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A honeymoon in paradise: The Maldives

Y&YW's Rosie Price-Smith takes an idyllic trip to the Indian Ocean

The Maldives: honeymoon heaven

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Honeymoon heaven…

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The Maldives is one of the world’s most popular destinations for couples on their honeymoon and the moment I touched down I could see why. With palmed-fringed beaches, turquoise waters and treatment similar to royalty, it’s definitely worth saving up for a honeymoon here.

Officially known as the Republic of Maldives, this island country is formed by a double chain of 26 atolls spread over 90,000 square kilometres, making it one of the most disparate countries in the world.

Best of all, British Airways now offers a direct flight from London Gatwick to Male, so you can reach paradise in under 10 hours.

Luxury Beach House

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The luxury Beach House

The first stop on my Indian Ocean adventure was The Beach House, which is part of The Waldorf Astoria Collection and located in the most northern atoll of the Maldives. Amongst the island’s vegetation, you can stay in one of the generously-sized Maldivian Beach Villas and be spoilt with a pathway leading straight to the sea where you and your new husband can relax undisturbed.

Perfect honeymoon isolation

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Not only that, but the private outdoor plunge pool, secluded cabana on the beach with views of the scenic lagoon and personal butler means you get the perfect honeymoon isolation.

Spa treatments and activities for you and him

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Activities for you:

From classic spa treatments to unique Maldivian rituals, take advantage of the nature-themed spa in the centre of the island for the ultimate pampering break. The spa therapists use locally-sourced ingredients including tropical flowers, fresh cucumber, orange, coconut and home-grown herbs for their refreshing treatments.

Plus, you can take part in specialised yoga and meditation sessions, the perfect wind down after the whirlwind of your wedding.

Activities for him:

Does your man enjoy a spot of golf? If so, the 18-hole simulator at the Gentleman’s Retreat ought to keep him occupied while you’re in the spa. And if he’s really missing his home comforts, the retreat also has 32” TV, relaxing chairs and games consoles – the perfect place for him to unwind with his boys’ toys.

Discover the incredible underwater world

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Activities for you both:

Or if you prefer a couple’s experience, then how about discovering the incredible underwater world which is one of the major attractions of the Maldives. The Beach House has a 5-star PADI dive team with areas of the lagoon perfect for daytime dives and night-time adventures – you’ll see sleeping turtles, famous long nose hawk fish, lobsters and manta rays. And if you want to learn to dive, you can complete an open water dive course within a one week stay!

If its culture you’re after, take a boat to one of the many inhabited islands in the Atoll and try Maldivian-style fishing to experience their organic way of life.

Relax by the pool and the bar

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Dining:

The perfect day-time treat is the relaxing Infiniti bar where you can chill out by the Infinity pool (pictured), take a swim with beautiful views of the turquoise ocean and take advantage of complimentary spa treatments and pampering afterwards.

At night, enjoy sorbet in the Maldivian jungle bar, Sangria by the sea in Salt Water and an extensive wine selection from around the world in The Cellar.

The food at the Beach House is a tasty mix of local and global dishes that guarantee to leave your taste buds tingling! The unlimited private dining is a romantic detail not to be missed as well as the fantastic new Art Gallery by local artists that serves refreshing Maldivian tea.

Intimate dinner on a private island

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Resort romance…

A great detail at the Beach House is the two additional private islands where you can take your loved one for an intimate dinner – undisturbed apart from the chef and your host. If you’re not already married, this is the perfect proposal spot; if you’re newlyweds, reminisce about your wedding day to the sound of the lapping ocean and picturesque surroundings.

Beautiful Conrad Rangali Island

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The next and final stop

…on my trip to the Maldives was the Conrad Rangali Island, part of the Hilton Hotel family and reached by a 30-minute seaplane flight from the capital, Male. This beautiful resort is spread over two islands, linked by a 500-metre walkway and surrounded by a deep blue lagoon and dramatic coral reef.

