Nika Island

Resort in North Ari Atoll

Nika Island's innovative approach to sustainable and back-to-nature tourism has influenced resorts throughout the country. It's also notable for being the only resort in Maldives where each villa has its own private beach, giving guests seclusion on stunning white sand strips. The resort is beloved by Italians, who predominate, though non Italians will not feel out of place.

Individual villas are spacious and imaginatively designed in a seashell shape, with thatched roofs and handcrafted timber furniture, although they can be rather dark inside. As well as its own beach, each villa has a private garden. The concept is also genuinely ecofriendly, with no pool and no air-conditioning outside the bedrooms – there's just the sea and natural ventilation through wooden louvre windows. Water villas are a more recent addition and are innovatively designed over three split levels.

All guests are on full board packages here, and the sand-floored main restaurant serves up a lavish breakfast and lunch buffet and does à la carte in the evening. Dive costs here are on the high side, but groups are small and the attention is personal. This is a luxurious place to relax in privacy and style, with lots of charming staff and personal touches but none of the fuss of the top-end luxury resorts.