Dear wanderlustful , want to get away from it all? How about your own private resort island in the middle of the Indian Ocean? Whether with Banyan Tree or one of two heavenly properties under the Four Seasons banner, you can be far, far away, (even from the next swatch of dry land), in the Maldives, a string of 1,190 coral islands forming 26 atolls some 435 miles off the coast of Sri Lanka.
The former Dutch, then British, colony specializes in super luxurious escapes that appeal to celebrities, royalty and flush couples who want to kiss and and have noone around to tell. Easy-to-book wedding packages through Four Seasons and Banyan Tree may be just the ticket for adding a touch of the exotic to wedding vows on the beach, even if it means being married only for the length of your holiday (western nuptials do not pass the courts on these islands).
The Four Seasons recently opened the revamped Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa as well as opened the new Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru last November. The private beach sanctuaries offer ambient south Asian luxury — thatched beach pavilions and bungalows lining the flour white sand beach, water bungalows built on stilts over the lagoon, and a sprawling spa surrounded by lush garden settings and over water treatment pavilions. While Kuda Huraa presents a more cultural village-like experience, Landaa Giraavaru capitalizes on seclusion with private pools and tented dinners on the sand. Both are located about 30 minutes from the international airport in Male – Kuda Huraa by speedboat and Landaa Giraavaru by seaplane. The airport is served by Austrian Airlines, Edelweiss Air, Condor Airlines, Emirates Air, Air India, Martinair, Monarch Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Air Europe, Eurofly, Britannia Airways, LTU International Airways, Singapore Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and Qatar Airways, among others.
A three-night island romance package is available at both resorts and includes roundtrip transfers from airport to atoll, chilled Champagne in the bungalow upon arrival, daily breakfast and a private candlelight dinner for two in the comfort and seclusion of your private digs. Rates start at $2,735 for bungalow accommodations (added nights $765). Poolside accommodations run $2,395 (added nights $650) and over water bungalows cost $2,965 (added nights $840). Four Seasons also offers use of its 129-foot, fully serviced and fully equipped yacht called The Explorer by the hour, day or week for couples who want to get away from their getaway. Call (800) 819-5053 or visit http://www.fourseasons.com.
Banyan Tree Maldives goes one step further. The luxury resort on the island of Vabbinfaru, 25 minutes by speedboat from the airport and Male, offers Maldivian weddings both on the beach and upon a decorated jetty, or under water where lovers say “I do” at the resort’s secret wedding dive site.
The theme of privacy and seclusion of this beach hideaway means every villa has one bedroom with an open terrace, four-poster king-sized bed, recessed sitting area, landscaped garden, open-air Jacuzzi and private sundeck. The resort also has five outdoor spa pavilions, each with side-by-side couple massage beds and open-air showers.
Rates for the wedding ceremonies start at $2,645 for the couple to be married above water on the jetty (Unity Package) and $3,330 for vows in the deep. Room rates start at $800 per night in most seasons, including breakfast and dinner. Call (866) 8-BANYAN, or (805) 499-9101or visit http://www.banyantree.com/maldives.
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