The Maldives is stunning, but let’s be honest, every picture basically looks the same. So how can you decide on the right private island? Having investigated hundreds, first hand, here we share our top 5 resorts to help you find the right one for you.
In The Maldives, a 10% service charge is normally added to your purchases in a resort, so tipping on top of that is not necessary. If you really want to show your appreciation for great service of course, it will be gratefully received. Here’s our guidelines on appropriate amounts to tip in The Maldives.
Product Director, Melissa, recently inspected several exciting island resorts in The Maldives. As part of her visit, she flew for the first time in a seaplane. More spectacular than a speedboat, flying low enough to give fantastic views over the white sandy islands in the turquoise ocean, she provides her account of the experience.
If you look at a map of Sri Lanka (earth view) you’ll see the number of beaches it has is pretty spectacular. But, then again, just one hour away by plane is The Maldives – with picture-perfect white-sand shores. You’ve got a dilemma: which one should you experience? Here, I weigh up all your options, and discover that it really depends on what you want from your relaxation time.
Matt recently visited Soneva Fushi and Jani, two luxurious resorts in The Maldives. On returning to the office, we found it interesting to think about the various kinds of ‘luxury’ available, and also what the word actually means.
It’s really tough to capture what ‘luxury’ actually is; we all talk about it quite a lot, especially in the travel sphere and I’ve often wondered how to quantify and explain it, especially when talking to other travellers.
As my experience has grown over the years, and I’ve been lucky enough to stay in many “luxury” hotels, I’ve realised how difficult it is to define a luxury hotel, let alone categorise it. Ultimately it’s all about the individual experience you have and how it fits with you as a person. This is when hotels like Soneva Fushi and Jani come into their element; here, the accommodation and service blend to provide an incredibly personal, relaxing and awe-inspiring experience.
If I can’t get to sleep at night, sometimes I just think of my time in The Maldives. It is one of the most relaxing places I have been on this earth and, for me, no other place can quite compare with it. Everyone in the office knows this all too well, and when I was planning my most recent trip to Sri Lanka I just couldn’t resist adding on 5 nights in The Maldives, only this time I was staying at a particularly special place.
The Maldives has over 250 resorts, nearly all of them on private islands, and it just seems to be an unstoppable force in terms of growth; about 10 resorts have opened this year alone, many of them 5* or above. It’s becoming more difficult to choose between the options and ever more important to be able to discern between the different types of luxury on offer.
I’ve been a fan of the Soneva luxury concept from the beginning. Co-founders Sonu and Eva opened their first hotel in 1995 in The Maldives and have honed their unique philosophy over the past 20 years. They have a brand that values understated touches of luxury, stunning architectural design, barefoot living, making the most of the beautiful natural world surrounding their properties and placing environmental protection at the forefront.
I have to say that I keep my finger on the pulse with travel news and about two years ago I first heard about Soneva Jani being built – this was something on a new scale, even for TMaldives (which is already mind-blowing in what it has to offer): 5 islands with 25 water villas and the biggest overwater structure, plus a 5.8km beyond-imaginable lagoon. Just outrageous even on paper, I dreamed about going.
It all starts with the ‘no shoes, no news’ concept. As soon as you step onto the resort your shoes are taken from you and, for however long you stay, you go around the resort barefoot. Does it sound gimmicky? A little, but all you can do is relax with soft sand between your feet, glorious sunshine and turquoise ocean everywhere on the horizon – with no worldly worries to distract you.
There’s no plastic on the island; a special glass blowing factory recycles glasses and the resort grows as much food on the island as it can to cater for the guests. The retractable rooves in over-water villas are incredible and the slide down into the ocean from your bedroom is the stuff of childhood dreams.
Luxury is so much more than just a picture-postcard image of a stunning resort and Soneva resorts prove this. It’s about attention to detail, personalisation, and providing an experience of dreams. For those looking for a particularly special place to stay, I’d certainly recommend either Soneva Fushi or the newly opened Soneva Jani – both would make for a spectacular experience.
MD & Founder, Sam Clark, provides his round-up of the most exciting new hotels in South and Southeast Asia. From luxury tented lodges in the wild, to exclusive island beach resorts – he passes on his top recommendations for places to stay on your next trip.
Our in-country partner Tom shares his top tips from research mission to resorts. Here he shares three island recommendations, all providing the classic Maldives experience with a difference.
When the British winter has you wondering if the sun actually ever existed and you haven’t seen your own skin in weeks, you know it’s time to jet off in search of winter sun.You need somewhere exotic, somewhere sunny and warm, somewhere with beautiful flora, palm tree-lined beaches, smiling people and delicious food. Here are our best places to travel across this season:
The Muslim celebration of Eid is one of the most important religious occasions in the Islamic calendar and is a time of festivity in The Maldives. Here Ruth, our in-country partner, describes what happens during Eid Ul Al’haa occurring every year after the Hajj pilgrimage.
Guesthouses in The Maldives are the latest accommodation style to arrive in the country and they allow visitors to stay on local islands, gaining insight into Dhivehi culture. There are a large variety of them on offer, from basic rooms in simple houses, to grander hotel-like constructions, each providing very different experiences. They’re not homestays as such, but usually run by locals who’ll provide home cooked food and various insights into the heritage of this thousand-isle country.
The overwhelming majority of tourists travelling to The Maldives just stay in a resort. What is less well known is the real culture behind this fascinating country. After developing a range of distinctive activities that let you discover Maldivian culture, we’ve listed our top 8 experiences.
If you’re looking for an unusual, sunny and exotic destination for your Christmas holidays, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent are ideal places to go. With their incredible array of experiences be they wildlife, foodie and or cultural, there’ll be something for everyone. Here’s a list of our best family holiday destinations to consider:
Content editor Philly recently explored new local island experiences in The Maldives. From tucking into delicious local dishes, to exploring important cultural sights to appreciating the everyday life of Maldivians on inhabited islands, here she reports back on her findings that have formed the basis of our new cultural holidays to this fascinating country.
There are some fantastic deals and lush landscapes away from the crowds when travelling in low season throughout Asia. When there is rain, it is often short and sharp and we can try to make sure you get fantastic weather by incorporating a beach stay in a region with glorious sunshine. This short guide will give you some great ideas about combining the best value destinations with the superb beaches.
For the new year, we asked our team to nominate their favourite hotels and explain why. From sumptuous luxury experiences to learning traditional archery, here’s our selection.
Thank you so much to all of you who entered our 2015 photography competition. The quality of entries has been particularly good this year and we wanted to share some of our favourites before the deadline closes.
Multi centre holidays offer an incredible array of cultures and experiences to the inquisitive traveller. The problem lies organising transport, working out how much you can fit in, to balancing costs. To help you in your planning stages, here are our 10 dos and don’ts for anyone thinking of a multi centre holiday.
Private islands offer exceptional seclusion and privacy, adding an extra exclusive dimension to your holiday. Here is a roundup of our favourite private island experiences in Asia.
Finding your next family holiday destination can be a daunting prospect. To make your life a little easier, we’ve put together a round-up of the best family holiday destinations all around Asia.
The key to a good family holiday is making sure everyone is happy. It’s sometimes difficult to balance everyone’s interests and excite older kids wanting a bit more independence and exhilaration, so I’ve put together some of my favourite experiences that would work well for families with older children.
As well as being fun in itself, cycling can add a whole new dimension to your experience of the country you are visiting and contributes to the feeling of discovery that you get with any Experience Travel Group holiday.
Only have around a week for your trip? While that really isn’t a lot of time, with a bit of clever planning you can still make the most of your stay in Asia.