What’s Hot in the Maldives

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Impossibly blue oceans, pristine white sands and barefoot luxury come as standard in the Maldives. And just when we thought that this destination couldn’t get any better we’re excited to add three new resorts to our collection of holidays in the Indian Ocean. Think sumptuous accommodations (outdoor bathrooms and private infinity pools anyone?) and unique experiences, from dining underwater to private island day trips. Surely it can’t get much better than this?

We’ve hand-picked our favourite newest 5*Maldives hotels that we’ll be checking out this year….

LUX* North Male Atoll

Opened in February 2019, LUX* North Male Atoll offers an unbelievable level of luxury. From its cutting edge design and abstract elegance, sublime LUX* ME Spa with overwater treatment villas and rooftop yoga, down to the surprise prizes found in messages in a bottle planted every morning at dawn, no detail is overlooked. But the defining feature that really elevates your stay – quite literally! – are the striking, spacious white-washed penthouse villas each with their own private plunge pool, extraordinary views over the lagoon and expansive rooftop sun deck.

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Sun Aqua Iru Veli

Deliciously laid-back, Sun Aqua Iru Veli puts a fresh outlook on tropical island bliss. We love the villas’ sleek and spacious bathrooms that redefine indoor outdoor living leading out towards your private pool as well as the extensive list of inclusions that come with the ‘Sun Aqua Signature’ All Inclusive Package – think dolphin cruises, windsurfing lessons and a jet ski ride for a new perspective of the island! Plus, there’s a house reef mere metres away from you at all times teeming with colourful marine life that snorkellers and divers will not want to miss.

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You & Me by Cocoon

The romantic and rustic You & Me by Cocoon – nestled on an exquisite adults-only private island in Raa Atoll – graced the shores of the Maldives just this month and is already making its way to the top of our honeymoon wish list! Quiet and secluded, this untouched corner is the perfect place to spend days relaxing on your private sun deck, savouring and marvelling as you dine underwater at H2O and sinking back into your choice of a hammock or lounge chair, beverage in hand, at Cheers Bar as you take in the live nightly entertainment. And if you’re looking for ultra-luxury, the You&Me Suite – a grand overwater villa complete with its own cinema, massage table, infinity pool, private gym and recreation room – will be your perfect fit.

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Saint Lucia 2019 Jazz Festival

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Jazz up your Caribbean holiday with The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, produced in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center! The Caribbean’s premier jazz festival will be gracing the shores of Saint Lucia this May for a week-long celebration, collaborating with New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center for the first time in its 27 year history.

The festival kicks off the wider Saint Lucia Summer Festival, with five unique events celebrating the talent and culture of the island between May and October. Here’s a round-up of what will be going on in Saint Lucia during summer 2019!

The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, produced in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center: 4 – 12 May

The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, produced in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center brings together a stellar line-up of world-renowned jazz artists including Christian McBride, Ledisi, Etienne Charles, Russell Hall, and Patrick Bartley acting as artists in-residence throughout the festival. There’ll also be performances by Gregory Porter, members of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and musicians from around the Caribbean. Our highlights?

  • Sunday, 5th May: Jazz on the Village with YolanDa Brown, Dianna Phillip and Xtra Luv & Friends
  • Thursday, 9th May: Gregory Porter with special guest Ledisi
  • Friday, 10th May: Nina and Me, a tribute to legendary jazz singer Nina Simone with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
  • Sunday, 12th May: Gospel Jazz brunch – with brunch included!

Saint Lucia Carnival: June & July

A month-long festival of colour, rhythm and creativity where Calypso, Soca and Steelpan music, along with shows and fetes take centre stage. The whole event ends with a two-day costumed parade.

Saint Lucia Roots & Soul Festival: 23 – 25 August

This three-day festival – with the main stage taking place on Pigeon Island – welcomes celebrated reggae, R&B, hip hop and soul artists to Saint Lucia. There’ll be performances by 80s soulster Leee John, R&B superstars Ginuwine and Mya and British reggae and pop legends UB40.

Saint Lucia Food and Rum Festival: 19 – 22 September

Treat your taste-buds at this festival showcasing the very best of Saint Lucia’s culinary and rum heritage. A number of award-winning chefs will be creating dishes inspired by the island’s unique cuisine, derived from French, British, African and Indian heritage.

Creole Heritage Month: October

Discover Saint Lucia’s rich cultural, ethnic and artistic heritage during this month-long festival filled with cultural expressions from art, music, cuisine and beyond! The festival culminates on the last Sunday of the month with a Jounen Kwéyòl/ Creole day.

Book your Saint Lucia Holiday with Best at Travel:

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Easter 2019 at Atlantis, The Palm

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Get ready for plenty of ‘eggciting’ activities as you celebrate Easter at Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai! There’s fun for the whole family at our favourite underwater-themed resort – we’re talking egg hunts, parties at Atlantis Kids Club, special baskets delivered by Wendall the Rabbit and a whole host of Easter-themed dining events.

Easter Egg Hunts

Underwater Egg Hunt

Put on your wetsuit and dive into the Ambassador Lagoon where special eggs filled with great surprises have been hidden underwater.

Dates: throughout Easter weekend

Eggventure Hunt

There are 50,000 eggs to be found at Aquaventure Waterpark! Glide down the Torrent River and grab one of the floating eggs before heading to the Candy Eggschange where you can swap yours for delicious Easter treats.

Dates: throughout Easter weekend


Eggscavation Hunt

Hidden throughout The Lost Chambers Aquarium are a host of candy ‘relics’ waiting to be found – a fun way for younger guests (ages 3 – 12) to experience the myth of the lost city of Atlantis.

Dates: throughout Easter weekend

Underwater Egg Hunt

Easter Fun For Everyone!

Eggstra Special Basket Deliveries

Arrange a surprise straight to your hotel room this Easter at Atlantis, The Palm! Little ones can receive an Eggstra Special Basket full of goodies delivered by Wendall the Rabbit.

Dates: throughout Easter weekend


The Big Bunny Bash

There will be a fun-filled Easter party at Atlantis Kids Club with the ultimate egg hunt, arts and crafts, music, a spectacular Pinata party and much more!

Dates: Thursday, 18th April


Scuba Easter Bunny

Is it a shark? Is it a stingray? No it’s the Scuba Easter Bunny! He’ll be diving amongst the 65,000 marine animals in the Ambassador Lagoon every day – don’t forget to bring your camera!

Dates: 1PM & 6PM throughout Easter weekend


The Amazing Family Race

Eggcellent prizes are up for grabs as you and your family race around the resort solving a series of clues and unique challenges – all to be crowned the winners of The Amazing Family Race!

Dates: Thursday, 18th April

Wendell The Rabbit

Dining Just Got Eggciting

Easter Bunny Brunch at Wavehouse

Eat, drink and be entertained at Wavehouse this Easter at Atlantis, The Palm! While you work your way through starters, mains and dessert there’ll be plenty of activities for children – and their parents – including an egg hunt, movies, face painting and more. Plus prizes will be handed out for the winning costume – and kids under 10 go FREE!

Dates: Saturday, 20th April


Saturday & Sunday Roast at Bread Street Kitchen & Bar

If Easter just isn’t Easter without a roast, you’ll love the Saturday and Sunday roasts with all the trimmings at Bread Street Kitchen & Bar.

Dates: 20th – 21st April


Bread Street Kitchen & Bar Easter Brunch

A family-friendly take on the classic Dubai Brunch – with an Easter twist, of course! To keep little ones entertained during the feasting there’ll be playground activities and egg hunting.

Dates: Friday, 19th April


Plato’s Afternoon Tea

High Tea has been given an Easter twist with a selection of individual Easter cakes – as well as the traditional assortment of pastries, jams, sandwiches and English Tea.

