(See the full slideshow: Hadahaa, Maldives)
Traveling to the Maldives from the U.S. is a serious endeavor, no matter how you plan it. The entire trip takes about two days each way, and it's certainly not a budget vacation. But that shouldn't dissuade you from a trip to Hadahaa, a tiny island in the southern Maldives that requires a 55-minute flight from the nation’s capital of Male, followed by a 35-minute speedboat ride from the isle of Kooddoo. It's a lot of effort, but this is the ultimate destination for peace and serenity.
While satellite-based Internet is provided to guests free of charge, the Park Hyatt Maldives, Hadahaa (from $622.50 per night) is designed for those who are looking to disconnect from reality altogether. Hadahaa has no roads or cars – in fact, the Park Hyatt operates the only hotel on the island, resulting in a tranquility unlike any you're likely to find anywhere else, including on other islands in the Maldives.
Even local Maldivians confess that the coral reef surrounding Hadahaa is the most prized in the entire nation. The coral is colorful and vibrant, attracting everything from parrotfishes to hammerhead sharks. For the best viewing, divers and snorkelers alike should head to either the Dawn or Dusk jetties around an hour before sunset.
It’s also worth arranging a fishing tour, which sets off from Hadahaa at sunset and lets guests to fish using just a hand-drawn line. During our trip, we reeled in a long-nosed emperor fish that was large enough to feed two people. Those who catch a keeper are entitled to a free meal; the chef at the Park Hyatt will immediately prepare your catch to your liking.
Dining options are limited to the restaurants at the Park Hyatt, and while expensive, the fare is exceptional. For those seeking to experience island life and food, sign up for the resort’s local tour, which whisks you away to a nearby island where tourists rarely go. My guide took me south to Gadhdhoo, and we visited during school hours. The elementary school children there are as friendly as they come, and were anxious to talk about any topic under the sun with foreigners.
See our full Hadahaa slideshow.