REAM of exploring farflung tropical lands, but don’t fancy packing a map and compass? Then the Sheraton Full Moon resort on Furanafushi island in the Maldives is a great place to dip a toe into a true luxury adventure.
It may only be a kilometre in size, giving you that wonderful feeling of remote privacy, but the island definitely packs a punch.
The resort, boasting rooms with private villa hosts, seven restaurants and bars and a spa nestled on its own island, has just undergone a huge $20 million transformation.
That means you’ll be in complete comfort, yet just a short speedboat away there are plenty of Robinson Crusoe moments to be had.
In just 15 minutes, you can be staring out at the endless expanse of calm ocean on an unclaimed sandbank, feeling you’re the first person to ever stand on the soft, white sand.
You can kick off from the edge with your snorkel and experience a totally new world as gigantic stingrays and hundreds of breathtakingly colourful fish swoosh and sweep below you.
Or even have the most romantic dinner or ultimate private party hosted there.
Every second is a ‘ pinch me’ moment. Every time you turn your head there’s another essential Instagram snapshot.
You just have to try not to blink and miss any of them.
Even though it’s small, the island definitely doesn’t feel crowded. There’s no competing for a space at the three freshwater pools or beaches here.
The 176 rooms – they’re dotted among the pristine beaches and lush greenery that make up the island, including beautiful orchid gardens and ancient twisting trees in which fruit bats make their home – have all been upgraded with a ‘wow’ factor.
There are no fewer than 10 different luxury room categories to choose from including Deluxe Cottages, Cottage Water Bungalows, and Water Bungalows with Pools.
The attention to detail in each is incredible. On top of everything you would usually expect at a five-star resort, you’ll find umbrellas by the door, life jackets and USB ports by the bedside so you can keep your phone charged for more magical photos the next day.
You can even get your own villa host – and their mobile phone number – to cater to your every need.
But a stay in a water bungalow is a definite bucket list item. Just being able to climb down from your sunbathing deck and straight into the shallow warm waters for a swim is worth the extra cost.
And the view out onto the endless ocean from your private plunge pool is enough to make you want to lock the doors and stay forever.
The same incredible view from both the soft, spacious bed and bath is an incredible bonus.
Despite all that, it’d be hard to pick a place to stay here.
The water suites have the most incredible inside/outside bathrooms with glass walls looking out onto a lush garden, and the outdoor bathroom in the cottages, where you can take a shower among topical plants while you look up at the stars, are jaw-dropping.
There are seven different restaurants and bars, again all freshly made over, at the resort – a must when you can’t just nip off the island to grab a bite to eat.
Whether you want to go casual at the Feast buffet restaurant and have chefs cooking up different treats from around the world for you, or get dressed up to sip cocktails and snack on canapés while getting the best view of the spectacular sunset at the Anchorage Bar, there’s something for all tastes.
The Thai offering, Baan Thai, was one of my favourites. All of the chefs there are from Thailand, so you get the authentic experience and taste.
But don’t overlook the T-For Tea House by the main freshwater pool.
You can enjoy your feast of dumplings and other Asian delights al fresco here, or retreat inside for the air conditioning and the amazing glass wall showcasing the beautiful range of loose teas they have on offer. If you love seafood – and it’s one of the best things to eat in the Maldives – the Sea Salt restaurant offers up fresh fish and shellfish straight you can pick from a tank.
You’ll find plenty of seafood over at the Asian fusion Sand Coast restaurant, too, and in a magical setting. Your candle-lit table is set up on the beach overlooking the sunset. Yes, really...
If you’re not full up after all that, you can grab snacks and drinks from the Kakuni Hut just steps away from your sun lounger.
There are also some unique dining experiences to be had on the island if you want some extra-special memories.
You can book in for a cooking lesson to learn traditional Maldivian recipes from the local ‘mamas’ of
There are 176 rooms around the island