10 of the best - exotic beaches - 3. Velassaru, Maldives
The wow factor: Velassaru is a 21-acre coral island of glorious white sand, coconut groves and a luxury resort set like gleaming pearl in a crystal-clear, turquoise lagoon in the Maldives’ South Male Atoll. The island is a sophisticated, five-star resort comprising over-water bungalows and villas, with others dotted among the trees. It has two bars and five restaurants as well as offering private dining including on a deserted sandbank reached by traditional sailing boat. When not relaxing on the beach, you can enjoy water sports including diving and windsurfing, go big game fishing or try traditional fishing methods and visit locals on nearby islands.
Did you know? The Maldives comprises almost 1,200 islands in 26 coral atolls in the Indian Ocean. The nation’s 350,000 population inhabits just 200 islands and there are 99 resort islands.
Stay: Seven nights with breakfast staying in a deluxe bungalow on Velassaru (www.velassaru.com) start at £1,249 per person with Kuoni. That includes return Sri Lankan Airlines flights and transfers. www.kuoni.co.uk