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South Ari Atoll
Tel: 960 668 10 10
This classy overwater resort is in one of the archipelago's finest dive spots, the South Ari Atoll. Only 30 minutes by seaplane from Malé, it is also all-inclusivebuffet meals, alcohol, and even cigarettes are free. A quarter of the 110 thatched villas are on the beach, with easy access to island facilities, while the rest are on two jetties, each with a stairway down to the Indian Ocean and a private deck with a bathtub built on a gravity-defying overhang. The rustic decor uses rattan, rough-hewn marble, stripped wood, and closets built from white leather trunks, while in-room Mac Minis provide movies, music, and Internet access. The main restaurant, Manta, is rather ordinary, a disappointment that is offset by fresh catches at Alizée Beach Grill (a restaurant where meals do cost extra). There are two beach bars, an entertainment lounge wallpapered in Bollywood posters, and an Asian-inspired overwater spa with glass floor panels. The dive center is the big draw, with regular trips to sites famed for whale sharks and manta rays.
Which room to book: At the very end of a jetty, Senior Water Villa 79 is the most private and has sunset views. Water Villas close to shore on the northern jetty may not always be in water depending on the tides.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.