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Best resort for Honeymoon in the Maldives?

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First time to the Maldives for my Honeymoon - last two weeks of Nov. thank you!

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    I've only been to a few resorts(4) in the Maldives so I can only give you suggestions based on my own personal experiences.

    If you're planning on 14 days in the Maldives I would split up the time in two different resorts. The 2 resorts that I like the best for doing this is the Soneva Gili and Soneva Fushi, both 5 stars and amongst the best there.

    The Soneva Gili have all their villas(huge and very beautiful) over water while the Soneva Fushi have their villas hidden along the shoreline with private pools and beaches. The connection between the two resorts will be by seaplane, worth the money for the sight to fly over the beautiful islands and corals, and this can be arrange by the resorts. I think you can't go wrong at the Sonevas and the atmosphere is very romantic as well.


    http://www.sixsenses.com/soneva/

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    Reethi Rah is well regarded in the luxury hotel forum on flyertalk. I stayed at Kanuhura and Taj Exotica a year ago and had a fabulous time at both. Suggest you book through a virtuoso agent or lhw or amex FHR to try and get an upgrade but do check the hotels' websites too. You can't go wrong with FS especially if the stay for 4 pay for 3 is available. I believe FSLG is the better property. Terribly envious as I think Maldives is so very beautiful.

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    Without question.......Lily Beach Resort is now THE place at Maldives.

    Fabulous in every way!!

    I have no hesitation in pointing you this way for your honeymoon. Not cheap.....but absolutely...unforgettable.

    http://www.lilybeachmaldives.com/

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    I would suggest using Google Earth to check out the resort you choose -- the Maldives covers a huge amount of space but closer to Male some of the resorts are closer to each other than others -- I saw reviews where people said they could almost wave across the lagoon to someone in another resort. There were some really good hotel deals at the luxury resorts for early fall -- did you check? Also, bear in mind it's generally one resort to an island so you'll be eating all your meals and doing any activities generally with that resort. Food can be really pricey -- it's all flown in.
    When I was trying on a trip there as a fantasy, I was looking at the newer, further north Four Seasons, their incredible spa/yoga programs, and conservation snorkeling/diving field trips. The One and Only looked comparable, I'm just not sure about their restaurants or activities.

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    Some thoughts on the Maldives and hotels:

    1. End of November is still the rainy season, albeit the latter part of it. I have to say that I think the Maldives is one of the places that is beautiful even in the rain. The Maldives does not get the huge monsoon down pours that you get in places like India. In my experience being there in both dry and rainy season months, during the rainy season months, you will have hours of rain, some of it steady downpours, but not whole days. The rain generally starts in the early afternoon as the heat has built up. I have to say that the storms are really beautiful, as the huge black thunderheads span the horizon and change the colour of the water. They are lovely to watch.
    The down sides are: (i) it is cloudier overall, which really affects the colour of the coral, (ii) it is choppier and currents are stronger, more of an issue for divers, as most snorkeling is done inside reefs and you are not subject to currents, although choppier waters can affect some snorkeling, (iii) you could have a whole day or more of rain. It is all about expectations, IMO, so just be prepared. On a honeymoon, perhaps the weather is not as much of an issue….

    2. IMO best hotels (in no particular order) are the two Four Seasons, the Reethi Rah and the Soneva Fushi. The Soneva Gilli is also quite nice. I have to say that I have not stayed at the Reethi Rah, but have eaten there, so can’t comment on the rooms. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these hotel options. My only issue with the Soneva hotels is that they are more rustic in décor than sleek modern, and I have a bit of a personal issue with the whole you-must-take-off-your-shoes mentality. I don’t like to be told what to do, esp with regard to how I should choose to relax on my holidays. In terms of privacy at the Four Seasons, of the two Four Seasons, the villas at the Landaa Giraavaru are more spread out and would offer more privacy, IMO.

    The beach at the Reethi Rah is actually man-made. It's still quite pretty, but it means that there is little snorkeling off the beach and the water is cloudier than you will see at other resorts. You have to go to a house reef 10-15 minutes by boat to snorkel. I have not seen the house reef so can't comment on it. But remember that the One and Only is quite close to Male, which is very developed, so I am not sure how great the house reef will be. The hotel is very nice of course, and would be fine for a honeymoon, but IMO the Maldives is about the water colour and the fish life and coral, and I am not sure you would totally appreciate all that from the One and Only. (The water colour from the airport hotel is lovely too, but once you see more remote places you can see the difference in water clarity and colour.)

