TRAVEL

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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

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