Dates: 18 – 21st April


Kaleidoscope Easter Lunch

Sit down to an Easter Feast at Kaleidoscope where roasts, seafood and international dishes from Asia, the Mediterranean North Africa and Arabia will be served up.

Dates: Sunday, 21st April

Call our Dubai travel experts to book your Easter Holiday to Atlantis, The Palm or head to our website


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One&Only The Palm, Dubai

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Get ready to put One&Only The Palm to the very top of your ‘Favourite Hotels Ever’ list. Chic and glamorous without being glitzy, this intimate beach resort stands out in a city full of luxury properties.


Recommended By

Alwyn, our Middle East Product Assistant, who grew up in the region. He’s since been back and can’t fault the hotel’s exquisite Arabesque architecture and expansive, palm-lined swimming pool – plus The Pastry Library at STAY amongst the incredible dining selection!


On the far point of Dubai’s Palm Island, graced with its own private peninsula, beautifully secluded beach and dazzling views of the spectacular New Dubai skyline.

Best For

Boutique, contemporary and with dishes served up under the guidance of a Michelin-star chef, this is a must-stay for couples looking for an indulgent yet stylish getaway.


What To Do & Where To Eat

If you manage to pull yourself away from your private oversized poolside cabana complete with lounge areas and wet bar – we won’t blame you if you can’t – you’ll be happy to know the exceptional Guerlain Spa is right next door! Every treatment here is customised exclusively to you and is a truly sensual experience. Or swap relaxation for action and hit the waves with one of the hotel’s watersports activities including kayaking, windsurfing and water skiing.

With sumptuous spaces, a spectacular variety of international menus and an unparalleled attention to detail, dining at One&Only The Palm is a resort highlight. Run by a Michelin-star chef, STAY by Yannick Alléno serves passionate yet playful French dishes, while the overwater 101 Dining Lounge & Bar with its unbeatable city skyline views is the place for sunset cocktails.


Our Favourite Room

While even the entry-level rooms – the largest in Dubai – feel more like suites with their spacious interiors, it’s the Palm Beach Executive Suite that hits the top of our ‘must sleep in’ list. A 25 metre squared plunge pool steps from the beachfront sands, Moorish and Andalusian furnishings highlighted with geometric patterns and tiles, and a grand integrated dining and living room are all impressive inclusions. Not to mention the personalised round-the-clock service from your designated host and the magical atmosphere of the room lit up by lanterns at twilight.

Executive room
Executive room pool

Good to Know

Although the resort is primarily couples-focused, there is a complimentary supervised kids’ club with activities such as camel riding, henna painting, belly dancing, sand sculpturing and evening Arabian camping. There is also a children’s menu at ZEST, complimentary access to Aquaventure Waterpark for every three days of your stay and sporting lessons for younger travellers.

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Golf Club in Maldives: Resorts with Golf Courses in Maldives

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Golf, whenever this word comes in our mind what we think? a game of Elite class people. Do you know who the inventor of this game was? Actually, the fact is that nobody knows the actual origin of this game but the present-day golf was introduced in the 15th century in Scotland. In this game, a person uses a club to hit the ball. This game consists different type of Clubs to hit the ball. The Golf Course can consist minimum 9 and maximum 18 holes and the balls are hit to these holes in series in as minimum strokes as possible. However, the golf course is so designed to make to the game interesting and difficult. An unleveled land is also designed with teeing ground, a number of the water hazard and sand Bunker, out of bound areas, Flag stick, holes etc. Well, you seem very excited to play the Golf in one of the Island completely surrounded by the water, if so? Ok then. Here we come with a list of some Best Golf Course resorts of Maldives:

Velaa Private Island Maldives

The Resort is located in Noonu Atoll, which is in North side of Maldives. This Luxury Resort has a big Golf Course which is named as Velaa Golf Academy. The Golf Course is having 9 tees (all the tees are different from each other), 6 Greens, 7 Sand Bunkers and one Water hazard (or can say a lake which full of turquoise blue water). The Academy also provides a lesson for the beginners. Moreover, it is such a beautiful place surrounded by ocean, and certainly, a golfer enjoys a lovely swing middle of the beautiful island country Maldives.

Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa Maldives

An elite private hideaway is a perfect word for this resort. This island is known as Villingili Island and is located in Addu atoll of Maldives. The resorts have 9 hole golf course consisting of Par 3 and Par 4 holes. This golf course is named as Villingili Golf Course and it is designed by the resort itself. This Golf Course is escalated in the area of 1111 yards. You can see their updated price list on their website. Its beautiful Golf course in Maldives is almost a second paradise and located along the beach, sometimes you may hit it directly in the ocean, so play with skills.

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Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai

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Experience the very best of luxury escapism at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai. Inspired by the palaces of the Ottoman Empire, opulence and grandeur are found in equal measure with glittering chandeliers, hand-painted murals and plenty of marble in the impressive lobby. We’re sure you’ll agree that this is one of the most stunning hotels you’ll ever stay in!

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Pool
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Dining

Recommended By

Geshan, one of our Senior Middle East Travel Experts. He loves the relaxing atmosphere and incredible décor.  And it’s a great pick for families with complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark™ and Sinbad’s Kids Club included!


An exclusive and sought-after spot on the western crescent of the Palm Jumeirah with sweeping views of the city skyline.

Best For

With its collection of fine dining options and spacious rooms, suites and residences that really deliver on luxury, this elegant resort is made for leisure-seekers.

Jumeirah Zabeel Dining
Jumeirah Zabeel Swimming

What To Do & Where To Eat

You’ll find an almost limitless number of opportunities for relaxation at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. Our favourites? Days beside the palm-lined infinity pool overlooking the Arabian Gulf and at the award-winning Talise Ottoman Spa – the largest in the Middle East – with its authentic Turkish hammam, steam, sauna, snow rooms and two thalassotherapy pools. Want to do more? There’s a private cinema with daily screenings and the Music Hall, a dining and cultural entertainment venue. If we had to choose just one out of the nine different restaurants? It has to be the Friday Plaj Beach Brunch by Al Nafoorah for all-day drinking and dining.

Talise Ottoman Spa
Private Cinema

Our Favourite Room

Follow in the footsteps of celebrity and royalty, and check yourself into the Grand Imperial Suite. On the highest level of the hotel, you’ll be greeted to sumptuously decorated interiors including separate living and dining rooms plus your very own personal spa complete with private sauna. Luxury continues with an expansive outdoor terrace and butler service.

Grand Imperial Suite Terrace
Grand Imperial Suite

Good To Know

We highly recommend staying on Half Board when at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. When you do, you’ll be able to make the most of the excellent dine-around plan that lets you eat and drink at up to 60 restaurants across Jumeirah Resorts.

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Finolhu, Maldives


Quirky, cool and very playful… Finolhu is a luxury island getaway with a difference. This retro-style beach club resort ditches the traditional idea of a ‘fly-and-flop’ holiday in favour of a vibe much more fun. Think acrobats and stilt walkers round the pool in the evenings, a 70s-inspired spa where hits from Aretha Franklin are played during treatments and ‘press for champagne’ phones in every over-water or beachfront villa. Chic couples and fun-loving families and friends will soon discover there’s more to do in the Maldives than laze on the sands: watch movies on the beach, stroll the 1.8 kilometre long sandbank or snorkel alongside manta rays.

Recommended By

Renée, our Head of Marketing, who visited this fabulously fun resort for 4-nights in October 2018 with a friend. The ultimate girl’s holiday!


In the Maldives’ Baa Atoll, a UNESCO world biosphere, Finolhu is reached by a scenic 30 minute seaplane transfer from Malé. You’ll be greeted upon arrival in Malé by the resort’s representatives and whisked away to a private lounge exclusively for guests of The Small Maldives Island Co. to which Finolhu belongs.

