There’s something extremely wonderful about the Maldives that immediately puts people in a dream-like state. After all, who can resist soft white-sand beaches, cyan-colored waters, and lush jungles? The amazing archipelago consists of around 1,200 islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, which means lots of water-based fun. These including everything from reef diving and snorkeling to whale watching and even over-water adventures. The Maldives also has some of the best hotels on the planet; think both swanky and simple digs right on the beach.
In fact, every hotel/resort here seems to be on its own private island. Also, almost every one of them provides a range of luxurious services, right from in-room massages and plunge pools to private decks. So, it’s no surprise that the Maldives is also considered one of the 10 Best Luxurious Honeymoon Destinations. That said, there are also many options for kid-friendly larger resorts whose laundry list of amenities makes them perfect for the family. So, check out this fabulous list of the 11 best hotels in the Maldives for a rollicking, fun-filled island getaway.
Where to stay in the Maldives
Needless to say, almost every one of the country’s 1,200-odd islands is fringed with palm trees on white-sand coasts and crystal-clear water. They’re grouped into 26 atolls or coral islands. Furthermore, many islands are classified as resort islands, which means that an all-inclusive resort stands on what is a very, very small island. That said, getting from one island to the other is generally via public or private ferries and boats or seaplanes. So, choosing the best hotels comes down to your budget and the atoll’s distance from the capital Male.
When it comes to the touristy North Male atoll, the capital city of Male and the international airport lie at its southern end. It’s also home to the Thulusdhoo, Loifushi, and Gaamaadhoo islands, which are surfer-central. On the other hand, the South Male Atoll is less crowded as compared to its northern counterpart. Maafushi is the most popular island, followed by Biyadhoo, Bodufinolhu, and Fihalhohi. The Ari Atoll is the most beautiful of them all and is also home to some of the most popular hotels in the Maldives. Its most popular islands include the likes of Rangali, Maayafushi, Ukulhas, Rasdhoo, and Velidhu. Dhaalu Atoll or the Southern Nilandhe Atoll is also famous for its clear waters and profusion of resorts.
The UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll is home to some of the most gorgeously jaw-dropping beaches in not only the country but the world. Its islands of Fulhadhoo, Fehendhoo, and Finolhu Kanifushi are a natural paradise both overwater and underwater. Finally, the Lhaviyani and Shaviyani Atolls which are some of the most pristine, unspoiled, and non-touristy of all islands. Also, the Lhaviyani atoll features some of the most luxurious hotels in all of Maldives.
Eco-conscious travelers will absolutely fall in love with the Soneva Fushi, the original of barefoot Maldivian retreats. The eco-chic jungle hideaway hotel is one of the few places in the Maldives to truly get away from it all. The resort, which is nestled in a marvelous house reef on Kunfunadhoo Island, is a 30-minute seaplane ride from Male.
The boutique Soneva Fushi is a truly eco-conscious property. For one, it is designed with natural materials. Moreover, it has its own vegetable garden and even has a glassblowing studio for tuning waste into art, a solar power plant, and a recycling center! A host of activities like stargazing, treetop yoga, diving, and stand-up paddleboarding keeps everyone entertained. Food is a serious business here, and Soneva has multiple restaurants serving world-class local and international fare to keep everyone’s stomachs and taste buds happy. The ultimate relaxation is in the form of the award-winning Six Senses Spa which offers a plethora of indulgent treatments. The icing on the cake is the weekly sunset cocktail reception that the resort hosts on its very own private sandbank a short boat ride away.
Guests can choose from 65 thatched-roof villas. Since Soneva is eco-conscious, it doesn’t have overwater villas. That said, all villas here have sprawling alfresco bathrooms, private pools, and hammocked decks. If that wasn’t enough, every villa has a Friday butler who takes care of all whims and fancies that one might have.
Filitheyo Island Resort
Who says luxury has to be expensive? Take it from the Filitheyo Island Resort, which is the perfect divers’ paradise on the Maldives’ Faafu Atoll. The splendid resort hotel lies a 40-minute seaplane ride away from Maldives’ capital Male. Moreover, it’s surrounded by an equally spectacular coral reef which is excellent for a spot of snorkeling and diving. Additionally, the tiny island boasts wooden walkways and a gorgeous coastline, making it a true barefoot retreat.
Despite being the only resort on the island, Filitheyo goes out of its way to provide guests an excellent Maldivian experience. An on-site dive center takes care of all and any underwater activities for visitors. A pampering spa is a great place to indulge in a relaxing body massage. However, it’s the outdoor infinity pool right in front of the ocean that will relax your mind, body, and soul to no end. Additionally, the resort’s restaurant is known for serving some excellent food, while the bar is where you can enjoy a delicious sundowner.
The accommodations at Filitheyo are equally stunning. One can choose from Superior, Deluxe, and Water Villas, all of which feature lovely and comfortable furnishings. Choose the Water Villas for enjoying the thrill of diving directly into the sea from your room!
Sun Aqua Vilu Reef
Located at the north-eastern end of the Dhaalu Atoll is the fabulous Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, which lies an incredibly panoramic 45-minute flight from capital Male. The resort is one of the more affordable luxury hotels in the Maldives.
