Be met at the airport. Be escorted by speedboat or seaplane. Some come to evade prying eyes, paparazzi and drones. It’s perfect for those couples who want seclusion and romance as they escape the chaos and noise of their often busy, urban lives and much, I discovered, is actively done to promote the ultimate ‘two in the world’ feeling.

It’s certainly true that the Maldives archipelago is the perfect romantic setting with over a thousand coral islands, a tenth of which are inhabited, many now acting as luxury resorts. The mosquitoes have been eliminated. The water is enclosed by the house reef and so, protected from the strong currents and large ocean waves, is perfect for swimming. Perfect for privacy.

For utter bliss and seclusion go for an ultra private island resort. Not simply a getaway but a hideaway and if you want to become a castaway for a day as at Velaa Private Island, then simplify life to just a parasol, a beach towel and a few provisions. Plus telepathic service on hand! You could try going truly nomadic and wake up at a different island each morning. Walk hand in hand by the clear waters of the shallow lagoon and witness at night the beach of the Vaadhoo Island where the tides have a rare glow or at Gili Lankanfushi where the coral has real fluorescence.

I used to find that it was only after recognising that I needed a holiday that I took one and so half my stay was spent merely getting myself back to normal. Far better to always have somewhere lined up to look forward to. Better still is to use the fresh stimulus of foreign climes to take romance onto another level. And I was keen to discover what is actively done to promote the ultimate ‘two in the world’ feeling.

‘Ready and waiting’ could apply as much to the romantic couple expecting an engagement proposal as to the service on hand from the top hotels across the Maldives. The modern necessity of luxury hotels is the service of the personal butler or ‘thakuru’. He is like a ‘man Friday’ or ‘villa host’ and is assigned to you throughout your stay.

Across Maldives’ top end resorts they have specialities. The lengths hotels now go to make things special is impressive. Amilla Fushi has a dive butler and the new Hotel The Residence by Cenizaro has introduced a ‘Romance Concierge’ to curate the perfect romantic break for a proposal or honeymoon. At Baros Maldives you get a special mobile phone to call the sandbank butler when you’re ready to go. At Six Senses Laamu, every guest is assigned a GEM (Guest Experience Maker), a personal butler who arranges activities, dinners, and spa treatments.

Further luminosity comes from the stars that shine bright and unimpeded above. Lanterns light up the beach, the restaurants offer incense burning, a candle lit entrance, or better still there are proper flames in the night. All this burning can signify your passion.

Or take it even easier with room service and gaze from the veranda at a panorama of the lagoon. Sense the waves lapping upon the shore and the breeze swishing the coconut palms; it summons romance. The Maldives is THE perfect setting for proposing. A future fiancée will always prefer something personal, imaginative and sincere. Humorous maybe but requiring thought and romance: something memorable to mark this moment of eternity.

Find an isolated spot as a wonderful setting for the big gesture, the huge declaration. Dream Island is a desolate sandbank, a little patch of paradise all to yourself: ideal for surprising your other half with a message written in the sand.

There are so many ideal spots to get down on one knee and pop the question. For some, the sandbanks are the best spot. After all, you get a 360 degree view and an horizon punctuated with other islands and passing boats. You’re surrounded by soft white sand and topaz-blue water. You feel openness. At M6m (Minus Six Meters) a diver swam down with Atmosphere’s very own mermaid and unveiled at the couple’s window a banner with ‘Will You Marry Me?’

So what about jumping into scuba gear and watching your partner’s jaw drop as you appear on the other side of the glass. Truly, madly, deeply indeed! While weddings may not be legal in the Maldives for all nationalities, it’s such a fabulous place for a blessing or renewal of vows (though you have to register with the Ministry responsible for tourism). Beach weddings are effortlessly joyful, with providence doing its own blessing, weather permitting.

Couples can dress in Maldivian costumes and have local Boduberu drummers beat a searing rhythm. It can be held anywhere: on a sandbank, a sailboat, a jetty or perhaps Gili Lankanfushi’s Lagoon Champa – their most private pavilion reachable only by boat. Or underwater?

The Maldives are equally perfect for the long-awaited blissful relaxation after all the nerves of the build-up to, and the frenzy of, the wedding day itself. To qualify for special treatment, the honeymoon holiday doesn’t have to be straight after the wedding, as some resorts allow a six month delay.

For that special start to married life, many resorts have honeymoon packages, including of course honeymoon suites. The one at Niyama, Honeymoon Passions (from about €177), offers a stay of three nights, Champagne, a spa, a sunset cruise, dining on a deserted sandbank and a professional photoshoot in three locations, complete with makeup and wardrobe!

At Atmosphere they include: romantically shaped bed decorations, an exotic fruit basket, turn-down service incorporating a bath tub filled with water and flower petals, sparkling wine and canapes on arrival in the villa, a baby wedding cake, a couple’s manicure/pedicure at the Elena Spa, a romantic candle-lit beach dinner, sunset cocktails and a sunset cruise with a bottle of Champagne in a traditional sailboat.

