ALIFU ALIFU ATOLL
●Constance Halaveli Resort – 011-960-666-7000 or 011-230-402-2777; halaveli.com; 25 stellar dive sites make this premier diving resort; rent 1 of 8, 2-story family-friendly beach villas.
BAA ATOLL (UNESCO Biosphere Preserve)
●Anantara Kihavah Villas – Dhigufinolhu (South Male Atoll); 011-960-66-44-111; kihavah-maldives.anantara.com.
Bataa Atoll; 011-960-660-0888 or 800-819-5053; fourseasons.com/maldives/; December-April are driest months; Water Villas on island’s northwest corner have both sunrise and sunset views.
●Huvafen Fushi – North Male Atoll; huvafenfushi.com.
●Milaidhoo – Milaidhoo Island; 011-960-665-4441; milaidhoo.com; individual infinity pools that blend seamlessly into mirror flat sea; gourmet restaurant set in 3 Dhoni sailing boats; beautiful villas & endless wooden walkways stretching over water; can stay in either lodge nestled between palm trees or villa standing over water.
●Soneva Fushi – Kunfunadhoo Island; 011-960-660-0304; 62 villas; excellent diving; ask for villas 37 (Crusoe Villa) or 42 (Soneva Fushi Villa) or skip Crusoe residences and opt for less expensive Residence Suite off Jetty 3.
●Voavah – Voavah Island; 011-960-660-0888; fourseasons.com/maldivesvoavah; among world’s most luxurious hideaways; accommodates up to 22 guests in 7 bedrooms at $46,360 per night; flanking either island end are 2 separate villas with private pools – 1 is 3-bedroom abode on beach & other is 2-bedroom property set over water; world’s biggest known population of manta rays inhabits surrounding area, as do hawksbill & green turtles & dolphins.
Sights & Sites
●Hanifaru Bay – mantatrust.org; good manta ray-watching.
●Cocoa Island Private Resort – 011-960-441-818; cocoa-island.com; 4 1-bedroom villas, 2 2-bedroom villas, and 30 thatch-roof cottages with wooden walkways out into water; healthy resort; affordable (relatively speaking).
●Niyama – Embudhufushi & Olhuveli Islands; 011-960-689-3577; niyamamaldives.net; 40-minute seaplane flight from Male; 86 Studios and Pavilions; Beach Studios have stunning, outdoor bathrooms, large deck areas and secluded beach views; Deluxe Beach Studios have private, fiber-optic-lit pool; Beach Pavilions have 24-hour butler service, private pools; Water Studios and Deluxe Water Studios both offer private pools, stunning Indian Ocean views, spacious living areas, and latest entertainment technology; underwater restaurant.
●St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort – Vommuli Island; 011-960-676-6333; starwoodhotels.com/stregis/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=4315&language=en_US; far-flung tropical island resort offering daringly designed environment in deliciously secluded location; over-water spa, sunken wine cellars & bar that looks like whale shark; family villas line beachfront like fleet of wooden dhoni boats setting out to sea.
●Rania Experience – Boduthakurufaanu Magu; 011-960-675-0555; slh.com/maldives/male/malran.html; pampering at new level; exclusive access to 86' yacht for pleasure cruising; private 17-acre island; 3 bedroom suite and 3 beach villas; high price tag; private dive instructor; December-April are driest months; $10K per couple per night.
●Six Senses Laamu – Olhuveli Island; 011-960-680-0800; sixsenses.com/SixSensesLaamu.
●Soneva Jani – Medhufaru Island; 011-91-124-451-1000; soneva.com/soneva-jani; around-clock butler service, strong environmental code & determination to disconnect from noisy outside world (guests are gently asked to remove their shoes on arrival, which are then slipped into linen bag until their departure).
NORTH MALE ATOLL
●HP Reef (Girifushi Thila or Rainbow Reef) – sits beside narrow channel where currents nourish corals and large variety pelagics & reef fish; formations include large blocks, spectacular caves & 25 m vertical, swim-through chimney; Protected Marine Area.
●Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa – Kuda Huraa; 011-960-664-4888; fourseasons.com/maldiveskh; classic.
●One&Only Reethi Rah – 011-960-664-8800; oneandonlyresorts.com.
●Maldives Aggressor – 209 Hudson Trace (Augusta, Georgia); 706-993-2531 or 800-348-2628; aggressor.com/maldives.php; live-aboard dive accommodations that are luxurious and perfect for dive vacations.
NORTH ARI ATOLL (Fesdu Island)
●W Retreat & Spa Maldives – Fesdu Island; 011-960-666-2222; starwoodhotels.com.
RAA ATOLL (Vaadhoo)
Sights & Sites
●Sea of Stars – ; bioluminescence generated by phytoplankton known as dinoflagellates creates effect; wort special trip; more prevalent in late summer through new year.
●Conrad Maldives Rangali Island – 011-960-668-0629; conradhotels1.hilton.com; spread out over 2 private islands.
●Viceroy Maldives – Vagaru Island; 011-960-654-5000; viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/maldives; 1st choice in Maldives.
SOUTH ARI ATOLL
●Hilton Rangali Island Resort & Spa – 25-minute flight from Male; 011-960-450-629 or 800-774-1500; hilton.com; ask for 1 of 2 Sunset Water Villas; on stilts above water with glass floor; each has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, flat-screen televisions, and butler.
SOUTH MALE ATOLL
●Anantara Dhigu – Dhigufinolhu Island; 011-960-664 4100; dhigu-malidives.anantara.com; 110 overwater suites and beach villas on 10-acre private island; luxurious outdoor bathing areas come standard in Beachfront villas; picnic on secluded islet in Anantara's lagoon.
●Naladhu – Veligandhu Huraa; 011-960-664-4100; naladhu.com; 19 expansive guest quarters; private gardens and infinity pools; open-air bathrooms; sea-facing tubs for 2; all aspects exceed expectations; most convenient, exclusive destination; December-April driest months; Ocean Houses enjoy breaking wave sounds.
●Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives – 011-960-664-2200; although location is close to airport and may be noisy, has best restaurants on island.
●Deep End – at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives; 011-960-664-2200.
●24 Degrees – at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives; 011-960-664-2200.
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