Above: The Maldives: Jumeirah Resorts
Dreaming of a real vacation? The kind where you can’t be reached by cell phone or postal service, where there’s no to-do list other than choosing your hammock carefully and reminding your butler of the time you’d prefer your bath drawn? The Maldives are the ultimate getaway, and with a list of five-star resorts to choose from, doing your homework is half the fun.
The Maldives are a collection of almost 1,200 individual islands situated in the Indian Ocean. And since there is only one resort per island, and there are 100 of them to choose from, choosing the right resort for you takes some thought.
Some resorts offer nothing more than the time and space to contemplate life, albeit from an overwater villa with stellar service. If you can’t sit still, this is not the vacation for you. Other resorts have house reefs, defined as a coral reef that can be reached by free swimming directly from the resort’s beach. Still others allow you to surf or offer deep-sea fishing excursions. Research the activities at your desired resort to ensure the right fit for you.
The size of the resort will also give you an indication of the vibe. Big resort? Enjoy parties on the beach. Small resort? No one will bother your long slumber in a quiet hammock. Be aware that even the intimate resorts can offer a variety of activities—you’ll just be doing them solo.
LUXE YIN AND YANG
FOR THE LUXURY TRAVELER, JUMEIRAH RESORTS OFFERS TWO DIFFERENT ISLAND EXPERIENCES
1. JUMEIRAH VITAVELLI
This island retreat is just a quick twenty-minute boat ride from the airport. With eighty-nine rooms, multiple restaurants and two different kids’ clubs, this is the better choice for families or travelers who are looking for a little nightlife.
The accommodations range from beach villas to overwater homes. Many Maldivian resorts offer the quintessential bungalows, but this resort offers seven homes that are accessible only by boat. Once inside, these two-level houses with private pool and sun deck become your own personal oasis.
2. JUMEIRAH DHEVANAFUSHI
This tiny idyll is reached by a one-hour flight from the capital of Malé. With only thirty-eight guest accommodations, the remote retreat is a superb spot for the traveler looking to escape it all. Guests are greeted in the open-air lobby at the end of a jetty that stretches out over the Indian Ocean. The resort is divided into two distinct areas, the main resort island and the more exclusive Ocean Pearls. The latter is a group of villas set apart from the main island. This village of overwater suites is accessible only by boat, but guests can stroll the wooden walkway that connects the villas to the swimming pool, spa treatment rooms and restaurant. The Ocean Pearls offer total seclusion without sacraficing decadence. However, the on-island beach villas are also quite private and luxurious. Each of the beach suites has its own pool just steps from the sand, separate living rooms and beds that are literally three-times the size of a standard king.
3 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The best way to reach the Maldives from New York is to fly Emirates through Dubai, a fabulous destination in itself.
Malé is a four-hour flight from Dubai; from there you board a boat, seaplane or domestic plane to reach your final resort destination.
Author’s note: Business Class on Emirates almost qualifies as a vacation in itself.
Though it is a Muslim country, alcohol at hotels flows freely. Just dress conservatively when flying through the capital of Malé.
This is one of those vacations that fits in the “last chance tourism” category. Some of the islands sit a mere four feet above sea level.
In April 2012, the Maldivian President stated, “If carbon emissions continue at the rate they are climbing today, my country will be underwater in seven years.” It is almost guaranteed that the Maldives will not exist by 2100.