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Bucket list | The Maldives’ resort that’s best for you, whatever your holiday style

By Rebecca Miles – 24th November 2020

The Maldives is home to some of the world’s most picturesque tropical islands and luxurious all-inclusive resorts. The country is the stuff of desert island daydreams – aqua seas gently lapping at pristine beaches, and plenty of exclusive Maldives resorts with over-water private villas offering ever more elaborate extras.

But it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which of the nearly 200 inhabited islands and roughly 150 resorts to visit, so to help we’ve picked a few of our favourites, covering different budgets and different needs.

Robinson Club Noonu

Best for: Good value all-inclusive family-friendly accommodation

The Robinson Club Noonu, on the private island of Orivaru, 45 minutes from Malé, caters for kids of all ages – from six months old to 17. Expect every possible sport, as well as courses to learn new skills and experiences. If you’re not one for sitting still on holiday, this is for you – 64 different activities are available, to both adults and children.

The accommodation at this Maldives resort ranges from double rooms and family rooms sleeping up to six on the island (with fabulous outdoor showers) to bungalows and suites with private pools over the sea.

Don’t miss sunset drinks at the Sundowner bar on the peninsula or diving at the stunning Felivaru reef, home to harmless 6ft-long grey reef sharks and baby blacktip sharks.

Details: A seven-night all-inclusive stay starts from £803 per person. Return flights from London to Malé with Qatar Airways start from £620 per person. More info here

COMO Cocoa Island

Best for: Indulgent wellbeing for solo travellers

If you’re in need of a restorative reboot, and let’s be honest, who isn’t right now, take a look at COMO Cocoa Island’s new wellness programme for 2021. On the cards are body screening sessions, to help with poor posture (from all that WFH) and hydrotherapy, in one of the Maldives’ only hydrotherapy pools, to improve flexibility and strength.

COMO Cocoa Island is in the South Malé Atoll, one of the quietest spots in the archipelago, and a third of the private island is now dedicated to the COMO Shambhala Reteat, which includes a Pilates studio, an open-sided yoga pavilion and a fitness centre.

This Maldives’ resort’s 34 suites and villas are designed in a striking palette of white walls and linens and glossy teak floors. High-raftered ceilings and floor to ceiling windows create an incredible sense of space, and each room has a terrace leading straight into the warm sea.

Details: Rooms at COMO Cocoa Island start from £618 per night, B&B. More info here 

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Best for: Large families in need of some serious R&R

Large families will love the huge amounts of space available in the newly refurbished two, three and four bedroom villas at Anantara Kihavah. Surrounded by palm trees and tropical foliage, they’re exclusive and secretive but mere steps from the beach. Loaf from swinging day bed to infinity pool, or opt for an over-water villa to spot sea turtles from the deck.

All villas come with their own host, al fresco bathrooms and plenty of beach toys for the kids (young or old). It’s not cheap, but it’s memorable, and boasts the Maldives’ only over-water observatory for out-of-this-world stargazing, and the world’s first underwater restaurant, SEA.

Details: A stay at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas starts from £659 per night in a beach pool villa, including breakfast and dinner, sleeping two adults and two children. More info here 

Barefoot Eco Hotel

Best for: Seriously great value accommodation

Barefoot Eco Hotel bridges the divide between a traditional Maldivian guesthouse and an international resort. Set among untouched forest on one of the most northerly islands, Hanimaadhoo, it offers plenty to keep visitors occupied. On offer are kayaks, snorkels, bikes, boat trips to monitor manta rays, dolphin watching, cultural tours and marine biology sessions, plus a dive centre and spa.

Framed by a half-mile private sandy beach and a turquoise lagoon with a floating bar, onshore there’s another bar and a restaurant. Bedrooms spill on to the beach and can sleep up to four people.

Details: Rooms start from $89 per room, B&B. More info here 

Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa

Best for: Kids club-loving kids, and their parents

With what is claimed to be the largest kids club in the Maldives, Emerald Maldives is a haven for parents and children alike. Located on the Raa Atoll in the north of the archipelago, it’s a deluxe, all-inclusive kind of place, with four restaurants, that vast kids club and all non-motorised water sports on tap.

The Dolphin Club is open to children aged from three to 12, and includes a zip wire, outdoor playground with mini pool, trampoline, wiggly slides and climbing frames, plus such activities as fruit cocktail mixology classes, cupcake making and cinema nights.

The grown ups aren’t forgotten – the 120 private villas are either on the beach or over the water, and every whim is taken care of, from the spa to the bar.

Details: Rates start from £700 a night in a villa, on a Deluxe All-Inclusive basis (including unlimited dining, premium spirits, Spa and Kids Club access, all non-motorised water sports, one boat tour per week’s stay and two guided snorkelling tours). More info here

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