The Maldives has a wide variety of accommodation for the visitor. Choices vary from 73 resort islands which will increase to 74 in the very near future.
A resort island is a world by itself. Developed on uninhabited islands each island is just one hotel exclusively maintained in pristine form and serviced for only a limited number of guests. The untouched white beaches are perfect for relaxation and a healthy tan under the Maldivian sun. Crowned by majestic coconut palms which characterise the Maldives the vegetation on all islands are quite similar; rings of tropical vegetation adapting to a variety of environments salt resistant and hardy varieties closer to the beach-line giving way to shrubs and plants and more delicate and dense greenery towards the centre.
Just inside the vegetation line well dispersed for maximum privacy along the beach in a typical resort island are small bungalow style rooms where accommodation is provided. The rooms, though mostly shaded by trees, allow a clear view of the beach the lagoon and the horizon beyond. They are generally equipped with modern conveniences, with ensuite facilities. Most of the resort islands have at least two restaurants.
Some of the larger resorts may offer as many as five different restaurants. Local and continental cuisine is available in addition to exotic buffets and barbecues. Normally the hotel rates quoted are for full board – bed breakfast, lunch and dinner included. In club style resorts and in some smaller resort islands this is often preferred. Except in the evening, when wining and dining under the stars may be the choice for most there is never enough time to exhaust the wonders of the sea.
Naturally, most of the activities centre around the sea. The reefs around the islands are excellent for diving and snorkelling. Activities such as water-skiing and windsurfing may seem strenuous but exciting. Water sports equipment and a facilities are available for hire on all resort islands. There Is either a fully equipped diving school or a more elaborate water sports centre.
There is sufficient activity on all resorts which are self contained worlds of their own. Equipment for sports such as lawn tennis, football volleyball and indoor games such as billiards, table tennis, chess or darts are usually available free of charge in many of the resort islands.
Those who wish to relax can spend time on the beach; sit under the sun or under the cool green shade; admire the surrounding natural beauty or perhaps simply gaze at the horizon lined with green islands springing out of the blue ocean. The blue ocean beaches are peaceful and never crowded. Every island resort is Robinson Crusoe ‘s island but equipped with modern amenities subtly hidden away. As depicted by local artists in stencil prints unique to the Maldives, relaxing on the beach is not only aesthetic but a sport and an art in itself. There are only a few places in the world where so much pleasure can be dervied by doing nothing.
Cruising among the islands may be an exciting alternative to lazing on resort beaches. Yachts and yacht-dhonis with bunk beds or private cabins are available for hire. These boats can accommodate between eight to twenty passengers on cruises that sail for ten to fifteen days. Some of the larger vessels have scuba diving and windsurfing facilities with qualified instructors on board. Food prepared by the crew using the day ‘s fresh catch of fish may be modest but a tourist resort is never too far to stop for a sumptuous meal or a drink.
On a cruise dining under a clear sky in the Maldives can be an experience in itself. With the equator running through the Maldives it is an astronomer ‘s dream too.
Besides safari boats and resorts there are a few hotels and guest houses in Male as well. These facilities cater mainly for the business traveller. The larger establishments provide meals. Tourist accommodation is also available on Gan Island in Addu; the southern-most atoll of the Maldives.