Pad barefoot along dazzling beaches under leaning palms. Enjoy water so clear that boats look as though they are levitating, and sand so white and fine that it pours through your hands like milk. Every island is wreathed with reefs; every day is close to perfect – and all you’ll need to remember is where you last left your shoes. Welcome to the Maldives.

Despite their timeless beauty, the Maldives has only really been a holiday destination for the last 40 years. But 40 years is plenty of time for some of the world’s best resorts to perfect the art of relaxation. Private villas are the norm here, whether stylish beachside houses or stilted huts. And forget house whites or house rules: most islands have a ‘house reef’ – their nearest coral habitat. But there’s more: submarine tours, underwater nightclubs and even ‘Instagram butlers’ have become features in Maldives luxury resorts in recent years.

Though there are loads to do in the Maldives, it is true that there is no place on earth better suited to doing nothing. This is not a sightseeing destination – unless spotting a hammerhead or a whale shark in their natural habitat. Instead, you can savour the silence of the reef, the hushed wind combing through the coconut palms and nature’s natural rhythms on your solitary island paradise. Your spa appointment could be the only deadline you meet all week. Or, you can pick a bigger resort full of activities to dive, swim and embark on adventurous excursions.