VELASSARU, SOUTHMALEATOLLFully refurbished and reopened in 2009, thisbeautiful resort has an elegant, natural design andis for those wanting a mixture of relaxation, goodfood and a beautiful island location. With 129rooms Velassaru is the largest resort we offer, butits layout allows for a surprisingly exclusive feel.All rooms are designed to offer stylish minimalistaccommodation. The Beach Villas offer excellentvalue for money and have high coconut thatchedroofs with elegant interiors built in stone and teak.The Beach Villas also have a garden bathroomwith both indoor and outdoor showers withviews of the sea. The Water Villas offer uninterrupted sea viewsand direct access to the azure blue waters straightfrom the private sun decks. With five restaurants,there is a good selection of dining options atVelassaru including Mediterranean, a fresh fish grill,Japanese Teppanyaki and themed buffets. Theisland also offers private dining experiences. Youcan choose the pace on Velassaru, snorkel aroundthe reef in the warm clear water, take a sunsetcruise, play tennis or go big game fishing. Loungearound the infinity pool or relax on the pristinebeach or treat yourself to a spa treatment or two.www.audleytravel.com/maldives ?01993 838 310 ?The Maldives103Velassaru, South Male AtollMarine life in the MaldivesConrad Maldives Rangali Island, Ari AtollFamily in front of the Taj MahalCONRADMALDIVESRANGALIISLAND, ARIATOLLConrad Maldives Rangali Island offers theuncompromising facilities you would expect froma five star resort, but still has a relaxed Maldivianfeel. Situated 60 miles southwest of Male, theresort is reached by a scenic 30 minute flight in a seaplane, offering spectacular views over atollsand islands. The resort comprises two islands,connected by a walkway on stilts. The main islandconsists of 79 luxurious Beach Villas and 21Retreat Water Villas, while on the smaller islandthe accommodation is made up of 50 WaterVillas. All rooms are luxurious and spacious andsome even have private plunge pools. There is a good choice of activities to keep guestsentertained. Watersports include diving andsnorkelling and other sports include tennis.Meditation and yoga are also on offer. The dining options are excellent, with the mainrestaurant offering no less then eight differenttypes of cuisine in its show kitchens. Even moreremarkable is 'Ithaa' - the world's first fullyunderwater restaurant and underground winecellar holding over 10,000 bottles. With twoislands and a range of facilities this resort offerssomething for everyone. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Ari AtollMaldives as part of a longer journeyFor those who would like to combine a cultural touring holiday with a beachstay, there are some good options. SriLanka is by far the most popular countryto combine with the Maldives. Withoutspending time on the beach in Sri Lanka,many of its highlights can be included ina weeks stay. With frequent and shortflights between Colombo and Male, asecond week in the Maldives makes foran excellent and popular combination.The Maldives also works well at thebeginning or end of a trip to India. Athird option is to combine the Maldivesand the Gulf States.
and a wide variety of trekking optionsmeans that the spectacular vistas andphotogenic mountain villages can now beenjoyed by all travellers. The majesty of theHimalaya is equalled by the wildlife ofNepal's national parks, where elephant-backsafaris seek the elusive tiger and the rareone-horned rhino, while boat trips offersightings of Nepal's 450 bird species and the endangered gharial crocodile. The uniquearchitecture of the Kathmandu Valley, withits ancient pagoda temples and red-brickbuildings and the busy atmosphere inKathmandu's central bazaars are awonderful contrast to Nepal's wild spaces.The multitude of colourful festivals and theopen and friendly nature of Nepal's peoplecomplete the experience.This small country is wedged betweentwo giants; the arid plateau of Tibetand China, and the hot, fertile plains andjungles of India. The Himalaya form thebackbone of Nepal and provide arguably the best mountain scenery in the world.Long the preserve of mountaineers andtrekkers, a combination of small lightaircraft flights, fantastically located hotels104Nepal