Not all atolls are created equal
Say “Maldives holiday” to someone and they’ll probably think of a row of rooms on stilts above a crystal clear lagoon. They won’t necessarily know there are over 1,000 islands in 26 ring-shaped atolls spread over 115 square miles.
Just two of the islands have airports that can take international flights. Onward travel to the various resorts is by boat to those nearby or seaplane to those further away. Tourism began in the early 1970s and numbers of resorts grew relatively quickly to over 100 now. While there is a degree of similarity between them, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions to help decide which one might suit you.
Do you want to sleep on land or over the sea?
Many properties, such as Ozen by Atmosphere, offer both options with over-water villas offering direct access to the ocean, while their Earth villas offer access to the beach and have two-bedroom family options.
Are you a spa and gym person? Or is tennis your thing?
Watersports are the big thing on the Maldives, and most properties offer diving and snorkelling. However, if the ocean isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep active away from home. While LUX at South Ari Atoll is a bigger property with 193 rooms, this does mean that the gym has an instructor and runs classes, and the spa has 15 treatment rooms, some of which are over water.
On the same atoll is Lily Beach which has a tennis court for those wanting to enjoy a game on holiday.
Do you want a house reef or happy to hop on a boat to dive sites?
A house reef, like the one at COMO Maalifushi, gives snorkellers the chance to head out without waiting for a group or taking a boat.
Boat trips are also arranged for divers and snorkellers looking to head further afield.
Or are you into a watersports niche – surfing, kite-surfing and hoverboarding?
Niyama offers surfers and kite surfers the chance to enjoy their sports, while LUX South Ari Atoll likes to think it offers the widest range of watersports available in the Maldives including hoverboards, kitesurfing and a glass bottomed boat.
If you’re a family, do you want a kids’ club?
Children from four years old can enjoy the kids’ club at Constance Halaveli free of charge and like other properties they will take children even younger than this but will charge for the service. Most properties with a kids’ club will look after children up to 12 years old like Niyama.
If you’re on honeymoon, do you want adults only?
While Constance Moofushi isn’t adult only, the absence of a kids’ club makes it less likely that there will be children around outside of school holidays. Other properties, such as Lily Beach, have adults only restaurants designated as a ‘quiet zone’ or adults only pools
Do you like the certainty of all-inclusive?
Maldivian hotels, such as The Residence, offer a variety of all-inclusive packages, allowing virtual certainty of what you will spend. A standard all-inclusive covers meals, with some as set menus or buffets, lots of soft drinks and limited alcoholic drinks, while a premium all-inclusive offers more meal and drink choices and a limited number of excursions.
Have a think about your answers to the above questions and let us know. We can then suggest properties and atolls likely to be most suited to your wishes.