CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Maradiva Villas, Mauritius; Heritance Ahungalla, Sri Lanka; Soneva Jani, Maldives PICTURES: Marco Fugazzola; A Tyler Photography

exper expert ASK THE “There’s a promising uplift in Indian

Book it: Emirates Holidays offers a week’s half-board in a Garden Villa from £1,815 per person, based on two sharing with Emirates flights from Heathrow and including a complimentary couples’ massage. For travel between May 10 and June 22, 2021.

BEST FOR… SELF-CONTAINED ESCAPES Maradiva Villas, Mauritius: Operators across the board report a rise in interest for villa stays, and for clients headed to Mauritius, few places beat this tucked-away spot on the privacy front, according to Julie Winder, head of product at Gold Medal. “Maradiva is the only all-villa resort on the west coast of Mauritius,” she says. “The resort boasts a long stretch of sandy beach from which you can enjoy spectacular views over Le Morne Mountain, and the small number of villas (65) gives guests a real experience of privacy and seclusion.” Waterskiing, windsurfing, canoeing and snorkelling are all complimentary, and every villa comes with its own pool and optional 24-hour butler service – making it an ideal spot for those wanting to cocoon themselves away

BEST FOR… AFFORDABLE LUXURY Heritance Ahungalla, Sri Lanka: While tourists aren’t currently allowed into Sri Lanka, the country’s recent addition to the UK travel corridors list is a promising sign for the future. For clients who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the better-known resorts, Tui suggests the beach town of Ahungalla, a sandy curve on the southwest coast, whose beachfront Heritance outpost boasts two pools, two restaurants, tennis courts and a spa. The emphasis is on tranquillity here, but for those looking for a little more activity the busier town of Galle is about an hour away. It boasts a 16th-century fort, traditional boutiques and historic colonial architecture, offering a glimpse into the country’s past. Book it: Tui offers seven nights’ all- inclusive from £1,253 per person, based on two adults sharing with flights from Gatwick on June 7, 2021.

from the rest of the world. Book it: Gold Medal offers seven nights’ half-board from £2,499 per person, based on two sharing a Luxury Suite Pool Villa and including flights from Gatwick on September 18, 2021.

BEST FOR… ALL-OUT EXCLUSIVITY Soneva Jani, Maldives: For clients wanting an exclusive stay away from it all, Carrier points to this eco-friendly, carbon-neutral resort in the Medhufaru lagoon. Experiences range from spending the day with a marine biologist to foraging for lunch ingredients at the on-site garden, heading out on a dhoni boat with a local fisherman to stargazing at the overwater observatory. Accommodation includes a collection of huge ‘Water Reserves’ that hover above the lagoon and feature their own private pools and water slides. “Particularly special is the two- bedroom Crusoe Residence, which is hidden away in the mangrove trees,” says Jenny Basham, product manager for Carrier. “Complete with an impressive swimming pool and expansive timber decks, this is one of the most private and exclusive hideaways in the Maldives”. Book it: Carrier offers seven nights’ half-board from £40,850 for a family of four sharing a Water Retreat, including seaplane transfers and flights from Heathrow with Fast Track Voyager service, departing April 2, 2021.


Ocean bookings for 2021, particularly to the Maldives. For the first quarter there is some hesitancy, but we expect a last-minute post-Christmas booking trend for this period. Easter and the

remainder of second quarter plus the fourth quarter are looking healthy, and we’re seeing a lot of family and

extended family bookings as people are desperate to spend some quality time together. Milaidhoo, Huvafen Fushi,

Niyama and Baros are also all proving popular thanks to their

Covid-safe protocols and attractive

offers. Bookings for the Seychelles are also picking up. The government there has handled the entry requirements and quarantine well, having given the UK special status to travel earlier in the autumn, and like the Maldives, it’s well set up for social distancing on

stunning, isolated islands. The general feel is that people want to escape

2020 and relax in the sunshine – and the Indian Ocean ticks those boxes.”

Amanda Springer

senior product manager for beach and cruise, Abercrombie & Kent



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