• The Travel Ten

FAST 5: Where to live your best James Bond life in the Maldives

Updated: May 14, 2019

The impossibly beauteous new LUX North Male Atoll has been designed by Singapore-based Miaja Design Group and inspired by James Bond because of course it is. It's all dazzling whiteness against glittering blueness, and it's said to level up Indian Ocean hospitality and your own licence to chill. Yeah, we went there. LICENCE TO CHILL. No regrets - that was awesome work by us, right there. This is not a drill, people. There's ordinary vacations and there's ONCE IN A LIFETIME ULTIMATE TELL YOUR GRANDKIDS ABOUT IT holidays. This is one of those ones.

1. Penthouse life

Step off the speedboat and the seaplane and get ready to set your laser to stun. The warm welcome includes Maldivian drumming and dazzling sarong-clad dancers. Coconut palms arch over pathways leading to the beach and overwater villas, private hideaways are hidden beyond the hibiscus and it's all your basic dream paradise. LUX North Malé offers guests an incredible amount of space, amid sleek pared-back decors in reassuringly soothing whites. All 67 villas are outrageously spacious, with bathrooms as big as the bedrooms and stunningly spacious outdoor showers. Expansive terraces await your white linen-clad exclusive barbecues or the unshakeable feeling you could basically run Fyre Festival (one that actually happens) on your own penthouse rooftop. Having so much space to yourselves is, the resort says, the definition of true luxury – and we're inclined to agree.

2. Private time in the bluest of views

You can walk the outer loop in less than half an hour here on this ridiculously idyllic isle, so the villas feel like your own private world all over again. Forward-thinking architecture invites you to dramatically fling your windows open to bring in the greatest outdoors. Every rooftop promises a different perspective on the postcard-esque Maldivian panoramas – the only movement you’re likely to see is birds swooping into the foliage or dolphins rippling the glossy surface of the big blue. The Indian Ocean’s palette is never predictable: in the sunshine, the sky and sea can be a deep, deep blue. In the evening, that same landscape is resplendent in pastels – snap a vivid orange sunset one night and the next admire purples and violets. Those famous Maldivian pure white sandy beaches and beautiful shells give you plenty of mindful time strolling amongst it all, and you can literally step out from any edge and go snorkelling and tick off tropical fish from your checklist. Dolphins, stingrays and turtles are among the characters in this thriving reef, brought to life for you by the on-site marine biologist.

3. Eat, and swim, and cook, and eat again

This is the kind of place you simply float through. It's never formal or fussy, with the service staff keeping up an unswerving attention to detail and a dedication to anticipating every need in advance without going on about it.

Eating and drinking is themed as 'healthy yet indulgent', which we take to mean you'll have everything your heart desires, yet remain bikini ready at any moment. Breakfast is a tempting spread of colours, flavours and cuisines; lunch and dinner and everything in between is à la carte. Glow eatery gazes out at an awe-ensuring infinity pool, which melts into the lagoon, which means you'll want to pause here for more than a meal. Here in the restaurant, culinary experts also host masterclasses, sharing skills and secrets about typically luxe ingredients such as truffles because of course.

Inti eatery serves up inventive plates large and small of Peruvian-Argentinian-Japanese delights, blending Latin American flavourings with Asian seasonings that actually makes delicious sense when you experience the fusion. At Beach Rouge, splashes of red accenting the vibrant blue make for a social spot for eating, drinking and soaking up that vitamin D from a sun lounger or swaying to gentle basslines. It's a dream scene for long lazy lunches and suppers under the stars. There is a dancefloor too, for when you want to live your Cafe del Mar dreams to Beach Rouge’s signature sets of upbeat house and gentle electro.

4. Spa time

There's always a spa. There MUST be a spa. Why would you come to a place as perfectly paradisiacal without one? In this one, you'll find floor-to-ceiling windows and first-class therapists in the LUX* ME spa, set along its own jetty (above). On the opposite end of the island to the buzz of the beach club, it's a corner of complete calm where views are only ever interrupted by elegant long-winged birds gliding across the horizon, flower-filled gardens framed by trees stretching over as though in graceful yoga moves and other impossibly calming vistas. We're happy to hear this resort is sensitive to the environment, conveying luxury with a conscience. There are no single-use-plastic shockers or disposable containers –think refillable glass water bottles and ceramics for the highest-quality amenities. Check out the boutique and you'll spy only sustainable fashion brands.

5. Go with the flow

This is the least organised Fast 5 we've ever presented to you because hey, it's the Maldives. Do what you like! Love what you do. The LUX resort vibe is playful but sophisticated, fun but finessed, and rather infectious. No fixed schedules. Stand-up paddleboard when the mood takes you, or be whisked away to a secret sandbank for sunset cocktails. Pad around the island to find ICI for exotic house-made ice-cream. Charter a superyacht and let the captain chaperone you to Turtle Point, a sanctuary for marine life. Every moment here matters and you'll get a little bit more James Bond (the relaxed, martini-drinking kind) every day you're here.

Rates start from $1,456 AUD per double room accommodation villa per night on a Bed & Breakfast basis (excluding taxes, service fee & transfers). For more information, visit www.luxnorthmaleatoll.com

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