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Reopening in late 2005 after being disastrously affected by the tsunami, the Taj Exotica (Embudhu Finolhu island; ยงยง 6642200; www .tajhotels.com; s/d/wb USS850/900/1000; airport transfer 20min, US$75; 62 rooms; (gl (S) @ ), the most exclusive of the Indian Taj chain's two resorts in the Maldives, is already experiencing full occupancy again.

This elegant, understated resort is all about quiet luxury and indulgence. The resort was one of the original pioneers of fine a la carte dining in the Maldives - the main Asia-Pacific restaurant here wouldn't know a buffet if it hit it in the face. Everything here is ordered and individually cooked from a sumptuous and expensive menu. This is one place where full board would come in handy - the meals here add up very quickly. The second restaurant is built out over the lagoon and is only open in the evenings - one feature here is an open hole into the water, where fish flock in the evening attracted by the light.

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