Best For

Couples and friends alike. This island is all about fun and there’s plenty to do. Four days was definitely not long enough to experience all that this resort has to offer. Make sure you allow enough time to chill and relax.

What To Do & Where To Eat

The highlight of a stay here has to be the Fish & Crab Shack, located on the island’s 1km sandbank. Catch the boat across from the main jetty and stroll back to walk off the guaranteed indulgence! This is a superb feet-in-the-sand dining experience. Think buckets of sumptuous fresh seafood, smooth island beats and delicious signature cocktails. Although our recommendation is the sparkling rosé… There’s four restaurants in total on the island including Kanusan, an award winning over water dining destination serving incredible Asian cuisine from its open kitchen.

Days can be spent relaxing by the resorts stunning pool or perhaps indulging in a massage in the CoverClub spa where chandelier-lit divans create a perfectly chilled ambience in each 10 pastel-coloured treatment huts. Men don’t have to miss out as Finolhu has its own barber.

Guests will a little more energy may want to sign-up for a TRX training class with the in-resort UFC GYM Coach and Master Trainer, Geneviève Soszynski. Her classes are tough but incredibly fun – and provide the perfect excuse for treating yourself to that extra signature cocktail! Of course Finolhu offers all the usual Maldivian watersports and excursions but the fantastic gym facilities, activities such as X Jet Blades and surfing really set this island apart for fitness enthusiasts.

Our Favourite Room

The two-bedroom overwater villas with either sunset or sunrise views. These spacious villas offers two bedrooms each with a king bed and their own outdoor bathroom and rain shower. The Marshall sound system and retro record player provide the soundtrack to this blissful retreat. And the dedicated butler and champagne phone ensures that you’ll be spoilt from the moment you arrive to when you sadly have to depart. Oh, and did we mention the private fresh water pool with outdoor terrace and sun loungers? This truly is heaven on earth.

Good To Know

When you stay on All Inclusive at Finolhu, return seaplane transfers, Full Board Dine Around at the four on-site restaurants and a fantastic selection of alcoholic beverages are included.

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Marigot Bay Resort & Marina

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Right on the water’s edge of ‘the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean’ Marigot Bay Resort & Marina is upscale island holidaying. There’s an understated feel of luxury and down to earth atmosphere at this serene escape thanks to the friendly staff, beautifully appointed rooms and suites and stunning location.

Marigot Bay Jetty
Marigot Bay Poolscape

Recommended By

Renée, our Head of Marketing, stayed here and came back raving about the incredible service and stunning setting. What this resort lacks in beach it certainly makes up for in jaw-dropping views!


On the west side of Saint Lucia, tucked into verdant hillside overlooking a stunning bay filled with luxury yachts and sailing boats.

Best For

Leisure-seeking travellers who are after an intimate Caribbean getaway, without wanting to compromise on five star luxury. And while there’s a more grown up vibe, families are warmly welcomed – plus there’s the daily Zando’s Activity Programme with arts and crafts, nature walks and storytelling.

Marigot Bay Deck
Marigot Bay Marina

What To Do & Where To Eat

Time at Marigot Bay Resort & Marina is best spent in, on and by the water –whether that’s lying back on a floating lounge chair in the upper infinity pool, catching the complimentary two minute water taxi to LaBas beach or snorkelling to spot rainbow coloured fish. Prefer adventure to relaxation? You’ll find sunset cruises for two, river kayaking, hiking and zip lining through the rainforest and daily rum tasting sessions. Begin each morning with an excellent buffet breakfast at The Grill at 14*61 with banana bread, fresh fruit and made-to-order eggs, then listen to live music at the Rum Cave in the evenings or head to the Tree House for a romantic private dining experience. Don’t miss taking part in the Saint Lucian BBQ on Tuesday nights!

Marigot Bay Pool View
Marigot Bay Private Dining

Our Favourite Room

It could only be the Bay View Suites for their scenic panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. We love that plantation shutters and French doors make the suites bright and airy and that every one comes with a private balcony or patio as well as an open-plan kitchen, washer and dryer.

Marigot Bay Room
Marigot Bay Room

Good To Know

Let yourself by taken care of by by your very own personal assistant – meaning you won’t have to lift a finger! They’ll get in touch prior to check-in to pre-stock your mini bar according to your personal preferences and will be on hand throughout your stay to help with restaurant reservations and share their local knowledge.

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Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

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Adventure awaits beneath the towering Arabian arch of Atlantis, The Palm – Dubai’s most iconic ocean-themed hotel! Inspired by the legend of the Lost City there’s fish-shaped door handles, shell patterned carpets and luxury underwater suites. You’ll find everything you could possibly need – or want – from a luxury getaway here with award-winning dining, an on-site waterpark and plenty of activities to keep you entertained, no matter what your age.

Atlantis The Palm Aerial
Aquaventure Waterpark

Recommended By

Dee, our Middle East Product Manager, for the ultimate fun-filled escape in Dubai. Also, there’s excellent kids stay FREE offers available year-round when you book with Best at Travel!


At the very tip of Dubai’s famous Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis, The Palm has one of the best locations in the entire city with incredible views across the Arabian Gulf.

Best For

This is one of our top picks for a family destination in Dubai thanks to its two excellent clubs. First up: Atlantis Kids Club where little ones are entertained with arts and crafts and supervised activities. While Club Rush is for teens with a dance floor, games lounge and regular movie screenings.

The Lost Chambers
Atlantis The Palm Royal Pool

What To Do & Where To Eat

Make the most of unlimited complimentary access to Aquaventure Waterpark where you can flow round the Lazy River or shoot along a waterside through a glass-enclosed shark tank. Also, you can enjoy FREE entry to the Lost Chambers Aquarium, home to 65,500 marine animals including albino alligators! And we promise you’ll never go hungry with 23 restaurants and bars  from including Michelin-star and celebrity chef dining. We love brunch – a Dubai ‘must do’ activity – at Saffron where you’ll be treated to 20 live cooking stations and music by the resident DJ.

Ossiano Seafood Restaurant
Aquaventure Waterpark

Our Favourite Room

The Poseidon and Neptune Suites for their floor-to-ceiling views of the Ambassador Lagoon, private elevator access and extra perks from chilled Dom Perignon champagne and personal butlers – no request is too big or too small.

Underwater Suite
Underwater Suite

Good To Know

Upgrade to Imperial Club for access to the Club Lounge with complimentary daily breakfast, afternoon tea and evening drinks. PLUS you’ll benefit from private check-in and check-out to really make you feel like a VIP.

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The Alternative Guides to Dubai


Digging far deeper than the ‘Burj’ and the ‘Palm’, our four Alternative Guides to Dubai are geared towards fashionistas, culturistas, families and well-being fans who want to venture away from the confines of their hotels and experience something a little different.

Because there’s so much more to discover beyond Dubai’s aquariums, shopping malls and indoor ski slopes. Luxury hotels, white sand beaches and warm weather aside, our Alternative Guides share expert tips such as where you’ll discover Dubai’s only plastic-free raw food vegan café or the most instagrammable cocktail bars for trend-setters and unusual workouts from skateparks to aerial yoga for fitness fanatics. Or the secrets of under-the-radar Alserkal Avenue, the hub of Dubai’s booming modern art scene for culture lovers. And, for families wanting to see more than just beaches, we’ll share a local’s guide to child friendly hangouts for some hard-to-beat family bonding time.

Read our Alternative Guides to Dubai: 

Book your Alternative Dubai holiday:

Get out there and do something a little different. Our 5 night holiday packages start from just £569pp! Visit our website to view our tailor-made itineraries or give us a call today to get expert advice from our travel specialists. See our best Dubai offers.

