Indian Ocean: An Overview

Islands. There's something strangely comforting about holidaying in 'splendid isolation', and while that phrase originally applied to the British Isles, some rather more sunny examples exist in the Indian Ocean.

Rachel and Rosie are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • While the highest point in the Maldives is a mere 7.9 ft above sea level, the towering Piton des Neiges on Réunion is a more impressive 10,069 ft
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Our guide to holidays in Indian Ocean

INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS

There are certainly plenty to choose from, ranging from atolls of thousands of tiny palm-fringed coral islands in the Maldives to the more substantial (and considerably more vertical) volcanic outcrops of Mauritius and neighbouring Réunion and the granitic gems of the Seychelles.

LUXURY INDIAN OCEAN HOLIDAYS

All of the above are perfect for honeymoons, with some of the world's finest hotels in situ, but the appeal is far broader than just for those in the first flush of post-wedded bliss. Families will adore the slick service for all ages at the resorts of Mauritius, while divers can enjoy some of the very best diving in the Maldives. Meanwhile the Seychelles islands are just downright spectacular, and our new favourite, Réunion, offers the chance to trek, surf, paraglide and canyon in, on and over incredibly dramatic landscapes.

Did you know

  • There are about 1200 islands in the Maldives, 800 of which are still uninhabited
  • The Maldives is the lowest country in the world with an average of only 1.5meters above sea level
  • Maldivians used to build their houses in coral, a practice which is now forbidden as coral reefs are protected worldwide. Many coral houses still can be seen in Male and local islands
  • The Maldives has some of the world's smallest islands measuring no more than a few square meters in size. The largest island barely reaches 6km long.
  • The fine coral sand is the result of undigested corals from Parrot Fish, which each produce an estimated ton of sand per year!

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Original Highlight

Diving and snorkelling with more manta rays than I could count at Hani Faru Bay in Baa Atoll in the Northern Maldives. It is one of the best spots for mantas anywhere on Earth.

Louisa, Original Traveller

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Top picks for Indian Ocean

Pool at Cheval Blanc Randheli, luxury hotel in the Maldives

Cheval Blanc Randheli

Maldives

Sister property to the contemporary classic Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, Cheval Blanc Randheli caters to a similar audience of high flyers with an innate appreciation of the finer things in life.

Where to stay

Cheval Blanc Randheli
Dining at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, luxury hotel in the Maldives

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

Maldives

Landaa Giraavaru in Baa Atoll, with its verdant, beach-fringed coral islands, is a quintessential Maldivean paradise.

Where to stay

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Reunion

Reunion

Indian Ocean

Neighbour to Mauritius, and perfect either in combination or as a standalone destination.

Where to go

Reunion
Water villa at Huvafen Fushi, luxury hotel in the Maldives

Huvafen Fushi

Maldives

One of the most luxurious resorts in the Maldives, Huvafen Fushi is located half an hour by speedboat from the international airport.

Where to stay

Huvafen Fushi
Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives

Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives

Maldives

Formerly Soneva Gili, this luxury hotel and spa occupies a tiny island set in a sparkling lagoon and surrounded by thriving coral reefs, ideally located just twenty minutes’ journey by speedboat from the international airport on Malé.

Where to stay

Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
Mauritius

Mauritius

Indian Ocean

This tiny Indian Ocean island has long set the standard for tropical luxury holidays.

Where to go

Mauritius
Pool at W Retreat & Spa Maldives, luxury hotel in the Maldives

W Retreat & Spa

Maldives

As if choosing where to stay in the Maldives wasn't hard enough, along comes the W Retreat & Spa.

Where to stay

W Retreat & Spa
Baros Maldives, luxury hotel in the Maldives

Baros Maldives

Maldives

Baros is an immaculate resort on a private, palm-fringed island surrounded by a shallow lagoon.

Where to stay

Baros Maldives
Seychelles

Seychelles

Indian Ocean

An ideal choice for anybody looking for lower-key beach time than is provided by the glitzier Maldives or Mauritius.

Where to go

Seychelles
Anantara Kihavah Maldives, luxury hotel in the Maldives

Anantara Kihavah

Maldives

A serious contender for one our favourite Maldivian hotspots, Anantara Kihavah leaves no stone unturned, with effortless style and a mega dollop of attention to detail.

Where to stay

Anantara Kihavah
Aerial view of Constance Halaveli Resort, luxury hotel in the Maldives

Constance Halaveli Resort

Maldives

The new Constance Halaveli Resort has villas either on stilts in a beautiful lagoon or on the pristine beach.

Where to stay

Constance Halaveli Resort
Dive Fregate Island

Dive Fregate Island

Seychelles

Fregate Island is situated on the edge of the inner group of granite islands that lie at the heart of the far-flung Seychelles archipelago.

What to do

Dive Fregate Island

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