Pristine white sandy beaches, crystal clear sea; it's no wonder the Maldives tops the list for ultimate honeymoon haven. Brides caught up with Lizzie Heeley from honeymoon specialist tour operator The Turquoise Holiday Company on why the islands of the Maldives really are just so magical…
Tell us why the Maldives are so popular as a honeymoon destination?
If you're after a truly romantic island experience, but want to stay in some of the world's best hotels, the Maldives literally ticks every box: unrivalled service, over-water bungalows, azure atolls, plus it's easily accessible and a great destination to twin with middle eastern cities, or countries such as Sri Lanka and Thailand.
When is the best time to visit?
We highly recommend the Maldives as a year round destination - December to April are the 'peak' months, but travelling slightly out of peak in the shoulder months often means hotels are quieter and rates much better. As a tropical destination it's almost impossible to predict the weather - we like to think of the showers as liquid sunshine and they never last long!
What are the hot new hotels to look out for?
Maalifushi by COMO is our top pick for new hotels - the first luxury resort to open in the Thaa Atoll: why not combine it with a few nights on COMO's original Maldivian property Cocoa Island for a twin centre island experience.
Where would you recommend for foodies?
Where wouldn't we recommend! Each and every island boasts unforgettable dining options in an incredible location: Constance Halaveli's Jing is great for decadent overwater Asian and European cuisine. Six Senses Laamu's signature restaurant on the beach Leaf features some of the tastiest locally sourced organic food and a complimentary ice cream bar (the coconut and lychee is a must). Huvafen Fushi offers a seriously special private romantic dinner in the pool and Velassaru has one of the biggest range of options, with five restaurants and two bars, spanning cuisine from the Mediterranean to the Maldives, sushi to Spanish tapas - you won't know where to start!
Best for spa lovers?
Cocoa Island by COMO and Maalifushi by COMO top the bill with their mind blowing spas and myriad of activities on offer from 'learn to surf week', diving, snorkeling and even island-hopping and whale shark spotting. Huvafen Fushi's jaw-dropping underwater spa is the place to be spoilt in style; enjoy a couple's massage as the tropical fish dart over your head.
Couples looking to fly and flop should head to…
Constance Moofushi. This is an all-inclusive paradise; from the moment you step off the sea plane - 'no shoes, no news' - there are no rules and everything is included. It's five star all the way with over 100 wines on the inclusive wine list, a la carte dining options and refilled mini bars in the room. There are daily activities if you can bear to leave your overwater deck, private beach or pool sun lounger, not to mention it has one of the best reefs in the Maldives.
For action and adventure my top tip is…
Baros with its fantastic diving and water-sports: there are over 30 world class dive sites all within 50 minutes by boat, plus island-hopping and dolphin spotting excursions. A must do is the 'catch your own dinner' experience. Alternatively, surfing the Yin Yang break at Six Senses Laamu is an unforgettable experience.
What about a twin-moon - where would you recommend?
You won't find a better twin-moon than Cocoa Island and the new sister hotel, Maalifushi by COMO. A quick and super easy hop by sea plane from Malé (or private charter from Cocoa Island) to Thaa Atoll, you'll be spoilt for choice with these two destinations - both different but equally fabulous. Otherwise, Constance Moofushi and Constance Halaveli are perfect for a twin-moon.
Pick your blow the budget VS affordable chic:
It has to be The Residence Maldives for affordable chic with their incredible all-inclusive package. It's laid back but beautifully elegant with seriously stylish and super-spacious villas. For blow the budget check out Gili Lankanfushi - (voted best hotel in the world by trip advisor in 2014.) There are just 45 villas but all overwater, a sensational spa, underwater wine-cellar and sumptuous food grown in their organic garden - ultimate Robinson Crusoe luxe.
And for babymoons?
Constance Halaveli has fantastic family facilities if the kids are coming too: beach villas with family rooms attached, or two-storey two-bed beach villas - great for kids of all ages. It's also a slightly bigger island to the rest, with a tennis court, great big beach and one of the biggest watersports centers in the Maldives
Finally, tell us about your honeymoon gift list?
We offer a unique, innovative and complimentary gift list service, run by a full time team of co-ordinators. Many couples want to include a honeymoon fund as part of their gift list and it's so easy to do. Couples are able to create a fully personalised platform on the Turquoise website so friends and family can contribute towards their honeymoon, or choose from a list of gift items - from spa treatments, upgrades, romantic dinners and day trips, to the more traditional house hold gift list items.
For more information, call 01494 678400 or visit www.turquoiseholidays.co.uk/maldives