On a recent holiday, I headed to the Maldives to get away from it all (well, not luxury, that was as near as near can be). Follow in my footsteps and stay at these four fabulous island retreats.
From the library of music loaded on the in-room iPod to celebrity events that draw live music (Mr Hudson just performed in January), this is a special spot for swooning couples to stay and sway. In addition to the 24-hour butler service, my holiday highlights were LIME, the resort’s underwater spa where marine life surrounds its walls while you take your massage (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes each had one on their honeymoon there), and Raw, a restaurant over the water that serves up fresh, healthy food for the body-conscious (I suggest you try the tuna pizza).
Must Try: Relaxing couples massage at the underwater spa.
Hot tub overlooking the ocean at Huvafen Fushi. Pure bliss.
Arriving by seaplane adds an adventurous element to this private island experience. Stepping into my two-level villa, sexy music was playing. Upstairs a Maldivian swing is the perfect place to take breakfast or snooze to the sound of the ocean. I had the freshest sashimi at FISH, then took the party downstairs to 15 Below, the only underground club in the Maldives. Make sure to detox the next day at the Away Spa where Bliss products are used and bliss achieved lazing on one of the oversized couches outside.
Must Try: Hand-line fishing. You can take home your big catch and cook in on your private barbecue.
My snap of the waterfront Away Spa at W Retreat & Spa Maldives.
This exclusive island hideaway is reachable by 25-minute speedboat ride. From smooth, sandy beach to a postcard blue lagoon, the resort’s private villas sit right over the water for views of both. Dip in or scuba dive, the nearby reefs offer an abundance of beautiful fish. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, dine on that day’s catch at The Lighthouse. I suggest the cognac-flamed lobster bisque and Yellow Fin tuna “Rossini” with its pan-fried duck foie gras, potato and parsley cake, truffle sautéed spinach and shiraz and shallot beurre blanc. Still hungry? Plan with the resort to have a Sandbank Dinner for you and your significant other 15 minutes west of Baros in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Must Try: Go exploring on a Maldivian boat. Pack a picnic and discover some deserted islands.
A romantic Sandbank Dinner being set up a stone’s throw from Baros Maldives.
A haven for honeymooners looking for luxury at a little lower price point but no less spectacular, this serene escape sits on the sea just a 20-minute boat ride from the airport. It’s also the most family-friendly of the four. After a day of snorkeling, dine at Sand, with its tables right on the beach at water’s edge.
Must Try: Stay in a beach villa with direct access to the beach.