LAST UPDATED: 17th September 2014 at 4:16pm

There's a little ceremony everybody performs at the welcoming jetty at Velassaru. You throw your shoes in your bag, and you're not to mention them again. Because from that moment on, you will be either in the water, on the water, or luxuriating next to the water. Shoes, you just don't need. And they will be the last thing on your mind when you are handed a refreshing cocktail and shown to your beach villa, complete with open-air garden bathroom or, for those of a marine bent, a water suite, where you can watch the sea life idly float by.


Start the day with a romantic breakfast out in the lagoon, before getting down to some shameless R'n'R on the pristine shoreline.

Once you're fully recharged, there are plenty of reasons to get off your beachside cabaña, including James Bond-style boat trips, and enough watersports to keep the most 'action man' of grooms (or brides) entertained.


The over-water treatment rooms of The Spa are a serene environment to have your cares rubbed away, before sunset cocktails at the super-chic Chill Bar. After a week of this, you may decide never to wear your shoes again.

WOW FACTOR The impeccable service; these guys really do know what it takes to make you feel like a first-rate VIP.


GO The Turquoise Holiday Company offers seven nights from £1,250 per person, B&B. Includes flights and transfers

LAST UPDATED: 1st November 2012 at 9:59am

'Affordable' and 'the Maldives' are not words you'd expect to see in the same sentence. But it is possible to enjoy these dream-like islands without having to stock up at the breakfast buffet.

Velassaru ticks all the key Maldives boxes - stilted villas, white-sand beach, palm-stuffed isle, house reef just off shore - but a pared-down style, more rooms (129) and a bigger island (it's a comparatively large 21 acres) keep the costs down, plus it's 25 minutes by speedboat from Malé.

The newer Beach Villas are our pick here: with huge indoor-outdoor bathrooms, they benefit from a greater sense of space as you can walk straight from your terrace onto the beach and into the sea. The serene overwater spa offers ocean views from the treatment rooms, while at the more active end of the scale there's snorkelling and diving, as well as glass-bottomed kayaks to borrow.You can also try your hand at a range of other watersports, from wakeboarding to windsurfing.

Breakfast comprises a vast array of choices, from tempting pancakes to a display of multi-coloured tropical fruit, while for dinner there's five options (from buffet to fine dining) - our favourite is the Teppanyaki restaurant, which serves delicious fresh sushi. Splash out at least once, though, on a private beach dinner lit by lanterns.

WOW FACTOR: Watching black-and-white movie classics in the open-air cinema on the beach.

FLIGHT TIME: 11 hours

WHEN TO GO: Winter, Spring

Go: Book with Turquoise Holidays; call 01494 678 400 or visit for more details or email