It has been a long journey for World Travel Awards, travelling the globe for 20 years recognising the leading lights of the tourism industry.
As the programme moves into its third decade it will host a special event at Paradise Island in the Maldives, a Villa Hotels & Resorts managed property.
Hundreds of industry insiders will gather on May 12th to discover who among them has been voted as the best-of-the-best, with only those few truly exceptional organisations walking off with the coveted trophies.
And what better host for the event? Imagine an island right in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with bright white beaches, a lagoon awash in deep blues and aquamarines, and soaring coconut palms swaying in the breeze.
This is paradise - Paradise Island Resort & Spa to be precise, an uncompromising destination of luxury and comfort.
A network of paved pathways winds through the lush grounds, connecting the oceanfront accommodation, gourmet dining spots, sports facilities, and an inspiring spa - each serving to make a Maldives island resort holiday whatever a guest would like it to be.
This is true tropical-inspired luxury at and alluring Maldives island hotel, where unforgettable experiences await.
But away from the glitz of World Travel Awards there is so much to discover on the islands – perhaps most famously the honeymoon offering.
If a honeymoon is meant to be a celebration of love in an intimate, secluded, and most importantly, beautiful setting, then the Maldives is the world’s best backdrop for all these things.
There are endless ways to let the magic of the islands dazzle while on holiday as a couple.
A dinner under the stars with the occasional flicker of candle light to bring you back into the real world, a daring getaway to a nearby uninhabited island all by yourselves for the whole day, or just lazing around in your private bungalow watching the endless turquoise waters while you are treated to an spa treatment in the room.
You could choose to get to know each other through a swim around a house reef with a mask and fin, or dive among the beautiful, vibrant reefs.
It is an experience you will relive for days after you get back home. Indulge in some light-hearted competition on a night fishing trip by seeing who catches more.
You will not forget the amazing boat trip you make at sunset before anchoring at a suitable fishing spot.
It is as if nature plays with the colours of the setting sun just to ensure that you remember this day, this moment, and this love for the rest of your life.
Diving in the Maldives
The islands of Maldives appear in-between the trading route of the Indian Ocean. Thus settlers and visitors from neighbouring regions and around the world have come in contact with the islands for as long as history has been recorded.
Such is the to-and-fro flow of people and their cultures, that a marked effect has been left in the Maldivian people, the language, beliefs, arts, and attitudes.
The looks of the Maldivian people may differ from one atoll to the other, attributing to the genes passed on by South and Southeast Asians, Africans, and Arabians.
The language, Dhivehi, differs in dialect in some regions in the south of Maldives, possibly due to the secluded nature and subsistent ways of island life.
Maldivian beliefs have been very much based around religion and superstition, often used together in matters of significance but given separate positions in society.
In matters of faith, Islam dominates, but influence of the supernatural still continues to play a major role in most island communities, possibly giving credit to the folklores and Buddhist traditions of the islands’ first settlers before conversion to Islam in 1153 AD.
The mixing of cultures is very much seen in Maldivian arts.
The music played with the local bodu-beru (big-drum) resemble that of African drumming.
The dhoni (a unique Maldivian sailboat) is an art form itself built with skilled craftsmanship, with significant similarities to the Arabian dows.
The fine artistry of Maldivians, seen in the intricate details on wooden beams in antique mosques, represents what we have gained from Southeast Asian architecture.
Then there is the undefined: the distinct geometric designs used in mats woven from local materials, the embroidered neckline of women’s traditional dresses and their ornaments too, expose another story brought in from an unknown culture that has seeped in to Maldivian society.
The warm seas of Maldives have high visibility throughout the year, with water clear enough to see the passing fish as far as fifty metres away at times.
Add to that the marvellous formation of over 3,000 coral reefs and the free flowing tides of the monsoons.
The result of these perfect conditions have created one of the world’s richest diving coral reef areas.
Over a thousand species of fish and other underwater creatures inhabit the Maldivian waters.
The monsoon tides of the Indian Ocean create a collection of small marine creatures as well as microscopic plant cells.
This in turn creates a hub for all kinds of underwater species who gather in these waters lured by the abundance of food.
In the Maldives you will get to see everything. From tiny shrimp and groups of colourful swimmers to the magnificent mantas and sharks, a careful eye will give you enough to enrapture you for a lifetime.