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Get the Inside Track on Dubai’s Booming Health and Wellness Scene


With glorious year-round sunshine and a coastline lapped by shimmering turquoise water, it’s no surprise that Dubai is one of the world’s hottest destinations for those looking for some all-important R&R. But beyond the body-boosting benefits Vitamin D, Dubai is a destination where wellness is booming: over the last five years the sun-soaked Emirate’s health scene has flourished, with the launch of flavour-packed vegan brunches and some of the world’s hottest new exercise classes. Here we give you the inside track on where to eat, exercise and chill during your holiday in Dubai.

Master an Olympic sport at XDubai Skatepark

Think skateboarding is a sport for surly teens killing time on their school break? Think again. The up-and-coming sport is set to make its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and if you’re looking to hone your core and challenge your brain,  it’s one of the coolest new skills to master. Dubbed by many as the ‘new surfing’, it’s a sport that you can hone in your own time, but why not give yourself a head start at XDubai Skatepark – the largest skatepark in the UAE. The vast space is a mind-boggling maze of flatbanks, craters, up-down rails and bowled corners. Not sure what that means? No problem – you can book into one-on-one hour-long lessons that will teach you the key moves.

Lift your feet off the ground at Define yoga

Dubai has become a hotbed of restorative new yoga experiences. Full moon yoga beneath a starlit sky? You bet. An annual yoga festival, complete with multiple stages visited by 13,000 keen yogis? Of course. After a day of lazing on the beach or racking up the steps exploring Dubai’s malls, the coolest place to relax and rewind is the Define Yoga studio. Define Yoga may have made its start in the US, but it’s now Dubai’s leading hangout for hammock yoga, where you’ll elevate your yoga skills by ta

king on new moves in a series of fabric hammocks which drape down from the ceiling. The class will bring a whole new meaning to lengthen and release, and expert instructors are on hand to make sure you leave your class with a brag-worthy Insta story.

Stretch weary limbs with The Stretch Studio

Long-haul flights can play havoc with your body, but you can fast-track your recovery by booking a stretching session with a flexologist at The Stretch Studio. The sessions improve flexibility, motion, relieves stress on joints and even re-aligns the muscles in your body! It might sound a little intense, but really your stretching your muscles in the best way possible and with the help of a professional. Forget spending the first few days of your holiday feeling stiff and sleepy – with this you’ll feel fresh and nimble.

Devour a vegan brunch at Organic Foods & Cafe

Dubai may be famous for its decadent brunches, but it’s not all limitless oysters and free-flowing champagne. Organic Foods & Cafe is a family run business that stocks over 10,000 hormone- and chemical-free products sourced from family run farms around the world. Pop in to one of their shops for the Long Breakfast – a feast of healthy delicious eggs, yoghurt, fruit and more, or check out their Vegan Brunch. Held over one weekend every month (check the site for dates) it’s a hot contender for the best vegan brunch the world – one that’ll have even the most avid meat-eater queuing up for another serving of gluten- and dairy-free kale chowder.

Relax in Al Barari’s peaceful gardens and spa

Venture into the lush green world of Al Barari and you’ll soon forget that Dubai is in fact a desert. The vast oasis, just a 25-minute taxi from downtown, is home to a staggering collection of themed gardens, naturally landscaped lakes and freshwater streams – along with the region’s largest privately owned plant nursery. At the heart of the super serene space is the Heart & Soul Spa, a peaceful, light-filled haven that’s the most relaxing spa experience in the region. The only problem is deciding what to pick: the treatment menu features facials and massages from luxurious Australian and Japanese brands, but our choice has to be the sound bath ritual, which uses the power of sound to release negative emotions, leaving you feeling ultra calm and content.

Go raw at Super Natural Kitchen in Galeries Lafayette

Eating out doesn’t have to be naughty on the waist line. Super Natural Kitchen is Dubai’s only 100% raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and plastic free restaurant and it’s one of the Emirate’s hippest hangouts for healthy and wholesome cuisine. They are known for their yummy raw cakes like salted caramel and the jam-packed menu is created by head chef  and London trained Athena Matheou. She is really pushing the boundaries with plant-based foods. Tucked away on the 2nd floor of the Galeries Lafayette wing of the Dubai Mall, the restaurant is the perfect pitstop for shoppers looking to fuel-up on filling yet healthy dishes.

Break a sweat with Orangetheory Fitness

It’s only been a few months since Orangetheory Fitness opened up at Dubai’s Times Square Centre, but it’s already hailed as the most hip and hardcore work out in town. The 60-minute interval based training programme will see you moving through a series of sweat-inducing cardio exercises before a serious muscle-quivering strength-training session. Instead of just slogging away like most exercise classes, you’ll be given a monitor that will track your heart-rate on a big screen, pushing you to work in the orange ‘fat burning’ zone – and helping you to burn calories for up to 36 hours after you stumble out of the door. Looking for an incentive to work harder? It’s right here.

Read our Alternative Guides to Dubai: 

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Dubai for Fashionistas: the Best shops, Restaurants and Experiences


With opulent multi-story malls, sprawling spice markets and cool little boutiques, it’s no wonder that Dubai is one of the world’s most famous shopping destinations. Not only that: the glittering Emirati is the place to see and be seen – whether its rubbing shoulders with boho celebrities in the trendy independent stores in the design district, sipping cocktails at a bar-with-a-view or Instagramming the interiors of Dubai’s most colourful and eclectic restaurants. Whether you’re a hardcore fashionista or just love to browse the shops, here are our top picks for a stylish getaway in Dubai.

Find a vintage-style gown at Bambah

You may not associate Dubai with vintage shopping, but when Maha Abdul Rasheed opened Bambah, one of Dubai’s first high-end vintage fashion boutiques, it was an instant hit. Maha has since developed the Bambah brand to create her own original pieces inspired by the 1950s. From glamorous ball gowns to vintage-style everyday wear, the Bambah boutiques are filled with a staggering collection of sensational prints, colours and cuts that you are unlikely to find at home. Even if you’re not looking for a glam new dress, it’s a brilliant place to browse.


Sip cocktails at Siddharta Lounge by Buddha Bar

Chilled-out beats, zesty cocktails and candlelight set the sauve scene at Siddharta Lounge, one of the most sophisticated bars in the city. Grab a seat on a silky cushion in the tiered garden, which has 360-degree views over the the Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and the Arabian Gulf, and indulge in a spot of people watching – this is where Dubai’s wealthy and famous come to eat and drink. Choose from a drinks menu of fruity handcrafted cocktails and champagne, while the pinxtos and sushi menu is perfect if you’re feeling peckish.

Overhaul your wardrobe with Style Me Divine

If you’re feeling uninspired by your holiday wardrobe then book a one-on-one shopping session with one of Dubai’s leading personal styling agencies, Style Me Divine. The three-hour-long sessions can range from closet detoxes – which will help you decipher what you think you need, versus what you actually need – to a ‘travel in style’ session, which will help you pick out several stylish pieces that seamlessly blend fashion and function. With the help of one of Dubai’s leading stylists, you’ll start to reconsider your choices, helping you create a super chic look that makes you feel stylish, and comfortable in your own skin.

Style Me Divine

Get a manicure at Kozma and Kozma 

At Kozma and Kozma they do things differently – and that’s why we love it. It may position itself as a beauty and nail salon, but it’s so much more than that: a trip here is an experience for all the senses, whether it’s sampling popping candy from the sweet jar or Instagramming the salon’s floral chandelier – yes, that’s a thing. Their treatment menu is equally fun – pick from a PomPom Monster Pedicure, where your feet sit in a pool of purple gel-filled balls, or a signature Tropical Island Manicure, where your hands are revived with a brown sugar crystal scrub, before a relaxing hand massage. Of course, nail colours and designs go beyond the ordinary: crystal, chrome or candy are de rigueur, so you can forget the everyday nude.

