Three heavenly retreats in the Maldives

The Maldives is packed with luxury resorts, but these three stand out, says Chris Carter.


Kudadoo: a luxury resort where you can indulge your inner diva

The Maldives is packed with luxury resorts, says Susan d'Arcy in The Sunday Times. One newcomer, Kudadoo, has taken a bold step in a bid to get noticed. The resort calls it the triple-A promise. Guests are encouraged to order anything, anytime and anywhere.

Kudadoo is the "classic Indian Ocean idyll" a "tiny bouquet of coconut palms on bone-white sands" in the Lhaviyani Atoll, a 40-minute flight from the capital, Mal. At one end of the island, 15 pool villas are strung out over a lagoon. At the other end, the retreat houses an overwater restaurant, bar, gym and spa.

The food is "seriously good" thanks to chef Antoine Lievaux, who has worked with the Michelin maestros Alain Ducasse and the late Jol Robuchon. There is an extensive menu, and themed dinners Spanish, Japanese, even a Sunday roast. D'Arcy, however, had the spa tally firmly in her sights. "By 6pm on day one, I'd chalked up three fabulous hours, including sound therapy Tibetan singing bowls stimulating my theta brainwaves to induce relaxation," she says. "I was indeed mellow", which made it all the harder to work up the kind of prima-donna pique necessary to test the resort's triple-A promise. "Dialling up the divadom isn't easy" when you're that relaxed.

Villas from £1,992 a night, all-inclusive

A spell of the blues


Beautiful views in Faarufushi

"Hidden away on a remote coral island in the Raa Atoll region, Faarufushi started welcoming guests in March this year," says Lucy Coghlan in The Mail on Sunday's You magazine. The island only has 80 villas, "but be sure to request an Ocean Retreat". These overwater bungalows are "the true showstoppers". With "crisp, modern interiors" that reflect "the graphic lines of the seemingly never-ending horizon the floor-to-ceiling windows ensure you never miss a sunset or even a dolphin splash in the distance". Each villa is "perfectly private, with no nosy neighbours overlooking your own personal paradise". You can enjoy a drink on the decking, or elect to dip a toe into the "clear blue sea or slip into your own infinity pool that effortlessly merges into the skyline It's all blue from here."

In the bathroom you'll find a bath that is more of a "freeflow art installation" than a tub one that is big enough for three. It also faces out to sea, which makes it yet "another perfect spot to while away the time".

If you should opt for a beach bungalow instead, these come with "a very enviable outdoor rainforest shower". But whichever room you choose, "you are not going to be disappointed".

From around £600 a night in October,

A Maldivian classic


The Taj Exotica Resort & Spa is something of an original, says Matthew Hardeman in Spear's magazine. In 1993, it became the first resort in the Maldives to have overwater villas. Today, after several makeovers, "it still prides itself most on the hotel giant's trademark Indian hospitality, not least the myriaddining options brought to guests byits multi-Michelin-starred chefs".

The Taj is located in South Mal Atoll, Emboodhu Finolhu a short half-hour hop by speedboat from the capital. As guests arrive, "a lone drummer plays on the jetty as a familiar Maldivian welcome of cool drinks and cold towels sets the tone for sunny refreshment in the sticky heat".

Each of the superior overwater villas "comes with a private pool, hammock, lounge chairs,

day beds, bathrooms with his-and-hers sinks, indoor and outdoor showers, Molton Brown toiletries and other bathroom amenities". But to experience the island at its best, check in to the presidential suite. At $10,000 a night, it has everything the wealthiest of visitors could expect, "not least the large deck with its own pool overlooking the ocean in privacy".

All in all, those looking for the sleekest new resort in the Maldives will have to venture further afield and pay for the privilege. "But for those looking for a dependable and easily reachable tropical paradise that has stood the test of time the Taj remains an excellent choice, and a Maldivian classic."

From $800 a night,


Three top walking destinations in the UK
Travel and holidays

Three top walking destinations in the UK

As autumn arrives, it’s time to get your boots on and head for the country, says Chris Carter
17 Sep 2021
Travel: four castles where you can live like royalty
Travel and holidays

Travel: four castles where you can live like royalty

Hole up for the autumn in Warwick, Chillingham, Glenapp or at Versailles. Chris Carter reports.
10 Sep 2021
Edinburgh beyond the Fringe
Travel and holidays

Edinburgh beyond the Fringe

The Edinburgh festivals, and the city itself, remain well worth a visit, says Matthew Partridge
3 Sep 2021
Four of the best boating holidays
Travel and holidays

Four of the best boating holidays

From a gentle rafting trip in Oregon to a canoeing and meditation retreat in Devon. Chris Carter reports.
20 Aug 2021

Most Popular

The times may be changing, but don’t change how you invest
Small cap stocks

The times may be changing, but don’t change how you invest

We are living in strange times. But the basics of investing remain the same: buy fairly-priced stocks that can provide an income. And there are few be…
13 Sep 2021
Two shipping funds to buy for steady income
Investment trusts

Two shipping funds to buy for steady income

Returns from owning ships are volatile, but these two investment trusts are trying to make the sector less risky.
7 Sep 2021
Should investors be worried about stagflation?
US Economy

Should investors be worried about stagflation?

The latest US employment data has raised the ugly spectre of “stagflation” – weak growth and high inflation. John Stepek looks at what’s going on and …
6 Sep 2021