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All new in the Maldives

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

It’s all go in the Maldives where 10 new luxury resorts are scheduled to open by next spring. Can’t wait? Here are six that have either just opened or will do so before Christmas.

The St Regis Vommuli Resort, Dhaalu Atoll 

Opened on 1 November, this is the first St Regis resort in the Maldives. It has 77 private villas, including majestic manta ray-shaped lagoon villas and the John Jacob Astor Estate, one of the largest villas in the Maldives, spanning 1,540 sq m and featuring a 92m private pool, spa room, fitness area and mini theatre. Pictured above is an overwater villa with its own pool, four overwater hammocks and direct access to the ocean. Resort facilities include six dining venues, 24-hour butler service, a nature discovery centre and a dive centre.Soneva Jani, Noonu Atoll 

Located on the island of Medhufaru, Soneva Jani is an hour by speedboat from its sister resort, the legendary Soneva Fushi, and enclosed by a pristine 4km beach. Opened on 5 November, the new resort adopts a modern approach to luxury eco-tourism – there is even a silent outdoor cinema, where guests can watch movies with Bluetooth earphones in order not to disturb the local wildlife. The resort offers 24 spacious villas, each with its own pool and some, like the one pictured here, with a giant water slide to lauch you straight into the Indian Ocean. The luxurious private island villa, meanwhile, has retractable roofs so you can sleep under the stars without leaving your comfortable king-size.Hurawalhi Island Resort & Spa, Lhaviyani Atoll 

Scheduled to open next week, Hurawalhi Island Resort & Spa is an adults-only sanctuary with 90 ocean and beach villas. Activity seekers will be able to take advantage of a wide range of water sports, multipurpose athletic courts and the fitness centre, while those who just want to unwind can head for the overwater Duniye Spa which will focus on wholeness, simplicity, purity and quality. The scene stealer, however, is bound to be the underwater restaurant, 5.8m beneath the sea and surrounded by a tranquil lagoon. Milaidhoo Island Maldives, Baa Atoll

Milaidhoo Island Maldives will open later this month in the heart of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Accordingly, the resort’s 50 private villas have been designed by a local architect to ensure minimal impact on the coral reef and built on sustainable principals. The villas will be just a short stroll from three world-class restaurants, excellent watersport fitness, spa and yoga facilities, as well as Hanifaru Bay, a marine protected area which attracts the largest seasonal groupings of manta rays in the world. The resort will also showcase small island living, offering guests the chance to go out with local fisherman.Four Seasons Private Island Maldives At Voavah, Baa Atoll

We’re very excited about the Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah which, when it opens on 1 December, will be the world’s first exclusive-use UNESCO hideaway, developed in close coordination with local environmental consultancies. The secluded five-acre island will accommodate up to 22 guests in seven bedrooms in three separate locations: on the beach, over the lagoon or elevated in panoramic mezzanine level. The Beach House hub will offer an open-air living room, dining room, kitchen, pool deck, gym, library and loft lounge, and facilities will include a dive centre, spa and 18.9m yacht available on an exclusive basis.Cocoon Maldives, Lhaviyani Atoll 

Due to open next month, Cocoon Maldives is set on the pristine island of Ookolhufinolhu. It has been designed by the renowned Italian firm, LAGO, and stylish touches include large windows which frame the beautiful Indian Ocean and furniture hewn from 200-year-old timber. The elegant resort will offer 150 beach and over water villas plus an expansive reception pavilion, three restaurants, two bars, dive centre, aspa, lounge, library, gym and kid's club. Activities, meanwhile, will include diving and snorkelling excursions, fishing and cultural enrichment excursions.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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