South Malé Atoll, The Maldives
Ultra-chic resort with stilted boat-rooms, blissful spa and world-class diving and snorkelling, set on its own sand-ringed islet
Discovered by Playboy photographer Eric Klemm in the 70's, this
islet is a sliver of sandy perfection, washed by warm seas in every
shade of blue. It's a place to leave shoes and cares behind, enjoy
caster sugar sand between your toes, sun on your back and tropical
fish through your mask. Common stuff in the Maldives, perhaps; but
what sets this resort apart are its location (40 mins by speedboat
from Malé airport), its world-class spa (courtesy of COMO
Shambhala) and its easy, laid-back atmosphere.
Moored on stilts above the turquoise lagoon, rooms are sheer style: think NY loft combined with beach-shack-chic and you’re close. There's a fantastic restaurant next to an infinity edge pool, which blends seamlessly with the sea beyond. Through the trees: a beautiful spa, an open-air yoga pavilion and massuesses who read your body like a book. This is 5-course bliss served on a plate; you need hardly move. But you should. Shuffle barefoot around the island to find a private stretch of beach; slip into crystalline waters to snorkel or dive among turtles and reef fish; book a sunset cruise or a day's deep-sea fishing.
Reviewed by Emma Taylor
- Accessible enough (airport to room in 40 mins) for even a short stopover en route to Sri Lanka or Kerala
- Imaginative and delicious breakfast as the sun rises over the island, and excellent dinner and wine as it sets
- Fab perks for honeymooners
- Wonderfully designed large 'boathouses'
- Acclaimed massages and beauty treatments in an inspired setting
- First tropical place we've visited with no mozzies
- Slipping from your own sundeck to a dazzling world of tropical fish, even if you're a first-time snorkeller
- It's not cheap, but this is the Maldives - or is it heaven? Either way it's worth every cent
This elegant hotel, on a small private island in the South Malé Atoll, exudes laid-back style...Conde Nast Traveller (UK)