The Maldives: The Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Spa
Ideal for: families and those who don't want to spend a second mortgage on their trip to the Maldives.
Overview: The Sheraton's Full Moon Resort and Spa is ideally set up for a family trip to the Maldives. Just 15 minutes by boat transfer from Malé International Airport and 20 minutes from the Maldives capital, Malé, The Full Moon Resort and Spa is an island retreat which represents five-star value for guests who are more conscious of their budgets.
Set in two square kilometres of sandy island, the Sheraton boasts its own spa (with rooms looking out over the sea), six restaurants, two bars, a large swimming pool and, of course, beautiful sandy beaches.
With more than 400 staff looking after the 176 rooms and their inhabitants, guests can rest assured they will be well catered for during their stay.
The Sheraton offers a great deal for families, in terms of both activities and value for money. Around a third of the rooms on the island are Cottage Rooms, which are specially designed with families in mind. Up to two children aged 12 years of age or under can stay in the Cottage Rooms for free, including a full board meal plan and free speed boat transfers. All parents need to pay is the government bed tax of $8 (£5) a night.
Cottage Rooms are 20sqm bigger than standard rooms and all feature an outdoor bathroom, just like the traditional local Maldivian houses. Rooms cost $600-700 (£375-440) a night depending on the season.
Kids are also well catered for at the Sheraton Adventure Club, where there's plenty of fun stuff to do for four-to-12-year-olds. Whether it's taking mini Maldivian language lessons, learning about the island culture or playing video games, there's lots to keep them amused throughout their stay.
Those on the lookout for a more romantic secluded break for two will enjoy a stay in one of the brand new Ocean Villas, which opened on the island last autumn (2010).
Designed as chic, contemporary Maldivian-themed beach houses, the Ocean Villas are tucked away at the eastern end of the island for privacy. Each of the 20 villas offers expansive views of the Indian Ocean, which you can enjoy from your own private deck. The villas all have enormously luxurious bathrooms, free internet access and surround sound systems, as well as their own plunge pools, daybeds, hammocks, garden seating areas and BBQs, plus outdoor rain showers. It's worth noting that you cannot access the sea from your beach villa as the current is too strong on this side of the island, however, access is easily gained from the resort's main beach.
Ocean Villas cost around $800-1,200 (£500-750) a night.
The water bungalows
Popular among honeymooners and Asian guests (apparently European visitors tend to want to stay on land, while customers from the Asian markets prefer to stay in the rooms on stilts) the Water Bungalows are designed to cater for two adults only. No children under 13 years of age are allowed to stay in the Bungalows as the houses are positioned several meters above sea level.
There are 52 Water Bungalows, each with direct access to the lagoon. All are well designed so that you cannot see the adjacent properties' balconies from your bungalow. Water Bungalows cost around $800-900 (£500-560)
Water villas and water suites
Water Suite 001 is the best suite on the island and will set you back $3,000 (£1,875) a night. It has played host to some Hollywood royalty and Alicia Keys recently stayed there. With two private decks, plus an outdoor plunge pool on stilts, a huge living room and separate bedroom area complete with walk-in wardrobe, it's pretty roomy and overlooks the clear lagoon waters below.
There are four restaurants and two bars at the Sheraton, but be warned, if you choose to eat à la carte at any resort in the Maldives, you will feel the imported food prices hit your wallet.
Sea Salt looks out over the sea and is one of the more upmarket restaurants, featuring delights such as Morrocan Hen, locally caught fish, lobster and sizzling steaks.
Sand Coast also has tables on the sand and features lighter meals including Sri Lankan cuisine, spicy foods, pizza and pasta.
The Anchorage bar, right next to the beach, is the place to pop to for lunch and bar snacks, while those wishing to escape to the shade and catch a bit of sport can cool off in Drifters, the island's pub.
There are plenty of excursions organised for guests at the Full Moon, including boat trips, sailing, snorkelling and windsurfing, as well as island-hopping boat trips. But for those who fancy just chilling with a book by the sea, the outdoor double four-poster beach beds really hit the spot.
Find out more about the the Sheraton Full Moon Resort and Spa at the Maldives.