I have been to heaven and back in the Maldives

Image for Natalie Russell-Blackburn Perkins Natalie Russell-Blackburn Perkins
Relationship Manager

I have been to heaven and back. The Maldives, September 2010. What an incredible experience; from the very beginning, being pampered by British Airways in their Club class cabin enjoying a fully flat, to the limitless luxury of our beach and over water accommodation, till our touchdown back home, it was a dream come true!

I was lucky enough to visit 7 resorts across the Maldives and absorb and experience all the lures and temptations which are thrown at you in one of the most perfect places on earth.

Upon our arrival in Male, we were greeted by the smiley resort representatives of The Beach House, Maldives . There are various ways of transferring to all resorts. The closer islands have their own private speedboats, those a little further afield require a seaplane and some located in the more remote areas demand a short domestic flight and speedboat.

Our first stop, the Beach House requires the latter. The resort reps prioritised us on an earlier flight than scheduled up to Hanimadhoo, where ready and waiting for us across from the runway at the jetty, was the Beach House's private speedboat.

The approach to any of these islands is breathtaking. In the distance, you see the shimmer of pure white beaches being lapped gently by crystal clear warm waters against a backdrop of lush tropical jungle. Take me back there!

The Beach House is situated on an island that is a beautifully friendly place where the sand melts between your toes. The accommodation both on sand and over water all come with private pools and the most up to the date modern conveniences. They are spacious enough that you can keep yourself to yourself, or should you prefer, spend time in the communal areas which are so well laid out, that there is a great social atmosphere to immerse yourself in and absorb.

Not to be missed; Sunset cocktails at Infiniti, a body treatment at the Modun Spa, fresh lobster at the stunning and romantic beachfront 'Medium Rare' restaurant, a place on the daily complimentary snorkelling excursion (2 per guest per stay).

Moving on, we hopped over to Island Hideaway at Dhonakulhi Maldives, Spa Resort & Marina. With only 43 pavilions/villas/suites this resort is small and intimate and the lush tropical forest in which each unit is nestled, enhances that magical jungle retreat feel as well.

Every room comes with its own butler who can help out as much or as little as you like. They are generously spacious inside, all with at least 1 bedroom separate from the rest of the living space. You will be hard pushed not to leave here feeling totally rejuvenated - there are 15 pillow types on your menu for a start and in order that you don't have to rush to breakfast, a 'Muffin Service' will rouse you gently from your slumber to the aroma of freshly ground coffee and freshly baked muffins delivered right to your doorstep.

Not to be missed; Snorkelling on the island's house reef just steps from the shore, trying out the surfbikes down at the water sports centre, Wasabi ice cream for dessert at the Gaafushi overwater restaurant, dining out under the stars on your own private island Robinson Crusoe style!

For those who like their desert island experience to be more than a little chilled and exceptionally cool, Huvafen Fushi is a must.

What is there not to like about this island? The trendy, modern, spacious rooms (all with private pool), the only underwater spa in the Maldives, the superb selection of restaurants serving not only local catch of the day but also delicate gourmet cuisine, the hospitality and service, the mesmerising snorkelling just meters from the water's edge (with 3ft long reef sharks no less!)...you cannot say you have stayed in the Maldives until you have stayed here.

Not to be missed; A champagne sunset cruise on one of the resorts five private Dhoni's, losing a few hours in one of the swing seats perched romantically at the water's edge, losing some more hours in the underwater spa, star gazing from your decking at the billions of stars twinkling in the clear night sky.

A short speed boat transfer and we arrived at one of the largest islands in the Maldives, One&Only Reethi Rah. Built to perfection. Not a palm frond out of place, this is one of One&Onlys' finest creations. There's a total of 6km of flawless pure white beaches. Your footsteps melt into the breaking water as you stroll along in paradise, you have to pinch yourself to realise its real. It is an exclusive haven, sleek and spectacular, all villas with ocean views and unprecedented privacy.

Not to be missed; morning yoga in the overwater pavilion, pedalling your way by bicycle over to one of the islands 12 beaches, a good few chapters of your favourite book while swinging in your own villa hammock in the ocean breeze, a secluded moment spent with your partner on one of the isolated floating platforms.

Diva, Maldives location in the South Ari Atoll means it is a 25 minute sea plane transfer from Male.

Outstanding value and fabulous for families (one of the few islands with interconnecting rooms). Diva is nestled in a magnificent sheltered lagoon, rich in marine life - diving and snorkelling

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