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Soneva Gili

Opened in 2002, this private island retreat was the first over-water villa hotel in the Maldives, and its open-air construction maximizes lagoon views while maintaining privacy. The scenery and solitude reach their pinnacles at the 15,000-square-foot Private Reserve—one of the world’s largest presidential suites—which encompasses five separate buildings that include a spa and gym, as well as staff quarters for two butlers. Accommodations Forty-four overwater villas, eight of which are accessible only by boat. The 15,000-square-foot presidential suite has few peers as a tropical hideaway. Recreation Speedboats and dhonis (traditional Maldivian fishing boats) are available for charter. Dining Creative Asian cuisine is served wherever guests wish to dine—in one of two restaurants, in a new wine cellar, in the villas, on a beach, or in the garden. Worthy Diversion Try rubdown in the overwater Six Senses spa, where cutouts in the floor beneath the massage tables reveal tropical fish swimming in the sea. Rates From $985 to $3,440 for villa suites and residences, depending on the season. The Private Reserve presidential suite is $12,500.

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Photo by Janos Grapow