without interruption or temptation. Yoga on the beach, snorkelling, breath-taking sunsets and a top-rate spa will all ensure that you return from your Maldives holiday refreshed and filled with energy.

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