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Spoilt for choice

Mad for the Maldives

Thinking of heading to the Maldives and just can’t decide which resort is right for you? Let Tom Chesshyre help you decide.

With glorious beaches, superb diving and all-year sunshine, this nation of 1,000 coral islands and 26 ring-shaped atolls in the Indian Ocean is a rare beauty. There are so many amazing and varied resorts to choose from all with their own unique features.

Kuredu Resort & Spa This tropical island resort is a hideaway near the capital, a short transfer by seaplane. Take your pick from honeymoon suites, water villas and beach bungalows at this pleasant, quiet getaway. And there are five restaurants from which to choose.

Kurumba This is a lovely little island resort near the capital. It's particularly good for energetic guests, offering tennis courts, a gym, snorkelling and a dive centre. The restaurants serve Japanese, Thai, Italian and Middle Eastern dishes.

Reethi Faru Resort On Raa Atoll, this is an ideal destination for families and foodies. You can pick up Maldivian cooking tips at the open-air grill. The resort opened last November and comprises a series of smart villas, a spa, a games room and a watersports centre.

Reethi Beach Resort Activities galore await at this resort on Baa Atoll. It has a PADI-registered dive centre, watersports centre, floodlit tennis courts, squash courts, badminton courts and a gym. So it suits the sporty. You stay in secluded villas. Supermodel Cara Delevingne spent a week on the island in 2016 with dozens of her friends and family.

Thatched overwater villas at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu Resort A romantic highlight at this hotel on Baa Atoll is the option of a candlelit Maldivian meal in the resort's kitchen-garden. Spicy dishes are served amid basil and rosemary plants. Afterwards, enjoy a cocktail on the beach before retiring to your thatched villa.

Makunudu Island Resort Located on North Male Atoll, this destination offers night fishing with the locals and your catch will be cooked to perfection in the hotel kitchens. A full range of watersports such as surfing and sailing is available too. This little resort has 36 extremely comfortable thatched bungalows.

Kandima Resort You can dance the night away at the Beach Club bar and enjoy late-night cocktails in cabanas while listening to DJs spinning 'party tunes' at this hip new resort on Dhaalu Atoll. It has 266 colourful studios and villas. And lively as it is, it suits families as well.

You & Me by Cocoon Underwater dining is a fabulous attraction at this new adults-only island resort on Raa Atoll. Watch the fish glide by as you eat. Drink champagne at the Veuve Clicquot bar and try a treatment at the Elizabeth Arden spa. Rooms have a 'rustic chic' look.

Shangri-La Villingili is perfect for a family escape

Shangri-La Villingili There's only?one complete golf course, a nine-holer, in the Maldives and it's to be found at this resort on Addu Atoll in the far south. Enjoy golf by the equator. Accommodation is in swish villas and there's also a great spa. Supermodel Elle Macpherson spent a week at the hotel in 2016 with her two sons.

Faarfuushi Maldives This is a brand new resort on Raa Atoll that's already a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World Group. Infinity pools lead to 'relaxation pavilions' and a spa with a hydro pool.

Dine among the tropical fish at the Anantara Kihavah resort

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas The sky's the limit at this resort on Baa Atoll - it's possible to see the stars of both the northern and southern hemispheres - as well as the rings of Saturn - from the hotel's observatory. The resort's plush villas come with plunge pools.

One&Only Reethi Rah Wild turtles lay eggs on the beaches at this resort, and their nests are carefully protected by marine biologists. Tennis, snorkelling and wakeboarding are all available. The resort, with elegantly-furnished villas, is popular among celebrities including the Beckhams and Tom Cruise.

O&O Reethi Rah offers guests a true sense of elegant seclusion

Velaa Private Island In the north of the Maldives on Noonu Atoll, this is one of the most exclusive resorts. Villas have mahogany panel walls, teak furniture, private pools in secluded gardens and dedicated butlers.

Cheval Blanc Randheli Each of the 46 villas at this resort, also on Noonu Atoll, have a 12.5-metre infinity pool. Private butlers, a spa and a tennis island are also features. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent a week here in 2014.

A guided island-hopping holiday is also possible, with deep-sea fishing and meals at local homes. With a maximum group size of 16, the itinerary covers five islands in Male Atoll, staying in simple hotels and catching ferries. A tour of Male is included.

Tom Chesshyre is the author of Gatecrashing Paradise: Misadventures In The Real Maldives (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, £10.99).  

First published in the Daily Mail - September 2019

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