Maldives 18.08.2020 Transindus
The Maldives is known for its plethora of luxury private islands dotted around idyllic atolls filled with coral reefs and perfect sandbanks. It’s the ultimate romantic destination, popular with honeymooners, destination weddings and vow renewals. The islands are also known for their privacy and seclusion, with the most popular type of accommodation being overwater or beach villas, many complete with their own private plunge pools, butler service and beach access.
But there are so many experiences in the Maldives that you don’t know about with many of our favourite luxury hotels and resorts for social distancing offering unique and once in a lifetime days out that can’t be enjoyed anywhere else.
Here we detail our favourite experiences to be enjoyed on a Maldives holiday and where you can enjoy them.
Swimming with Manta Rays
Whilst many resorts in the Maldives have their own home reef teaming with wildlife, the Maldives is one of the best places in the world to swim with manta rays. The activity is not as easily accessible an activity and an experience only a few islands offer mainly in the Baa Atoll – a Unesco-designated Biosphere Reserve. The wildlife experience is also seasonal and weather dependent, so you have to plan in advance if you want to tick it off the bucket list.
The best time to see manta rays in the Maldives is between June and October when hundreds of the ocean giants gather in the shallow bay around Hanifaru to feast on plankton. From a small boat, you can jump into the clear water and swim alongside them, diving down for views of them from below.
The Four Seasons offers an incredible package allowing you to swim with manta rays, dolphins, turtles and whale sharks! Plus, they are committed to preserving the UNESCO site with a Marine Discovery Centre where they rehabilitate sea turtles and donate to the Hanifaru Bay NGO for every guest who visits.
Sail through the islands on a private yacht
Many of the Maldives luxury hotels are in remote locations only accessible by sea plane or boat. But the Maldives also has hundreds of deserted islands scattered across its atolls and one of the best ways to see them is by hiring a private yacht for a couple of days. Cruising between islands, you will wake up in the most remote and beautiful corners of the country, the only boat for miles around. You will get to snorkel on small coral reefs untouched by the development of five star resorts and dig your feet into palm fringed, powdered sand beaches with no one else on them. It will be quiet but for the birds and the sound of the waves.
Whilst the country is best known for its small and remote islands and water-based activities, many are surprised that the Maldives has resorts with golf courses on them. The beautiful Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa has the biggest gold course in the Maldives with nine-holes. With views of the turquoise ocean and the sound of the waves gently lapping the shore, there is nowhere more relaxing in the world to play.
Kuredu Resort is another island with its own golf course on it. Slightly smaller than the Shangri-La at six holes, Kuredu also offers a spa and golf package designed to improve performance on the course. With golf lessons focusing on the biomechanics of the swing, the resort recommends yoga to focus on the rest of the body.
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Enjoy a Massage at the only underwater spa
We have all seen photos of the underwater restaurants and hotel rooms throughout the Maldives but Huvafen Fushi is the only resort in the world to offer an underwater spa. A 60 minute full body massage can be enjoyed followed by some time in a glass-walled relaxation pod, surrounded by coral reef and schools of fish.
Visit a Local Island or Malé
Whilst a once in a lifetime experience, the luxury hotels in the Maldives do not offer a real experience of what life is like in the country and there are ways that you can explore outside of the beautiful bubble of your resort. Since the only way to get around the Maldives is by sea plane or boat, your access to neighbouring islands really varies from one hotel to another.
At Bandos, you can choose between island hopping on a traditional dhoni or a tour of the country’s capital, Malé. Sailing between islands on a dhoni gives you the ultimate contrast between the different types of islands in the Maldives, from the remote and untouched to those that have local communities on. Meanwhile, a visit to Malé will allow you to visit the busy fish market where you can spot the day’s catch – sometimes massive tuna, octopus and grouper.
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Stargaze in an observatory
Whilst stargazing can be done anywhere in the world, it is in the most remote places where the skies are at their best. With little light pollution and islands spread out across the atolls, the Maldives is one of the best places in the world for stargazing and what’s more, as the county is situated on the equator, you can see both the northern and the southern hemispheres stars.
A resort that really makes the most of stargazing as an activity is the Anantara Kihavah where you can stare through the Maldives’ most powerful telescope from their over-water observatory which also doubles up as a bar. At the Sky bar, you can lie back on the elevated daybeds with a cocktail in hand whilst the resorts dedicated Sky ‘Guru’ explains what can be seen in that night’s sky.
Sleep on a private sand bank
Once you have chosen which hotel to stay on, the next difficult decision for many is whether to stay in a beach villa or in an overwater villa. Many decide to split their stay between the two to get the best of both worlds but what happens when you throw a third option into the mix? At Milaidhoo, you can spend one night sleeping under the stars on a private sandbank, surrounded by candles and battery powered lanterns as the only form of light.
A private dolphin cruise with champagne and canapes kick-start the evening followed by sundowner cocktails on the sandbank and a four course dinner tailored to your dietary requirements. After dinner, you will be left completely alone but with a mobile phone in case you want to call your personal butler before being woken up to a champagne breakfast or sunrise yoga session.
Fly Underwater by Submarine
Another unique experience by the Four Seasons, their submarine is perfect for those with no PADI certification or if you want another perspective of the great blue sea. Seating a maximum of three people (including the pilot) you get a 360-degree view of the Baa Atoll as you glide through its waters. You can get within touching distance of dolphins, sharks, turtles and massive schools of fish, shimmering close to the surface.
What’s more, the submarine is electric and it’s engines are almost silent so it doesn’t disturb marine life making it very environmentally friendly.