The Best Indian Ocean Hotels

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by Telegraph Travel experts, The Daily Telegraph, December 9, 2016 

An expert guide to the top Indian Ocean hotels, including the best for over-water villas, white sand beaches, open-air cinemas, coral reef diving, botanical gardens, watersports and tented camps, in locations including the Maldives, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

Maldives

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The Maldives are the most beautiful small islands on Earth. They are safe; there are no hawkers selling sarongs and taxi tours and, unless you seek them out, no distractions. There is no agriculture and no industry and the turquoise lagoons are crystal clear. Strange to think that the idyllic Maldives have only been a holiday destination for 40 years or so. The Maldives are made up of 26 coral atolls in a chain reaching down to cross the equator. Within those 26 atolls are roughly 1,200 islands and of these around 200 are inhabited and 100 are resorts.

Where to stay 

Soneva Fushi Eydhafushi, Maldives

10 Telegraph expert rating

As if pretty much every water sport under the sun wasn't enough, this cluster of 65 villas also has a planetarium and open-air cinema to keep guests entertained - yet also manages to retain an atmosphere of utmost serenity. Read expert review From £1,383per night Check availability Rates provided byBooking.com Cocoa Island by COMO Maafushi, Maldives

9 Telegraph expert rating

This little slice of tropical heaven offers a total escape from everyday life - relax in minimalist style, lose yourself in a yoga class and, of course, dive among the parrot fish, rays and sharks swimming close by. Read expert review From £877per night Check availability Rates provided byBooking.com Diamonds Thudufushi Beach & Water Villas Thundufushi, Maldives

9 Telegraph expert rating

Maldivian water villas don’t get more elegant than this – chic and white above the cobalt blue sea. The Diamonds Thudufushi Beach – a 35-minute seaplane ride from Male – offers excellent restaurants and some of the best snorkeling in the archipelago. There's also a large lagoon for watersports. Read expert review From £470per night Check availability Rates provided byBooking.com The best hotels in the Maldives Mauritius

The tropical island of Mauritius, once a haunt for pirates, is now best known for luxury hotels on white sand beaches with volcanic mountain backdrops. It is an island for exploring, with Indian temples, colonial houses, botanical gardens, and opportunities to spot rare birds among soaring ebony trees, walk with lions or swim with dolphins. Mauritians, a fusion of French, Indian, Creole and Chinese peoples, are renowned for their hospitality and visitors to the islands generally rave about the service.

Where to stay

Maradiva Villas Resort and Spa Flic-en-Flac, Mauritius

9 Telegraph expert rating

Owned by a fifth generation Mauritian family, this award-winning hotel is the only all-villa hotel on the island. Spread over a generous 27 acres of lush tropical gardens, it’s also one of the island’s most private, with a focus on romance, gastronomy and wellness. Read expert review From £354per night Check availability Rates provided byBooking.com The St Regis Mauritius Resor Le Morne, Mauritius

9 Telegraph expert rating

Breakfast at Tiffany's meets the tropics in this sumptuous former sugar baron's plantation house. It opened fully in April 2013, yet already feels long-established. Old-school elegance and butler service are complimented by an excellent choice of restaurants. Read expert review From £470per night Check availability Rates provided byBooking.com The Oberoi Mauritius Turtle Bay Marine Park, Balaclava, Mauritius

9 Telegraph expert rating

A beautifully-formed basalt beachfront retreat with luxury pavilions and private pool villas set in tropical gardens on Turtle Bay. It's one of the island’s most romantic hotels, with mountain views, gourmet restaurants, a holistic spa and top-notch service. Read expert review From £428per night Check availability Rates provided byBooking.com The best hotels in Mauritius Seychelles

Scattered across the Indian Ocean like a trail of crumbs, the 115 islands of the Seychelles are not paradise - they are far more interesting. The Seychelles can deliver the tropical romantic ideal, often to a stupendous degree, but it is not a destination where you should expect to fly in and find heaven waiting in the arrivals hall. It comes only to those who find the right hotel at the right time, depending whether you want to dive, fish, sail or watch birds or turtles - or just walk along the beach holding hands.

