You may have heard you need to go to the Maldives right now because it could be underwater in a couple years. Well, that scare tactic may not be 100% or even 50% accurate, but the motivation behind it is not ill-placed. You should go to the Maldives—one of the most stunning tropical countries on the globe—ASAP, but because it’s so gosh darn gorgeous, and because you’ll love it.
Made up of 26 ring-shaped atolls with hundreds of coral islands, it’s an Indian Ocean mecca for anyone who adores insanely clear blue water, white sandy beaches, palm trees and sunshine. There’s world-class surf in some parts, and throughout the whole nation’s extensive coral reefs some of the most epic snorkeling and Scuba diving that can be found anywhere. The dry season in the Maldives, from December to April, has little rain, low humidity and lower temps until the spring, while wet season from May to November can have more rain and strong winds. In the latter, however, more hammerhead sharks and reef sharks (not dangerous to humans, and incredible to watch like other frequent guests, dolphins and manta rays) tend to hang out in shallower waters, so there are upsides to both.
Flights into Malé often require another type of transportation to your resort, since most are on private islands that can be far-flung, requiring a smaller plane or a luxury boat to reach. Tourism in the Maldives only started in the ‘70s, and a couple paradisiacal resorts then turned into upwards of 80 now. New properties are being conceived all the time, and they tend to range from luxurious to even more luxurious. True, the Maldives are not a great option for honeymooners on a budget, but if you have been saving your money—or points—for a five-star vacation to end all vacations, this is the way to go.
Luxurious resort brands with standout island properties include the hyper luxurious collection of Four Seasons (along with an over-the-top Explorer catamaran that can booked for private voyages and overnight cruises between island-bound stays), the dreamy One&Only Reethi Rah with its 12 powdery beaches, and St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, which opened in 2016 and features sleek, innovative design. Six Senses Laamu is an icon of eco luxury, and the Jumeirah Vittaveli’s overwater bungalows are swimming distance from a vivid reef and five shipwrecks for exploring. Its new five-bedroom Royal Residence is the way to truly go beyond—there are two private pools, a private spa, gym, restaurant and private overwater bar (able to sleep 14, it’s kind of perfect for an elopement with friends!).
Perhaps less recognizable in name, Soneva Fushi is a top eco-friendly yet uber opulent resort with treehouse-style hideaways and the kind of low-key vibe that doesn’t require shoes. At Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru couples who love adrenaline can wake board or sail when not sunning on the terrace of their villa, and Baros Maldives, which has been named the “World’s Most Romantic Resort” by World Travel Awards, the sandbank dinner and glow-in-the-dark snorkeling experiences are well worth the trip.
New to the scene is the Grand Park Kodhipparu, with 120 picture-perfect palm-fringed villas with either sunrise or sunset views. Balinese and Ayurvedic treatments in the spa pair perfectly with days spent doing yoga and snorkeling. If your sights are set on the future, Baglioni Resort Maldives opens summer 2018 in the Dhaalu Atoll with sustainable Italian-inspired design and Beach Grand Villas boasting private pools perfect for skinny-dipping. Just one year old, Milaidhoo Island Maldives is set in the mist of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Baa Atoll and is where honeymooners can actually have a star named for them. You select the name and the constellation in which it’s located and go home with a certificate including coordinates for the ultimate souvenir. Does it get any more perfect?