They say paradise isn’t a specific place, but a state of bliss within you. Then again, if we can pinpoint its geographic location, it most certainly is called the Maldives.
February is the month of love, and there wouldn’t be a better time to visit (for the first or umpteenth time) one of the most romantic spots on the planet: the Republic of Maldives. Time and time again, the archipelago is chosen by honeymooners and couples looking for a special place to spend some relaxing time together. There’s also always a new hotel or island to be visited – trust us! Situated in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean, it is an easy hop-on hop-off destination for residents of the Middle East. The exclusivity and luxe extras offered by most properties in this white-sand paradise is just the proverbial cherry on top. Case in point? The properties below.
(Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu)
Bodu Hithi Island is in the North Malé Atoll and 40 minutes away from Male International Airport. The décor here offers plenty of Maldivian charm – think: thatched roofs and outdoor showers mixed with modern fixtures and fittings for ultimate comfort. The accommodation consists of Private Villas equipped with a private pool and outdoor deck, Island Villas nestled in lush tropical greenery, Water Villas and Escape Water Villas standing over the sea, and Coco Residences with space to spare. Palm Dhuni Kolhu is located in the southern waters of Baa Atoll, a 30-minute seaplane journey from Male International Airport. The resort offers a rustic and organic style with an elegant ambience. There are five different types of villas to choose from. On land, the Beach, Sunset Beach, and Deluxe Villas are built within tropical planting and beneath arching coconut palms. Meanwhile, The Lagoon and Sunset Lagoon Villas await over turquoise waters.
Cherry on Top: A three-night package is up to 40 per cent off from regular rates for Middle East travellers. This special rate is valid until September 2021 with options for half- and full-board. Additionally, honeymooners visiting from the Middle East will be gifted a romantic three-course candlelit dinner and receive a special Coco gift throughout this period.
VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND
Located in the Noonu Atoll, this hotel takes exclusivity to the next level. Designed by award-winning architect Petr Kolar, the resort expresses an elegant fusion between Maldivian culture and contemporary luxury. Incidentally, velaa means ‘turtle’ in local language Dhivehi, thereby paying homage to the sea turtles that flock there to nest and hatch. From the seaplane, guests can see that the overwater villas are constructed to resemble a turtle’s head, while the island forms the body. The hotel comprises 47 private villas, houses, and exclusive residences. As for those seeking total privacy? The Romantic Pool Residence can only be reached by boat and is just the ticket. Cherry on Top: The hotel has unveiled a new hammam facility at the Nirolhu Private Residence, one of the hotel’s four-bedroom residences. Guests can enjoy the private steam room and cool pool at their convenience, while a spa therapist is available for those who wish to experience the hammam. The villa can accommodate up to 10 individuals and is perfect for families that want to self-isolate in a lavish beachfront setting.
HUVAFEN FUSHI MALDIVES
Also known as Dream Island, this tiny jewel of an island can be reached in 30 minutes by speedboat from Male International Airport. The resort is composed of 44 private bungalows and pavilions (each of them with a private pool) spread along palm-fringed beaches or perched over the crystal-clear lagoon. The hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World community and is available for exclusive private rental – yes, you read that right. You can rent out the entire island! Cherry on Top: Here awaits Huvafen Spa, an underwater spa with panoramic reef views – the first of its kind in the world. At the SpaQuarium, you can explore marine life at night and discover the fascinating bioluminescent corals. However, bragging rights aren’t limited to massages performed below sea level; you can also book an underwater dining experience. The view will undoubtedly be a memorable one.
CONRAD MALDIVES RANGALI ISLAND
A short seaplane ride takes you from Male International Airport to the resort, nestled in a unique atoll surrounded by azure blue water and powdery white sands. The holiday spot features 151 purposefully designed villas and suites as well as a choice of 12 restaurants and bars. And as Conrad Maldives is a family-friendly destination, the little ones can try their hand at all manner of activities, programmes, and workshops at Majaa Explorer Hub. The property is also known for its innovative firsts – it was a pioneer in the region when it comes to offering overwater villas built on stilts above the lagoon. Cherry on Top: The resort is home to the world’s first undersea restaurant, Ithaa. It sits below the surface of the Indian Ocean, with 180-degree panoramic views of the coral gardens surrounding it. You also find the world’s first underwater residence, the Muraka, at the resort. A two-level structure, its master bedroom is submerged almost five metres below sea level.