A cluster of stunning coral atolls and turquoise lagoons 400 miles off the coast of India, the Maldives is a destination that will captivate even the most jaded traveler.
We flew via Doha on Qatar Airways—a business class experience that was an escape in itself. We could have easily spent our layover at the airline’s opulent Al Mourjan lounge (complete with a swimming pool and squash courts), but we chose to break up the trip with a night at Doha’s Four Seasons, enjoying a terrific meal at the hotel’s brand-new Nobu.
From the Maldivian capital of Malé, it was a quick speedboat ride to Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, a private garden island surrounded by rainbow coral reefs. From the moment we arrived, we were struck by the impeccable service and strong sense of community; the resort models itself on a traditional Maldivian village, and we left three days later feeling as if we’d found a second home. Highlights included treatments at the Island Spa, where over-water pavilions and transparent floors allow guests to look down through their headrests at schools of brightly-colored fish, and lessons at the Surf School. (The Maldives’ unique topography offers some of the warmest, most consistent surfing in the world.) We also enjoyed an evening cruise replete with spinner dolphins, signature cocktails at the Sunset Lounge and several phenomenal dinners at Baraabaru, the Indian restaurant—don’t miss its balti lobster curry.
Our next stop was Kuda Huraa’s sister property, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, a remote island accessible by seaplane. Landaa is larger and wilder than Kuda, with lush rainforests, dazzling white beaches, and the bluest, clearest water I have ever seen. On arrival, we were given cruiser bikes ideal for exploring the island. Among its attractions are a dense jungle trail hung with fruit bats and the serene Spa and Ayurvedic Retreat, offering anti-gravity yoga classes and transcendent Elakkizhimassages. In addition to our sprawling beach villa and private lap pool, standouts of our stay included the nightly shark and manta ray feeding at Seabar, a tented dinner on the beach and the Om Supti Night Ritual, where we were transported to a secluded jungle clearing and treated to massages and a flower petal bath beneath the stars.
I returned from the Maldives several weeks ago, but the country’s inimitable beauty and solitude continue to exert a strangely dreamlike power. Like all who have sampled its splendors, I cannot wait to return.