select - beaches
Written by Oryx
Tropical islands have always lured travellers with dreams of swaying coconut trees, limpid waters, and welcoming locals. But the ultimate getaways also offer a varied experience, whether you’re after pampering, partying, or a peaceful sunset cocktail. Here’s how to be a Robinson Crusoe in style.
Draped like a jewelled pendant across the ocean off the tip of India, the Maldives are the ultimate in island romance, offering year-round sunshine, stunning natural beauty, and holidays that focus on luxury indulgence. It’s the sort of place where you’re served fresh seafood by a personal butler and get pampered into a state of aromatic bliss in a sophisticated spa. At Conrad Maldives, twice voted ‘Best Hotel in the World’, the spa has glass floors so you can dreamily watch colourful fish flitting below – and an all-glass underwater restaurant where you can (almost) join them.
At The Rania Experience, guests enjoy their own private yacht, personal chef, and diving instructor. Island Hideaway, the first island to have a private marina, allows sailing in considerable style and has spectacular guest villas perched on the beach.
Beautiful, luxurious, and indulgent, the Maldives define ‘holiday of a lifetime’.
Island Hideaway is on Dhonakulhi and Conrad Maldives on Rangali Island. The Rania Experience occupies its own private island, a dot in a turquoise sea.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily non-stop flights to the Maldives.
Thailand’s long, languorous southern provinces are dotted with offshore islands (koh) where you’ll find upmarket escapes, infinity pools, and chic restaurants nestled among the coconut palms and fringed by long, golden beaches. Koh Lanta, off the coastal town of Krabi, has water as blue as a peacock’s tail, with great diving; it attracts relaxed travellers who want to chill out at beach bars and watch the spectacular sunsets. Koh Similan features a stunning national park and glorious snorkelling, while Koh Phi Phi is famed for its towering cliffs, shimmering bay, and young party crowd. Larger Koh Samui, once famed as a backpackers’ haven, is now a laid-back retreat for the better heeled. But if it’s bright lights and action you’re after, look no farther than Phuket, Thailand’s party island, with its glamorous resorts and raucous nightlife.
Plenty of island choices to suit whatever holiday mood moves you.
The 1,200km-long peninsula in Thailand’s south tempts from both its east and west coasts all the way to the Malaysian border.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has two daily flights to Bangkok.
There are 115 islands in this watery Indian Ocean nation, many designated as nature reserves. Visitors can sail, fish, dive, snorkel, and walk among stunning landscapes and flora, admire giant tortoises and dazzling birdlife, or find Nemo among the coral. Sixteen of its islands tempt with five-star resorts and bungalows, sapphire waters, and blinding-white beaches, where the only crowds might be scuttling crabs.
A splendid natural environment and outstanding diving.
Head to Curieuse Island to see tortoises, Bird Island for – literally – millions of birds, and the Anse Islands for the most bejewelled waters.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has non-stop flights to Seychelles four times a week during the tourist season.