It's hard to believe water any clearer exists than it does in the Maldives. As if you’re looking through a magnifying glass, the idyllic waters of the Indian Ocean perfectly display the vast and breathtaking marine life that lives beneath its surface. With that being said, you’ll likely spend the majority of your trip within the water, experiencing deep dives to swim with the friendly whale sharks, kayaking your afternoon away, or lounging on the immaculate beaches as you watch the fiery sunset dip into the ocean. In addition to packing all your favorite swimsuits, be sure to bring an appetite for pampering as many of the spas utilize island-sourced ingredients in their services— many of which are over-water experiences you won’t want to pass up!
Cheval Blanc Randheli
Cheval Blanc Randheli’s signature art de recevoir welcomes couples and families with a unique sense of genuine warmth. A private seaplane carries you to this paradise north of Malé, where 46 villas take palm-roofed cabana living to a new level. Villas face the horizon for the utmost privacy; admire the views by your infinity pool while your Majordome fulfills your every wish and an Alchemist customizes your stay. Guerlain- designed treatments are on the Cheval Blanc Spa island, while fine dining at Le 1947 rivals international gastronomic restaurants. For an ultimate interlude, retreat to the Cheval Blanc Randheli private island.
WIT Tip: Bespoke experiences are crafted by your Alchemist, from laid-back barbecues on private sandbanks to island drop-offs from a luxury yacht for a merry beach treasure hunt.
COMO Maalifushi was created for those who seek a remote, luxury escape. The only resort on Thaa Atoll, south of Malé, gives locally inspired architecture an elegant makeover in the 65 open-plan suites and villas, all with plunge pools; book one set directly over the turquoise lagoon and slip in from your private terrace. Find Asian therapies at the award-winning COMO Shambhala Retreat, with overwater spa pavilions. Water activities – diving, fly-fishing, and surfing – offer multiple opportunities to explore the region. The resort’s signature COMO Shambhala Cuisine is also available – rich in living enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.
WIT Tip: Get a view of the underwater world on a night snorkel, lit by special UV torches, or set out on a whale shark safari for a chance to swim with these gentle giants.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is an exotic playground full of possibilities. Seriously, does it get more over the top than the world’s first undersea residence? The other 150 villas and suites are equally surreal with private sun terraces, plunge pools, and stairs leading straight into the Indian Ocean. At the overwater spa, alchemists work their magic using pure Himalayan salts and essential oils. Curated experiences are truly inspired, from a coral adoption program led by a marine biologist to mastering the art of noodle rolling with celebrity chef Jereme Leung.
WIT Tip: Pack your scuba gear: The South Ari Atoll is close to more than 40 prime diving sites teeming with whale sharks, turtles, manta rays, and with shoals of brightly colored marine life.
Set on the private island of Lankanfushi in the North Malé Atoll, Gili LankanfushiTM, Maldives is an intimate coral island in a sparkling lagoon, with jetties threading across the water out to spacious villa accommodations. This luxury resort is just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport at Malé, the capital of the Republic of Maldives. Here your idyllic personal hideaway is one of 45 spacious, rustic overwater villas, sustainably and exquisitely designed and crafted from natural wood and glass. The tranquil private resort feels like home, a place where lasting memories are made with Gili.
WIT Tip: Perfect for couples, the seven Crusoe Residences provide the ultimate in privacy and understated luxury. Your downstairs bathtub is actually in the ocean!
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort
Pick your paradise at Raffles Maldives Meradhoo. This luxe resort, located on the southern end of the Maldives archipelago, features 38 airy villas with private pools set steps from the beach or directly over the clear lagoon, so you can watch the fish dart about beneath glass floor panels. Go windsurfing, fishing, and diving along the vibrant house reef; plus, practice yoga or pamper yourself in the healing spa. Savor fine Nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese) cuisine at the overwater Yuzu restaurant, or watch a romantic sunset over flame-grilled specialties at the fire pit set up on the white sands.
WIT Tip: The beachfront Long Bar takes its cue from the legendary Raffles Singapore, with a list of the prestigious Champagnes that match those reserved in the British Royal Cellars.
Visiting the Maldives is as close to paradise on earth as you’ll find. Captivating views of the ocean displaying every shade of blue imaginable, over-the-water stilted villas straight from your dreams, and an opportunity to connect with marine life in a way that fosters a reconnection with self is what you’ll leave the island treasuring.