Conrad Maldives Hotel

Held in time as you watch schools of fish flit through the gin-clear waters, the feeling of being part of a living picture-postcard is hard to escape. Enveloped amid infinite blues, surrounded by rustling palms and sugar-soft sand, it all seems Photoshopped. But this is real life at Conrad Rangali Island.

A quick hop from Malé, on the Maldives’ South Ari Atoll, Conrad comprises two islands united by a breezy driftwood path or a sleepy dhoni boat ride. The larger, Rangali, is home to much of the action: multiple restaurants (including dramatic, underwater Ithaa and Koko Grill, whose Japanese cuisine is simply superb), a large scallop-shaped pool, thatched spa, tennis courts and watersports centre. Nothing is cluttered, nothing is too far; your best bet is to slink your way around the island’s perimeter to discover it all, stopping off to bask on one of the numerous day beds along the way.

Accommodation is peppered across the two islands. Huge beach villas dot Rangali – their outdoor bathrooms a real highlight – while a clutch of overwater spa villas featuring steam rooms are found floating over the sea at the furthermost point. This month also sees the launch of Muraka, the resort’s inaugural underwater suite.

But it’s the petite Rangalifinolhu isle that’s our pick for its pool-clad villas. Swathed in tropical foliage, there are plenty of quiet posts and a wonderful adult pool with submerged ledges made for lazy afternoons. Come dusk, opt for a catamaran trip, a glass of champagne in hand to toast dolphin sightings and the sublime scene in front of you. Doubles from £605.

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