Once described as a place of “harrowing tranquillity” where “grown men weep with sheer geographical frustration”, Addu is now a secret speck of heaven, tailor-made for the lazy tropical cyclist, writes Nigel Tisdall in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.
“Spared the worst ravages of the bleaching that has dulled the coral in other parts of the Maldives, the seabed here is bejewelled with flashes of blue, green and purple. As the sun gains strength, the lagoon surrounding me fills with an immense calm. It is 82F (28C) and you know it’s going to be another classic day of clear blue skies, sensational snorkelling trips, siestas on the daybed, then dinner on the beach with rows of candles decorating the sand.
“So far, so very high-end Maldives – except that down here in Addu, the southernmost atoll in this 500-mile island chain, the holiday experience is refreshingly different. Traditionally, a trip to the Maldives has meant flying into the capital, Malé, then bouncing onwards as fast as possible to one of almost a hundred small and luxurious lily-pads that ceaselessly vie with one another to offer the most indulgent experiences.
“Some islands are so small you can walk round them in 10 minutes, others proffer ridiculously OTT amenities such as an underwater restaurant, pretentious afternoon teas and wine cellars with bottles costing up to £38,000. Invariably there is a niggling fear that a week in the Maldives, however much you are in love, could well leave you feeling trapped, bored and overcharged.”