When it opened two years ago, Anantara was the most luxurious resort in the Maldives. Now it is regularly full, as guests from around the world flock to it.
“Top Maldivian hotels are in fierce Darwinian competition, like peacocks growing ever longer tails,” says The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. But Anantara deserves its place near the top of the pecking order. The infinity pool is the second-longest in the entire archipelago, yet “this glorious stretch of water gets few visitors, as most people swim in the sea or their own pools”. The villas are “vast” and located over the water. The toilets have glass floors, so “no need to bring your newspaper, just gawp at the lion-fish below”.
There are also “free iPods in their docks that come pre-loaded with a zillion songs”. Just be aware: it’s an “expansive resort, and those long wooden walkways, between restaurants and water villas, can make for a laborious hike, especially in the blinding Maldivian sun. Take parasols, or call a golf cart to assist.”
Walking into Sea, the hotel’s octagonal “underwater restaurant”, is “like a moment from a 007 adventure”. Glass walls allow “the red-toothed triggerfish” in the lagoon to “ogle your lobster bisque”.
From $1,145 per night, with breakfast (www.kihavah-maldives.anantara.com or call 00 960 660 1020).
Velaa Private Island Resort
The Maldive Islands are already well known for their top-end luxury resorts, but this new one aims to take it to another level. When it opens in November, the most expensive rooms will cost $30,000 a night. Each will have a dedicated butler and private pool, and the top-priced villas will also come with exclusive use of the resort’s super-yacht.
Velaa is described as “an intimate boutique resort”, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, says Ruth Styles in The Daily Telegraph. It “might not be bling, but it’s certainly no laid-back budget option”. Money does buy you plenty of space, though. “The biggest [villas] will have more than 210 sq m of living space and their pools will measure a very generous 60 sq m.” The hotel also has some “eye-catching” extras – a teppanyaki restaurant, located in a 37ft whitewashed tavaru (tower), a golf academy, an in-house marine biologist, and “a wine cellar that cost a hefty £1m to stock”.
Guests can dine in their villas or in the restaurant, with menus by Michelin-starred chef Adeline Grattard.
Rooms from $1,500 to $30,000 per night. Visit www.velaaisland.com or call 00 960 301 0011.
Luxury closer to home
You don’t have to go to the Maldives to find a luxury villa: if you’re looking for a shorter flight, try Crete. Paradise Island Villas (pictured) in Anissaras offers “12 spacious villas with chic rattan sofas, muslin-draped beds, private gardens and plunge pools”, says Kate McCarthy in The Independent. There’s also “a communal pool surrounded by olive groves, hammocks, sunbeds and a cocktail bar”. The restaurant serves up refined Cretan fare. From €248 a night (self-catering) for villas that sleep two to six people (Luxuryvillascrete.com).
Metohi Kindelis is a “beautiful stone farmhouse” dating back to the late Venetian period. It and a neighbouring building have been turned into three apartments, “each with a private pool, patio and garden. Fridges inside are stocked with fresh produce, grown in the surrounding estate, with provisions for breakfast, as well as wine, coffee and other delicacies all included”. The apartments sleep two to four people, from €220 per night, including breakfast (Metohi-kindelis.gr).
Eleonas in Zaros “offers 20 pastel-coloured cottages on a sloping mountainside in southern Crete, with a lovely pool and tavern”. The estate grows its own vegetables and guests can help feed the goats, chickens and horses. It’s ideal for active tourists, with boat rides, bird-watching, mountain-biking and horse-riding on hand. Cottages sleep two to four. From €70 per night, including breakfast (Eleonas.gr).
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