FIVE questions
you should
ask ...
Speak to one of our travel
within 5 rings

Which of these is important to you?

  • Concierge style service. Your own dedicated travel manager who'll look after you until you travel.
  • Better value. Exclusive fares you won't find online to save you money.
  • 24 hour helpline. A worldwide team just a phone call away if you need help while you're overseas.
  • Top on Trustpilot. More highly rated than all our competitors with 98% saying they'd book again.
  • Risk free. Fully licensed with Client Trust Account to protect your money. ABTA, ATOL protected.

Your calls always answered within 5 rings.

You've read the reviews so why not call us NOW?
Tell us what you need. We'll find you a solution
The Maldives Reviews 509
The Maldives Resort Map
The Maldives Offers 33
The Maldives Hotels 128
The Maldives Villas 8
Floating playground

Hooked! On the fabulous sealife of the Maldives

From the moment he touched down in a floatplane, Max Hastings found these islands were a playground of underwater wonders

We drifted with the current. Beneath us bannerfish, butterflyfish, snappers, spangled emperors and unicornfish flitted about. Turtles and manta rays were miraculously unafraid.

We glimpsed the occasional reef shark; a brilliantly-maned lionfish. Who could resist another little passer-by named the seal-faced puffer? My wife Penny and I are passionate snorkellers, and the Maldives are among the great playgrounds for our kind.

Floating above an abundance of colourful flitting fish

Every hotel amid the thousand islands scattered across the Indian Ocean south-west of Sri Lanka offers boats for watersports and fish-watching.

Through the glass floor of our villa set on stilts above the sea at the Lux resort on South Ari Atoll, we watched the octopus that lived in a heap of rocks ten feet below. Remind me not to be reincarnated as an octopus: you spend half your life waiting for lunch to swim within tentacle-reach; the other half hiding, to avoid becoming somebody else's entree.

Guests reach the Lux resort via a half-hour flight, itself a pleasing little adventure, on one of the fleet of floatplanes that services the islands.

South Ari is less than a mile-and-a-half long, and one of its joys is the absence of motor vehicles: everybody walks, rides an electric buggy, or bikes. As the place is dead flat, even pedallers of our age are unlikely to suffer coronaries, and we went everywhere on two wheels.

The four restaurants serve every kind of Western and Asian food. We rotated between them, especially savouring the Italian place's pasta arrabbiata.

The Lux's 400-odd guests are a three-way spread of British, European and Asian. Each evening we walked the length of the island's pristine beach, watching tables set for the honeymooners who opted for candlelit dinners on the sand.

We fell in love with Goni, the warm, tough, laconic boatman who took us out to the reefs. I had special reason to appreciate him, because I would never have made it back into the pitching speedboat without being heaved onboard by his brute strength.

Uninhabited escape
On our most spectacular day, we peeled away from our usual group to take a private 20-mile trip to an uninhabited atoll.

On the passage we trailed long fishing lines, and I took up a rod to bring in a 20lb wahoo. Then for an hour we snorkelled blissfully, without another soul or boat in sight. Once ashore, Goni and his boys barbecued the wahoo and a couple of snappers. Penny and I lay idling, revelling in the dazzling white sand and azure sea.

Lunch was a gastronomic triumph, though if I am honest, the heavily-spiced snapper tasted better than my own catch. In the afternoon we snorkelled again, then Goni bounced us home across the sea at 40 knots.

Penny and I agreed that the remoteness, amid so much beauty, placed that day among the best of any holiday we remember.

Eco-transport is the essence of South Ari Atoll and cycles are freely available to use

Paradise must be preserved
As wonderful as it is, or simply because of its beauty, there is reason to be anxious about this paradise. On our barbecue atoll, it was of great concern to see it hasn't escaped the global plague of plastic waste, with many plastic bottles beached above the tideline.

And much of the coral in the Maldives is in a bad way - a stark reminder of what we have allowed to happen to the planet on our watch. It again highlights that unless concerted and decisive, committed action is taken, our grandchildren are unlikely to experience a fraction of the natural wonders we have seen, either at sea or ashore.

The damage to the reefs will of course also affect the fish populations - sealife won't thrive if the reefs continue to become sterile.

On a couple of our boat outings, in search of the hugely popular, brilliantly spotted whale sharks, we decided to leave the area because we thought rather too many snorkellers and divers were entering the sea each time a whale shark briefly appeared and we didn't want to add to the number.

Penny Hastings adored the infinity pool and found it difficult to leave at the end of their holiday

We adored our Maldives fortnight, and would recommend the Lux to anybody active enough to swim, bike, eat and drink: Penny had to be dragged away from the infinity pool overlooking the ocean outside our villa.

Those who love such things should head for the reefs quick… while some remain. And we should redouble efforts to make sure future generations can also enjoy such wonders.

First published in the Daily Mail - March 2019

More articles below...

For more inspiration, read what travel writers have to say...

Honeymoon resorts

Our favourite romantic retreats

Honeymoon heaven?

Imogen Edwards-Jones thought the Maldives were just for romantic couples...

Family fun in the Maldives

Presenter Jamie Theakston and his young sons fall in love with the Four Seasons

Barefoot paradise

Laura Hamilton finds herself living a life of luxury - and shoes are not needed

Epic luxury on the beach

Tammy Hughes finds that pampering in the Maldives is of blockbuster proportions

Falling upside down in love with the Maldives

Honeymooning TV presenter Amanda Byram samples aerial yoga in paradise

Maldives joyzone

These lovely islands are a hit with Ronan Keating and his family

Saluting the sun in paradise

Is Tristan Davies on a blissful yoga break?

The tiny island that's huge on fun

Sally Chaplin's all-action family discover paradise in Kandima

Maldives rediscovered

Louise Atkinson finds romance in the air in these idyllic islands

Mad for the Maldives

Tom Chesshyre decides which resort is right for you

A love for nature

Christa D'Souza discovered an eco-resort setting a whole new standard

Not quite what you're looking for?
We can easily customise an offer to suit your exact requirements