Small pushcart vendors, hole-in-the-wall operators, and little local shacks - even in the cities full of Michelin-starred eateries, these tiny street vendors are pumping out some of the finest meals out.
A firm favourite for couples and honeymooners, the idyllic islands of the Maldives are home to some of the world’s most beautiful accommodation. From the spacious and secluded to the one-of-a-kind, these are five of the best overwater villas in the Maldives.
Gili Lankanfushi sits some 20-minute’s boat ride from the Maldivian capital, Male, on Lankanfushi island. Unlike other resorts in the Maldives that cater for people wishing to stay on the mainland, this resort is made up entirely of villas and residences perched over the Indian Ocean. The resort boasts 45 rustic-chic overwater bungalows ranging in size and grandeur, from the double-level villa suites to the palatial, 4-bedroom private reserve - complete with a private boat, cinema, sauna, and water slide. No matter which size villa you find yourself in, the quintessential Maldivian experience of direct ocean access and unparalleled lagoon views is a promise.
Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa
With no less than 132 different villas, three restaurants, and one nine-hole golf course, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa is a sprawling private paradise. There’s no better way to while your days on Villingili Island away than watching the marine life swim by and catching some rays from one of the resort’s overwater villas. Shaping your experience on the lagoon is made simple at the Shangri-La, with just two premium overwater options available - the Sunset villas, or the multi-winged, multi-level Grand Villa Muthee. The latter comes with the added bonus of a private pool, private butler, massage room, and cinema.
The Conrad name is synonymous with understated elegance, and the brand’s resort in the Maldives is a prime example. Expertly blending marble, leather, and wooden finishes, the resort’s light and bright overwater bungalows appear to have been lifted straight out of a luxury design magazine. While luxury overwater stays are easy to come by in the Maldives, an underwater stay is something that only The Conrad Maldives can boast. Book into the design-focused, two-level Muraka residence on the edge of the lagoon and marvel at the 180-degree reef view from the underwater master bedroom. Guests staying in other categories of overwater villas can still enjoy an underwater experience with a dinner at the resort’s aquarium-like undersea restaurant, Ithaa.
Space is considered a luxury wherever you go, and Soneva Jani has plenty of it on offer. Their one, two, and three-bedroom coastal style ‘water retreats’ are some of the most spacious overwater bungalows in the Maldives. All featuring a sizeable private pool, retractable roof in the master bedroom, an outdoor bathroom, and an in-room wine fridge, Soneva Jani’s villas spare no detail. A portion of the villas come with a water slide too, making the resort one of the most family-friendly on all the atolls too.
Blending succinct Japanese design with traditional Maldivian style, the COMO Maalifushi resort is the ultimate in restrained luxury. The resort on Thaa Atoll (known for its surf breaks and diverse marine life) is home to three restaurants, the brand’s famed COMO Shambhala wellness centre, and 33 overwater villas and suites - all furnished to bring the essence of the surrounding sand, sea, and sky indoors. Guests have the option of four overwater suite and villa categories, all promising their own private pool and direct access to the turquoise lagoon.