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As if choosing where to stay in the Maldives wasn't hard enough, along comes the W Retreat & Spa.
The W brand's quest for world domination continues with their latest venture in the tropical island paradise of the Maldives. What started off as a chain of super-swish metropolitan boltholes in North America has expanded to become a serious rival to the likes of Four Seasons and Aman, and the Maldives incarnation certainly lives up to the growing reputation.
Accommodation is in the now seemingly obligatory overwater villas, or the lead-in price two-storey Beach Oasis Villas, all with private plunge pools (yes, even the ones over the largest plunge pool on the planet - the ocean). Whatever type of villa you plump for, the design is slick, with the emphasis on white fabrics and wooden decks and all the mod-est of cons you might expect. The overwater villas even have partial glass floors so you can watch the underwater world drifting by.
Dining options include Kitchen restaurant, an island interpretation of a bistro and also where breakfast is served daily. Also - appropriately - over the water is the excellent seafood restaurant Fish, serving the freshest local produce and including about the freshest sushi available. Fire is a superslick interpretation of a beach barbecue, serving up everything from suckling pig to tandoor cooked naan bread and curries. For more liquid refreshment, there are a fine selection of cocktails and vintage wines available at Sip sunset bar or 15 Below, the subterranean bar and dance floor, should the mood take you.
Activities on offer include the island staples of snorkelling, sailing, fishing, windsurfing and diving, but also kite surfing and a SeaBob - a semi-submersible motorised propellor for anyone with James Bond aspirations. And then of course there is the diving too.
For the less secret agent-inclined, the Away Spa offers a wide range of expertly administered treatments in an overwater pavilion with indoor and outdoor treatment areas.
Why we love it
The W Retreat & Spa take their luxury very seriously. The bar staff are known as the Liquid Team mixologists, and the Down Under dive team's boat is correctly referred to as a dive limousine.