Over water villas with ocean view

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Living on the water edge…

You can choose from the Beach Villas and Water Villas on each of the paradise islands where the indoor-outdoor living space clearly reflects the Maldivian way of life.

There is an absolute luxury to staying in one of the over-water villas; ocean-view baths, relaxing sun decks above your own lagoon, a private ocean pool and a circular rotating bed (in the gorgeous Sunset Water Villa) to take full advantage of the breath-taking views around your living space.

Underwater dinner

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Underwater dinner

The Conrad resort has seven restaurants and three bars that all offer something different. The most inspiring restaurant is Ithaa, the world’s first all-glass underwater restaurant where you can watch the exciting underwater life – including Manta Rays – while enjoying the delicious fish-based menu.

Dinner & drinks by the ocean

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Spoilt for food choice…

Other dining includes the al fresco Japanese delights of Koko Grill, over-water dinner at Sunset Grill as well as 80 types of martini cocktail at Vilu Bar, the Wine Bar with 100 types of cheese (a perfect after-dinner extravagance) and Rangali Bar, the perfect chill-out area for a pre-dinner cocktail.

Ultimate Spa Luxury

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Spa spectacular!

The spa in this resort is one not to be missed! Not only is it the only resort in the Maldives to have two separate spas, but they also each have their own product range.

If you stay in one of the over-water villas on the Spa Retreat island then not only will you be spoilt by your own treatment room looking out over the open ocean, but a self-contained over-water resort offering treatments, a personal trainer, nutritionist, restaurant, and hairdressers is just a stone’s throw away – a complete pampering palace.

On the resort’s other island, there is also an amazing over-water spa with glass-floored treatment rooms where you can look down on the coral beneath you as you have a full body massage – ultimate luxury!

Perfect for familymoon too

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For the family…

Plus, if you’re having a familymoon, the friendly ice-cream spa is a perfect little treat for children – they can choose from manicures, pedicures, mini-massage and face paints with gorgeous ice-cream-flavoured products.

Plenty of activities to do

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Activities…

For the bride there are some great chill-out sessions including yoga at sunrise, Pilates and meditation, and some more energy-busting activities such as aerobics and power-walking on the beach.

For your groom there’s a big-game fishing trip and a games room complete with consoles, pool tables and relaxation chairs.

And if you want to extend the couples experience on your honeymoon, you can enjoy a long list of water sports as well as adventure-driven activities like snorkeling safaris, dolphin trips, private yacht excursions, and glass-bottomed boat trips.

Divers’ Paradise

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Dip and dive…

This is an ideal place to holiday if you’ve a passion for diving. Just moments from the island is South Ari Atoll which is renowned for its aquatic life and just a 10-minute journey on the resort’s luxury boat takes you to the Maldives’ premier dive spot, Manta Point.

Warm all year round

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Sunny side up

The average year-round temperature for the Maldives is around 30ºC and if you plan on soaking up the sun, the best weather is said to be November to March when the rainy season has subsided. Although the weather tends to be great all year round!

Beach House Maldives

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Fact box: Beach House Maldives, The Waldorf Astoria Collection www.beachhousemaldives.com

Elegant Resorts offers 7 nights from £2,280 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing a Water Villa on a bed and breakfast basis, economy flights from London Heathrow with Emirates including plane transfers, based on 15 May 2010 departure.

Honeymoon couples receive a complementary fruit basket and bottle of champagne upon arrival; one half day excursion; one couple’s spa treatment and one romantic three-course candle-lit dinner at Saffron.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

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Fact box: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Thomas Cook Signature offers 7-nights in a Beach Villa on a bed and breakfast basis from £2499 per person, saving £582 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes economy flights from London Heathrow and seaplane transfers to and from the resort based on a departure date of 01 June – 30 June 2010.

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Honeymoon couples receive a complementary fruit basket and bottle of champagne upon arrival; one half day excursion; one romantic bath experience and a three-course candle-lit dinner at Mandhoo Spa Restaurant.