The Maldives: A Dream Destination

Secluded sandbanks and overwater villas lure visitors to the Indian Ocean

By Krisha Chachra | Photos courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

In the past, travelers may have visited dream destinations only when celebrating a milestone — an anniversary, big birthday or graduation. After living through two years of a pandemic, however, some feel there is no need to wait for a special occasion to go to a special place.

Vacation-starved travelers are clamoring to see corners of the world they’ve dreamed about for so long. One of those destinations is the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

According to the World Bank, 1.3 million tourists visited the Maldives in 2021, doubling since the year before. Its first resort opened in 1972, and the Maldives quickly became a popular luxury destination. It reopened its borders in July 2020, following a rapid immunization campaign. Today, visitors don’t need proof of vaccination to enter the country.

The Maldives is attractive to visitors from all over the world, with the islands’ remote location, pristine waters, fantastic dive sites, white-sand beaches and eco-friendly resorts.

The concept of the overwater villa originates in French Polynesia, but the Maldives has refined it and turned it into the island’s signature experience.

Only 200 of the country’s 1,100 islands are inhabited, and most slope only four to five feet above the ocean, making the Maldives the flattest country on Earth. The scenery is breathtaking, and visitors feel like they can easily touch the sea from practically anywhere.

Not surprisingly, there is a price for paradise. Resorts charge upward of $1,500 a night during peak season (December to March). Redeeming hotel, airline or other travel rewards can help manage the cost.

Eco-friendly Resorts

Each resort in the Maldivian archipelago, or chain of small islands and sandbanks, has its own character, attracting a variety of travelers. During development, most resorts pump sand from the ocean floor onto nearby, submerged coral platforms and let nature take over, generating lush landscapes.

Newer resorts design and build with sustainability in mind. The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, for example, opened in June 2021 with all 100 villas solar-powered. On a bright day, the resort can harness 100% of the power required for operation. In addition, there are no single-use plastics on the property.