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Five of Male's top-end hotels are on the northeast corner of the island, handy to the airport dhonis, and a fifth one is in the middle of town - all are comfortable, but none outstanding. Note that alcohol is not served at any of the Male' hotels - for that you have to either stay at or drop by the Hulhule' Island Hotel (plOO).

Central Hotel (Map p94; @ 3317766; www .centralmaldives.com; Rahdhebai Magu; s/d from USS64/80; (K)) While the big pink tower of the Central Hotel is literally in the centre of the island, this is no great shakes, given that the centre of town is the northern shore. It's actually just a little too far from everything else for comfort here, and even though the management runs a free shuttle to the airport ferry jetty, this isn't a great choice. The rooms are oddly shaped and a little cramped. Avoid the balcony-less junior suites in favour of the standard rooms, all of which have balconies and some great views.

Relax Inn (Map p94; Igl 3314531; www.relax maldives.com; Ameer Ahmed Magu; standard s/d from USS68/83; (gl) No Frankie Goes to Hollywood theme here at the one-time main business hotel of Male', now somewhat eclipsed by the Mookai and the Kam. The rooms are fine but a bit tired (we heard a UN functionary complaining about his at reception) and the furniture distinctly garish, but this remains a popular choice with the NGO sector.

Kam Hotel (Map p94; Igl 3320611; Ameer Ahmed Magu; s/d from USS75/90; (gl ) One of three high-rise top-end hotels near the Male' waterfront, the Kam has smart and comfortable rooms, a notch better than its rivals. It's well located, with helpful staff, and is very popular with businesspeople.

Nasandhura Palace Hotel (Map p94; Igl 3323380; www.nasandhurapalace.com; Boduthakurufaanu Magu; s/d USS82/97; gl) This superbly located hotel, which is opposite the airport ferry jetty, has the advantage of feeling like a social hub - people pack out its popular garden restaurant, Trends, day and night, and the staff are very welcoming. The rooms are comfortable, if a little dated, and each has a minibar, a phone and a bathtub. Some of the upstairs rooms have a view of the sea (if you stand on tiptoes).

Mookai Hotel (Map p94; Igl 3338811; mookai®) dhivehinet.net.mv;MeheliGoalhi;s/d USS92/109; gl @) One of the top hotels in town, the Mookai has a great location just seconds from the waterfront, rooms with great views on the higher floors. And, up on the roof, there is a small but effective swimming pool to cool down in. Rooms are small but clean and well furnished. Breakfast is served over at the sister Kam Hotel opposite. It's recommended.

Hulhule' Island Hotel (Map p105; Igl 3330888; www.hih.com.mv; Hulhule' island; s & d US$254, ste US$400; (gl (D @) Certainly the priciest hotel in the area, the Hulhule' Island is on the airport island, a 10-minute dhoni ride from Male'. Very convenient for air crews, business people travelling all over the Maldives and those in transit, it's a well-run business hotel with clean and spacious rooms (most of which have great sea views), and the only hotel in Male' serving alcohol, for which expats and visitors alike frequently make the pilgrimage across the lagoon. The pool is another great attraction - it's by far the nicest in Male'. Many transit passengers take a room on a 'day use' basis (until 11pm) for US$155.

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