Ever heard the rumour that there’s nothing to do in the Maldives but lie on a beach? Well, forget all about that. Of course the views are gorgeous, the sand is soft and the sea is sparkling, but there’s so much to do at the newly-opened Maldives resort, Dhigali, that you’ll need to schedule in time for sun worshipping.
The postcard-pretty retreat, in the Raa Atoll, is the kind of tropical idyll you’d expect, with a pristine coral reef, glistening lagoon and an abundance of lush greenery.
However, unlike many Maldives resorts, where you’d feel out of place if you weren’t a googly-eyed honeymooner, this retreat is inclusive with families and friends also making the most of all it has to offer.
For starters, the Indian Ocean. Water sports include water skiing, windsurfing, snorkelling, wakeboarding, paddle boarding and sailing lessons, while anyone over the age of 10 can complete a PADI diving course with the designated dive school, alongside everything from lion fish and manta rays to whale sharks and turtles. There’s also sunset boat cruises, fishing and dolphin spotting.
Perhaps the most memorable activity involves sailing to a deserted island. The hotel transforms the remote setting into your own private island for the day, complete with a fresh ceviche lunch, sun loungers and parasols, and snorkelling equipment.
The setting is a holiday brochure on steroids: you’ve never seen water this turquoise, sands this white, skies this blue. The only downside is that it may ruin beaches for you forever.
Back at the resort, once you’ve relaxed on the resort’s private sandbank, enjoyed a pampering session in the spa and tried a night snorkelling session, you’ll need to eat: luckily, there are five restaurants and two bars to choose from.
With kids, try the buffet at main restaurant Capers, enjoy upscale sandwiches and snacks at Deli, or build your own pasta, pizza or salad at Jade.
For a more romantic meal, atmospheric Battuta has a menu influenced by Asian cuisine, or head to the tranquil setting of Faru, where you can enjoy fresh fish in the company of gently swaying palm trees and the lapping of the sea. There’s also the gorgeous Haali Bar, fashioned out of what looks like a bird’s nest, for a drink while the sun sets, toes in the sand.
Meanwhile there are eight room categories, from beach bungalows just a few steps from the sea, to the enormous Dhigali Suite, sleeping six with butler, bar and beachfront infinity pool.
All rooms have gigantic, cosy king-size beds, rainfall showers and simple, minimalist interiors, and are seconds from the sea.
My own beach villa had its own pool and open air bathroom, plus two sun loungers so close to the waves that I could practically dip my toes in.
Because once you’ve water skiied, swum with whale sharks, dived and discovered a desert island, you really do deserve a quick snooze on your private sun lounger.