Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, around 700 kilometres south-west of Sri Lanka. Twenty-six atolls encompass 1192 islets around 200 of them are inhabited. They were once a rich source of cowrie shells used as currency throughout Asia and parts of east Africa.
The Maldives were under nominal Portuguese, Dutch and British influences after the 16th century, but the people were left to govern themselves under a long line of sultans and sultanas. The islands gained independence in 1965.
The reefs, a wealth of marine life, swaying palms, pure white beaches and brilliant turquoise lagoons woo tourists, particularly those who enjoy snorkelling and diving.
In the north Malé atoll on the tiny coral island of Lankanfushi is Soneva Gili Resort and Six Senses Spa. It is indulgent and luxurious, with just 44 suites, described as "elegance on water". Seven of the residences are accessible only by boat.
Natural materials have been used and unique design has buildings suspended over water, so there are myriads of colourful fish to be admired. Villas have rooftop and over-water sun decks, space for romantic dinners, open air bathroom, daybeds and are well separated for privacy along wooden jetties.
The resort restaurant is relaxing and romantic with an la carte menu. Of course, seafood is widely used along with locally grown organic vegetables and herbs and imported meats. The Wood Fired Champa is an alternative if you fancy a pizza or one of the other delicious choices.
There are countless activities to be enjoyed at Soneva Gili fishing, sailing, snorkelling, waterskiing, windsurfing, canoeing, tennis, jacuzzi or just lazing on the private beach or by the pool.
The Maldive islands.
Soneva Gili Resort and Six Senses Spa rooms start at around $1500 a night. Return speedboat transfers from Mal Airport cost $158 per person.
SriLankan Airlines has return flights to Malé, on sale and valid for travel until November 21, 2006.
- Perth, $1487
- Melbourne, $1627
- Brisbane, $1630
- Adelaide, $1633
- Sydney, $1649
Prices quoted are correct on September 7, 2006.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Soneva Gili Resort and Six Senses Spa
Lankanfushi Island, North Malé Atoll, Republic of Maldives
Ph: (02) 9411 5512
Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Ph: 1800 251 958 (02) 9411 5512