Fewer than one million people travel to the Maldives every year; of that just 10 percent are Americans. Translation: A visit here is a blissfully exclusive trip of a lifetime with endless bragging rights.By: Jimmy Im
-AS SEEN IN BRIDAL GUIDE MAGAZINE-
One of the most remote — and romantic — places on earth, the Maldives archipelago seduces with more than 150 island resorts in the Indian Ocean. Everything here is the epitome of luxury — unbeatable cuisine, ultra-pampering spas and daydream-realized overwater bungalows — and there’s celebrity-level privacy. Of all the amazing amenities on the island nation, we’re sharing some of our favorites.
Where to Stay
Photo: Kudadoo Maldives
Kudadoo Maldives Private Island, a luxury boutique resort of only overwater villas, brims with special experiences. Two standouts are the nation’s Himalayan salt chamber, known for healing properties, and an in-house marine biologist who leads guests on swimming adventures with local manta rays. The resort is also home to Dream Island, an unspoiled, deserted sandbank that’s a sliver of white surrounded by crystal-clear water. It can be booked for special moments, like a romantic dinner or an entire castaway day (room rates start at $3,140 a night).
Photo: Kudadoo Maldives
One & Only Reethi Rah is a sexy resort with a roster of celebrity guests that’s a haven for wellness enthusiasts. There’s a rock-climbing wall, tennis courts, endless water- sports, a massive indoor/outdoor gym and free bikes to tour the island. Don’t miss the resort’s spa, a lush sanctuary complete with private treatment villas, a reflection pond and charming pavilions. There are also saunas, crystal steam rooms and therapy pools with waterfalls. Expect a property-exclusive treatment menu that includes a coconut exfoliation and cleansing foot rituals (room rates start at about $2,000 a night).
Photo: One&Only Resorts
Every luxury resort in the Maldives is utterly unique and located on its own island. Visitors tend to divide their honeymoon booking into various properties (two to three different resorts is common) for the ultimate experience. Soneva Jani is a favorite thanks to the fact all rooms are overwater, bi-level villas starting at a staggering 4,400 square feet. Each villa touts a private pool, glass-floor bathroom and oversize deck. Bedrooms have skylights (controlled by a remote) so you can literally sleep under the stars. Half the villas are equipped with private waterslides that go straight into the turquoise sea (room rates start at about $2,440 a night and include breakfast and an activity).
The only Maldivian-owned luxury resort in the archipelago, Milaidhoo Island Maldives has four dining venues, including Ba’theli Lounge & Restaurant, an overwater eatery shaped like a boat. The chef elevates local cuisine with a journey showcas- ing island ingredients (fish and coconuts) flavored with traditional spices — cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and ginger. The fine-dining restaurant has glam interiors; al fresco dining is available under a starlit sky. Milaidhoo is located within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so you’re likely to see plenty of marine life, including friendly nurse sharks.