From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:Getting to this island resort is the hard part: From Malé's international airport, it's another 55-minute domestic hop to Gaafu Alifu Atoll, followed by an hour's transfer by speedboat. But your reward for enduring the long transit is this indulgent yet eco-conscious resort's unaffectedly chic ambience and abundant natural attributestide pools teeming with starfish, an electric-blue lagoon filled with coral and a variety of tropical fish. The 50 villas20 with private pools and 14 of them overwater villas with spacious sundecksare standouts in form and function, with high, angled timber roofs that keep accommodations cool and with recycled-glass bottles of water purified at the hotel. Attentive personal hosts run flower-filled baths, decipher complicated air transit schedules, and happily suggest their own recommendations on and around the island (diving enthusiasts will want to explore the atoll's central lagoon, which plunges 300 feet). Want more? Multiday itineraries called Journeys by Alila can have you visiting Maldivian farmers and artisans (encounters with locals are rare at most Maldivian resorts) or gaining insight into the atolls' formation by exploring a submerged island or shifting sandbank. The sand-floored Battuta's serves up spicy local fare (try the char-grilled chicken marinated in pomegranate molasses), while Relish offers a more Western-focused menu. 2010 Hot List
Which room to book: The underwater life is especially abundant around Aqua villas 41 to 51, but honeymooners will prefer the maximum privacy of island pool villas.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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