Perfection in the Maldives

Water World


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A nation of 1,190 island specks spread over 116 square miles of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives looks like something out of a myth. And parts of the country could well become just that if sea levels rise: The highest elevation is a mere eight feet above. Only about 200 of the islands are inhabited, but resorts are increasingly willing to chance the climate–change odds—15 new hotels have opened in the past two years. Our favorite: Hudhuranfushi Island Resort, a swanky surf camp next to eight northern–atoll breaks. (Swells are strongest between June and September.) The seaplane–accessed resort reopened late last year with 26 new overwater bungalows ($1,665 per week, including meals and surfing; Prefer island nightlife to epic surf? Opt for the brand-new Diva Island Resort & Spa, in Ari Atoll, where six restaurants, six bars, a disco, and 88 villas on stilts dot the island's 2.5–mile white–sand rim. Between margaritas, dive with 20–foot whale sharks, circumnavigate the island by kayak, or just stick to the glass–floored spa, where you can gaze down upon passing parrotfish (doubles, $770; ).

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