Cocoon Maldives Is Officially Open!

Loading Maldives Offers.... Designed by famous Italian design firm LAGO, Cocoon Maldives resort has been inaugurated on Monday.

The 5-star resort is located 30 minutes away from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport at Lhaviyani Atoll on the island of Ookolhufinolhu. The property has been developed by Cocoon Investment in association with LAGO.

Cocoon Maldives aims to let the guests be enlightened as they complete a metamorphosis and rediscover their true self. Cocoon Maldives strives to create a unique designer resort that mixes luxury, design aesthetics, and hospitality in one exceptionally beautiful tropical island fashioned from the ground up to provide guests with the ultimate holiday experience aimed to refresh, revitalize and reawaken the soul.

There are 150 villas on the beach and suspended on stilts in the lagoon. LAGO has made it so that the designs incorporate the natural beauty of the island and surrounding. They have assembled the best elements of hospitality into an elegant yet modern resort. Cocoon's understated interiors defer to the extraordinary beauty of the surrounding marine environment: large windows frame scenes of breathtaking beaches, lagoon and ocean, complemented by furniture hewn from 200-year-old Wildwood. This theme is continued across all areas of the resort. In addition to the beautifully designed rooms, there are also three especially designed restaurants and bar contributed by LAGO.

Cocoon Maldives is well located around one of the best diving areas in the archipelago. There are over 50 diving spots around the resort. This gives room for the dive center and water sports facilities of this property to be top notch. In addition to these services, Cocoon Maldives also offers a Spa, Gym and Kid’s Club with experts to facilitate.

The General Manager for the resort, Raam stated that the aim of the resort is to give their guests a chance to have unforgettable experience during their visit.

Maldives, a kiddy paradise

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Long regarded as a honeymooners’ paradise, Club Med Kani’s newly launched child-friendly facilities is set to position the Maldives as a playground for the family as well

Yes, it is true — with its perfect, white sandy beaches, intimate desert-island configuration and some of the clearest turquoise waters in the world, the Maldives has long topped the list of dream romantic destinations. Indeed, most of the resorts in the archipelago are pitched specifically at honeymooners and couples looking for a romantic getaway, with probably the biggest number of private-pool villas and over-water villas per resort at any tourist destination worldwide.

However, with the burgeoning trend towards family travel and a fast-growing middle class — particularly in Asia — the Maldives is gradually reinventing its exclusive, couples-only image to embrace families. Spearheading this transition is Club Med Kani. The French hospitality brand is well-known for its family-oriented proposition — all-inclusive stays at resorts that offer a wide variety of sporty activities, from skiing and paddle-boarding to Zumba classes.

Club Med Kani, which is located in the northern atolls and a 35-minute speedboat ride away from Male International Airport, opened its doors in 2000 and was initially pitched as a romantic resort destination sans the brand’s famed Children’s Club, which caters to kids as young as four-months-old to teens.

But this year, the refreshed Club Med Kani is unveiling new child-friendly facilities and accommodation for families, for little ones to have fun in the sun, sand and sea of the Maldives. The newly renovated adjoining Club Rooms and the just-built Happy Children’s Corner cater to couples wishing to enjoy the Maldives with kids in tow.


We zoomed off into the pitch black darkness in a speedboat to Club Med Kani from the airport pier in the dead of night, but the excitement that emanated from my six-year-old daughter Izzy was palpable, even though she was exhausted from her nighttime travels. Stepping off the boat onto the Cub Med Kani jetty to the catchy riffs of Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk and the sight of large reef fishes in the spot-lit waters, her eyes lit up in amazement.

After a very warm welcome from the team of G.O.s (which stands for Gentil Organisateur, a French term for “Gracious Organiser” coined by Club Med and one of the key pillars of the brand) and the charismatic chief du village Barq, we were ushered into our home for the next few days — a standalone Beach Deluxe Room that leads out to a quiet beach overlooking the Indian Ocean. But it was only when we sprung out of bed that the true magnificence of the island showed itself in all its vivid glory.

The beach was pristine — powdery-soft, white sand with shimmery turquoise waters that lapped gently at the shoreline, and generously peppered with tiny hermit crabs that were, surprisingly, not very shy in the presence of humans.

“This is better than being in a dream!” exclaimed Izzy, who could have easily spent the whole morning exploring the beach, but our rumbly tummies had a date with the extensive spread at Velhi, the main buffet restaurant at the resort.

Even though the chefs have the mammoth task of feeding hundreds of guests, each station (the restaurant offers Italian, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Continental and Maldivian cuisine) offers a sprawling selection of freshly cooked dishes at a level of quality that exceeded that of any buffet I have had. The seafood was mostly locally sourced and delightfully fresh, and carb-loving Izzy had trouble choosing between eight types of bread and three types of pizzas at every meal. For late risers and all-day snackers, the resort offers full-day dining in its all-inclusive rates at Kandu and Kaana — the former a speciality restaurant with late breakfast and lunch menus, and the latter a deli serving tapas and snacks.