Book brunch at Flamingo Room by Tashas 

Dubai is Instagram heaven: with topaz-blue sea, shimmering skyscrapers and slick surroundings, your grid will be filled with wanderlust-inspiring pictures. For the best food and interior shots in town, head to Flamingo Room by Tashas. The ultra-chic and glamorous room features dusty-pink ceilings, ‘70s-inspired statement lighting, zebra-print fabrics and plush velvet chairs, while the dishes – including lobster benedict – are some of the prettiest meals in town. Book ahead to dine at one of the most stylish spots in Dubai.

Flamingo Room by Tashas in Dubai

Shop and eat at Comptoir 102

This super-stylish concept store is adored by Dubai’s fashion-forward bohemian crowd, and no wonder. The vast light-filled space is inspired by a 1970s Californian villa, and has been conceived as a low-key home, with a lounge, dining area and terrace. Shelves are lined with the finest crockery, home linens, silk pyjamas and dainty jewellery – all of which have been hand-picked by the effortlessly cool French owners – while the popular onsite cafe goes big on organic dishes, gluten-free pancakes and detoxifying juices. Pop in to shop, but be sure to stay for lunch.

Accessorise your life at Mochi

Located in the heart of Dubai’s design district, Mochi is an independent boutique that celebrates the art of embroidery. Founded by designer Ayah Tabari in 2013, the store has had a quick and well-deserved rise to fashion fame, with celebrities including Cara Delevingne and Georgia Jagger sporting Tabari’s colourful creations. The vibrant and eclectic pieces – ranging from chandelier earrings to rainbow-hued kaftans – have been handcrafted by local artisans who use traditional embroidery methods to create contemporary pieces. The result? One of the most exciting shops in Dubai.

Read our Alternative Guides to Dubai: 

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Fun for the Whole Family in Dubai


Ski slopes? Check. Terrifying waterslides? Check. Epic rollercoasters? Check check check. When it comes to family holidays, Dubai is a destination filled with options. But beyond the obvious family hangouts is a holiday destination that is brimming with many lesser-known sights and experiences, with fun new play parks, museums and food stops popping up every year. With that in mind, here are our top picks for a relaxed and fun-filled trip to Dubai.

Visit The Yard for farm animals, picnics and outdoor yoga

Family adventures in Dubai don’t have to be expensive or extravagant, so if you’re looking for a laid-back day out, then The Yard is just the place. Located in the Al Khawaneej area, the newly opened space is a great to spot to indulge in simple family pleasures, from having a picnic in the beautiful meadow area, to petting the furry farm animals. There are plenty of family photo opportunities, too, whether it’s next to the 18m-tall windmill, in front of the the colourful murals or on the Promise Bridge, where you can declare your love for your partner and attach a padlock – like Paris, but better, of course.

Last Exit Dubai

Spend the evening at Last Exit’s fun food truck parks 

Whatever food you’re craving on your trip to Dubai you’ll find it here: decadent brunches, wholesome vegan pancakes or messy burgers, there’s a restaurant to suit you, and your family. For a casual and fun-packed meal out, check out the popular food truck gatherings from Last Exit. There are four outposts dotted across Dubai, and the lively spaces, complete with live music, are filled with the best food trucks in the region. Try crepes from the Saddle Cafe, Poco Loco for flavour-packed tacos and chicken wraps from Hot Chix, or swing by the Jebel Ali Max X location for Mad Max-themed trucks. Don’t miss Just For Kids, a truck that’s kitted out with friendly monster mascots.

Stimulate body and mind at Oli Oli interactive museum

Oli Oli may be described as an interactive children’s museum, but that doesn’t do this stimulating rainbow-hued play area justice. The two-floor indoor space is filled with natural light, has plenty of space for kids to run wild and the best bit – eight interactive zones with over 40 activities. The themed areas – think water play, an air zone for building paper rockets and a fort building zone – encourage children to be curious and adventurous. Don’t miss Toshi’s nets – a vast room of multi-coloured nylon that’s been crocheted into climbing walls, swings and tunnels by 77-year-old Japanese textile artist, Toshiko MacAdam.

Oli Oli interactive museum

Feed turtles at the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Programme 

For a fun, free and educational morning out, see the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Programme in action at Jumeirah Al Naseem. The expert team here are in charge of rescuing turtles and nursing them back to life, before releasing them into the sea. The turtles wear trackers, and the team continue to monitor their progress, letting you and your family check back to the Facebook page to see where each turtle has got to. The enclosure is open all day every day, but visit on Wednesday at 11am for a chance to feed everything from 60kg loggerheads to junior hawksbills.

Go climbing at XPark Junior

Sandpits, slides and climbing ropes – children will have their fill of fun at Dubai’s newest play park. Located just off Kite Beach – a great spot for older children to try kite surfing and skate boarding – the shaded play area is made up of colourful flower beds, wood chippings and trees instead of concrete and rubber play mats. After they’ve tumbled around the playground and hurtled down the slide there’s a small petting zoo with a cute pony and relaxed rabbits to hold, plus a shaded fountain area for cooling off.

XPark Junior Dubai

Ride trucks at Dig It 

Watch your children get behind the wheel of a pedal-powered tractor, master the art of controlling the arm and bucket of a mini digger and even explore the cabin of a real-size digger, at Dubai’s new Dig It. Located in Springs Souk, the play park has been specially designed to help children learn to team build, but that’s the half of it. Children will see their miniature trucks brought to life, and also get to try out lego car racing, driving remote control RC trucks and soft play. The only problem? When you have to drag them away… 

See crocodiles, hippos and tigers at Dubai Safari

More than just a safari park, Dubai Safari is a game-changing wildlife enclosure that’s the plush home of 2,000 animals representing 250 species. Along with cheetahs, giraffes and hippos, you can take in the world’s first drive-through crocodile exhibit, and the UAE’s only drive-through hippo and tiger exhibit, where you’ll see the animals roaming through their vast surroundings. Don’t miss the Safari Village, home to the baboon canyon, where over 70 baboons live together in one large troop, and the Arabian Village, where the Dubai Safari Conservation team are on hand to tell you how they are reintroducing animals into the wild.

Read our Alternative Guides to Dubai: 

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How to Get your Culture Fix in Dubai


Dubai may be famous for its palm-shaped islands, crazy-high buildings and calm, pristine beaches, but beyond the obvious holiday hangouts you will discover a destination shaped by people from all over the world. Get your culture fix by visiting the lofty galleries run by the region’s most respected artists, try out one of Dubai’s oldest traditions of pearl diving, or take to the street to explore the local food scene. Think Dubai is just shopping and sunbathing? Think again.

Visit the Design Dubai District (D3) for Emirati couture and contemporary art

This huge urban design space is the hip hangout of Dubai’s art-loving crowd. Hosting pop-up fashion stores, temporary art installations, design studies and cool cafes, it’s a brilliant place to discover local emerging talent. Before your visit, check out the website: it’s stacked with workshops you can get involved in, from mastering the art of painting with watercolours, to learning to draw with your mouth – yes, really. When you’re not picking up a skill, peruse the shops. The Lighthouse is great for luxe home accessories while the Craft Cafe serves the best tumeric latte in the area. 

 Design Dubai District

Watch falconry displays at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve 

Beyond Dubai’s shimmering skyscrapers is a wilder, unspoilt desert that’s waiting to be discovered. Take a trip the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a vast and peaceful swathe of desert designed to protect and preserve the local flora and fauna. Try out desert activities, including dune bashing and camel trekking, but don’t leave without witnessing a falconry display. Falconry is an age-old tradition in the country, and the huge birds used to play a vital role in the hunt for food. You can see the majestic birds in action, hear about their breed and characteristics from the falconer and get up-close pictures.

