THERE ARE PLENTY OF RESORTS IN THE MALDIVES, BUT FURAVERI ISLAND RESORT & SPA IS ONE of the few where guests will actually feel like they are experiencing the real Maldives – with fivestar service and want-for-nothing facilities, of course. The tropical 23-hectare coral island in the Raa Atoll is not only owned and managed by a local Maldivian family and mostly staffed by Maldivians, but honouring the culture of the island archipelago nation is woven throughout the philosophy, and authenticity is in every detail, from the 200-sqm Dhoni Pool Villas – wonderfully private villas shielded from view by lush vegetation and inspired by the local Maldivian dhoni vessels, with wooden ceilings that soar up to five metres in height and semi-alfresco bathrooms – to the excursions to neighbouring islands, where guests are welcomed into the homes of local Maldivian families for tea, and later given a personal tour of “island life”, from the town hall to the school. At reservation, Furaveri guests are even encouraged to bring a school book from their home country to donate to the various local schools in the Raa and Baa Atolls! As well as holding true to the local culture, Furaveri is always evolving to meet the discerning tastes of its luxury guests. Guests are spoiled for choice on the island, which has a kids’ club, a PADI 5 Star Dive facility, a fitness centre and a spa, though families, or those simply seeking a little more room to breathe can reserve the two-bedroom Over Water Pool Suite, an expansive 200-sqm villa with private butler service, an over-water infinity pool, and direct sea access – just a short swim away from one of the island’s two house reefs. Also new at Furaveri for gourmands, the resort’s Asian fusion restaurant, Raiyvila, is just weeks away from opening, the à la carte restaurant offering dreamy views over the white-sand beach and the Indian Ocean. With paradise seemingly at every turn, it’s easy to fall in love with the Maldives, but travellers seeking a genuine, Maldivian experience may just fall head over heels in love with Furaveri too.