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Banyan Tree Madivaru, Ethere Madivaru Island, North Ari Atoll

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Maldives, Asia: A view of the island from the arrival jetty at Banyan Tree
AA. Ethere Madivaru
Ethere Madivaru Island , North Ari Atoll
Tel: 800 591 0439 (toll-free)
Tel: 960 666 0760's insider take:

Privacy is guaranteed by the lush jungle at this six-suite, couples-only resort. In place of the conventional thatched-roof bungalows are safari-style tented suites—but you'll be far from roughing it with wine fridges, massage tables, and plush daybeds. A personal butler arranges aquatic activities like dolphin cruises, fishing, scuba, snorkeling, sandbank picnics, and a sunset sail aboard Madi, a Turkish gullet boat (all included in the room rate). Also included are all meals—each a simple, ingredient-driven menu featuring fresh catch and organic greens served en suite or elsewhere on the island—and a spa treatment. Choosing just one service among the Thai honey facial, lime yogurt body scrub, or Balinese massage will be your biggest challenge. All treatments are performed inside the tents, where a spacious bathroom includes two cushioned massage tables plus a deep-soak bathtub and an outdoor shower concealed by palm fronds. Outside, a plunge pool seems unnecessary given the surrounding Indian Ocean ,where coral thrives in a rainbow of hues. One warning: The tented villas aren't entirely hidden by the foliage, so remember that natural does not mean au naturel (especially in this Muslim country).

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

Nature and nurture harmonize at this sun-kissed speck on the periphery of North Ari Atoll, where pandanus jungle blankets all but the island's sandy circumference. A personal butler attends to every detail, from sandbank breakfasts to evening turndowns, for each of the six sprawling tented pool villas, which consist of a living room, an incense-scented bedroom, a spacious bathroom (one has two massage tables) with a swooping tub, and an outdoor shower set among the tumbling vines. Multicourse meals reflect the resort company's health-conscious heritage, but menus are flexible, the chef happy to substitute the day's catch for a chili-laden Maldivian curry. (Meals and a spa treatment are included in the eye-popping room rate.) And while there is no nightlife on this island, a comprehensive package includes dolphin spotting, fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling (the house reef bustles with colorful parrot fish, turtles, and baby sharks), as well as a sunset champagne cruise aboard a spiffy Turkish gulet.

—2008 Hot List

When to go: Avoid June through September, the monsoon season.

Which room to book: All six pool villas receive shade and sunshine in equal measure.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.