A definitive sign that the Maldives are on the road to recovery after the recent tsunami: the debut of One & Only Reethi Rah, the archipelago's newest retreat. The luxe experience begins at the airport, where custom yachts (which double as check-in desks) greet guests and whisk them to the North Male atoll's northern tip. There, 130 villas—many of which have private lap pools or hover above the sapphire lagoon—have been crafted with tropical touches, such as coconut-shell sconces, sea-grass thatch, and bamboo arches. Should you tire of sipping mango smoothies on any of the resort's 12 secluded beaches, there are dozens of diversions, including an orchid farm that supplies the property with freshly cut arrangements, a tennis academy, the 100,000-square-foot E'Spa with overwater treatment rooms, a PADI dive center, and underwater-scooter rentals. The island chain may sit 300 miles from any major landmass, but dishes from every corner of the globe are presented in three restaurants—or on your villa's private teak deck, with no other company but the swaying palms. One & Only Reethi Rah, North Male, Maldives; 960/448-800; www.oneandonlyresorts.com; doubles from $625.
—HEIDI SHERMAN MITCHELL
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