With its 1200 islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are most people’s idea of a tropical paradise; almost every island could front an envy-arousing postcard. And only 200 are inhabited - which makes for a lot of deliciously remote hideaways. From the air, most are tiny splashes of sand, seemingly afloat in the turquoise rings of their encircling lagoons.
Powdery beaches, tranquil shallows perfect for swimming and snorkelling, and an incredible underwater world offering world-class diving are the obvious attractions - all remaining incredibly pristine thanks to strongly-enforced environmental policies. (All resorts are confined to uninhabited islands with only one development per island, and each has to meet a stringent set of environmental standards).
Although there are distinct monsoon seasons, the sun shines most of the time and it is balmy year-round. Holidaying here is a hassle-free experience; the airport is efficient, and you are invariably whisked straight off to your resort by boat or seaplane. Once here, you can do as much or as little as you like, revelling in the surroundings and in the sybaritic pampering.