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Our little black book of enchanting places

Only in the Maldives

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Luxury resorts in the Maldives work hard to come up with facilities you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Barely a month goes by without one of them introducing a magnificent underwater this or a fabulous overwater that. Here is our pick of the latest crop.

The recently relaunched Huvafen Fushi, set in the Malé Atoll, boasts the world’s only underwater spa, above, featuring two couple’s treatment rooms with view of the reef (there are treatment rooms overwater, too). Renowned skincare expert Teresa Tarmey will be offering guests the chance to experience her Signature Facial during several residencies at the resort this year. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, in the Baa Atoll, has recently unveiled SKY, the Maldives’ only overwater observatory, housing the most powerful telescope in the Indian Ocean to give guests dramatic views of the planets and stars on crystal clear display. Star-gazing is thirsty work: luckily, SKY also incorporates a cocktail bar.Set in the Lhaviyani Atoll, Hurawalhi Island Resort already has the world’s largest, all-glass undersea restaurant, 5.8m below the water’s surface. The resort now plans to also use the restaurant for yoga as well. Being surrounded by tropical fish in the only underwater yoga studio in the Maldives will apparently help bring you closer to a Zen-like state of mind.For the only ice rink in the Maldives, head to Jumeirah Vittaveli in the South Malé Atoll. The 170 sq m rink overlooking the Indian Ocean was opened in March by former Olympic Gold medalist figure skater Evgeni Plushenko and can be used for figure skating and ice hockey. There’s no question of the ice melting: the artificial rink has been built in partnership with Glice®, which uses a complex molecular technology to make synthetic ice rinks function without water and at a zero-energy level.Sticking with an icy theme, how about a snow room? The ultra-luxe Velaa Private Island, in the Noonu Atoll, is home to a line-up of exclusive facilities, including the Maldives’ only snow room for post-sauna 'chill outs'.

PS Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi has just opened in the Shaviyani Atoll. From next month it will feature the Maldives’ first underwater art space, created by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor. Taylor is one of the world's most celebrated 'underwater naturalists', responsible for the Museo Atlantico underwater contemporary art museum which opened off the coast of Lanzarote in 2017. Watch this space.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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