The Luxe List 2012, Maldives: The Residence Maldives, Gaafu Alifu Atoll

The third island resort in the portfolio of the Singapore-based Residence Hotels group brings the brand’s elegantly restrained aesthetic to the diminutive Maldivian islet of Falhumaafushi. Situated just north of the equator, the 94 thatch-roofed villas are all about cool comfort, whether ensconced on the beach or stilted above the fish-filled lagoon.

Two restaurants (one of which is perched prettily at the end of a long jetty) and a poolside bar present food from around the globe, while French techniques mingle with Asian elements at the Maldives’ first Clarins spa. And with a domestic airport having recently opened nearby, getting to this part of the southern Gaafu Alifu atoll from Male now takes less than an hour.

960/682-0088;; doubles from US$1,140.

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