How to make the most of an escape to the Maldives
Whether you're an adrenaline junkie, a spa fanatic or a fitness addict, we guarantee your perfect holiday to the Maldives* is out there; it's just a matter of choosing the right resort, activities and experiences for you.
The best bit? It's easy to underestimate the sheer diversity of activities you can find in the Maldives, which is why we've come to the rescue with a guide to our favourite things to do.
Getting to the Maldives: you will find a variety of great value breaks for all budgets when you book an escape to the Maldives with Mercury Holidays*.
You'll find some of the world's best spa resorts in the Maldives. Fancy heading below the waves for a deep tissue massage in an underwater treatment room?
Or a collagen-boosting facial carried out next to your very own infinity pool? You can do all of this and more in a country where spas are going all out to offer a fabulously wide range of treatments.
Resorts known for their wellbeing offerings include Six Senses Laamu* and Joali Being, which has dedicated programmes relating to everything from weight loss to mindfulness, although almost every resort will have a sizeable spa with a huge range of treatments and therapies.
Whether you're a snorkeller or a scuba diver, no visit to the Maldives is complete without an exploration beneath the waves.
Almost every resort island has a dive school and a packed schedule of excursions, ranging from guided snorkelling tours to trips designed with advanced scuba divers in mind.
Keen to try scuba diving for the first time? Sign up for a try dive. An instructor will explain the basics before you head underwater, diving to a maximum of around five metres. However, bear in mind that the Maldives' clear, shallow waters mean there's plenty for snorkellers to see, too.
Find out the location of the resort's house reef (a strip of coral reef metres from the sand) and take the time to explore it during snorkelling sessions; you'll be amazed at the variety of marine life you will see close to the surface.
In 2005, the Conrad Maldives* launched the world's first underwater dining destination, Ithaa Undersea Restaurant.
Since then, several others have opened, including one at the Hurawalhi Maldives* and OBLU XPERIENCE Ailafushi, a wallet-friendly resort just a short speedboat ride from Male's international airport.
Just try to ignore those guilt pangs when a swarm of tropical fish floats by as you're chowing down on your tuna carpaccio...
Keen to offset those air miles? Opt for one of the growing number of resorts which is embracing sustainability. Many resorts now grow large amounts of their own produce, while going all out to recycle previously discarded materials, whether glass, plastic or food waste.
Avoid extra air miles by opting for a resort which is accessible via speedboat rather than a seaplane, and take the time to research the resort's sustainability credentials
Does it utilise solar power, for example, or shun plastic bottles in favour of glass? When looking for sustainable resorts in the Maldives, keep an eye out for certifications such as EarthCheck or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Sign up for excursions
Take advantage of the activities and excursions on offer at your resort, many of which will be included. Excursions are great for meeting fellow guests as well as for finding out more about the region.
Typical experiences range from romantic sunset cruises to visits to nearby islands. Alternatively, crank up the fun factor by signing up for dolphin-spotting cruises or treating yourself to a "destination dining" experience, during which you dine at spectacular locations such as sandbanks in the middle of the ocean.
A large number of resorts in the Maldives now have art studios, giving you the opportunity to sign up for art classes and to create your own masterpieces. Some resorts take it one step further, offering lessons in everything from pottery to pastry skills.
In recent years, several of the resorts with the most impressive sustainability credentials have started sessions such as the chance to turn trash into treasure by making souvenirs from plastic marine waste.
One example is the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi*, where you can turn discarded fishing nets into tiny turtle pendants.
Ditch the kids
There's no shortage of adults-only resorts in the Maldives, but if you're travelling with kids in tow, there are still lots of opportunities to enjoy some child-free downtime.
Take the time to research what kid-friendly activities are on offer. Many resorts have kids' clubs with separate programmes for different age groups, and these often include areas and activity programmes designed strictly for teenagers.
If you're planning on some romantic dinners, ensure your resort offers babysitting services, or opt for a resort where younger children can sign up for evening activities, too.
Splash out on an over-water villa
Residing in an over-water villa doesn't necessarily require you to take out a second mortgage. If an over-water villa is a non-negotiable, consider resorts closer to the capital Male, where the international airport is located.
On average, seaplane journeys cost a minimum of £400, but if you opt for a resort which simply requires a speedboat transfer, these transport costs are almost always included, which means more money to splash out on more luxurious accommodation.
Learn a new skill
A holiday in the Maldives is a great opportunity to learn a new skill, whether it's with a cooking masterclass, an art lesson or a tennis masterclass.
Most resorts will run daily group and introductory fitness and well-being activity sessions which are free to join, whether it's acupuncture masterclasses or sessions with the resort's tennis pro.
Obviously, the hope is that you'll then pay to sign up for additional sessions, but there's no obligation to do so and it's a great way to try a wide range of activities in a short amount of time, especially if it's an activity you might not have access to back home.
Finally, don't forget to take some time to do absolutely nothing. After all, as much as we love a spot of self-improvement, the Maldives is all about relaxation, the benefits of which will be lost if you spend your holiday dashing from one activity to the next.
So make sure you pencil in some time to laze by the pool, sprawl on a sun lounger and sip sundowners as you watch the sun sink beneath the horizon.
Weather in the Maldives
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