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The Rania Experience, Faafu Atoll 

Faafu Atoll
Tel: 960 674 0555
view web site ›'s insider take:

The Maldives's first private island comes with its own 86-foot yacht, accommodations for up to 15, around-the-clock butler service, and unlimited spa treatments in the open-air overwater pavilion. The private seven-acre sandbox 30 minutes by air taxi from Male works better as an Indian Ocean house party than romantic escape—you'll need that many people to get your money's worth from the multiple butlers, bars, and dining venues. However, couples in search of extreme solitude with ultra-attentive service will be completely satisfied. Your digs will include an expansive three-bedroom Rania Suite in addition to three beach villas. Though you'll have the standard high-end amenities (high-thread-count linens, outdoor showers), these are not the sleekest rooms in the Maldives, with bachelor-pad art and accent chairs that look like space-age La-Z-Boys. The real draws here are the outdoor experiences. Masterful butlers commit even the most complicated orders to memory and anticipate every need. They carve dinner tables into the sand, and offer a pile of Gucci pashminas for after-dark warmth. Another night, they'll arrange a trip for you on a traditional dhoni boat to stargaze or fish with friends. And Captain Mohammed knows which way to steer the yacht for sunset dolphin watching. Food by the Indonesian chef exceeds expectations with fresh tuna sashimi and grilled atoll lobster; offerings from the Western-style chef are less than stellar. The kitchen staff works with you to plan the menu, though, so steer them toward the more exotic offerings.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

In an archipelago where you're already spoiled for choice, Rania Experience raises pampering to a new level. The exclusive-use setup consists of an 86-foot yacht for pleasure cruising and a private seven-acre palm-fringed island with a three-bedroom suite and three beach villas. And while this reads like the ultimate romantic getaway, Rania Experience works better as the ne plus ultra for those for whom sharing this stylish sandbox (up to 15 people total) would not get anyone voted off the island. The high price tag buys you all the creature comforts, including unlimited spa treatments, yoga on demand, fishing, and diving (Rania has its own dive instructor), as well as meals prepared by chefs who consult with you prior to arrival and serve up fresh-caught seafood. Nights should be reserved for lychee martinis, which you can drink on a stool dug into the surf or for sailing in a dhoni under the stars. The most memorable care comes from the three butlers, who expertly anticipate every guest's needs.

—2007 Hot List

When to go: The drier months are from December through April.

Which room to book: The whole place is all yours.

Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Beach, Pool

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