The Maldives are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts) are a firm favourite for Maldives Luxury Holidays. They lie south-southwest of India and are considered part of Southern Asia.
Maldives was for the most part unknown to tourists until the early 1970s. Just 185 of the islands are home to its 300,000 inhabitants. The other islands are used entirely for economic functions, of that tourism and agriculture are the foremost dominant. Tourism accounts for 28% of the GDP. Over 90% of the state government income comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes.
Most resorts take up their own island (1500x1500m to 250x250m), meaning that the ratio of beach to guests must be one of the best in the world and it is hard to imagine that you would ever have to struggle to find your own private piece of beach to relax on. Many have a “no shoes” policy and with such soft sands it is easy to love this idea.
The range and themes or the resorts is impressive, and most people will find one they like. Broadly speaking, however, they can be grouped into three brackets:
- Dive resorts, designed primarily for divers. Geared expressly for people who want to spend most of their time underwater, facilities on land are limited, but the house reef is usually excellent. Often found in the more far-flung parts of the archipelago.
- Holiday resorts, designed primarily for families. These are large and have a full complement of facilities (multiple restaurants, day-care centers, etc), but don’t have over-the-top luxury and have less privacy. Most of these are located on Kaafu, with easy access from Male.
- Luxury resorts, designed primarily for guests seeking romance, quality services in an idyllic location. The place to be if you want designer furniture, gourmet food and a plasma TV in an overwater villa reachable only by rowboat, and are willing to pay top dollar for the privileges.
A Maldivian classic is the overwater bungalow, built on stilts directly above a lagoon. While these look fabulous and sound appealing, they have their downsides:
- They’re usually packed tightly together (often sharing a wall), meaning little privacy.
- Especially at low tide, the water level may be too low to allow swimming or snorkeling.
- Resort facilities may be a fair distance from the bungalows.
- The lapping of waves is romantic enough on a calm day, but can make it next to impossible to sleep if a storm blows through.
These factors vary from resort to resort, so research carefully. A good one is definitely worth trying at least once, but many Maldives repeaters prefer a bungalow with a private beach.
When considering where to go, factor in transport time and costs from the airport: the more far-flung resorts generally require an expensive seaplane transfer and you may have to stay overnight at the airport on the way. On the upside, the further away you are from Male, the more peaceful the islands and the better the diving.
The Maldives are tropical, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30°C throughout the year. However, rainfall increases considerably during the April-October southwest monsoon, particularly from June to August.