Is there another place on earth as sublime as the Maldives? Unrivaled natural appeal topped off with exceptional luxury make this spectacular archipelago a top choice for winding down and letting the troubles of the world slip away like a wave receding from the beach. Consisting of nearly 1,200 islands and 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives epitomizes everything you could possibly ask for in a tropical island destination – crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, palm trees and sunny year-round weather. Whether you find yourself on the romantic honeymoon getaway of a lifetime or you’re itching to get your fix of world-class underwater activities, the Maldives makes for an unforgettable adventure. Our Maldives Destination Guide lays out exactly how to enjoy the magnificent archipelago.
Where to Stay
Situated on the Shaviyani Atoll, an island that’s less than a mile in length, the Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi embodies the essence of the Maldives. The sophisticated all-villa resort is flanked by perfect white-sand beaches and stunning coral reefs, kissed by the turquoise waters of the 600-hectare lagoon that gives way to the tranquil blues of the Indian Ocean and a never-ending horizon. There are 120 rustic-chic villas in total, each with thatched roofs and spacious, light-filled interiors that use natural materials to achieve perfectly harmonious spaces where time seems to stand still. Infinity pools, sun-drenched terraces and open-air bathrooms are only some of the features that add to the impeccable feeling of a tropical sanctuary for the mind and soul. The cherry on top? The 2,000 square-meter wellness area is all about tranquility, where a long list of deeply calming treatments rejuvenates every inch of your body.
Our Maldives Destination Guide also includes a Luxury Hotel Guide with our favorite picks across the archipelago.
Where to Dine
It should probably go without saying, but seafood is everything in the Maldives. Coming straight from the local waters, not only are the catches fresh, but also sustainable, as fishing nets are forbidden and almost all seafood is caught using pole-and-line fishing techniques. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is the establishment that takes the dining experience to another level completely. It was one of the world’s first undersea restaurants – and the first that was constructed from all-glass. Five meters below the ocean’s surface, the setting will blow you away with its panoramic coral garden windows and intimate setting that can accommodate 14 diners. The food really does follow suit with a truly astonishing world of flavors, as the kitchen often welcomes guest chefs from across the globe, who deliver culinary excellence to each and every dish.
Our Maldives Destination Guide also includes a Restaurant Guide with the most memorable culinary experiences.
What to Do
Any water enthusiast will feel at home in the Maldives. Despite the plethora of extravagant resorts, the islands are just as rich underwater as they are on land. You’ll be able to explore dazzling coral walls, wondrous caves, fascinating marine life and schools of brightly-colored fish whizzing past. Considering the nearly 1,200 idyllic islands that make up the archipelago, the pristine beaches are a natural draw for many to the Maldives. The cliché term of white sand beaches and azure waters seems to have originated here in the Maldives, but whichever island you find yourself on, be ready for postcard-ready views in every direction.
Many travelers come to Malé surprised by the direct contrast to the laid-back lifestyle that characterizes the rest of the islands. the pint-sized Maldivian capital sits at the epicenter of the nation’s culture and economics, known for its tall and brightly colored buildings and wonderful dining scene. The island is densely packed with historical mosques, parks and museums open to the public. Dating back to 1656, the Hukuru Miskiy, also known as the Old Friday Mosque, is one of the most fascinating manmade sides throughout the archipelago.
What to Pack
Whether you find yourself in the small and compact capital Malé or one of the hundreds of islands, the Maldives is the perfect place to embrace bold and colorful prints, gorgeous accessories like woven basket bags and striking eyewear. It should go without saying that you’ll need to think ahead when it comes to your swimwear and under-the-sun accessories. Boasting a classic silhouette, scooped neckline and plunging back, this Marysia Swim Palm Springs Scalloped Swimsuit hits all the notes in terms of subtle style for the Maldives. Moreover, it’s cut from a quick-drying stretch fabric to guarantee top-notch comfort throughout. Having the Rolex Deepsea by your side is the ultimate choice for the underwater adventures for a lifetime. Not only is the iconic timepiece water-resistant up to an outstanding 3,900 meters, but the classic style is something you’ll be proud to show off in a variety of different situations.