The recent explosion of resort construction in the Maldives has been concentrated in the now-crowded central atolls, leaving the island nation’s southern reaches relatively untouched. Opened last August, Alila Villas Hadahaa is the first resort on the 1,120-square-mile atoll of Huvadhoo. The remote southern isle, the second largest atoll in the world, is located about two hours (by way of plane and speedboat) from the busy capital of Male.
Like Hadahaa’s location, the resort’s architecture is out of the ordinary for a Maldivian retreat: Instead of the ubiquitous thatch-roofed accommodations, Hadahaa features villas with slanted timber roofs. Native vegetation shades 36 Island Villas, which have sundecks, walled gardens with outdoor showers and baths, and, in some cases, plunge pools. Panoramic windows and direct Indian Ocean access are highlights of the 14 over-water Aqua Villas.
Guests at Hadahaa can snorkel and scuba dive in the ocean, try the resort’s Spa by Mandara, and play billiards in a reception lobby that resembles a huge upturned wooden boat. Breakfast and lunch are served in the open-air Relish restaurant, while fine dinners can be had at Battuta’s Restaurant, perhaps the only true Maldivian dining venue at a Maldivian resort. Alila Villas Hadahaa, +960.682.8888, www.alilahotels.com