The Luxe List 2012, Maldives: Viceroy Maldives Resort & Spa, Vagaru Island

The only resort in the Maldives’ northern Shaviyani Atoll provides the ideal setting in which to decompress, whether that means lounging with a glass of wine by your plunge pool or snorkeling alongside the bannerfish, fusiliers, rays, and turtles that inhabit the pristine house reef. Starting at 120 square meters, the viceroy’s 61 Yabu Pushelberg–designed beach and water villas are havens of white-on-white and polished woods with their own pools, Mac Mini entertainment systems, and soaring thatched roofs shaped to resemble the upturned hull of a dhoni, the Maldives’ traditional fishing boat.

Guests can toast the sunset on the cushy outdoor day beds at the Treehouse—one of the seven-hectare island’s four restaurants—where Middle Eastern standouts include grilled marinated fish and luscious lamb chops; or opt for candle-lit Italian meals in the soon-to-open Cerchio. Sunrise and sunset yoga classes will help you unwind, as will the treatments at the overwater spa, which emphasizes holistic and Ayurvedic healing. Grown-ups will appreciate the impressive array of magazines and coffee table books in the resort’s glass-walled library, while a beanbag-strewn kid’s club offers such diversions as finger painting and tattoo making.

960/654-5000;; doubles from US$1,080.

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