Explore the neighbourhoods on a street food tour

To really get under the skin of a destination you need to eat the local food, so loosen your belt for a brilliant tour with the foodie guides at Frying Pan Adventures. The four-hour-long Little India on a Plate tour takes you through Dubai’s oldest and most vibrant neighborhood, where you’ll sample traditional Indian curries and snacks at six local eateries.  The half-day Dubai Souks and Creekside Food Walk is a great chance to hear about the history of the spice- and textile-packed souks, while sampling traditional Indian, Arabic and Iranian delicacies. Dubai is home to a fantastic blend of cultures, culinary techniques and flavours, so come hungry and prepare to eat. A lot.

Dubai Street Food

Gallery hop through Al Fahidi

Take a stroll through the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, close to Dubai Creek, for an insight into life before the Emirates were formed in 1971. Dubai’s Sikki Art Fair may be hosted here every March, but art lovers should head to Al Fahidi at all times of the year, ducking into the small galleries – which are located in the courtyards of the old houses – and chatting to local artists. Swing by The Majis Gallery, which was founded in 1989. The space used to be the number one artist hangout, and is now a space lined with paintings, sculptures, glasswork and photography. Also seek out XVA to see the best of contemporary Middle Eastern art.

Visit super-cool Alserkal Avenue for art and workshops

For under-the-radar art make a trip to Alserkal Avenue, the hub of Dubai’s booming modern art scene. Set in the emirate’s warehouse district, the uber-cool, laid-back space is now crammed with things to see and do – from pop-up street concerts to life drawing workshops. Recent exhibitions include the colourful large-scale works of Kenny Scharf and Philip Taaffe, but if you’re not here for the art then visit for the cool independent stores. Chocolate lovers should head to Mirzam, where dark, rich bars are made using only three ingredients: cocoa beans, unrefined cane sugar and cocoa butter. Elsewhere is The Flipside, Dubai’s only independent record shop – leave time for a browse.

Diving for Pearls in Dubai

Dive for pearls

Pearl diving is an emirati tradition that dates back a staggering 1,000 years, and although pearl diving isn’t a major part of daily life in Dubai today, you can still learn about the incredible adventures of former pearl divers, and even have a go yourself. Tours are led by Major Ali Saqar Sultan Suwaidi, a third-generation diver, who’ll accompany you on a traditional dhow out into the Arabian Gulf, recounting his experiences as a pearl diver, and explaining why pearls have played a huge part in the region’s growth and history. After a lunch of fresh fish and salad it’s your turn: slip into authentic Emirati divers overhauls and jump into the emerald water, diving down to scour the sandy bed for pearl-filled oysters.

Take a dip in the mountain town of Hatta

Surrounded by the vast, sun-scorched Hajar Mountains, Hatta is a refreshing day-trip from central Dubai, thanks to its humidity-free climate and magnificent mountain scenery. To really make the most of it, book onto a safari tour. You’ll travel by 4X4 to the restored old fort of Hatta, where you can stroll through peaceful courtyards and see the Juma Mosque that dates back to 1780. After a bit of history, you head to the crystal-clear Hatta Rock Pools – fresh water springs that are carved out of the river bed. Cool off in the waterfall, float on your back and gaze up at the cloudless sky.

Read our Alternative Guides to Dubai: 

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Escape to Excellence


Step inside a set of large striking black doors and find an ultra-contemporary and sophisticated premium All Inclusive beach hotel… welcome to the truly excellent Excellence El Carmen!

Want to know what a typical day looks like when staying at this five star adults-only property in the Dominican Republic? Let us show you…

Start with a tricky dilemma: where to eat breakfast? Will you head to the Lobster House to enjoy an a la carte menu, feeling the gentle sea breeze at this quaint al fresco restaurant close to the beach. Or will you sample the extensive buffet at the impressive Kitchen Table with its diverse range of fresh ingredients, many sourced locally.

Then it’s decision time again: to the beach or the pool? Take your pick of sun loungers on the 2,000 foot stretch of soft golden sands dotted with palm groves or laze beside one of the many swimming pools – unless you can be tempted to join one of the informal activities from guided bicycle rides through the surrounding countryside to snorkelling the waters.

When lunchtime comes around you’ll have a number of restaurants to choose from: will it be seafood, Italian of buffet dining? Or if you’re only feeling peckish, the trendy Food Shark, housed in a converted VW Campervan, offers burgers, tacos and light bites until 6PM. Spend a relaxed afternoon in the shade or in your suite – where the minibar is restocked daily – participating in the local pastime of an afternoon siesta; you’re in the Spanish Caribbean after all!

As the sun sets and evening creeps in head to the striking Martini Bar for pre-dinner cocktails, then take your time ‘window shopping’ which of the restaurants you’d like to eat at. Our recommendation is the pan-Asian culinary experience at Spice with its Teppanyaki stations making for a sociable atmosphere.

Love a bit of evening entertainment? You won’t be disappointed! The performances of the nightly shows are top quality, though the entertainment is not the main focus of the resort. If you would prefer to spend time in quieter areas just the two of you, you’ll find it very easy to do so.

And so to bed. After another day in paradise end the evening with a final tipple on your private patio before relaxing within the sumptuous interiors of your suite.

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The Best Hotel in The Maldives

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Whilst you might associate the Maldives purely with honeymooners and romantic getaways, with 26 islands to choose from there is a hotel for everyone; the just marrieds, sports enthusiasts, partiers, spa-goers or families alike.

Since we couldn’t pick just one, check out five fantastic hotels in the Maldives to suit a range of travellers.

For romantic retreats…

OBLU Select by Atmosphere at Sangeli Island

Lets face it, you are spoilt for choice for romantic getaways in the Maldives! We love the added extras available for honeymooners at OBLU Select. Enjoy couples only villas with private pools, complimentary bottle of champagne, canapés and fruit platter on arrival, couples’ treatments at the ELENA Spa, complementary adventure activities and entertainments and a special evening turndown service as part of the impressive Serenity Plan.

For a sumptuous spa break…

Baros Maldives

Voted the top luxury spa resort in the Maldives by travellers on Tripadvisor, and the World Travel Awards Winner 2017 of “Indian Ocean’s Most Romantic Resort”,  it isn’t hard to see why this boutique resort scores so highly with visitors. Soak up the tranquility from one of the island’s beachfront or overwater lagoon villas before checking out some seriously relaxing, tailor-made spa treatments. Choose experience dining on a sandbank, piano deck or private island dining or enjoy spectacular ocean views from the Lighthouse restaurant located at the edge of the jetty. When you are feeling more adventurous check out the plethora of watersports, fitness centre or complimentary yoga classes on offer.

Best for nightlife

Dhaalu Atoll

Spanning two stunning tropical islands, the five star Niyama Private Islands resort boasts the most restaurants and bars of any resort in the Maldives. Be sure to check out the  famous underwater club Subsix and the impressive drinks menu of Fahrenheit. For something more substantial, visit the unique tree-house setting of east asian restaurant Nest or the relaxed campsite vibe of Tribal, which offers impressive cuisine from Africa, Central and South America. You are also able to enjoy a relaxing spa treatment at any time of the day or night at the 24 hour Lime Spa. An award-winning kids club and babysitting service means you can happily bring the whole family along too.

For all out luxury…

One&Only Reethi Rah

Hotels in the Maldives are known for their luxurious touches, exemplary customer service and added extras. We love the award-winning One&Only Reethi Rah (Reethi Rah fittingly meaning ‘beautiful island’) for it’s stunning beachfront and overwater villas, fantastic facilities (including 12 beaches, adults and children only swimming pools, watersports, tennis and rock-climbing to name but a few) and the One&Only Spa by ESPA which includes a vitality pool, ice fountain, steam and sauna, pedi/manicure studio and a hair salon alongside stunning ocean view treatment rooms. In keeping with the decadent theme, the airport transfer can be completed via speedboat or  luxury yacht. The island even operates its own time zone an hour ahead of the Maldives capital Malé so that sunset cocktail hour falls at a more appropriate time!

