In a secluded corner of the northern Maldives, this five-star, adults-only island resort is a super-chilled retreat, ideal for couples in search of an upscale, castaway experience.
The 45-minute seaplane transfer over the jewel-like atolls is just long enough to reset your headspace before drifting into life out on this sultry limb.
Staff greet new arrivals on a wooden jetty to hand out cooled towels to freshen up. Complimentary Champagne on offer during check-in at the sandy-floored reception ensures everyone is in good spirits before slipping away to a selection of beach bungalows and “floating” over-the-water suites.
Robinson Crusoe meets Italian chic with driftwood-style furniture, tree-stump tables and rustic palm-thatched roofs.
But while resting and recharging in unfussy surroundings is the overriding theme here, there are a few rather glamorous surprises.
The Veuve Clicquot-branded Green Carpet restaurant offers a shaded retreat in a garden setting. Or arrive James Bond-style, via speedboat, at its unique underwater restaurant, H20.
Food & Drink
Sink into The Sand, the main dining area, located on the palm-fringed beach, is where international dishes are prepared at bespoke cooking stations.
At suppertime, take a front-row seat around the open-air grill at the Rising Sun, a Japanese teppanyaki bar, where chefs whip up spicy Asian flavours.
At the resort’s unique, offshore, underwater H20 restaurant, diners descend a spiral staircase into an extraordinary glass arched structure 20ft below sea level. Tables are positioned facing out for a close-up view of the near-psychedelic marine life, while seafood delicacies such as king prawn bouillon and local lobster are served. Book the early evening sitting at 6.15pm to experience the transition from day to night beneath the ocean.
Back on dry land, Cheers Bar is a great place to chill by day, or in the evening with live music, DJ sets, cultural shows and themed under-the-stars parties.
Start the day with a sunrise yoga session or if you can peel yourself from your lounger, a spot of aqua aerobics, Pilates or volleyball. Learn to dive at the PADI-certified diving school which offers courses for all abilities or try fly-boarding and jet-skiing.
There’s a fully-equipped gym plus a well-stocked watersports centre with complimentary snorkelling equipment, paddleboards and kayaks. Free boat trips are also available from the hotel to nearby reefs for snorkelling or opt for a private snorkel tour on a speedboat.
Set on a boardwalk over the water, the resort’s Elizabeth Arden Spa has four double suites with glass-floor panels designed for spotting sea life.
During my morning all-over body massage I spied a ray and watched two baby sharks glide by before I eventually drifted off to sleep.
You can choose from a wide range of face and body treatments, which are tailored to individual requirements.
A simple stroll around this small, partially man-made island will lead you to the most dazzling white sands dotted with comfy beach pods for sunbathing, snoozing or chilling with a book.
Heavenly for swimming and floating, the surrounding warm, clear waters are home to harmless reef sharks, manta rays and the occasional turtle.
A hidden gem worth a visit is the Orchid house near the spa, where a small path leads around a dazzling display of spectacular varieties.
However one of the highlights for us was an afternoon boat ride in search of fun-loving dolphins. After spotting these happy creatures leaping from the waves, we then followed their graceful journey towards a golden sunset.
The 99 over-water villas and suites are spread over seven room categories and arranged along three piers facing the sunrise or sunset. Bungalows on the beach have private pools and couples’ free-standing, egg-shaped baths.
In my Dolphin Villa with pool, modern amenities such as USB points and a smart TV, weaved seamlessly with the rustic styling. Flanked by knotted rope lamps, the driftwood, king-sized bed faced sliding doors opening on to decking with a private pool and direct access to the water via wooden steps.
Couples seeking an even more luxurious experience can choose a larger Aqua Suite with private infinity pool. The priciest villa is the You & Me Suite, which comes with a large pool, gym, massage beds and open-plan lounge and dining room.
• The knowledge: Prices at You & Me by Cocoon Resort at Raa Atoll, Maldives, start from $375 (around £287) per room per night, based on two sharing, B&B. Half board, full board and all-inclusive rates are also available (youandmemaldives.com). Flights from London to Male with Qatar Airways, via a stop in Doha, start from £892 return (qatarairways.com). Seaplane transfers extra. More info at visitmaldives.com
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