Paradise on earth: Dive into the magic of the Maldives
02 JANUARY 2014
The Maldives has long been synonymous with romance, laid-back glamour and luxury. Victoria and David Beckham visited the idyllic islands for their Christmas holidays, Marvin Humes and Rochelle Wiseman got engaged there in 2011 – and recently returned with their baby daughter Alaia-Mai to ring in the New Year – and the pristine coral reefs, world-class spas and promises of hazy days of relaxation in an Indian Ocean paradise have enticed everyone from Tom Cruise, Kate Moss, Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney to Mick Jagger.
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For a destination with so many A-list guests and a reputation as a honeymooners' paradise, you'd naturally expect something pretty special from a resort dubbed 'the most romantic in the Maldives'. And that's exactly what you get when you visit the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - which, appropriately enough, finds its home on an exclusive, secluded heart-shaped island in the southern Gaafu Alifu Atoll.
If you've got engaged this festive season and you're on the hunt for a dream-like honeymoon destination – or even somewhere to hold the wedding – then look no further. Dhevanafushi means 'unique island', and that's exactly what it is.
In fact, as the wind whips through your hair as you're sat in a speedboat being whisked off to a neighbouring desert island for a champagne picnic with your personal butler, it's hard to imagine a more perfect setting for romance.
Candlelit beach-side dinners under the stars, the award-winning Talise Spa – set in a water villa so that, as you receive a massage, you're staring down at tropical fish as they swim through the beautiful coral – sunset champagne cruises aboard a traditional Maldivian Dhoni and private in-villa yoga classes – this resort has it all, and then some.
"Luxury is attention to detail," explains marketing communications manager Ramesha Samarasinghe, who reveals that footballers and Bollywood stars have all paid a visit in the two years since it opened its doors to holidaymakers. "Our visitors have come so far to be with us, and there's just miles and miles of blue skies and sea. We want to deliver a real 'wow' experience."
There are just 38 suites on the island, which is a 55 minute-long domestic flight and a speedboat ride away from the capital Malé. Each one comes with personal 24-hour butler service, Apple Media Centre, complimentary wifi, a private swimming pool and a marble bath.
The suites are so luxurious and so secluded that we can almost guarantee you'll feel like the only guests on the island – and nothing is too much trouble for the staff, who almost encourage you to order meals that don't appear on the menus. By the way - make sure you try mashuni for breakfast. It's a traditional Maldivian dish made of smoked tuna and coconut.
Don't fancy an extra flight once you've made the long-haul trip to the Maldives? Jumeirah have another property, the Vittaveli, a serene island resort located in the South Malé Atoll, a mere 20 minute speedboat ride away from the airport. It's a little bigger than the Dhevanafushi, with 91 spaciously-appointed suites and villas which come with bikes, so you can explore the stunning white-sand beaches, three restaurants and spa facilities at your own pace.
It's romantic and caters for couples. In fact, the over-water Lagoon Suites offer some of the most luxurious couples' accommodation in the Maldives. But this is also the place to come if you're jetting in for a family break. There's daily manta ray feeding, a kids club, a dedicated family pool – there's a separate couples' pool nearby – and babysitting facilities, and plenty to keep the little ones entertained. Like the Dhevanafushi, there's also a 5 star PADI certified dive centre, and use of snorkelling equipment is complimentary. There are even two ship-wrecks to explore beneath the ocean...
The food at the Vittaveli is wonderful, with top chefs employed from across the world to whip up anything from Indian, Arabic, Vietnamese, Chinese or British food to traditional Maldivian cuisine.
Catch a spectacular sunset from the BAR-EE bar while sipping on one of the resort's trademark martini cocktails, enjoy a sumptuous in-villa champagne breakfast, or, for couples, make the most of dining in the pool. (Yes, they'll even set up a table in a shallow section of the pool for you to eat your dinner amongst the underwater twinkling lights.) Luxury doesn't get much better than this. It's no wonder the A list keep coming back for more.
For more information or to book a dream holiday to the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi or the Jumeirah Vittaveli click here.