    Have heard pretty good things about Taj Exotica actually, don’t think that is a bad choice if you end up deciding to go there.

    The Conrad is another choice, if you go to the Conrad, I am not sure I would pay for a water villa. I found them to be somewhat poorly designed and so there is almost no privacy and they are noisy, you can hear your neighbors. For less money, I think I would go with a beach villa there.

    3. I prefer the reef sides of the resorts, as I like to be able to go from my room right into the reef for snorkeling. This is esp the case if you are in an over-water bungalow, you will see much more fish life from your room on the reef side. It’s also pleasant to listen to the surf hitting the reef walls. When making a booking, you should list a preference for reef or lagoon side if you can. (The lagoon side is also where the boats and seaplanes generally dock as well, and there may be noise issues, although I have not really found this to be the case.) I prefer the sunrise side (if its also the reef side), as you can always find a place on the island from which to watch the sunset (with a bottle of wine), but seeing sunrise from your room is really lovely (not having to move from the bed!)

    If you are really concerned about privacy, get maps of all the resorts and locate areas you prefer which seem to offer the most privacy. Although hotels usually cannot guarantee a particular bungalow (unless you get some special suite), you should be able to specify an area (i.e. reef side, villas no 8 through 15 or something similar).

    4. I personally am not a huge fan of the overwater villa concept (which surprised me I thought I would be). I really prefer to be on the beach and be able to walk out on the beach, esp in the Maldives which has the great soft sand. There is also something about the contrast between the white white sand and the water colour that you don't get in the water villas. Also, if the water villas don't have plunge pools but the beach villas do, I think you would prefer the beach villas for that reason as well (esp for a honeymoon). Also, many water villas are set up so that there is not much privacy between them, and can be noisy. This is definitely the case at the W. You might do a combo of one stay at a beach villa and one at a water villa; if you choose a water villa, I would do it at the most remote location to see the most fish life.

    5. I agree with the concept of changing resorts as you have 2 weeks. You could look into going very far north or very far south, to get a really different feel. Gan, in the south, is quite a different place than the Male area, and would make a nice change. The little village of Gan is actually charming (something that cannot really be said for Male, although one does not go to the Maldives for the cultural sights.) It is also less developed and has very good diving. There is a Shangri-La near Gan that is just about to open, you might look into that.

    6. Sea plane flights are marvelous and I highly recommend taking one to really appreciate the beauty of the islands. Taking one between resorts is usually a good option. However, one thing with sea plane flights is that they cannot fly at night, so if you have to take a seaplane to or from Male and your international flight, that can be a timing issue. International flights usually arrive or depart quite late in the evening, when you depart you may have to leave during the day and hang around the airport for several hours, or on arrival you may have to overnight at the Male airport hotel, which is fine but quite expensive for what it is and not on a lovely deserted island, it is AT the airport. This can make a long flight even longer. (This would of course, give you an opportunity to see Male, but I am not sure the opportunity is worth it.) You might want to look into this before you commit to a location which requires a sea plane flight. The flight to Gan from Male would be a regular hard-landing surface aircraft and you could leave or arrive at night (schedules permitting).

    7. As you have quite a bit of time and a good budget, you might want to also consider making a few night trip on a private boat. The Four Seasons has their own boat, but there are also private operators, and most of the other resorts should be able to arrange this for you. This will give you a chance to get to even more remote places, deserted islands etc. There is nothing like your own private yacht, IMO, for a real vacation. It is the ultimate "water villa"....Comes with a cook and staff, OK maybe 2-3 people tops but hey, the answer to everything you want to do is "yes Madame". You can drop anchor where you want and explore. Dinner barefoot on the beach at sunset, you get the idea. This IMO is the best way to really see the beauty of the islands and get in some good snorkeling/diving. There are occasional occupied islands where you can drop by as well and visit a school, etc that would be completely off the tourist path. This would be a cultural opportunity. (Some English may be lacking, but you will get the idea.)

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