Maldives
Overview

In the world of luxury travel, a trip to the Maldives signifies that you have arrived. It is the destination on the tip of every billionaire’s tongue, the hottest ticket out of New York, London and Dubai, and the spot where celebs go to disappear from prying paparazzi - you literally can’t go wrong in this protected paradise. Anyone who’s anyone has vacationed here - Bar Refaeli had her bachelorette, Katy Perry and Russell Brand honeymooned in their happier days, and the islands got a recent royal stamp of approval when Prince William and Kate Middleton made the trek in 2014. This collection of almost 1,200 islands clustered in the Indian Ocean is arguably the most luxurious collection of private islands in the world. You get that romantic remoteness plus the most over-the-top luxurious service. Imagine your deep tropic tan popping against your white Calypso bikini as you wade into the turquoise waters directly off your private over-the-water bungalow? A backdrop of lush green scenery, grand palm trees, and white sandy beaches behind you… Ahh, just take us back now!

Even the fashion conundrums here are just fabulous. What should I wear for the private catamaran taking me to lunch on a deserted sandbar? What should I slip into for my après scuba cocktail? As you fill your suitcase, simply keep tropic tones in mind. The main island of Malé, which hosts the international airport, can be more conservative (it is a Muslim country, after all), so it’s best to cover thighs and shoulders if you plan to stay a night or two - try with a white linen beach pant and breezy cardigan. The dress code around most resorts is smart casual, but what is the fun of vacationing with the super-rich if you don’t join in the peacocking party? Stuff your luggage with floppy, oversized hats (Eugenia Kim’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ chapeau comes to mind), blingy cover-ups, and sophisticated sarongs for poolside play. Think island-chic dresses in the evenings with a touch of glam - colorful Pucci prints, Missoni stripes and Valentino rainbows are always a hit.

Nudity and topless tanning are actually against the law here (apologies to all you free spirits), but that doesn’t mean you can’t sport your teeniest-weeniest bikini during optimal tanning opportunities - though it does mean you save those Agent Provocateurs for inside your bungalow when the sun goes down (sidenote: the Maldives are a famous baby making spot). Heels can be tricky as many pathways are simply sand, therefore bejeweled sandals (we love Rene Caovilla’s) may be a better way to go, but, hey, why slum it and walk when you can be transported via a chauffeured golf cart rocking your highest heels? No matter what, at the Maldives, you’re destined for the island escape that puts your previous vacations to shame, with a side of genuine jealousy from your nearest and dearest.

Stay

Where to stay

Indulge

Indulge

Velaa Private Island

Go for an array of traditional Asian cuisine for dinner at Tavaru, but the resort’s most scenic dining spot is undoubtedly Aragu, which floats on docks above the mellow waves. Wine connoisseur or not, be sure to venture into the Velaa Wine Cellar, featuring more than 500 bins (the largest supply in the Maldives). Finally, end an evening with champagne for dessert at Cru, the elegant champagne lounge overlooking the ocean where guests can sample some of the finest and rarest international champagnes, guided by expert sommeliers, of course.

Cocoa Island by COMO

Cocoa really capitalizes on the whole one with the ocean thing, and that doesn’t change with its restaurant offerings. Fish are friends but mostly food at Ufaa (we like to think it rhymes with Loofa, but we’re not really sure), Keep enjoying guilt-free vacation eats at COMO Shambhala Cuisine, renowned for using organic ingredients, also using tandoor ovens to allow for fat-free cooking with deliciously authentic charcoal flavoring.  Don’t worry, you can wash down your delicious meals (or indulge in pre-dinner cocktails) at Faru Bar, the literal foot-in-the-sand beach bar serving up refreshing cocktails, fine wines, light snacks and even cigars to the tune of mellow DJ beats as the sun goes down.

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PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi

Savor fresh seafood in the open flow atmosphere of Salt, serving up scallops, lobster, and caviar among other trademark dishes from the dark wood pavilion and al fresco deck, with views of the open kitchen. Get your laidback fix at Rawthe laid back chic lounge offering a healthy menu of innovative raw cuisine, a refreshing juice bar by day, and the optimal spot for intimate sunset or post-dinner cocktails by night. Wine lovers can indulge in some vino the right way at Vinum, hidden in a unique cellar cave 8 meters under the ocean and filled with 6,000 different wines (many of them rare vintage). UMBar a chic open pavilion, is your go to spot Saturday night for “Movies n munchies.

Cheval Blanc Randheli

Pack your favorite crisp white ensemble to wear to The White, where you can dine on classic grilled lobster or seasonally updated Maldivian dishes in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere. For seafood fused with flavors of a different sea, Keep the lively atmosphere going, but switch up the cuisine at The Diptique, a live-cooking theatre specializing in fine Japanese and East-Asian dishes. For a fine dining experience, Le 1947 is as ritzy as it gets… after entering the exquisite dining room through a crimson hallway, you’ll enjoy a spectacular 9-course meal (flowy dress strongly suggested) of delectable French cuisine. 

Anantara Veli Resort and Spa

The majority of Anantara resorts are based in Thailand, so it’s only fitting that the finest Thai restaurant in the Maldives, Baan Huraa, is located at this resort. Sea.Fire.Salt is another resort favorite set on an alfresco wooden deck over the cyan-blue lagoon, where you can savor freshly caught Maldivian seafood, like reef fish, lobster, and prawns, prepared in a wood-fired oven.  If you’re craving other cuisines, go for sushi at Origami, with a modern yet casual vibe.