For families…

Constance Moofushi

An all rounder with fantastic dive sites, a sumptuous spa and extensive ‘Cristal’ all inclusive option, we also love this hotel because it caters to that traditionally tricky teen market. The BlueTribe dive centre offers a fantastic range of diving course and talks aimed at children and they have done away with the kids club format to provide complimentary yoga and a specific games area with ping-pong, pool, giant chess, water polo and beach volleyball available for your not-so-little darlings. Even the complimentary mini bar includes crisps, nuts and chocolate bars for constant grazers!   

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The Best Islands to Visit in The Maldives

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The Maldives’ 26 ring shaped islands are actually made up of around 1,200 coral atolls so whatever you are after, be it the picture perfect romantic setting, water sports or fine dining, the Maldives has you covered! If you are travelling between islands your hotel will usually be able to arrange transfers, or you can contact Maldivian Air taxi directly (; 00 960 331 5201).

With further ado, here is our roundup of the best islands to visit in the Maldives.

Best for dining: Rangali

Technically two islands linked by a 500m footbridge which play host to the magnificent Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. Here you can find arguably the finest restaurant in the Maldives, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, which is also the world’s first all-glass underwater eatery. Observe reef sharks and manta rays glide past as you feast on a 6 course meal of stunning, contemporary European dishes. For the more budget conscious, you can also limit yourself to an impressive cocktail menu or a four-course lunch. If you ever get tired of the view, head above sea level to a tempting selection of 6 other restaurants at the resort, including the impressive Ufaa offering chinese cuisine from celebrity chef Jereme Leung. For those who like a tipple or two, (start to!) work your way through the 30,000 different wines on offer in the Island’s famous Wine Cellar or the 80 different types of Martini Cocktail on offer in Vilu Bar.

Best for diving: Helengeli

Home to the all inclusive OBLU by Atmosphere resort, Helengeli also plays host to its own reef, a spectacular array of marine life and a 5* diving centre. Its location in the channel between a deep lagoon and the Indian Ocean makes it an ideal diving hotspot with at least 20 impressive dive sites on the doorstep. No wonder it is rated one of Dive Magazine’s top 10 diving resorts in the Maldives coming first of all resorts in the Maldives in their 2017 DIVE Travel Awards and second overall in the world. Divers enjoy the more relaxed vibe of the island and excellent value of the all-inclusive options on offer. And when dry land beckons, check out the Elena Spa, Beachfront restaurant or poolside Helen’s Bar.

Best for families: Halaveli

Despite appealing to the romantic getaway market, the Maldives has now also branched out into family friendly holidays, seemingly realising that those romantic couples will be having children somewhere along the way! Despite a fairly lengthy flight from the UK, the predominance of ‘one hotel per island’ resorts brings freedom for little adventurers and peace of mind for parents. A convenient 25 minutes by seaplane from Malé is the family friendly Constance Halaveli Resort. With a fantastic, complimentary kids club running from 9am – 9pm, resident doctor and tennis and watersports lessons on tap there is plenty to keep little people happy… and a rejuvenating spa and premium all inclusive package bound to bring a smile to older faces too!

Best for a romantic getaway: Veligandu

Home to the five star adults only Anantara Veli Resort and Spa, it doesn’t get more Maldives then this tropical  paradise island which seems to have been created with honeymooners in mind. ‘Dine by Design’ under the stars, beneath a traditional faree tent or picnicking on a deserted island and soak up the relaxed vibe from the infinity pool, wine room or onboard a luxury yacht.  For those in search of a more active holiday, the Aquafanatics Watersports Centre (as the name suggests) provides a range of activities to keep even the most adventurous entertained.

Best for the eco-friendly: Dhuni Kolhu

Tourism in the Maldives can definitely a double-edged sword when it comes to the environment. Preserving the fragile ecosystem of the surrounding coral reefs and the traditional Maldivian culture has become the focus of many resorts in the Maldives archipelago, none more so than the impressive Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. Alongside the breathtaking beaches, sumptuous spa and stunning overwater villas which are a common sight in the Maldives, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu also offers the eco-friendly traveller a clear conscience as it provides a nesting place for the endangered indigenous green turtle and various marine conservation projects plus a focus on growing fresh produce on the island rather than being imported. Sexy it may not be, but the island also houses an on-site water production, glass bottling plant and waste management centre for recycling aluminium, glass and styrofoam and those big no-nos plastic bags and bottles are banned.



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The Best Time to Visit the Maldives

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The destination of choice for honeymooners the world over, the Maldives is an island nation uniquely made up of a string of 26 islands comprised of over 1,192 smaller coral islands, lying southwest of Sri Lanka and India in the Indian Ocean. With breathtaking beaches, stunning scenery and coral reefs second to none, it’s not hard to see why the Maldives ticks so many boxes. Think private-island resorts, diving into translucent 25°C waters and cocktails on a pristine white beach and you’re halfway there.

The weather in the Maldives is consistently hot and sunny, with daytime temperatures of around 30°C and evening temperatures around 25°C all year round. However, there are two pronounced seasons; the dry (or high) season which lasts from December – April and the rainy season, which lasts from May – November and peaks around June. As the name suggests, the rainy season (which is also referred to as the South West Monsoon) sees the highest levels of rainfall and humidity. Therefore, the most popular (and, as such, more expensive) time to travel is from December – April.

But before you discount the rest of the year when temperatures are still consistently high, remember the Maldives is renowned for activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling and spa retreats. Ideal rainy day pursuits should your trip see the odd downpour or two and you may just be able to bag yourself a bargain and some serious tranquility travelling during off peak months.

Whatever time you choose to visit, check out our essential Maldives to do list below.

  • Snorkelling and diving – Tourists don’t just flock to the Maldives for the romance. Its location at such a distance from other land masses makes it arguably one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkelling with fantastically impressive coral reefs and marine life that need to be seen to be believed. For adventurous water sports enthusiasts, you can also check out water flying, tubing, parasailing and – for the more experienced surfers – there are waves that you’ll be hard pushed to beat.

  • The world’s first underwater spa – Only 30 minutes from Malé International Airport is the private lagoon resort of Huvafen Fushi, whose spa offers guests underwater couples treatment rooms and an underwater relaxation area where you can truly be at one with nature. Boasting awe-inspiring views of the lagoon’s reef as well as weird and wonderful tropical fish which call the Indian Ocean home, it goes without saying that this resort is adults-only!
  • A day trip to the capital city – Whether you are passing through from the airport on your way to your own personal island paradise, or you take one of the frequent boat trips on offer from various nearby islands, make sure you spend some time in the Maldives capital city of Malé to really experience some of the local culture. In contrast to the relaxed pace of surrounding islands, vibrant skyscrapers, bustling fish and fruit markets vie for space with historic mosques and football pitches (a firm favourite with locals!). Make sure you find time to explore the history of Malé and the Maldives culture at the National Museum. For the foodies amongst you, try cuisines from around the world including Maldivian, Asian, Indian and Malaysian in the myriad of restaurants dotted throughout the city.
  • Visit a deserted island – Despite the boom in tourism since the 1970s, there are still a large number (approximately 1,000) uninhabited islands in the Maldives. Organise a boat trip for the day and play Robinson Crusoe soaking up the tranquility on a private beach or lagoon, as well as catching and cooking your own meal.

  • Soak up the sunset/sunrise – And if you can do so from your own private deck or plunge pool, overlooking the crystal clear waters, so much the better!

