From the United States, flying east is the only way to go. You connect in London or Paris, then in Dubai for the flight to the main island of Male. (Traveling west entails a 15-hour layover in Singapore.)
Soneva Fushi Kunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll; 800/525-4800 or 960/230-304, fax 960/230-374; doubles from $205 (meal plans start at $40 per person per day).
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa Kuda Huraa Island, North Male Atoll; 800/332-3442 or 960/444-888, fax 960/441-188; doubles from $250 (meal plans start at $34 per person per day).
Maldives Hilton Resort Rangali Island, South Ari Atoll; 960/450-629, fax 960/450-619; doubles from $220 (meal plans start at $50 per person per day).
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru Island, North Male Atoll; 960/443-147, fax 960/443-843; doubles from $400, including all meals.
Lonely Planet Maldives (Lonely Planet Publications)-- The best diving resorts, restaurants, beaches, and-- most important-- methods of getting around.
Dive Maldives by Tim Godfrey (Atoll Editions)-- Indispensable for the underwater enthusiast. Major dive sites, excellent maps, and a maritime history lesson. Available in Male bookstores, and at dive shops throughout the islands.
Guide to the Maldives by Royston Ellis (Bradt Publications)-- A useful pre-trip read: the history and culture of this Islamic republic.
-- Martin Rapp
On the Web
Gateway to the Maldives-- A comprehensive site full of practical information, links to Web pages for Maldives resorts, and details on cruising, diving, and windsurfing.
-- Emily Berquist