BY FIEL ESTRELLA

Stay cool for the summer on faraway islands that are rich in fine white sand, pristine waters, and even arts, history, and culture. Located on remote islands in the Maldives, Seychelles, and Turkey, these resorts are supremely sophisticated and completely private.

 

Soneva Fushi, Baa Atoll, Maldives

Soneva Fushi is located on a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and it’s all about mindful travel and going back to basics—think walking barefoot in the sand, floating on the surface of the sea, and coexisting with marine life. It’s the best escape there is: stylish, sustainable, simple.

Through their villas, you get the sense of outdoor living with all the comforts of home, and depending on the size, the facilities include steam rooms and saunas, a fitness room and a spa, a library, and wine cellars or minibars. Most of them have their own glittering pools, and the private reserve, the most luxurious accommodation, even has a water slide.

The activities they offer follow a similar idea of taking what’s comfortable and even nostalgic and elevating it into an experience that’s fresh and one-of-a-kind. The open-air theater, for example, holds classic film screenings with complementary popcorn and ice cream, and guests can enjoy a chilled cocktail (and the night air of the open sea!) with their movie. Watch the sunset while sipping champagne on a dolphin safari. Dinner becomes thrilling when you have it out in the jungle, under the full moon, with live music, or on a cruise under the stars with an astronomer. If you’re more of a day person, have breakfast at sunrise or a gourmet picnic instead.

For couples, an absolute must-try is an overnight stay on a private sandbank, where you’ll cozy up in a Bedouin-style tent after a candlelit dinner. You can also go evening fishing, surfing, freediving, or guided snorkeling with a marine biologist and swim with manta rays. But for the fullest, most authentic experience, island-hopping is the way to go: visit Eydhafushi Island and Maalhos Island, meet the most interesting people, and immerse yourself in the culture.

 

 

Amanruya, Bodrum, Turkey

Who says beach trips can’t teach you a thing or two about history? Erected against the Aegean Sea, Amanruya pays tribute to its scenic location through a village layout of individual stone pavilions designed with Mediterranean and Turkish architectural details. These guest houses have dark wooden furniture and beautiful marble paving, from the floors to the swimming pool, which is surrounded by a private garden with its own terrace. The hillside setting makes for unbelievable views of the forest, the coastline, and the sea.

Guests can enjoy wellness services and water activities, but the real draw of Amanruya is the access it provides to the natural beauty and rich culture of Bodrum, from magnificent ruins to traditional artisanal crafts like hand-knotted carpets and pottery. You’ll feel small, but more alive and present than ever. After a short drive or sail, you’ll be able to explore ancient sites that feel as though they sprung from Greek and Roman myth, dotted along the coast.

Once the second-largest city in the world, Ephesus stands near the ancient town of Priene and Miletus’ 15,000-seat amphitheater. Despite only a small part of it having been recovered, it is now one of the best-preserved ancient sites, and tourists can walk around and glimpse how life was once lived in it, through such sights as the library, the theater, and the many temples. Bodrum Castle, meanwhile, is a 15-Century wonder that now holds the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. It’s also a stone’s throw away from the vibrant city and the marina.

For another all-day excursion, try a trip to the fishing village of Gümüşlük: diving in the daytime to discover the sunken ancient city of Myndos, and hiking just as the sun is setting.

 

Cheval Blanc Randheli, Noonu Atoll, Maldives

The secluded lagoon setting of Cheval Blanc Randheli, surrounded by the breathtaking jungles and clear waters of Noonu Atoll, calls for your most peaceful and worry-free holiday yet. Whether you plan to hit the surf 24/7 or cool down in calming and lush gardens, the resort’s selection of villas aims to please, with lavish interiors and backdrops tailored to your every need: island villas for families, with their own gardens and private white sand beach; romantic water villas that allow you to be right where the action is and grant endless views of the Indian ocean; and lagoon villas where you’ll have the most intimate experience with nature.

There’s also the one-hectare Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island, which boasts its own chef and bar in the main villa and yoga or pilates sessions with a yoga master.

Even laid-back vacationers planning to lounge around won’t be spending all their time in the villas, however—they’ll be too busy exploring and experiencing all that Randheli has to offer. The Watersports Centre offers everything you need to go water skiing or sailing, and there are tennis courts as well as a fitness area to keep in shape for when you hit the beach. Go diving or house reef snorkeling, then go further with the resort’s fleet of dhoni boats or a yacht.

If you’re craving time to yourself, swim a few laps at the 25-meter-long square infinity pool, or relax at the spa. And if you’re still somehow not satisfied, an in-house creative team will help you dream up the ultimate island adventure.

 

Four Seasons Seychelles, Mahe Island, Seychelles

With its white powder beaches and powerful rock formations, a low-key trip to the Seychelles can give you serenity, solace, and bliss. During your stay, your new sanctuary will be the Creole-style treehouse villas, where you’ll be surrounded by a tropical forest and treated to views of the Indian Ocean. They offer easy access to the beach and private infinity pools, and you can even encounter some hedgehogs and geckos. As a result, you’ll find that it is possible to feel both safe and galvanized at the same time.

A leisurely walk around the grounds will introduce you to even more of the island’s native flora and fauna, and the endless array of activities waiting to be tried include birdwatching, jungle treks, helicopter and boat tours—and even a visit to the library. On Saturday morning, make sure to check out Victoria Market to pick up some fish, local produce, and spices from colorful stalls.

Make your tropical getaway an educational sojourn by visiting the Royal Garden and the Mount Fleuri Botanical Gardens. Art enthusiasts will feel right at home in the Michael Adams Gallery, and if you’re interest in learning more about the Seychelles and its history, stop by the wonderfully curated Natural History Museum in Victoria. Finally, discover some underwater marvels with the in-house WiseOceans team, who specialize in marine conservation and education, through talks and guided snorkelling sessions.

The best souvenirs aren’t always tangible, and at the Seychelles, you can take vacation home to your kitchen by taking a Creole cooking class. More active types can opt for an advanced hiking trail instead, which juxtaposes challenging climbs with a calming personalized art class, where they can sketch their own postcards depicting the island’s incredible views—a treat worthy of a gold frame.

 

 

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