Filaidhoo, Maldives

Photo: Mahogany Private Ltd.

The Maldives is a dream destination. To many people, it’s the ultimate dream destination. The archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean is comprised of nearly 1,200 coral islands. About 200 of them are inhabited. Some are home to small resorts. That’s right, the entire island is a resort. No wonder it’s considered paradise.

Paradise is usually quite expensive. Prohibitively so. Rates quickly climb above four figures per night. That’s usually before meals, drinks, spa treatments, and excursions are added. So these destinations are normally reserved for honeymoons, big birthdays, or major anniversaries. The Maldives, for the most part, remains a dream.

Not so fast. There may be a luxury resort, not a small guesthouse or a village homestay, that’s actually affordable. Reethi Faru Resort doesn’t cost $1,000 a night. Most of its villas—Garden Villas, Beach Villas, and even Jacuzzi Beach Villas—aren’t even half of that. Only its Water Villas, which sit on stilts above the clear lagoon, near the halfway mark. That’s not surprising. You’re still looking at the other prices with disbelief, though.

Photo: Mahogany Private Ltd.

Reethi Faru Resort lies 45 minutes, by seaplane, northwest of Malé, the capital of the island nation. Gorgeous scenery—bright blue water dotted with little green islands fringed by powdery white sand—makes the flight feel almost too short. The seaplane starts to dip as it approaches the resort. A long wooden dock, a string of Water Villas, and a thatched-roof restaurant stand over the water. Palm trees and smaller thatched buildings line the sand. Plus thick, tropical vegetation fills the island’s interior.

The resort certainly looks like a tropical paradise. The villas are the true test, though. The Water Villas are stunning, of course. They have uninterrupted ocean views and deep soaking tubs. The Beach Villas are lavish, too. The freestanding villas feature open-air showers and porches with sun loungers. While the Jacuzzi Beach Villas add private hot tubs on their terraces.

The Garden Villas are the true tests. These rooms are hidden among the greenery on the island’s east side. They stand on the same soft sand. They have the same wide patios and thatched ceilings as the other villas. They also have glass-walled bathrooms and exposed showers. The only thing missing is a water view. That’s only a few steps away.

So the Maldives actually has a luxurious resort that’s reasonably priced. It’s on a remote, private island. Its villas don’t skimp on comfort or design. It’s what you’ve been dreaming about forever. It’s finally time to book a flight to the Maldives.

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