Naturally it’s just as suitable for babymooners (couples awaiting their first baby) as they savour their precious time before their family starts, and for couples celebrating anniversaries and naturally Valentine’s Day.

Lovenests abound, such as traditionally designed Maldivian hotels featuring heavily palm-fringed roofs, wood and rattan. Guests choose between beach and ‘overwater’ villas. The latter come with ‘open-to-the-stars’ bathrooms, private plunge pools and steps directly down into the lagoon The interior décor is typically soft, muted tones with crisp furnishing, and king-size beds with reassuringly snug 60×60 pillows.

Niyama’s studios come with private sun decks, open-air bathrooms, large bathtubs and rain showers. Amilla Fushi has the longest infinity pool. The Romantic Pool Villa at Velaa Private Island is designed for couples and Hurawalhi and its new sister island Kudadoo Private Island, are both ‘adults-only’. No screaming kids! For its remoteness and privacy, I suggest the Four Seasons Private Island Voavah, with a mere seven villas and the ‘Private Reserve’ at Gili Lankanfushi, the world’s largest overwater villa and accessible only by boat.

Amilla Fushi has a Wellness Tree House; Huvafen Fushi has outdoor saltwater floatation pools and at COMO Cocoa Island, you can dwell in an authentic Maldivian Dhoni boat.

Recent additions include St. Regis Vommuli Resort, with a bar shaped like a whale, a library like a conch shell and a spa like a lobster. The LUX* North Male Atoll on the island Olhahali is to have an urban design for each white villa with bathrooms in marble and roof terraces with flashes of neon pink.

For drinks try Subsix at PER AQUUM Niyama resort. It’s six metres below the waterline and full of parrotfish, moray eels, groupers and butterflyfish. The resident Hawksbill turtle can also make an appearance. While, for manta rays, stingrays and even baby sharks, there’s Ithaa (meaning ‘mother-of-pearl’), another undersea restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Plus it’s exclusive. There’s only room for fourteen diners.

Maldivian cuisine (also called Dhivehi) is based on coconuts, starches and fish of which the favourite is skipjack tuna. At the Lighthouse at Baros Maldives you dine with schools of fish swimming beneath you. At Conrad Rangali Island there’s even a 6,000 bottle underground wine cellar. While Niyama’s Nest has dining pods high in banyan treetops and Niyama’s Edge is a restaurant on stilts far out to sea, only accessible by boat. Guaranteed privacy.

For similar seclusion, Shangri-La Villingili certainly creates the ultimate ‘two in the world’ feeling. Expert chefs have a bespoke ‘Dine by Design’ service offering lunch on the equator aboard a luxury yacht or dinner in the jungle by torchlight. Mind you, there’s always room service or, as at Gili Lankanfushi, private screenings of old favourites in the jungle cinema with chocolate, strawberries and Champagne!

“Adventure is worthwhile”, said Aesop, and after a few days adjusting it may well be time to explore, go swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving, or all manner of water sports. While the Maldives has long been, in the trade, a ‘fly and flop’ destination, in reality it’s difficult to choose from the spoiling list of options.

Huvafen Fushi has as good a house reef as many. They act as a natural aquarium and coral garden and are where marine biologists take you on guided snorkel trips. Go underwater in a whale submarine, see the outer atolls from a ‘Seaplane Surfari’ or ‘Voavah Summer’ at Four Seasons Private Island Voavah, their luxury yacht.

At Constance Moofushi you can go night diving, while at Four Seasons there’s a ‘Manta-on-Call’ alert for when the rays appear, before you get whisked off to see them on a speedboat. At COMO Cocoa Island you can ‘island hop’ or spot dolphins. At JA Manafaru you can even hit golf balls (made of fish food) into the sea!

There’s surfing at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. The new Kandima, Dhaalu Atoll is long enough to hire bikes and electric scooters to get around. At Four Seasons, you can even try ‘seabobs’, the underwater variety of scooters.

Jumeirah Vittaveli is pioneering with an ice rink to transport you, blessed by the warmth of the tropics, into a winter wonderland. Villingili offers immersions into unspoilt Maldivian villages or, for culturally-minded and shoppers alike, there’s the capital city Male with her tall modern buildings. Here are located the Maldives National Museum, Maldives Grand Friday Mosque, Maldives Fish Market and The Esjehi Art Gallery.

If all that seems too active, try the spa. At the new Kanuhura, Lhaviyani Atoll, the Kokaa Spa includes a therapy focused on releasing energy from 103 pressure points on your body. Niyama’s Drift is out at sea with ‘over-water’ rooms looking over the ocean, while at the world’s only underwater spa at Huvafen Fushi, you can see fish swimming past you as you unwind.

The best time of year to visit the Maldives is between November and April. Avoid the tropical cyclones from August to October though the temperature all year round is about 30°C.

To learn more about The Maldives, visit the website


Adam Jacot de Boinod worked on the first series of the BBC panel game QI for Stephen Fry. He is a British author having written three books about unusual words with Penguin Press.