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The Maldives

Dotted through the azure Indian Ocean, just south of Sri Lanka, the Maldives' 1192 islands lure more than 650 000 visitors to their sandy shores each year all yearning for utopia and knowing they'll find it here. The natural beauty of the Maldives is overwhelming: palm-fringed coral atolls, warm lagoon waters in every shade of green and blue, white powder-soft sand beaches, intense orange and crimson sunsets. It is the place to holiday if sumptuous food, decadent lodgings and stunning surrounds fit your idea of paradise.

Some of the world's best hotels are located throughout the Maldives, offering several forms of accommodation including over-water bungalows, tree-house villas, beach villas, spacious hotel rooms and suites. Timber walkways connect private resort beaches to over-water bungalows complete with secluded open-air showers, over-water hammocks and glass floors to observe the underwater world below. Tree-house villas, many with elevated pools, provide uninterrupted views of the beach. Private beach villas dotted amongst palm trees, assure views of sparkling lagoons from sundecks and sunken freshwater splash pools. Hotel suites boast chic interiors, luxurious facilities and renowned service.

Guests can expect to breakfast by lagoons, lunch beside plunge pools, sip cocktails by infinity pools at sunset, and dine on the freshest seafood in award-winning restaurants or on private pavilions.

If doing absolutely nothing (the ultimate luxury!) becomes fatiguing, guests can pick up the pace by taking advantage of the multitude of resort activities available including snorkelling, diving and other water-sports adventures, discovery tours, indulgent holistic and traditional spa treatments, new-release cinema shows under star-lit skies, and cooking classes to master the fusions of Maldivian cuisine.

The Maldives are warm all year with average minimum/maximum temperatures of 21-28 degrees Celsius. The Northwest monsoon, from November to April, is mostly dry and calm, and is the best time to visit. The southwest monsoon, from May to October, is mildly wet and windy, and is an excellent time for surfing.

Click here for our suggestions on events and places to go at various times of year