Traveling through the high-end resorts of the Maldives, it only takes a few days to realize that luxury is not the same as luxury. ‘Open-to-the-stars’ bathrooms, private plunge pools and steps descending into the lagoon: arriving on the first island it may trigger storms of enthusiasm. Checking-in at the third resort, however, it is clear that it not part of a special offer. On the approximately 150 hotel islands of the Maldives, such features form part of what is typically offered.
Those who want to stand out from the crowd have to resort to more unusual methods. For example, at Villingili where they move their clocks forward an hour to offer more daylight. Or the Velaa Private Island, which is not simply a getaway, but a hideaway or a castaway even. It can be booked in a special package deal: for a fee of no more than 16,000 euros, well-to-do tourists or celebrities who want to escape the paparazzi’s cameras, can book the entire island.
If you like it less remote but equally luxurious, in Amilla Fushi there’s a “dive butler”, at Baros Maldives I was given a special mobile phone to call the “sandbank butler”. And at Six Senses Laamu there is a “guest experience maker” for anyone who is too lazy to consult a travel guide themselves. But what if that’s still not enough? How about a trip to the Four Seasons, where there’s a “Manta-on-Call” alert for when the rays appear, before you get whisked off to see them on a speedboat – or to JA Manafaru where you can even hit golf balls (made of fish food) into the sea. And for anyone who enjoys the sea, but doesn’t want to get too close, there’s the St. Regis Vommuli Resort, which has a bar shaped like a whale, a library like a conch shell and a spa like a lobster. More unusual entertainment can be found at Jumeirah Vittaveli, which is pioneering an ice rink. A winter wonderland in the warmth of the tropics? On the Maldives even that is possible.
Last but not last, the Maldives are also the perfect setting for proposing. In the underwater restaurant M6m (Minus Six Meters) a diver once swam down to a couple’s window with Atmosphere’s very own mermaid to unveil at a banner with “Will You Marry Me?’. Truly, madly, deeply indeed!