Friday, 5 July 2013

Valentine’s in the Maldives: Asia’s Isles of Amour

Sprinkled in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives have long been known for their air of romance and mystery. As Valentine’s Day approaches, the crystal clear waters and Ivory beaches of the world’s most romantic getaway will once again murmur with the orations of amour as newly-weds seek out the far-flung atolls of Asia’s smallest nation for a taste of true romance. Explore the best romantic rendezvous this unforgettable archipelago has to offer.
Valentine’s in the Maldives: Asia’s Isles of Amour
Image Source: hoteltravel

In fact, romance makes up a large part of the holiday business in the Maldives, where the majority of visitors are on their honeymoons, renewing their vows or just enjoying an indulgent break with their loved ones. Romance is catered for in almost every corner of the archipelago – although the more budget the resort, the more families and large noisy charter groups you’ll get and the less intimacy you’ll find. If it’s peace, quiet, candlelit dinners and serenading musicians you’re looking for, then you’ll need to go a bit more up market.

However, romance doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be constantly forking out fat wads of cash. For example, it’s difficult to think of anywhere more romantically inclined than little Makunudu Island where TV and loud music have yet to arrive. Here you’ll find simple traditional houses dotting the idyllic beaches and tropical vegetation thick with trees planted by past generations of honeymooners. That said, there is no doubt the maxim ‘you get what you pay for’ generally rings true in the Maldives, as the best romantic getaways certainly do not scrimp on luxuries.

While it’s not possible yet to marry in the Maldives that may well change in the not too distant future. However, this hasn’t stopped couples from holding non-legally binding services with all the trimmings – even if it means completing the legal formalities later. Nearly all mid-range and top-end resorts can organise wedding ceremonies – it’s just a question of seeking out the best special package to suit you.

Of course, beaches are always an important part of any romantic getaway, and apart from your exquisite resort, it’s probably one of the most likely places you’ll be: soaking up the sun, cooling off in the azure waters of the Indian Ocean and swooning over those perfect Maldivian sunsets.

Choosing the best Maldives beaches though, can be problematic. The simple truth is that almost all of them are utterly stunning: soft white sand lapped by crystal clear water and fringed by tall willowy palms – what more could you ask for? However, for the record, here are some that will certainly not disappoint:   

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, Baa Atoll – This honeymoon favourite has a classic long, wide beach, fringed with the thick tropical foliage of the island. 

Kanuhura, Lhaviyani Atoll – This spell-binding beach is one of the longest and widest in the Maldives and looks out on to a dazzling bue lagoon. If you’re looking for abolute solitude, you can take a boat to Jehunuhura Island next door, which is almost as breathtaking. 

Palm Beach Resort, Lhaviyani Atoll – Beaches in paradise don’t get much better than this. It runs almost the entire way around  Palm Beach Resort, unusual for islands of this size. There’s also a seasonal sandbar and plenty of lovely overhanging palms. 

Meeru Island Resort, North Male’ Atoll – The best beach is on the island’s lagoon side, which is so large it never feels crowded. There are also many other great beaches on Meeru to discover.

Cocoa Island, South Male’ Atoll – A beautiful strip of sand and a long sandbank at the end of Cocoa Island are just two of the beach’s great attractions. What’s more, it’s rarely crowded so you might even find you have the beach all to yourself. 

Paradise Island, North Male’ Atoll – This popular resort certainly lives up to its name. On the lagoon side is a gleaming bar of white sand, lapped by a turquoise sea. 

One & Only Reethi Rah, North Male’ Atoll – Despite being mostly manmade, the dazzling natural-looking beaches are created in perfect crescent shapes. You could spend a week here and enjoy a different beach each day. 

Angsana Ihuru, North Male’ Atoll – Ihuru Island has long been famous with professional photographers seeking that idyllic beach shot. Almost perfectly circular with classic ivory sands all the way around, it’s one of the most popular honeymooning spots.

Male’ is the tiny Maldivian capital , a densely crowded and extraordinary place, throbbing with life. Although it may not be on your romantic itinerary, it’s well worth a visit, simply to see its stark contrast to the more laid-back pace of island living elsewhere. It’s pleasant and pleasingly quirky with tall brightly coloured buildings – a lively mercantile hub – and one of the only places in the country where there’s not a palm tree or sandy beach in sight... Read More

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