Vabbinfaru, Maldives

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photo: N Preseault

Why save the best for last? The Maldives is a dream destination. And once you’ve visited, all you’ll do is dream of going back. It takes nearly 24 hours–including three flights and a speedboat–to reach the island of Vabbinfaru, in the Maldives’ North Male Atoll, from the United States’ East Coast, but it’s worth every sleep-deprived moment.

The Banyan Tree Resort is all that you’ll find on Vabbinfaru. Shoes come off upon arrival, and unless you go to work out, they aren’t needed again until you leave. Forty-eight beachfront and ocean-view villas circle the small island. The thatched-roof ceilings of the villas have a spiral shape, like a seashell. The large villas have four-poster beds, open-air bathrooms with an additional outdoor shower, a garden area with a small pool, and a wooden deck with a sala overlooking the water. Can this be home forever, please? An Asian spa, fitness center, dive center, and marine lab host the island’s activities…if you can tear yourself away from your private oasis. But make sure you do, as the baby turtles will be a highlight of your stay.

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photo: N Preseault

Another highlight? Dining. The sand-floor restaurant or staying in your villa are options. Or perhaps something more unique? A private sandbar should be secluded enough. Watch the sun set as a personal chef prepares a seafood feast.

From the villas to the baby turtles to a private sunset dinner to couple massages, the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru is secluded, romantic, and relaxing.

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