Getting there

The only international airport in the Maldives is Malé International Airport which is located on Hulhumale Island. Hulhumale is 35 minutes by ferry from Malé island where the Maldives capital Malé can be found. Ferries between the airport and the capital cost the princely sum of around 50p!

There are no direct flights from the UK but the following airlines will get you there from around £400 per person outside of peak travel periods.

  • Emirates Airlines (0844 800 2777; flies from Heathrow and Gatwick to Malé via Dubai.
  • Sri Lankan Airlines (020 8538 2001; flies from Heathrow to Malé via Colombo in Sri Lanka.
  • Qatar Airways (0870 389 8090; flies four times a week from Heathrow to Malé via Qatar.

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The Best Resorts in the Maldives

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The Maldives is well known for its picture postcard beaches, azure lagoons, stunning coral reefs and aquatic wildlife.  However, tourism in the nearly 1,200 small islands which make up the Maldives only began relatively recently. In fact, tour groups only started arriving in 1972 when the first resorts (Kurumba Island and Bandos Island) opened, catering to around 300 guests.

Flash forward to 2018 and there are now hundreds of resorts spread across the islands which encompass the Republic of Maldives, catering to around 1.3 million tourists a year.  It is now also possible to stay at a number of guest houses which have sprung up across the islands following a law change in 2009, meaning tourists are allowed to stay with the local population rather than just on privately owned island residences.  

For sheer luxury and indulgence, you can’t beat the stunning resorts the Maldives has to offer. We have shared some of our favourites with you below.

  • Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru – This five star plus resort occupies the entire island of Vabbinfaru, and is only a 25 minute speedboat ride from Male (the capital of the Maldives). All villas come complete with their own private swimming pool and private dining is available either on the beach or in your own private villa.
  • Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Hurra – A great all rounder with a family friendly focus. Featuring private pools, villas (quite literally) sitting atop the ocean, as well as pampering like none other, this hotel consistently receives fabulous reviews and it’s easy to see why.

Pictured Above: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Hurra

  • Mercure Maldives Kooddoo – This new resort has been built with local materials and features both beachfront and over-water villas. Best of all, the resort is within a direct flight of the capital Male so no speedboat transfers needed! Complimentary water sports are aplenty, with snorkelling, sailing and kayaking all free.
  • Shangri-La Villingili Resort And Spa – Built on stilts above the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, this five-star resort boasts a highly rated spa, excellent activities and even has a 9 hole golf course. After a busy day of water sports, running trails and yoga classes, visitors can choose between five restaurants and bars that serve a variety of international flavours.
  • Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru – Maldives – One of those rare resorts which seem to have something for everyone; families and couples, the health conscious and luxury seekers alike. With four swimming pools, a spa, kids’ clubs and even a submarine experience for two, this resort has it all.
  • Six Senses Laamu – The only resort on the Laamu Atol, Six Senses Lammu was rated as one of the top 10 romantic escapes in the world by Traveller magazine. Keen eyed Star Wars fans may notice some similarities between the nearby islands and the planet Scarif from Rogue One, namely because this was one of the main filming locations for the planet. Many of the villas at Six Senses come with their very own swimming pools, and we especially like the resort’s beachfront ‘Cinema Under the Stars’ idea.

Pictured above: Six Senses Laamu

  • Atmosphere Kanifushi – This luxury five star resort is surrounded by pristine beaches, and is one of our top picks for its fantastic all inclusive package. Specifically, if you opt for the Platinum Plus package you can expect lounge access at the seaplane terminal, meals, premium beverages, a round of sunset fishing, a complimentary excursion, use of an in-villa mini bar which replaced twice daily, 50% off couples massages and so much more.
  • Cocoon Maldives – Voted the Leading Design Resort in South Asia in the SATA Awards, this attention to detail shows in the outstanding reviews on Tripadvisor. The resort’s Lagoon Villas are especially sought after, and the island itself is known as one of the most beautiful in the Maldives.
  • LUX* South Ari Atoll Maldives – Lux by name and luxurious by nature – stunning setting and a host of activities to suit all travellers. Voted “Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel” in the World Travel Awards 2017, the resort is situated on one of the largest islands in the Maldives and boasts a range of luxury suites and villas. This resort is especially popular with foodies since it boasts 7 restaurant and 6 bars.

Pictured Above: LUX* South Ari Atoll Maldives

  • The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi – Another World Travel Awards Winner 2017, this time for “Indian Ocean’s Leading Family Resort”. Guests will be spoiled for choice when it comes to mealtime with no less than 14 restaurants and bars to choose from, offering Indian, French, Japanese, Vietnamese, Maldivian and Italian cuisine.

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The best time of the year to visit Thailand


Whether you are after exotic beaches, impressive temples, zen-like spas, amazing cuisine or the hedonistic nightlife, Thailand ticks all the boxes. No wonder then that it is known as the Land of Smiles! But when is it best to visit to get the most out of your trip?

Thailand’s tropical climate is common of Southeast Asia and generally falls into three seasons. The rainy monsoon season of May-October, the cool season from November-February and the hot season from March-May when it is not unusual for city temperatures to reach an impressive 35°C. As such, the best time to visit weatherwise is often seen as the cool season from November-February when temperatures are the most pleasant and rainfall is at its lowest. Although despite the name, Thailand’s ‘cool’ temperatures of 30°C would be considered a heatwave in the UK!

Unfortunately, the best time to visit can also mean the busiest, but a little research means you can soak up the sun and unique cultural heritage without the crowds and spend around 31% less doing so.

The real monsoon season doesn’t tend to hit until July-October, although expect rain showers from May onwards. Phuket, Thailand’s biggest island, sees a consistent year round temperature of around 30°C and there are plenty of varied activities on offer whatever the weather such as jungle hiking, water sports, diving…. or nature watching and indulgent spa retreats for those who prefer a more relaxed pace. Travel there in May and – according to Skyscanner – you’ll be spending 43% less than if you travelled during pricey December.

Direct flights are available from London to Phuket and start from around £350. If you are planning on breaking up your journey and want to spend a couple of days in the capital, consider flying into the main hub, Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, from £250 and travelling on via regional airlines.

What to see and where to go:

With so much on offer, the only issue is how to fit it all in! Check out our round up of must visit places and events below to add to your bucket list.

  • Bangkok – No visit is complete without a trip to the capital city. By day, take in the elaborate temples and ornate palaces, shop ‘til you drop whatever your budget in high end shopping malls or local street markets like Chatuchak and Sampeng, or take a day trip to the nearby river island of Koh Kret. By night, enjoy a nightlife like no other.
  • Chiang Mai – The largest city in Northern Thailand. Brave the sometimes unpredictable weather to admire numerous, stunning Buddhist temples (over 300 hundred to be exact), stunning botanical gardens and fascinating hill tribe villages.
  • Pattaya – Only an hour from Bangkok, be sure to add this fascinating city to your must-see list. Visit the spectacular Khao Chee Chan Buddha Mountain and enjoy a plethora of activities such as water sports, bungee jumping, horse riding, golf and diving alongside an impressive nightlife.
  • Phuket – Soak up the culture on Thailand’s biggest Island via magnificent beaches, stunning architecture and mouthwatering cuisine. If you visit in October, enjoy the fascinating ceremonies of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, a must-see (and taste!).   
  • Ko Samui – the island is extremely popular with visitors due to the stunning wildlife, white sandy beaches and spectacular scenery, not to mention the luxury resorts and spas. Find time to see the impressive 12m-high golden Buddha statue which can be found on a small island just off Ko Samui, and make sure to set your alarm for the impressive sunrise vista… we promise it is worth it.
  • Hua Hin – A stunning beach resort made popular by the Thai royal family in the 1920s and located south of Bangkok at the Gulf of Thailand. Enjoy incredible beaches and experience the local culture at impressive temples and bustling night markets.  

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