Cool and contemporary but wonderfully down to earth, this Italian-owned and subtly Asian-inspired retreat is one of our new favourite islands.
It might be a bit clichéd to describe a resort as having something for everyone, however, this Leading Hotel of the World is one of those spots where it can be forgiven. You could take your family here as there are plenty of great sports facilities, free non-motorised watersports, a kids’ club and some wonderfully spacious villas – opt for the Family Beach Villa with Pool if you’re bringing the children along – or head here for a week or two if it’s just the two of you. For couples, our go-to villas would be a Beach or Water Villa with Pool, while the huge Royal Beach Villa and Presidential Water Villa are a great choice if there’s a group of you travelling together. They have a unique pool that brings the outside in to the comfy but cool living area as well as a huge terrace that leads directly on to the beach or into the lagoon respectively.
The vibe here is glitzy but with a rustic edge. We love the softening bamboo, natural stone and wicker design details as well as the thatched roofs of the villas, public areas and spa. Days begin in the best way possible: with a fulfilling breakfast at Aqua Restaurant, the main dining venue that’s just steps from the beach. We’re big fans of the Beach Club Grill Restaurant where lazy lunches and under-the-stars dinners are served. Amazònico brings the taste of Central and South America to the Indian Ocean each evening with succulent meat served from the skewer; there’s an à la carte menu where dishes are available at a supplement but you can dine here – and at the Asian restaurant Le Asiatique – as part of the Premium All Inclusive package.
The Emerald Spa is an oasis of calm with Balinese design elements and a unbeatable setting surrounded by palms. They specialise in Ayurvedic treatments and Eastern therapies and you’ll want to spend a bit of post-treatment time in the relaxation area with its outdoor Jacuzzi that’s surrounded by water. The island really stands out from the crowd in its sports offerings on and off the water. There are two tennis courts (one that can be converted into a small football pitch), a couple of paddle courts and a diving PADI-registered diving centre. The watersports centre has plenty of kayaks, sailing boats and windsurf equipment – as well as jet skis that you can use for a supplement – so it’s pretty easy to while away a few hours out on the lagoon.
In the lesser-developed Raa Atoll
Good to know
120 villas – 60 on the island and 60 over the water
• Learn how to explore the underwater world on a Scuba Dive PADI course* or upgrade to an Open Water qualification* Head out onto the lagoon on a stand-up paddle board or kayak Treat yourself to an Asian head massage or Shirondhara massage at the Emerald Spa*.
4 restaurants, 2 cafés
Deluxe All Inclusive • Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Aqua Restaurant • Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Beach Club Grill • Dinner at Amazònico Restaurant and Asian Restaurant • Snacks through the day at Sunset Café • Selected drinks at the restaurants • In-room minibar stocked with soft drinks, beer and water • Wi-Fi • Kayak and stand-up paddleboards • Snorkelling equipment and 2 x 20 minute guided snorkelling trips a week (subject to weather conditions) • 1 excursion (minimum 7-night stay) or 2 excursions (minimum 10-night stay).
*Denotes local charge