PER AQUUM Niyama

You know a restaurant is elegant and exclusive when literally the only possible way to reach it is by boat… and that is exactly the case with Edge. If you were seeking a spot to show of your best resort evening wear, Edge is it. Tribal is an innovative, lively and exotic eatery (if you couldn’t tell by the name) where all cooking takes place on outdoor beach grills, bringing campfire vibes to modern luxury. This is the fun spot, so whip out some fun prints to set the mood. Lastly, we can’t forget about “Chill’s” underwater lounge, Subsix, where you’ll literally feel submerged in the surreal beauty of your colorful ocean surroundings.

One&Only Reethi Rah

Go for a dress that’s daring when dining at the sensual, exotic Fanditha, a hidden beachside restaurant serving a la carte Arabian cuisine with fine rosés and champagnes. !هتاف. That’s cheers in Arabic (seriously, Google it). In the lounge area, you can lounge on hammocks, bamboo loungers, and Arabic carpets—á la Princess Jasmine. On some evenings, they’ll have late night starlit parties at this outdoor venue with a live DJ amid chandeliers hung from the trees.

Fear not, vegetarians, you won’t go hungry on this vacation with Chef’s Garden nearby, an outdoor “garden-to-table” dining experience set in the resorts famous Orchid Garden. But a girl can only go so long without some upscale sushi, and luckily Tapasake is on site for contemporary Japanese.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

The two main restaurants of the resort, The Dining Room and The Island Grill serve up local and international specialties in sophisticated yet laid back settings (think chic yet comfortable resort-wear). Calling The Dhoni just a lounge would do it a disservice, built by locals as a massive upturned dhoni (a traditional Maldivian fishing boat).

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Explore

Explore

Beyond soaking up rays all the hotels have ample activities, in case your beach read starts to bore you. The long list extends from water sports, diving, whale shark spotting, dolphin cruises, sunset fishing to tennis and squash, to beach volleyball, yoga, and even rock climbing!

Velaa Private Island

Pack your sneakers. And also pack your polos, because what sets this one apart the most is the esteemed Velaa Golf Academy, featuring nine tees, six greens, and seven bunkers, all against an unbeatable backdrop of the Indian sea.

Cocoa Island by COMO

Cocoa offers a unique aqua-therapy, if you’re seeking some aquatic relaxation during your tropical getaway. You can also explore the wildlife with guided snorkeling around the coral and fish feeding, where you can see the radiant rainbow of schools of fish, even better than what Pixar portrays in Nemo.

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Huvafen Fushi

You’re sure to leave with a deep tropical tan because Huvafen Fushi is a water-lover’s paradise, Relax post-activities in the outdoor saltwater flotation pool - the only of its kind in the Maldives. For a different vantage point, book a treatment at the resorts underwater spa. Beyond the indulgent treatments themselves, the setting is surreal—dreamlike.

Cheval Blanc Randheli

Like the other resorts, Cheval Blanc will never leave you bored. Of course, you’ve got the Alchemist team to help you craft a personalized vacay program and cater to your every whim.

Anantara Veli Resort and Spa

In keeping with the wellness theme, Anantara offers many outlets to stay active and explore, like tennis, volleyball, scuba diving, and windsurfing.

PER AQUUM Niyama

On this end, they offer special “after dark” treatments to soothe you right to sleep (we know red wine has a similar effect, but you can’t say no to a vacation spa treatment). “Chill” island is also the spot of the chic underwater lounge for relaxed socializing, though there’s more on this to come.

One&Only Reethi Rah

Either with your man or with the whole gang, take advantage of the tennis courts, golf simulator, and island excursion offerings to keep you busy. If you’re vibing for something mellower, they even have painting classes, so you can take home a personal creation that captures the scenic views of your island escape.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Dolphin spotting and sunset cruises are other great ways to get out on the water, not to mention their special “Cross the Equator” excursion. Learn how to craft Maldivian specialties at the resorts cooking class, or just unwind and treat yourself at the top-notch Vidhun spa. 

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SHOP

Where to Shop

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At Velaa Private Island, you can find that special gift at the resort jewelry shop. You can score custom-designed and limited edition pieces, sure to be the envy of your friends back in the real world. At The Concept Store at Cheval Blanc Randheli, you can find a diverse selection of resort attire and accessories. Come to browse collections from international and local designers, with everything from silk caftans, to linen bermudas, brand sunnies, and tropically patterned swimwear. And finally the fashionista/the girl who cannot go five days without shopping gives One&Only our vote for best resort shopping. There are three boutiques on the resort. Reethi Lifestyle features gorgeous glass decanters and chic iPhone cases of stingray leather. In Neo Boutique and Neo Beach, you can snag some stylish resort-wear both from well-known brands, like Stella McCartney, as well as local designers. Head home with embellished beach bags, trendy sundresses, and unique swimwear, all created with Maldivian flair.

Shop the Destination

HUNZA G Jean seersucker bandeau bikini $135.00
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Gucci Metallic braided wool-blend headband $315.00
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Lindroth Design Small Birkin Basket $150.00
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Illesteva Mykonos aviator-style gold-tone mirrored sunglasses $180.00
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Jonathan Simkhai Tiered Maxi Dress $645.00
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Johanna Ortiz Ritual cropped checked cotton-blend wrap top $850.00
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Alexis Alexander Bow Pant $485.00
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Ancient Greek Sandals Thais velvet sandals
$260.00
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Camilla Pretty Precession-print silk kaftan $613.00
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Sylvia Toledano Malachite and gold-plated earrings $150.00
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Norma Kamali Empire Jose Mio off-the-shoulder polka-dot swimsuit $185.00
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Lola Hats Windsock bandana-print straw hat $263.00
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Haight Maria one-shoulder bikini $195.00
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Dodo Bar Or Hoza embroidered cotton wrap skirt $235.00
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Rebecca de Ravenel Linda drop earrings $295.00
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Current/Elliott The Prep School Shirt $186.00
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