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The Beach House at Manafaru Maldives, Haa Alifu Atoll 

Manafaru Island
Haa Alifu Atoll
Tel: 960 650 0400
view web site ›'s insider take:

Energetic types scared of growing bored of the country's laze-the-day-away pace would do well to consider a resort like the Beach House. There are enough activities here to keep you occupied for weeks, but the serene setting and service just might lull you into ignoring all of them. Located in the northernmost Ihavandhippolhu Atoll (say that five times fast), the 35-acre retreat is blanketed by wild palm and pandanus jungle. The island playground holds a spa, infinity pool, kids club, trampoline, golf simulator, and tennis, volleyball, and badminton courts—not to mention nearby uninhabited islands perfect for picnics and snorkel trips. But the 68 beachfront villas are luxurious enough to keep you in your own digs. Even the standard accommodations have private plunge pools, shaded daybeds, open-air rain showers, and all the tech gadgets you could ever need (Wi-Fi, iPod docks, DVD players, and flat-screen TVs). The refined decor frames cream walls and linens against dark-wood furniture and beams. Beach villas and suites have private cabanas on the sand, while guests staying in overwater bungalows have water access right from their sundecks. Be sure to book treatments at the ten-room Shui spa, whose diverse menu has everything from an indulgent chocolate-almond body scrub to Ayurvedic detoxification programs supervised by an Indian doctor. Unique to the spa and not to be missed is the Veli Modun treatment, in which your body is buried under the powder-soft sand by the therapist who then digs you up to massage you in rhythm with the tides.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

This 35-acre island, a former sea turtle habitat that's part of the northernmost Ihavandhippolhu Atoll, offers both family fun and romantic intimacy without one encroaching on the other. Each of the 68 villas has an expansive outdoor bathroom, a plunge pool, sun loungers, and a shaded daybed that are entirely private, along with the requisite room technology of Wi-Fi, iPod docks, DVD players, and flat-screen TVs. Outside, there are activities galore: tennis, volleyball, and badminton courts; a trampoline; a kids' club with a shallow swimming pool; a sea-facing infinity pool; an inner-island tropical pool; a ten-room spa; and the Maldives' only 18-hole golf simulator. The nearby uninhabited islands, under the same ownership as the Beach House, are ideal for snorkeling or picnics. The staff of more than 300 make guests feel warmly welcome, though restaurant servers still need additional training. The freshest catch, including juicy Maldivian lobster, can be found at Medium Rare, one of three alfresco dining outlets spread around the leafy grounds lit up at night like an enchanted forest.

—2008 Hot List

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

Which room to book: Standard beach villas exceed expectations inside and out.

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We (me and my wife) have just returned from our 14 days stay at the Beach House (from now: Waldorf Historia). Going to the Beach House was part of our Honeymoon and... more