Indian Ocean Islands
When you picture the perfect beach, what springs to mind? Perhaps it’s a private island, surrounded by gently lapping seas rich in marine life and technicolour coral. Maybe it’s swaying palm trees, dappled by the warming sun, shading pristine-white sands that squeak satisfyingly underfoot. Or, maybe it’s endless space, where you can enjoy your very own slice of unspoilt paradise, far from the madding crowd.
The island nations dotted across the Indian Ocean have all this and more. From the Maldives to the Seychelles, from Zanzibar to Mauritius, these are places of unbridled relaxation, often blessed with a unique culture, glorious food and plenty of that oh-so-important sunshine.
If it’s pure escapism you’re after, any of the Indian Ocean islands will offer it in abundance, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with spending lazy and glorious days simply lying in a hammock (or private pool), and watching the world go by. But, if you’re the type of person that likes to get out and explore, you’ll be delighted to know that there’s far more to these faraway idylls than merely topping up your tan.
Across the region, you can get up close to nature, enjoying remarkable encounters with some of the world’s most amazing marine creatures – the Maldives’ South Ari Atoll, for example, is among the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks. So, the diving and snorkelling are, of course, superb, but there are also plenty of other joys, whether it's watching turtles hatch on a deserted beach, hiking through national parks rich in birdlife, sailing alongside pods of dolphins or taking in incredible coral-reef views while dining in an underwater restaurant – yes, really! Each nation, and each island, offers up something different, and to help you plan, we’ve picked out our best bits from our most popular destinations below.
From overwater bungalows to beachfront villas on spectacular private islands, the accommodation dotted across the Indian Ocean is among the most luxurious on Earth. We've picked out a curated selection of our favourites, but if there's something else you're looking for, don't hesitate to contact us.
7-night luxury holiday from £2,400 pp incl. flights & transfersSave up to £1,170 pp – ends 31 Oct
The dream island destination of Baros involves nothing more than poster perfect sea, sky and sand, and a scattering of super-luxe villas.
Lie back, relax and truly unwind at this stunning tropical island resort – a tiny emerald drop of paradise, wrapped up in the soft white sands of the idyllic Maldives.
One&Only Le St Géran, Mauritius
7-night luxury holiday from £2,995 pp incl. flights & transfers
This is one of the finest properties in the Indian Ocean, let alone Mauritius. Expect ultra-stylish beachfront accommodation, indulgent dining and pristine white sands.
Raffles Praslin, Seychelles
Idyllically located on the peaceful north-east coast of Praslin, this stunning resort offers the ultimate in Indian Ocean indulgence.
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
7-night luxury holiday from £6,745 pp incl. flights & transfers
Embossed in the dreamy blue sea archipelago that is the Maldives, the One&Only Reethi Rah is a paradise to fly for.
Shangri-La's Le Touessrok, Mauritius
Tucked away on the idyllic shores of Trou d’Eau Douce, this iconic beachfront resort and spa is one of the finest hotels in Mauritius.
North Island, Seychelles
A private island with just 11 villas, North Island is an exclusive castaway experience of the most luxurious sort, a short helicopter transfer away from Mahé.
Tucked away on a secluded reef, Vakkaru is the epitome of paradise. Framed by powder-white sands and turquoise ocean, Vakkaru lies within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atol in a reef teeming with unique marine biodiversity.
The Oberoi, Mauritius
Enjoying one of Mauritius' best locations, The Oberoi resort sits directly on the powder-white shores of natural marine park Turtle Bay.
The 115 islands of the Seychelles archipelago are one of the world’s true paradises. From their iconic granite-framed shorelines to their dazzling, white-sand beaches and pristine coral gardens, they offer everything you could expect, and want, from a luxury beach holiday. The nature here is remarkable, too, the topaz-blue seas teeming with fish and marine mammals of every kind, while inland, forested mountains shelter hidden waterfalls which can be explored on rambling hikes horseback rides and even rounds of golf.
And, there’s plenty of luxury here as well, showcased across a dizzying array of secluded island retreats and family-friendly options, each offering its own unique blend of gourmet dining, indulgent pampering and laid-back island living. It’s all knitted together by spectacular, island-hopping trips, either by catamaran ferry, seaplane or even helicopter flights. For the expert advice on your Seychelles holiday, speak to our luxury beach specialists who’ll be on hand to recommend the best place for you to stay and then tailor your Seychelles holiday to perfection.
Where the Seychelles mixes indulgent pampering with the chance to get out and explore, the Maldives, with its one-resort islands scattered across the Indian Ocean like a jewelled necklace, is all about the relaxation. This is a home-from-home for honeymooners and romantics, drawn in by those exclusive, palm-dotted hideaways and the chance to simply chill out. If you want to do more than just soak up the sun, you’ll most likely head for the sea, with extraordinary diving and snorkelling available throughout. Then, head back to your overwater bungalow or beachfront villa for a spa treatment or private dining experience accompanied by the sounds of soft breezes and gently lapping waves.
Of course, as the years have gone on, resort owners have found ever-more inventive ways to one-up their neighbours, so expect anything and everything from underwater restaurants to treetop spas to cinemas on the beach. All rather delightful.
To help you choose your perfect resort in the Maldives, call our Indian Ocean specialists who’ll use their wealth of first-hand knowledge to steer you in the right direction.
The most southerly of the Indian Ocean's big-three island nations, Mauritius is far more than just powder-white sands, impossibly blue seas and luxurious resorts – although it has these in spades. This is a destination perfect for those wanting more than the beach for their beach holiday. Indeed, those that head inland will be richly rewarded with hikes amid emerald-green forests and verdant mountain valleys dotted with waterfalls, while beyond the shoreline, boat trips to tiny, untouched islets evoke the spirit of Robinson Crusoe, mixed in with some of the world's very best diving and snorkelling. The culture here is equally rich, blending influences from Africa, Asia, Creole and the islands' early European settlers. It's an intoxicating mix, showcased across everything from the architecture to the deliciously spicy food.
Luxury Cape Town, Kruger & Mauritius
15 days from £8,050 pp incl. flights
See the highlights of South Africa and the Indian Ocean, from city greats and world-wonder safaris to white-sands idylls. It’s all showcased in utter luxury, including indulgent dining and stays in the finest hotels.
Highlights of Sri Lanka & The Maldives
16 days from £5,205 pp incl. flights
This exciting and diverse itinerary combines the rich culture and history of vibrant Sri Lanka with beachfront luxury and relaxation in the blissful Maldives, showcasing the best of the Indian Ocean.