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Holiday Type / Indian Ocean holidays

Where romance and rugrats live in surprising harmony

Splashing around in expanses of glittery bath-warm water and being surrounded by A-grade sandcastle mortar. That sounds like childhood holiday ideals – that sounds like the Indian Ocean.

The squeal of cheerful children may come as a bit of a surprise in the Maldives, a destination often doused in privacy-seeking couples. But the truth is, the cover has been blown and it turns out little travellers in training are just as transfixed by its tropical beauty. Incredible kids’ clubs are a given but it’s experiences that can be enjoyed by little (and big) kids together that are the real draw here – whether an exhilarating submarine journey to the depths or escaping to spacious villas complete with water slides for some together time.

Meanwhile, a little further south, while the lapping shallows at the beach’s edge are great for a leisurely paddle, there’s a daring side to Mauritius. Its fondness for exhilarating water sports further out to sea; spicy national cuisine that fuse a kaleidoscope of Creole, Indian, French and African cultures; forest hikes through Black River Gorges National Park; and showing off its wild and raw nature on airborne tours will lure sulky teens off their devices.

Gili Lankanfushi

A ‘No Shoes, No News’ philosophy permeates this iconic property in the Maldives archipelago – considered one of the finest water villa resorts in the world. The epitome of barefoot chic, it comprises just forty five exclusive overwater villas with private water garden, including seven Crusoe Residences and an über-chic Private Reserve which can only be reached by boat. Villa interiors boast an open-air living room and bathroom, with sun decks both on the roof and over the lagoon. Each villa enjoys the services of a dedicated ‘Mr/Ms Friday’ who...

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One&Only Reethi Rah

Classic luxury entwines with modern escapism at arguably the Maldives’ premier address – this is a glamorous island hideout for ritzy-glitzy beach goers. Meaning ‘beautiful island’ in the local Maldivian tongue, One&Only’s flagship has aged like a fine wine since its original opening 15 years ago. A contemporary escape resplendent with no less than a dozen beaches, six restaurants and a one-of-a-kind certified dive centre, its all-singing-all-dancing nature has earned it grande dame status in the Maldives. Here exists an inimitable class of ca...

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Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

Patina Maldives, Fari Islands is a fresh-faced flagship leading a carefully considered life of discreet tranquillity, all the while moonlighting as a vibrant hub of Riviera-esque shenanigans. The stylish bunch and travel-trend-conscious have had the debut hotel of Capella’s new lifestyle brand on their radar for some time. There’s a fine balance between Maldivian peace and the Southern France party scene, a clear respect for nature is synchronised with all the mod cons and bare feet dance alongside high heels. This is somewhere they can connec...

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The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

This architectural masterpiece pays homage to the fragile ecology that surrounds it. Cleverly balancing daring design, while being respectful of tradition and local craftsmanship. A wander around this hedonist’s hideout unearths striking structures around every corner, each telling its own unique story. This is a place where you’ll find villas inspired by the graceful form of manta rays, or the fisherman’s hut that was first discovered on Vommuli. Others are reminiscent of the Maldivian dhoni that sail these waters – either set on the rocky sh...

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Vakkaru Maldives

Far flung but not remote, child-centred but not juvenile, bountiful but not bank breaking; Vakkaru Maldives hits just about every sweet spot you can imagine. The Maldives may need no introduction, but for newcomers wanting to dip their toes into island life, Vakkaru is the perfect prelude. Style doesn’t overcome substance here, the balance between untamed wilderness and manicured grounds is just right; hiding adults-only sophisticated-chic alongside kid-approved activities and restaurants catering to the fussiest of palettes within the fronds....

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Ithaafushi - The Private Island by Waldorf Astoria

Flying over this islet, it looks like any other Maldivian paradise; but from the daily adventures to what happens beneath the villa gables, this is island living on your own terms. At a modest 32,000 square metres, Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi’s little sister takes the title of largest private island in the region. We must say, this isn’t somewhere you venture time and time again, although the urge to do so upon returning will never really leave. Instead, it is reserved for those special, one-of-a-kind moments – the milestones, the celebrations,...

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One&Only Le Saint Géran

With a location that none can match and thoughtful, warm staff who instantly make you feel at home, it’s no wonder this Mauritian icon has garnered its cult-like following. Originally a hedonist hotspot for Hollywood stars of the 70s looking to hide away in the tropics, One&Only Le Saint Géran’s décor and clientele may have changed over the years but its popularity endures. An institution where staff are as loyal as its guests (receptionist Preetham has worked here since the hotel’s opening in 1975 and greets guests like old friends – which ma...

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Constance Prince Maurice

On a sheltered turquoise lagoon on the magnificent north east coast of this tropical island. And there is no disputing that it is deserving of such an accolade, with its authentic thatch, stone and timber buildings perfectly complementing the lush tropical surroundings. The oversized suites and villas are positioned directly on the beach, while select Junior Suites and Villas are perched on stilts overlooking the inland lagoon replete with a colourful collection of fishes. In the ravishing villas, some with their own pool, guests can soak in t...

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LUX* Grand Baie Resort & Residences

Earning the title of LUX*’s new flagship, a fusion of glamour, comfort and soul is helping this trailblazer pave the way for the brand’s (and even Mauritius’) future resorts. A little Maldivian glitz has been sprinkled in the popularly playful village of Grand Baie. By day, the low-key luxe crowd emerge from hiding to slink from their swanky Kelly Hoppen-deigned sanctuaries and their private pools to shaded sun loungers on the area’s most coveted beach. By night, they become social butterflies, being seen sipping on cocktails to panoramic view...

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Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita

A tropical entry from an institution entrenched in luxury; here Four Seasons makes the most of the dense mangroves and lush greenery that line the east Mauritian coast. With villas scattered among the palms and inlets of Mauritius’ lesser-known eastern coast, Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita is a positively private, understated affair from one of the world’s most renowned luxury brands. A village-like resort in the Beau Champ region, this corner of the island is home to an exclusive enclave of manicured golf courses and palatial pools....

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