It’s a credit to the designers of LUX* Resorts & Hotels’ second Maldivian property that it stands out against the raft of other big-name openings in the archipelago this year. The vibe is contemporary South Beach, with 67 white-walled, deco-esque villas that curve and gleam like the hull of a luxury yacht. There’s not a thatched roof in sight. Isabelle Miaja, the Franco-Spanish interiors maven who helped realize the project, says she wanted it to feel like the sort of place James Bond might stay were he to visit the islands. That translates to sexy bespoke furnishings and cheeky pops of color, plus huge bathrooms equipped with tubs that look like a bisected dinosaur egg. Villas are either on the beach or perched above the lagoon; either way, you’ll get a private infinity pool and rooftop sundeck. Inti, the resort’s Peruvian-Japanese restaurant, serves incredibly fresh ceviche and potent pisco sours; across the island—it’s a short walk—is a beach club with a more casual menu and DJ beats. Massage tables at the overwater spa are positioned above glass panels, but if it’s fish you want to look at, book Barium, a subterranean private dining room with an aquarium along one wall. 007 would no doubt approve.
—960/668-2600; luxresorts.com; villas from US$1,112