Where to stay

Denis Private Island Seychelles

9 Telegraph expert rating

This is as close to living on our own desert island as most of us will get. Surrounded by nature and the shining depths of the Indian Ocean, time passes as it should, exploring barefoot and scanning the water for a passing turtle. Read expert review From £719per night Fregate Island Private Seychelles

9 Telegraph expert rating

The 16 villas here are conventionally luxurious inside, yet not private-island pristine outside, but that makes it all the more special: what could be more memorable than lying on grass next to one of the 2,200 Aldabra giant tortoises that roam free on the island? Read expert review From £3,722per night Check availability Rates provided byMr & Mrs Smith North Island Seychelles Seychelles

9 Telegraph expert rating

A luxury resort with just 11 large villas on a privately run island a short helicopter ride from the main island of Mahé. Designed to make the most of the stunning natural environment North offers the ultimate in romance, superb beaches, watersports and immaculate service. Read expert review From £2,225per night The best hotels in the Seychelles Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is incredibly diverse, offering everything from beaches, colonial architecture, temples, mountains, history, water sports and trekking. As well as being a family-friendly destination, the island is home to an abundance of wildlife; highlights include blue and sperm whales, leopards, elephants and sloth bears. Thanks to two opposing coastal monsoons, Sri Lanka is a year-round destination with plenty of sunshine and consistently high temperatures, though a cooler climate prevails in the hills.

Where to stay

Kandy House Kandy, Sri Lanka

9 Telegraph expert rating

Kandy House, which was built in 1823, started life as the residence of Sri Lanka’s last king. Now it's a superb boutique heritage hotel that offers just nine large and elegant rooms on a six-acre property surrounded by paddy fields and jungle. Read expert review From £155per night Cape Weligama Weligama, Sri Lanka

9 Telegraph expert rating

In an undeniably romantic setting with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, Cape Weligama offers secluded residences with subtle interiors and sizeable beds. Resident restaurants have a tropical feel added to by their lofty, wooden structure and there's a well equipped dive centre on site. Read expert review From £333per night Check availability Rates provided byMr & Mrs Smith Tri Koggala, Sri Lanka

9 Telegraph expert rating

Set on a hillside overlooking Sri Lanka’s largest natural lake, Tri’s 11 suites offer real tranquility spread out amidst a garden of banyan trees and frangipani. The design, complete with a cinnamon-clad water tower and imbued with a sense of place, sits harmoniously within the surrounding nature. Read expert review From £199per night The best hotels in Sri LankaTanzania

Of all the countries in Africa, Tanzania is one of the most popular with tourists – in large part because of its diversity. It is enormous, from the peak of its highest mountain (Kilimanjaro) to the depths of Africa’s deepest lake (Tanganyika), from the wilds of its biggest park (Selous) to the floor of the world’s largest unbroken caldera. In addition, the Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s most photographed spots: a volcanic caldera covering more than 100sq miles . Thousands of creatures roam here, from packs of hyena and prides of lion to pairs of endangered rhino. It’s easy to see why some half a million tourists visit a year.

Where to stay

Singita Sabora Tented Camp Serengeti National Park, Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania

9 Telegraph expert rating

The most opulent, romantic tented camp in Africa, furnished with authentic 1920s handmade campaign furniture, cut glass, chandeliers, four posters, Persian rugs and bowls of fresh roses, in one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the planet. Add flawless service and you understand its acclaim. Read expert review From £1,817per night Matemwe Lodge Zanzibar, Matemwe, Tanzania

8 Telegraph expert rating

Zanzibar’s original eco-chic beach lodge with 12 vibrantly furnished guest villas and two pools perched on a coral rag cliff. Just opposite is the Mnemba Island Marine Conservation area which is home to nesting green turtles and more than 600 species of coral reef fish. Read expert review From £166per night Check availability Rates provided byBooking.com Singita Sasakwa Serengeti National Park, Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania

9 Telegraph expert rating

Africa’s most glamorous camp, on a hill overlooking 350,000 acres of private game reserve, with all the facilities of a five-star hotel. The Big Five wander the plains below, which can be viewed up-close from an open-sided vehicle or on foot. Read expert review From £1,915per night The best hotels in Tanzania 

This article was written by Telegraph Travel experts from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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