For the discerning traveller, diver or not, who has money to spend and wants the very best, these six destinations offer an incomparable level of service, style, and of course diving. So dream awhile, and casting all financial concerns aside, enjoy that lottery moment and consider which are the most spoiling and amazing destinations where you can have sensational diving at the same time as staying in even more sensational accommodation. Here are my top picks:
Frégate Island Private, Seychelles
Frégate’s full title is Frégate Island Private with the emphasis is on the last word; from your own private beach and even private diving. In fact if you want to dive with more than just you and your instructor you have to ask. The resort can be found on a truly stunning island, a tiny part of which has been turned over to the resort, crammed with every eco and organic intent. Just 25 amazing rooms with private infinity pools and spectacular views, a beach voted the best in the Seychelles and for that you could possibly read ‘the world’ and you get to reserve it just for you, telephoning in your lunch order from your shady (or sunny) perch. Spectacular and private in everyway but also wonderfully low key.
Amazingly this is still a real secret. Occupying its own private island and surrounded by a sensational and scarcely believable fine white powder sand beach, one of the beauties of this island is that virtually whatever the weather, one side of the island is calm enough to dive. Typical Aman style: acres of space, total privacy, unbeatable food in amazing locations, capacious bedrooms and bathrooms sprinkled up a hillside or on the beach and pristine waters, this is simply the most wonderful resort, so very different from anything else in this archipelago, some of which leaves much to be desired.
The main course here is a boat preceded by an unusual starter, a real oddball in the Aman portfolio, a tented resort that redefines the meaning of the word ‘tent’ set on the edge of the Banda Sea and supported by all that Aman stands for. And what a main course it is, 5 nights on Amanikan, a modern day version of a traditional timer Phinisi that is incredibly spoiling, luxurious, purpose built and hugely stylish. It does not matter whether you snorkel, dive or just want an amazing holiday in the pristine surroundings of this lost world where you can get up close and personal with the infamous 12ft Komodo dragon only found in this remote island group.
Four Seasons Bora Bora, French Polynesia
A ‘see before you die’ island with the most evocative name imaginable, sufficient on its own to make you start packing. With a view you can never tire of whether it is from the luxury of one of the Four Seasons’ renowned beds, or the vast picture windowed bath, either choice is perfect. Perched over the pristine turquoise lagoon, a mere drop away from sensational swimming, this resort has a spa to die for, sensational and oft changing food and some of the best guaranteed shark diving you can find. This is heaven for families or couples, the endless facilities providing careful separation. Twin this with a visit to the shark heaven of Rangiroa or one of the more remote outer islands and you will have a truly amazing holiday.
Just 10 rooms and two villas share this idyllic 2,200 acre island stuffed with wild deer, goats, horses and pigs set in a coconut grove echoing to the call of stunningly hued parrots. And as to the diving, superb and pristine and, given that it is included in the rate, Wakaya would easily earn the distinction and title, somewhat unfairly, of being the world’s best dive resort! And yet it is so much more. Pristine beaches giving onto the multi-hued and evocatively titled Koro Sea, total privacy, and every single facility you could want including a private 9-hole golf course and croquet lawn set amongst a majestic palm plantation. Utter peace and privacy, food to remember and all backed by the inimitable Fijians, truly the friendliest nation on earth for whom nothing is too much trouble.
Silolona, South East Asia
A 5 ‘bedroom’ timber built Phinisi that sails to all the best the Far East can offer, especially if you are a diver. From Raja Ampat to Komodo, the Mergui Archipelago to Papua New Guinea there is simply no better way to visit these distant and difficult to get at lands than a cruise on this 150ft of canvas sailed luxury. If you don’t dive, then take advantage of the owner’s endless contacts through her years of experience in this evocative part of the world and enjoy all the fascinating off beat cultural history it has to offer. So if you want to visit some of the very best diving the planet has to offer in ultra stylish luxury and dip your toes in the local culture, there is simply no better way.
Tim Simond is Founder of Dive in Style.