While most other Club Med properties boast the brand’s full children’s club facilities, which include Baby Club and sporting facilities such as archery, paddle pools and trapeze, the newly launched Happy Children’s Corner at Club Med Kani operates like a pared-down version — it accepts kids from four-years-old onwards, and with lunch and shower breaks which parents will have to pick them up for.

“(The introduction of the Happy Children’s Corner here) is a strong demonstration of the growing number of families going on holidays, especially with the lowering cost of transport to the Maldives,” said Henri Giscard d’Estaing, chairman and CEO of Club Med over coffee at Kaana.

“When you have the scale of facilities that we have here, it would be a shame to not have the whole family experience the amazing Maldives. Although we don’t have the space for a very big Children’s Club, the fact is that people don’t come to the Maldives to stay indoors. You’ll find that most of the children’s activities here at Kani are conducted outdoors.”

Indeed, I had dropped Izzy off at the Happy Children’s Corner for the duration of our chat, and returned to find that she had gone off on a mini island exploration expedition with the dedicated Happy Children’s Corner G.O. On the schedule for the day are outdoorsy activities such as snorkelling, sandcastle-making, beach games and kayaking, so that parents can rest assured that their kids are not missing out on the wondrous natural seascape of the Maldives while they are sunbathing or indulging in cocktails at the open bar on the beach.

Kids also have the opportunity to participate in the resort’s coral propagation programme — an activity unique to Club Med Kani. The resort has plans to introduce more of such eco-awareness kids’ programmes that will add to their experience of the Maldives’ natural landscape; although close encounters with Maldivian marine life are a daily occurrence — we had spotted reef sharks and stingrays, and swam with a huge school of tiny fishes in the shallow waters by our villa.

The most surprising aspect of this trip — our first Club Med stay — was how much we both enjoyed the buzzing nightlife on the resort. There is an informal dress code every night (which gives parents an excuse to slip out of shorts and t-shirts into something a little more chic), a performance by the G.O. team and a themed party that goes on till late into the night for those up for some beach partying.

Our last night there was the All-White-themed night, which consisted of an opulent barbecue buffet and dance party on the beach with guests decked out in white resort wear. Izzy’s face lit up in wonder, for the umpteenth time that day, as we sat on a soft sandbank watching the fireworks go off against an inky-black, starry sky.

The Maldives is a wondrous experience for beach-loving grown-ups and kids, and Club Med Kani is the perfect base to maximise fun in the golden Maldivian sunshine for the whole family.

Lizzie Cundy shows off her eye

Loading Maldives Offers.... She's known for her model figure and celebrity-loving lifestyle.

And Lizzie Cundy, 46, celebrated her Christmas with A-list style after jetting off to the Maldives for some sunshine.
The former WAG who used to be married to footballer Jason Cundy, looked incredible in a very skimpy bikini which had a shiny finish.
As she walked along the sands, she made sure not to get too much sun by wearing a kimono style cover-up. 

She then whipped it off to reveal a hint of sideboob as she made her way down to the water. 
Her long hair cascaded down past her shoulders and she completed her look with a pair of sunglasses which had blue lenses.

She had a big smile on her face as she rinsed her hands in the water, before returning to her lounger to soak up some sun. 
Throwing her cover-up over the back of her lounger, she sat playing on her phone for a little bit before topping up her tan. 
The day before, she uploaded a holiday snap of herself wearing a bright pink bikini to Instagram.

She captioned it with the words: 'Happy Christmas everyone from the Maldives!!” before teasing: “Off for a dip, you care to join me?'
Then on Christmas day, the excitable lady shared a picture of herself with the hotel staff as well as Santa Claus himself. 

She wrote: 'Merry Christmas everyone ! Let the party begin .. Santa has arrived !
@thesunsiyam #maldives.'  

Finding Bliss In The Maldives

Loading Maldives Offers.... Soft white-sand beaches; endless blue skies; a warm turquoise ocean - and a bar, stocked with cocktails. What more could you ask for?

As the sun begins to set and the sky mellows from a cobalt blue to shades of pastel pinks and purples, I walk out towards the Indian Ocean for one last dip. The evening breeze has set in, but it’s still comfortably warm. The silky white sand threads through my toes. Around me, there is silence - and I realise this is the most peaceful I’ve felt in a very long time. I take a deep breath and dive under the crystal clear water.

We are in the Maldives - on a tiny island called Thelu Veliga. Our retreat for the next five days is Drift - a laid-back luxury resort nestled among the palms. Located in the South Ari atoll - a marine protected area - we are surrounded by miles of turquoise lagoons and beautiful natural reef - and I’m very aware there is a lot of underwater exploring to be enjoyed here. But for now, I reach over and pick up my fresh passion fruit Mojito. ‘Doing something can wait,’ I think to myself.

Paradise in the middle of the ocean

Made up of 26 natural atolls, and 1190 islands and sandbanks, the Maldives covers an incredible 55,923 square miles of the Indian Ocean - of which just 185 square miles is land. Surprisingly, 187 islands are still uninhabited here, while 106 have been transformed into luxury resorts for sun-seekers, divers, honeymooners and everyone in between.

At just under three acres, Thelu Veliga may be a small island but my partner Brad and I are in our own little haven; from our stunning water villa with a balcony that opens up onto the ocean, to a cosy restaurant and beach bar. With just 30 beach and water villas, the resort never feels busy, more remote and exclusive.

The friendly staff can’t help but greet you with a warm, beaming smile each day. On our first morning, the delightful head Chef Charminda, takes note of my (not-very-easy-to-manage) dietary requirements and somehow produces a feast for every meal.

Meeting Manta rays

After two days of absolute relaxation, we decide it’s time for an underwater adventure. Luckily for us, the South Ari atoll is the perfect place for this, because during the months of June to November, this plankton-rich area becomes a feeding ground for Manta rays. So together with the team from the in-house dive resort, Extra Divers, we head out to sea in search of these beautiful creatures.

It’s not long before we’re ready to jump out of the boat and into the water at the local feeding platform aptly named ‘Manta Point’. After a safety briefing, we pull on our masks and head straight down into the water, re-gathering at 15 metres. And then we see them: the regal Manta rays with their impressive three-metre wingspans, gently gliding around us. They come within a few metres and we watch in absolute awe. We spend nearly an hour observing as six individuals elegantly swim and feed. To be so close to them is wonderful.

The Maldives is made up of three per cent of the world’s coral reefs - and is home to over 200 species of fish, Whale sharks, turtles, Moray eels - and even Scalloped Hammerhead sharks.

Unfortunately this year, the region has suffered record-breaking high temperatures and as a result the reef has been heavily affected by coral bleaching - a sad and inevitable result of climate change. Over 60 per cent of the coral colonies assessed earlier this year had been bleached, according to the Maldives Marine Research Center (MRC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - but experts hope the majority of the reef will recover. Only time will tell.

The extra mile

We end our stay at Drift Retreat with a delicious beach buffet - and are seriously impressed when Chef Charminda and his team offer to prepare our meal in front of us. We choose which ingredients should go into our salads and pasta dishes and watch, as they toss veggies and condiments together to form the perfect blend. A delicious Maldivian curry follows, before our thoughtful Chef concludes his masterpiece by bringing out a surprise chocolate birthday cake for Brad.

We enjoy our last mojitos at the bar with the waves lapping around us, and then head back to our water villa for one more night in paradise.

The Top Five Best Resorts In Maldives

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Maldives or most popularly known as the Maldives Island is becoming known and famous today. The island offers its tourists with deep blue seas, great coral reefs, and even white sandy beach resorts. Maldives has been known as a must-visit paradise in the Indian Ocean. It is basically the right destination if you are looking for a place to relax, unwind and spend long days of honeymoon with your loved one.

In this place, you can also enjoy several water sports activities. Thus, anyone can choose to relax and have fun as it is a serene haven for all visitors and tourists. Check out the five best resorts to visit when in Maldives.

1. Bluetribe Moofushi

 The Richest shared that this is one of the best resorts to visit in Maldives which focuses more on its water sports activities. You will surely enjoy windsurfing, diving, snorkeling, riding on pedal boats and many other activities in Moofushi. You can also choose to experience its Maldivian cruise as it tours you around the entire island. This is definitely a place for you to have a memorable vacation.

2.  Sun Island Resort and Spa

Situated at the South Ari Toll, this has been famous due to its tropical flowers, beautiful and green lagoons that will surely take your breath away. This is one of the resorts in Maldives which will offer you luxurious villas to stay.

3.  Alimatha Island

 This is somewhere located in the eastern part of Maldives. It is a world-class destination for tourists as its beaches can offer you high-class facilities. Aquarium-like snorkeling is the water sport that is being offered in this place.

4. Dusit Thani

 Places To See In Your Lifetime mentioned that this is one of the best resorts in Maldives which offer a Thai-inspired philosophy and ambiance. They also have luxurious private villas, tennis sports for games and even SPA centers for relaxations and boutiques.

5. One&Only Reethi Rah

 Among the enchanting places in Maldives, this is the best 5-star resort that you can stay. It has gorgeous infinity pools, lagoons, and amazing villas that are situated near the pool.

If you can’t swim how to do in the Maldives

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“Just don’t drown.” “Of course you don’t need to be a swimmer to do water sports. But, hmmm, well, it’s useful. Just in case… Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be fine.” “Have fun and don’t go in the water.”

Armed with these helpful nuggets of advice and bracing words of comfort from friends and colleagues, I landed in the Maldives. Swimming skills: 0. Fitness levels: Negligible. Enthusiasm and excitement: Off the charts.

I’d never been before, and I was convinced that those eye-poppingly blue blues had to be the result of a lot of time spent on Photoshop. I was wrong. By the time my seaplane landed at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, I felt like I was in a Technicolor Disney movie, and for once, I wasn’t the sidekick, but the princess. Well, more the little mermaid, given the setting, complete with overwater villas spread into the shape of a manta ray and a spa built to resemble a lobster. At least that’s how the hotel staff treated me, all smiling and waving as the plane landed at the jetty, chilled Champagne ready and waiting for me. Would Ariel ever say no to bubbly before 11am? I didn’t think so.

By the time my personal butler had shown me around my plush, iPad-controlled Sunset Overwater Villa with a private pool (only 4ft deep, so even I could laze like a boss), the fantasy was complete.

Later that evening, I met some of the other characters in my Disney movie at drinks and dinner that included, but was not limited to, fresh crabmeat salad, tenderloin in port wine, fish fillet with carrot and vanilla purée, mandarin ice cream with digestive biscuit, vanilla cream, grapefruit orange salsa and fennel cress AND a sinful chocolate fondant with bitter chocolate sorbet, along with well-chosen wine pairings.

Mildly hungover but fully rested, the next morning, I woke up and reached the exercise room for an aerial yoga class to find rows of bright orange silk hanging like nooses in loops. The rest of my group began to warm up, performing lithe-looking lunges, while I subtly tried to find out exactly how much time I could spend lying in the corpse pose.

An hour later, my head full of tips and tricks from the instructor, I was swinging upside down and hands-free and whooping with delight. “I did it, I did it! Look at me, I’m aerial Ariel!” Giddy with excitement at both achievement and joke, I swung this way and that, trying out various twists and turns. (Of course, I had to book a massage at the spa later, but hey, who’s complaining?)

By dinner, so emboldened was I by my success (and by my perfectly spicy Island Mary, served in a seashell), that I ignored the voices in my head and signed away my life up to go parasailing the next day. Now, anyone who knows me knows I would rather eat my own arm than try an adventure sport, especially one that involves water, so this was extremely out of character. But what is travel for, I asked myself, if not to step out of your comfort zone and test yourself? Ariel was all about trying out new things and seeing a different world.

Cut to the next afternoon, on a small boat in the middle of the sea, where an instructor showed me where to grip the harness I was being buckled into and reminded me of the hand signals to use. Before me, another guy had gone up and thoroughly enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame, as the calm breeze made sure he had a smooth ride. But the thing about the Maldives is that the weather turns in a matter of minutes, so while I was beginning my takeoff, the boat suddenly lurched sickeningly to one side. “Relax, you’re fine,” everyone called out encouragingly, as I rose higher and higher, clutching the rope, swaying like a pendulum in the now strong winds, eyes squeezed shut, whimpering and thinking of my family. After about five minutes of being tossed about like a toy, 50m above the sea, I felt the wind calming down and was able to open my eyes and look around.

This is pretty amazing, I thought, as I took in the stunning 360-degree views of sparkling sapphire water dotted with tiny patches of green. One by one, I unclenched my hands and let go of the ropes to wave at everyone on the boat, letting them know I was fine. I stretched my legs and exhaled, finally enjoying myself. Just then, I felt a sharp tug to the left. I looked down and saw the boat tilt alarmingly. Grabbing the harness again, I yelled, then realised that no one could hear me, and steeled myself to stay the course and finish my session, thinking that it would calm down again in a minute. But then I was swung violently to the right, to the front and back, dancing crazily, like Voldemort had put a Cruciatus curse on me, and decided that thrills and bragging rights were probably less important than life and limb. I made the emergency signal and was brought down to the boat, swearing like a sailor, in another couple of minutes, to much supportive applause and admiring gasps. “It’s great that you managed, ideally you should be about double your weight to be stable in this weather,” the instructor said. Glaring at him balefully for neglecting to inform me of this minor technicality earlier, I put my shaky legs up on the seat and looked out as raindrops turned the fierce, sun-kissed blue a stormy grey and salty spray hit me in the face. I did it, I whispered to myself. I think Ariel would be proud.

The Ultimate Guide to the Maldives

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Few places conjure up images of fab tans, luxury and romantic baecations like the Maldives.  You’ve seen the images in magazines and on Instagram filled with turquoise blue waters, decadent over water villas and pearlescent beaches. The Maldives is the daydream worthy spot on every travelers bucket list.  But how do you even begin to plan a trip to the Maldives?  Have no fear!  We’re here to give you all the information you need to plan the trip of a lifetime to the destination of your dreams.

About the Maldives

The Maldives is a South Asian island located in the Indian Ocean. It comprises of 26 natural atolls consisting of dual island chains, and is located on top of a vast underwater mountain range with around 1190 islands and sandbanks. The Maldives has no counterpart in terms of its unique geography and is home to the most diverse marine treasures in the world.  The heart of the Maldives, the capital city of Malé (pronounced Mar-lay) is a stark contrast to what you see in the magazines.  Malé offers visitors to see the real Maldives and explore its bustling streets, markets, mosques and more.  The local currency is Rufiyaa (MVR) and while credit cards are accepted in many shops, having a few local dollars on hand never hurts.

The best time to visit the Maldives would be December through February, unfortunately it is also high season which means rates at hotels can get sky high.  Shoulder season is generally March and April when the temperatures are at their highest.  Low season, May through November, is rainy season in the Maldives, but it is possible to still go and enjoy great weather if you go in mid to late November when rainy season is ending and lodging prices are still fairly low.  For the most part, visitors to the Maldives do not require visas for stays of 30 days or less. Check visa requirements for your specific passport before your travel.

Before You Go

One of the main things you need to do before you plan a trip to the Maldives is get real about your life and your finances.  There’s a reason why the Maldives is a dream destination, and that’s because it can get pricey! Sure there are ways to go to the Maldives on the low low – like staying in cheap hotels on Maafushi island that can be as low as $80/night and then spending $100 to take an all-inclusive day trip to a nice resort. But if you’re trying to do it the way you’ve day dreamed about, be ready to come up off some coins because that daydream is not for the broke.  Rates at the nicer resorts can cost into the thousands per night, and even the low end can be at least $500.  None of this includes taxes, fees or food and beverage.  Getting to these resorts is another cost.  Since each resort is on its own island, the only way to get to them is by speedboat or seaplane, which can cost around $300 and up per person.  There are no glitches or deals to be found in this area. Trans Maldivian Airways provides seaplane service to all resorts, so unless you own your own plane, they are who you fly with.  The resorts should have their own speedboats, so that’s pretty non-negotiable as well.  Basically, if you’re trying to be about that resort life, be prepared to pay.  Don’t worry about arranging the transportation, the hotel typically takes care of this for you.

Also, the Maldives is a Muslim country, and adheres to a strict no alcohol policy.  It is illegal to bring alcohol into the country, even in your checked luggage, and there is no duty free at the airport.  Your only options are to partake in a booze cruise that floats off shore near Maafushi or to cough up money on pricey drinks at the resorts.  Since island hopping is difficult between resorts due to the need for seaplanes and speedboats, chances are if you’re trying to drink you will need to purchase some kind of drink package at your resort or pay per drink.  The day trips from the cheap hotels I mentioned earlier are a good way to get your unlimited drink on.  But again, if you’re trying to live out your dreams, pricey resort drinks it is for you.

The Maldives isn’t going anywhere any time soon, so take all the time you need to save and plan for the trip you desire.  Travel is not a race, it’s a journey, and even if it takes you a little longer than most to save up, it will be worth it when you get there.

Getting There

The main airport in the Maldives is Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE). Though there are no direct flights to the Maldives from the U.S., most, if not all, major airlines fly to the Maldives with at least one stop.  For my own trip I found flights leaving from JFK in November for just over $800 roundtrip.  Deal sites like The Flight Deal, Secret Flying and Airfarewatchdog sometimes have flight deals for less, you just have to keep an eye out.  If you have time and money, and want to make the most out of your trip, consider extending your layover.  My flight had a stop in Dubai for a few hours on the straight roundtrip ticket.  Instead, I booked a multi-city ticket which allowed me to stay in Dubai for three nights before heading to the Maldives, and it cost me the same as a regular roundtrip, so I got a flight to two countries for the price of one.  Extending a layover can also be a great way to ease out of jet lag.  The time difference between Dubai and Male is only one hour, which means a few nights in Dubai can help get your body acclimated to the time change so when you arrive in the Maldives, you don’t spend your first few days extremely tired.

Where to Stay

Since this is the ultimate guide to the Maldives, we’ll skip discussion about cheap hotels and get straight to the good stuff.  The resorts in the Maldives are to die for and choosing just one can seem nearly impossible.  If you have the disposable income, you can certainly spend a few nights at one resort before hopping over to another, but if you’re looking for one resort that will give you the experience you’ve longed for, then the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is it.
Reached by a scenic 30 minute seaplane flight, the Conrad Maldives offers three different experiences on two islands. Discover a Maldivian hideaway on tiny Rangali Island or cross the bridge to enjoy the livelier main island. The third experience – the Spa Retreat – is an over-water destination set off the main island. The Conrad Maldives is exactly what you’ve lusted over in all those pictures and offers luxurious villas, including romantic water villas on Rangali Island, contemporary beach villas amidst tropical greenery on the main island, or stunning over-water villas at the Spa Retreat. There are also 12 restaurants and bars that cater to every palette, two spas, two pools and unique experiences such as manta-watching, dolphin-spotting and snorkeling with whale sharks.

I chose the Conrad for my own trip to the Maldives recently and I can tell you that you will not be disappointed. The staff is extremely attentive and goes above and beyond to make sure you enjoy your stay, the food was amazing, the activities were endless (they even have karaoke!) and even with all the other guests, the Conrad somehow still manages to make you feel like you have the resort all to yourself.

One of my favorite experiences at the Conrad was enjoying a champagne breakfast at their world famous Ithaa Undersea Restaurant.  Pictures of Ithaa are probably #1 when you search for images of the Maldives and it is definitely an item on most travelers’ bucket list.

What to Do

The Maldives isn’t exactly somewhere you go to do a lot of stuff.  If you’re into diving, crossing off bucket list items like swimming with whale sharks and manta rays, snorkeling, jet skiing, taking cooking classes and tanning, then the Maldives is for you.  The only other activities would be exploring the cultural side of the country back on Malé, so definitely add a night or two on the main island to the front or backend of your trip.

To Bae or Not to Bae

The Maldives is known as a destination for lovers. From romantic getaways to honeymoons, it is definitely somewhere you want to be with a special someone.  However, if you don’t currently have a baecation boo, don’t let that stop you from going.  You can totally visit the Maldives solo or with friends and still have the time of your life.  Go solo to enjoy some relaxation and the freedom to move at your own pace.  Go with friends to try new things and create some fun memories.  Then, when you find the bae, go again and live out your wildest romantic fantasies.  That’s the great part about the Maldives, there’s no one way to experience it, and there’s something for everyone.  Besides, who said you can only experience paradise once?

How Cara Delevingne made Finolhu Baa Atoll in the Maldives the next cool party destination

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Holidays are immoderate. You delight in indulgence then come home and relish the retelling — glossing over the relative smallness of these indulgences (an extra glass of wine with dinner!). And then Cara Delevingne bags her own island and spends four days belittling your own efforts via Instagram.

If you are not one of Delevingne’s 35.7 million Instagram followers, the hashtag #MaldivesBeachParty has likely eluded you. You will have been spared the luxe beach huts, the sunsets and the blue horizons. On the other hand, if you follow the 24-year-old model-turned- actress, you have likely spent the past few days growing disillusioned.

For you will know that Delevingne has been gifted a mile-long resort in the Maldives, for a week, all for the price of posting a few photos on Instagram, in what is an unprecedentedly lavish arrangement between a resort and a celebrity.

You will have observed that Delevingne and her cabal have made your honeymoon look about as luxe as the Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition in the Trossachs where everyone got food poisoning from undercooked sausages.

You can neither beat them nor join them, but you can pry mercilessly on their lives. Welcome to Caradise.

Sun seekers

It all started as a romantic holiday. Reportedly, Delevingne had been planning to visit the island with her ex, singer St Vincent. However, when they split up in September, she rearranged the dates and made a new guest list.

Who made the roll call? Obviously, sisters Poppy and Chloe were invited, as was fellow model Arizona Muse, and Cara and Poppy’s good mate Jaime Winstone. Preston Thompson was invited: he directed Cara in Kids in Love, and is part of a fast Notting Hill set that includes Gala Gordon and heiress Jazzy de Lisser, who was also on the trip. Tatler editor Kate Reardon was in residence, as was Savannah Miller, Sienna’s sister.

Other notable guests included members of Poppy’s London aristo set: Arabella Musgrave — Prince William’s first girlfriend and now Gucci’s head of communications — and Vassi Chamberlain, features director at Porter magazine. Dishevelled socialite Jack Guinness made the trip, as did zeitgeist stylist Martha Ward — who is close with Poppy — and Melinda Stevens, the editor of Condé Nast Traveller. Make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury — a loose member of the Mossy posse — headed out there with her husband. The token curious addition was actor Tom Hollander, not typically seen on nights out with the Delevingne Instaset.

The island reportedly caters for up to 272 people across 125 villas. The group has commandeered the whole resort, though they flew out on a commercial flight. “I saw about 15 to 20 of them on the plane, including Cara,” explains a passenger going to stay at another island near their resort. “They were running up and down the plane — I think two of their entourage were back in economy so they were weaving in and out of the curtains, to include them in the fun.”

They were reportedly friendly, though another passenger observed that “the stewardess made one of them sit in a seat after she tried to sit on the floor”.

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There are big numbers in play. Cara has 35.7 million followers on Instagram, Poppy has 1.1 million. Chloe has almost 900,000 and Jaime Winstone more than 42,000. Muse has 147,000, Guinness almost 50,000 and Savannah Miller more than 11,000. The resort itself has almost 17,000, though has not yet shared any pictures of this week’s cast of stars.

The “contract” between Delevingne and the resort appears to be relatively casual: the group must tag the resort in all images. Most are attaching the hashtag #MaldivesBeachParty to posts.

Cara’s pictures from the trip include a sunset drenched in pink (874,000 likes) and a group shot including Hollander, Winstone, Thompson and de Lisser, captioned with a heart (almost 750,000 likes). Yesterday she shared a picture of the island, shot from the plane, captioned “so hard to leave” (182,000 likes).

Poppy has shared a bikini picture, (captioned:“Needless to say I’m thrilled to be here”)  and a picture of a palm tree canopy (“Never. Leaving”). Friend Dean Piper, MD of PR company Beak Comms, who was also on the holiday, shared a picture of himself and Muse next to a “quirky” sign reading “Time to drink champagne and dance on the table”, which might be extrapolated as the trip’s mission statement. Guinness has shared a sequence of selfies, while Musgrave prefers pictures of the glass-like azure swimming pools. Tilbury’s Instagram is an insight into riotous nights spent in fancy dress — of which more later.

While it’s rumoured there are glossy-magazine deals, the resort presumably considers the real-time social media coverage and cool factor that comes from association with a brand of Delevingne’s standing to be the greater coup. So what is the ballpark value of such coverage? “Oh, my goodness,” explains a representative from luxury concierge service Quintessentially Travel. “Millions, probably. God knows what the exposure is worth. It’s basically priceless.”

This season, there are more Maldives resorts than ever: the island nexus is beloved by those who can afford it. Accordingly, each must work harder to differentiate itself and attract the clients it covets.

Life’s a party

Notoriously, riotous gangs of poshos adore fancy dress — parties must be themed. Nights out in Caradise required bespoke kit or, as Piper bragged via Twitter last week, “Just been given a list of five different themes for fancy dress. For five different parties. On a tropical island. I mean: panic stations.” Indeed.

Themes included a Nineties hip hop night and a Seventies pool party. Tilbury shared a picture of herself next to a pair of can-can dancers while Muse captioned a picture of herself and Tilbury — bronzed and dressed up in wild prints — with the word “animals”. Obviously, at some point, there was a human pyramid — Guinness’s image of it was captioned, understatedly, “Few beers. Few laughs.”

The resort, which is set in a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, includes a cinema, five spas and a hair salon. There are five restaurants, serving £70 lobsters caught fresh from the Indian Ocean and black truffle roast duck. Rooms are stocked with Neal’s Yard toiletries. There is an underwater “biosphere” experience, a water sports area, a two-storey beach club with chandelier-lit loungers, and every month it hosts a full moon party. Other unnecessary details include a photography studio and a drafted-in army of acrobats, stilt-walkers and mermaids.

The price tag

The marketing is priceless — but what about the real cost of hiring your own island for a mash-up? “I’d estimate about $100,000 a night,” says Lilly Grimaldi from PR firm Massey, which manages the Shangri-La resort on a nearby island. “For an entourage of 30 to 50 you’d need about 600 members of staff, then cover the cost of the rest of the rooms. These resorts are perfect for celebrities — they’re very private.” Another PR suggests arrangements like this are “price on request”. Obviously, though, you must write in the extras. “Like taking people on a private yacht.”

What about the logistics? “Hiring out an island is becoming a trend,” says the Quintessentially representative. “We have done a few private islands. The price obviously depends on the season and number of people but logistically it’s simple if you can afford it.” What sort of things come as standard? “A private butler, a chef.” And security? “You’d normally bring your own. But it’s very private — no one will know you are out there.”

Unless, of course, you’re “paying” for it all in selfies. It’s an extraordinary life, being Cara Delevingne.

Four Seasons unveils private island in the Maldives

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Set in a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the new Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, Baa Atoll, is spread across two hectares and features seven bedrooms, a two-storey beach house, dive school and a 62-foot (19-metre) yacht that can take up to 22 guests on cruises around the archipelago.

The beach house is the main social hub of the resort, featuring an open-air living room, dining room, kitchen, pool deck, gym, library and loft lounge, while the seven bedrooms are arranged on the beach or over the lagoon.

Other facilities include the grandly titled “Ocean of Consciousness Spa”, which offers treatments based on the “five pathways of truth”, along with yoga, meditation and pranayama classes.

The new resort is located just 20 minutes by boat from Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru, which in turn is a seaplane transfer away from the Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa.

Evolve MMA spends $500,000 on Maldives vacation

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As the economy heads into a massive slowdown, many employees find themselves being grateful to have a job and few are bold enough to even think of bonuses and company-paid retreats.

But while 2016 has been a challenging year for businesses all around the world, local martial arts company Evolve Mixed Martial Arts has been defying the odds and experiencing bumper growth instead.

According to founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong, Evolve has been registering approximately 30 per cent year-on-year growth throughout 2016, on top of "strong double-digit growth every year."

In fact, the company did so well in 2016 that Sityodtong recently spent $500,000 just to reward more than 100 employees with an all-expenses-paid trip at a five-star luxury resort in the Maldives.

Members of Evolve's fight team, including ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee, were joined by the company's support staff and world champion trainers on the trip.

Sityodtong, a serial entrepreneur, told AsiaOne that rewards such as the Maldives trip were nothing out of the ordinary at Evolve MMA.

Calling the annual retreat a "normal part of the Evolve culture", Sityodtong said that such rewards were "a small token of my heartfelt gratitude to all of the phenomenal rockstars at Evolve MMA".

"Every year, I take the entire team on an all-expenses-paid trip to a five-star luxury resort at a surprise destination," he said, adding that the company has been organising staff retreats for the past five years.

Past retreats have seen employees vacationing in popular beach getaways such as Bali, Krabi, Khao Lak, and Bintan.

Not only is Sityodtong willing to splurge on employees, but there is also an admirable deeper meaning to the incentive trips that Evolve organises.

For members of the staff that come from environments where luxury vacations are beyond reach, such trips are a dream come true.

Calling himself a "servant leader", the businessman says he can help to serve his employees' needs by fulfilling their dreams.

"Many of my staff would love to travel the world, but do not have the means to do so. The vast majority of my team at Evolve come from humble backgrounds of poverty, tragedy, or adversity. For them, Evolve is the greatest opportunity to escape poverty and to achieve the life of their dreams.

"The best deserve the best. It is only fair. We do our best to hire the best people in the world, giving out only one job offer for every 200 applicants. So they should be compensated as such. We work hard, and we play hard," he said.

It is not difficult to see why Evolve's staff remains motivated, and that is why Sityodtong says he is always optimistic about the firm's performance every year.

"Evolve has the best team in the world," he states without hesitation. "I am very confident in my team. I believe in them 100 per cent."

And while he has not planned their next destination yet, the generous boss of a growing team says: "The world is a big place! I don't know where our annual retreat will be held next year, but I hope to take them to another spectacular place."

Can the Maldives work its magic on our marriage?

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Perhaps we were mad to go back to the Maldives 20 years after honeymooning there. We remembered it as deliciously romantic, with impossibly white sand and turquoise seas. Bounty Bar stuff.
We were young and in the first flush of love and now we are 50-something.
This time, we picked JA Manafaru because it promised a level of luxury we couldn’t possibly have afforded when we got married.

You get a choice of a secluded beach bungalow hidden in the jungle undergrowth with its own private plunge pool and sectioned-off area of beach; or a water villa suspended on stilts over the crystal clear water. Oh, alright then.
I’d always hankered after the idea of stepping off private decking into your own bit of sea. In addition we have a hot tub, outdoor shower, a glass floor in the bedroom to watch fish below and a secluded black-tiled infinity pool on the deck.
On our honeymoon island there had been one restaurant with one menu each day.

But here we have five: White Orchid for Asian fusion, Ocean Grill for seafood and steaks served right on the beach, Andiamo for pizza and pasta beside a calm, dark green jungle swimming pool, or Infinity, serving salads and sandwiches. 
Just make sure your package is all-inclusive.
We’d gained a few pounds and a few grey hairs since we were last in the Maldives, and the islands have changed, too. First time around we chummed-up with other honeymooners on the beach. 

Now, although we are told the resort is almost full, we stroll the whole island (800m long and 600m wide) without seeing a soul.
It was on our first honeymoon that I noticed a fundamental difference between me and my beloved he can happily spend hours lying about in the sun, whereas I need to keep busy. 
I won’t deny our differences have been the source of stern words over the years. But this is a special holiday, so all bets are off.
We have the options of windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, water-skiing and scuba diving, but I book twice daily yoga sessions and leave Jon studiously ‘tanning his edges’ at the beach to join the resort’s marine biologist on a snorkeling trip.
I am rewarded by the appearance of a huge pod of wild dolphins pirouetting out of the water and performing synchronized man-oeuvres below us one more item from my bucket list unexpectedly ticked.
You won’t find many Maldivian resorts without a spa, and JA Manafaru is no exception. 

After a rigorous side-by-side couples massage, we are ushered into a side room where a huge round bed has been scattered with petals and bamboo spelling out ‘happy second honeymoon’.
Perhaps 20 years ago we might have thrown the petals aside and caution to the wind, but my husband’s massage has rendered him monosyllabic and I still have the imprint of the bed etched on my face.
Later, with a glass of champagne, no kids, incredible comfort and doting attention, I don’t mind confessing that the earth shakes — just a little.
Yes, we could have arranged to renew our vows; we could have booked a ‘romantic cruise on a love Dhoni’. 
But when the sand is so white and the sea so blue and you don’t have to worry about a thing, a place like this could wring romance out of a stone.