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Quick Guide To The Maldives

The Maldives is a haven for snorkellers and scuba divers, with its abundance of coral and sea life. Its beaches and hotels donít disappoint either. Where is it? The Maldives is a group of over 1000 coral islands, set in the Indian Ocean, off the south west coast of India. The tiny islands are dotted in a string heading south and they provide a peaceful, if expensive getaway for the traveller in search of quiet relaxation. Where can I stay? Itís hard to beat the perfect combination of wide, white sandy beaches, perfect blue seas and tropical sun, and most hotels in the Maldives make the most of their surroundings by offering guests access to the beach direct from their rooms, or creating romantic areas for dinner and drinking. Boutique hotels go a step further than this by creating a cool, contemporary feel that makes guests feel right at home, whilst anticipating their every need, so that a simple holiday really does become a paradise for its duration.

On the Ari Atoll lies the most exclusive hotel in the island group, the Dhoni Mighili. This stunning hotel sleeps just twelve people and guests arrive either by luxury speedboat, private plane or romantic Dhoni. A butler sees to your every need. Eat, drink and sleep to your own schedule and make the most of every minute. Or, if the North Male Atoll is more to your taste, the Hufaven Fushi is a decadent boutique hotel just 25 minutes by speedboat from the Maleí International Airport.

Relax by your private pool, because thereís only your villa and one other on the whole complex. If you want a candlelit dinner on the beach, just say so. Truly indulgent, but worth every penny. What can I see? The islands that make up the Maldives are all small and you can island hop between some of them. Many people come for the diving and snorkelling, but it may be worthwhile taking a trip to Male, the capital city, where markets, mosques and small shops may bring you back to reality. Otherwise, just take in the beauty of the coastlines and the ocean from your boutique retreat and soak up the sun. How do I get around? Only some of the islands fall within the heavily regulated tourist zone, which the Government has imposed to prevent destruction of natural landscapes and villages. If you want to move between permitted islands, then you can fly or use a dhoni or speedboat. Most islands, however, are small enough to walk or bike round easily. The Maldives might be exclusive, but if you have the time and youíre prepared to indulge yourself, then there's nowhere better to go.


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