Close your eyes and imagine you’re somewhere far away from the UK, away from unpredictable weather and dry winter skin. You may find yourself daydreaming about unparalleled luxury in the Maldives; seawater so clear it looks like textured turquoise glass, sand as soft as flour gently nestled between your toes, and the warm, bright sun pouring down from a cloudless sky.
Oh, and water villas. Obviously. The kind that you see celebrities checking in to - a gorgeous floating home sat on sea stilts, offering you the ocean as your own getaway back garden any time you fancy a swim or snorkel.
But before you write off your Maldivian dream as a complete fantasy, one that would only be possible when you have a bank balance to match the A-listers, there’s an island you need to know about.
Nova Maldives, one of the newest all-inclusive resorts to open in the popular paradise-like hotspot, is a small but mighty addition to the set of luxurious islands in this pocket of the Indian Ocean. Jetting off to this part of the world is a once in a lifetime trip, so get ready for a taste of otherworldly bliss. You really won’t want to leave.
The Island Vibe
Located in the South Ari Atoll, Nova is truly idyllic. Before you even step foot on the island, you’ll be treated to a birds eye view of the Maldives, courtesy of a 25 minute seaplane transfer from Velana International Airport. The small carrier will whisk you over patches of water that range from electric blue to neon green, overlooking stunning natural scenery to whet your island-life appetite.
Upon arrival, expect to see baby grey reef sharks gliding in the crystal clear waters by the jetty, leafy green palm trees basking in the sun, and a stretch of stunning sea villas hooking out from the edge of the sand.
Nova prides itself on being a slice of soulful joy, and it's easy to see why. The island itself is very small - one of the smallest in the Maldives - which instantly makes it feel like a private, intimate landing spot. There are 76 villas available, and while you’ll spot familiar faces when dining at any of the three restaurants, most of the time you’ll feel that you have the place almost completely to yourself. There’s a deliciously mellow atmosphere permeating Nova, and it’s the kind of peace you’ll want to bottle to bring home.
While it’s undoubtedly a part of the world most associated with couples on romantic getaways, here you’ll find something for everyone - whether you’re travelling with friends, family or going solo. Want to treat yourself to an ultra-indulgent facial? The spa is there for exactly that. Fancy a sweat session at the gym? There's also beach yoga for a zen stretch. Feel happiest in the water looking for manta rays and whale sharks? Help yourself to a complimentary snorkel kit and paddle away.
So whether you’re into scuba diving, hot stone massages, or snoozing in the sun, you’re sorted.
Opt to stay in a water villa with a jacuzzi and you will not be disappointed. These incredible rooms offer an endless view of the Indian Ocean from your private deck, complete with a hot tub to catch those golden sunsets with a glass of bubbly in hand. You’ll also have direct access to the sea, meaning you could quite literally roll straight out of bed and into the water for a snorkelling session if you so desired. The dream.
These super spacious villas are 125sqm and boast a plush king sized bed, flat screen telly with Apple TV, reliable WiFi and a minibar. In the bathroom, you’ll find a rainfall shower, dual basins, and a roll top tub (perfectly positioned to soak up the sea views).
For an extra dash of lavish living, there are a handful of water villas with private pools. But if you’d prefer to stay on land, there are a number of gorgeous beach villas to pick from too, with or without a private jacuzzi, and they can accommodate 3 to 5 guests.
With two à la carte restaurants and a buzzy all-day dining buffet, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to one of the most important parts of any holiday - the food.
Head to Soul Kitchen, the island’s casual all-inclusive restaurant, for a range of mouth-watering delicacies throughout the day. Chefs prepare fresh dishes daily, and there is seafood aplenty - mussels, tuna steaks and reef fish are frequently found here at lunchtime, while Nova hosts a Maldivian night once a week to give guests an authentic taste of the region.
For fine dining from the grill, Flames will keep your stomach satisfied. Start with the reef snapper ceviche, followed by the succulent rib eye steak and top it all off with their signature chocolate lava cake. Heavenly.
But if you’re looking for a dinner with theatrics, make a reservation at Mizu. The overwater Teppanyaki eaterie looks like a beautiful bobbing Japanese lantern by night, and inside is equally as impressive. Take a seat in front of the hot grill and marvel as the chef effortlessly juggles cooking - and utensils. Of the four set menus, the ‘oishi shokuji’ option is the one to sink your teeth into: sushi and sashimi, juicy tiger prawns, melt-in-your-mouth beef, tender salmon fillet and succulent chicken, rounded off with crispy edamame, egg fried rice and tasty vegetables. Oh, and save space for the banana flambé with coconut ice cream.
The main bar, Wink, and the pool bar, Solis, are open for light bites during the day - think pizza and snacks - and are great spots if you fancy a tipple. Grab an after dinner cocktail at Wink and enjoy live music every night, with a range of DJs and bands bringing the island to life once the sun sets.
What To Do
Whether your dream holiday consists of high-adrenaline activities, or simply sloping from your bed to the beach and back again, you’ll be totally catered for at Nova.
As one of the best locations in the Maldives to spot marine life, there’s a dedicated hub for watersports. Aquaholics will kit you up with your complimentary snorkelling gear for a solo swim in any of the nearby lagoons, or help you to book an exhilarating dive course.
Don’t miss a trip to the Eskape Spa, too. An Ocean Dream Massage is TLC for your body and mind, plus you can book holistic treatments such as lymphatic drainage and reflexology to ensure you’re really in your zen zone.
And when it comes to the perfect sunbathing spot? You’re on a breathtaking island full of quiet sandy nooks - the choice is yours.
For those who want to explore a little further, Nova has a list of daily excursions for guests to get excited about. Hop on a boat and head out to see whale sharks in the wild, or take a trip to a local island to explore traditional Maldivian culture.
The dedicated Nova Maldives app will provide you with instant access to any information you might need - whether that’s the start time for sunrise yoga, or restaurant opening times.
Nova is also committed to environmental preservation, and the island is 100% natural, entirely solar-powered and sources fresh produce from a local hydro-farm. They also support the KULA Art Initiative which gives local artists the opportunities to share their work.
How to book
For more information about Nova Maldives, including reservations and prices, visit their website directly for the best rates and offers. Head to https://nova-maldives.com for more details.
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Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.
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