There’s no where in the world like the Maldives. Made up of over 1000 islands and 26 ring-shaped atolls, the tropical nation is a sight to behold. No wonder it’s such an idyllic destination.
But while it’s beautiful, remote and, for most, a once-in-a-lifetime getaway, it’s not a country that should be saved solely for honeymooners.
If you have the money to spare (the majority of the resorts are geared for those with deep pockets), you’re unlikely to ever again experience the standard of service and cuisine the hotels nestled around the turquoise lagoons boast.
But first, you have to get there. And we’re going to be frank; the journey is a long one.
First step: reach the capital, Malé. You can fly direct with British Airways, or numerous other airlines (including Etihad, Emirates and Qatar) offer a service flying via the Middle East. Once there, you’ll exit the baggage claim area to find your hotel’s stand – and from there be taken to a lounge to await your domestic flight or transferred to a speedboat to reach your resort.
However, the long haul is worth it.
We checked out The Residence Maldives, where paradise really does await, in the form of crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and tropical wildlife. It really as spectacular as it looks on your Instagram feed.
Tucked away on the remote island of Falhumaafushi Gaafu Alifu Atoll (good luck trying to memorise that one), the hotel is home to a mix of huge, luxury beach and water villas. Yes, you really can fulfill your dream of sleeping in an over-water bungalow here.
Each villa comes equipped with a pair of incredibly Instagrammable vintage bikes so you can cruise around the island at your own pace. If you’re feeling lazy, simply call your butler – yes, each room also serves up a butler – and order a beach buggy to get you to the beach bar/restaurants/spa.
Back to the villas. Some have a pool, and all come equipped with huge, free-standing baths (perfect for soaking in while watching rays, baby sharks and turtles swim outside the full length window), a lounge area, huge bed and jetty. The latter is ideal for soaking in the view as the sun rises or sets – depending which side of the island you stay on.
You can order room service, but we highly recommend dragging yourself out of your luxury room long enough to indulge at one of the hotel’s three restaurants.
On our first night we tested out the all-you-can-eat Italian buffet at the hotel’s main restaurant, where breakfast and lunch are served. Pizza, pasta, salad, cold cuts of meat: there was something for everyone.
The following night, we headed to the beach for a seafood buffet under the clear sky. With almost no light pollution in the Maldives, there’s something to be said for those starry skies.
Finally, we dined over the water at The Falhumaa restaurant; the hotel’s fine-dining option. Watching out for action in the water, we tucked into mouth-watering pasta and and lobster. Don’t miss the restaurant’s olive oil caviar and try your very hardest to save a spot for dessert.
So, what else is there to do at The Residence Maldives?
Lazying by the pool isn’t for everyone – and fortunately that’s not your only option. Every guest is able to rent snorkeling gear, free of charge, and there are plenty of other water sports on offer.
We took a sunset cruise in the hope of spotting some dolphins, and we weren’t disappointed. Within minutes of getting out on the water, a pod of dolphins swam under us and continued to amuse us with their playful nature for the next hour.
If you’re after something slightly more chilled, head to the spa where you can enjoy all kinds of relaxing facials and massages. There’s even a sunburn treatment designed to tend to toasted skin.
Stays at The Residence Maldives start from USD $908 (approx. £637) on a B&B basis. For more information or to book, please visit www.cenizaro.com/theresidence.
Read more from Yahoo Style UK: