The thought of warm white sandy beaches, aquamarine waters and swaying palm trees holds high appeal during the cooler months. This in part, accounts for why island destinations, such as the Maldives, are a popular holiday choice during the festive season, from Christmas through to Lunar New Year.
Situated in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is home to more than 1,000 coral islands, across 26 atolls, as well as many luxury resorts, which not only provide exemplary accommodation and breathtaking views, but also unique activities and offerings.
One of the draws of the award-winning five-star Como Maalifushi is its location. It is the most isolated resort in the Maldives, and as the only resort situated in the turquoise waters of the southerly Thaa Atoll, guests truly experience the luxury of escaping day-to-day reality. Accessible only by seaplane, guests are drawn to the peace and tranquillity that this resort offers, and its premium over-water villas, considered some of the best in a highly competitive market.
There are also three restaurants, a holistic wellness centre (a Como signature), and a range of activities including surfing, diving, snorkelling, cruising and bespoke private charters. Guests staying over the holidays can also enjoy cocktails on the beach, sumptuous celebratory dinners and New Year’s Eve festivities. Other offerings include an opportunity to experience a Boduberu – a unique 11th-century drum performance – while dining on authentic Maldivian cuisine; and a visit to the resort’s private uninhabited island with its luxury castaway ambience, barbecue feast and bubbles, surrounded by clear waters, noted snorkelling points, with dedicated staff on hand.
Another good choice is Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, situated in one of the largest and deepest natural atolls in the world, Huvadhoo. The secluded island resort, just 45km from the equator, is known for its pristine waters and teeming reef life.
The island’s beach is protected naturally by erosion from the surrounding 360-degree reef, with a lagoon that moves with the ocean currents. A unique offering is the Equator Experience, which includes an opportunity to swim across two hemispheres, dolphin spotting and fishing, with any fish caught cooked at the resort that evening.
Gourmets will find interest in the Culinary Indulgence – five unique dining experiences at five venues in 24 hours, including sunset cocktails and canapés on the beach, three-course dining on the shoreline, and Champagne breakfast in-villa. Its range of special events over Christmas and the New Year include in-house Santa, Carollers, Champagne cocktails, gala dinners, and dancing. There is also a Kid’s Activities Calendar, featuring nature walks, treasure hunts, hermit crab racing, coconut bowling, and more.
Also known for its marine life is Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu in the Baa Atoll, a designated Unesco biosphere reserve. Positioning itself as rustic luxury, this is the place for those wanting to reconnect with nature. The resort features over-water accommodation, turquoise waters and white sandy beaches.
Take an underwater guided tour with a marine biologist while exploring the reefs, with an opportunity to spot the timid blacktip reef shark or friendly bottlenose dolphins. Other regular options include a cinema night on the beach, sunset from aboard a handcrafted dhoni, or big game fishing. For Lunar New Year, the resort is holding special events, including the showing of a classic Chinese film and a lavish seafood beach dinner.
Also part of the Coco Collection is Coco Bodu Hithi, in the north Male Atoll; with its over-water villas and picturesque vistas, it feels a world away. It, too, is hosting special activities over both festive seasons. Its Lunar New Year events are being held over four days, from February 15, and include Chinese cuisine dining, a noodle cart, and family games. Both Coco resorts are members of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.