The resort is built around a striking turquoise lagoon brimming with soft white sand, lush foliage, and thatched villas. Two restaurants serve all kinds of cuisines, including succulent Maldivian seafood. The aptly-named Nautilius bar right by the infinity pool is great for grabbing a sundowner or a nightcap. However, it’s the resort’s unending list of activities that make it such a great place to stay. For one, it offers complimentary canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling equipment for two hours every day. Additionally, it also arranges jet ski rides, hiring private speedboats, and even full-day whale shark trips. Finally, it also arranges for private dinners and wine-tasting sessions in its modern wine cellars.
When you arrive, the staff greets visitors with vibrant frangipani garlands and fresh coconut drinks. Guests can choose from thatch-roofed Land Villas and 41 over-water ones that have private decks and direct sea access. One-third of the Land Villas have plunge pools of their own too. What’s more, all villas feature elegant decor, gleaming pale and dark wood floors, and large bathrooms.
Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives
Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa is easily one of the best resort hotels in the Maldives. The high-end, exclusive resort is tucked away on a remote isle in the Addu Atoll, the southernmost atoll of the country. It also houses the highest natural elevation point on the island, Mount Villingili, which is just 17 feet high! Apart from massive amounts of space, it is the Maldives’ largest resort island and has its own time zone. Phew!
The minute you land at the uber-exclusive resort, the “Island Hosts” take over and ensure that every aspect of their stay is remarkable. Staying at the Shangri-la Villingili gives a new meaning to the world “unwind.” The spa, aptly named Chi is famous for its signature Maldivian therapies and massages. The eco-dive center is a great place to get started with your underwater exploration of Maldives’ famous coral reefs and marine life. A beachfront infinity pool is perfect for lounging around, while the well-equipped gym with panoramas of the Indian Ocean might just inspire you to work out. Additionally, the resort is also home to the only nine-hole golf course in the Maldives. The ultimate decadence is the food offerings, which range across a host of world cuisines.
As a guest at the resort, you get to choose from 132 luxurious overwater villas, jungle retreats, as well as foliage-ensconced elevated treehouses with ocean views. Land villas all have plunge pools, while the popular overwater ones have direct access to the sea. Interestingly, every room has bicycles for those who want to get around the island on their own.
Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
Families traveling to the Maldives will love the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort on the remote and relaxing Gaafu Daalu Atoll. This completely undisturbed resort lies an hour’s flight and a half-hour yacht ride away from Male.
The Outrigger retains Maldivian traditions while keeping the design fresh and modern. What makes the resort so special is the excellent staff that is ready to help out in every way possible. What’s more, every five villas are assigned a guest service agent, who can be contacted for all kinds of requests that range from booking romantic dinners to preparing itineraries. Additionally, the resort’s material amenities are fantastic. The dive center is a great way for brimming water enthusiasts to enjoy a range of under-surface activities. A well-equipped 24/7 gym will impress fitness fantastic, while the sizeable spa will melt all your stresses away. Furthermore, numerous restaurants and bars satiate all food cravings.
Outrigger’s villas are spaced-out to lend a sense of privacy. What makes Outrigger so popular that even its entry-level villas have their own plunge pools with direct access to the sea! Elegant and contemporary interiors, fluffy beds, and plush bathrooms make staying here bliss.
Marine adventurers will have the time of their lives at Baros. It’s one of the first luxury dive resort hotels in not just the Maldives, but also the Indian Ocean. This is because of its spectacular house reef that lies just a paddle away from its beach. This private coral island on which Baros lies is also just a 25-minute speedboat ride from Male airport.
The resort is comfortable and elegant without upstaging the natural environs. Instead of corridors, Baros has sandy pathways fringed with lush foliage. Most of the resort’s structures are made of natural materials like stones and indigenous woods that fit in with the island’s bucolic setting. Moreover, the resort has a diver service for dedicated divers to make most of their time in the gorgeous waters off of the resort. Apart from aquatic activities, Baros boasts a lot of land amenities like a quaint spa, a fitness center, two bars, and three restaurants serving delectable Maldivian fare. You might feel like spending all your time by the heavenly infinity pool, but also do indulge in group yoga class, botanical therapy, or even an art class. Finally, the resort offers a gamut of cuisines at its many in-house restaurants.
Each of Baros’ 45 beachside villas opens out to private leafy gardens, with the beach just beyond. The 30 water villas have private pools and are the best place to enjoy stunning Maldivian sunsets. For some true indulgence, select the centrally secluded Baros Residence that is not only spacious but also has its own private pool.
The Somerset Hotel
With all the remoteness of other resorts, there are travelers who might want to stay for a day or two in Male too. And, the Somerset Hotel is one of the best hotels you cay stay in Male, Maldives. The chic boutique hotel lies right in the heart of Male and is the best base to explore the Top 12 Things To Do In Male.
The trendy hotel is tucked in a quiet street, and yet within walking distance of all sights of Male. Guests can access a fitness center, as well as laundry services. It even has a ticketing service and a tour desk for those who want to book tours and such. What’s more, the hotel offers free transfers to Male’s international airport which is 15 minutes away. To top that, the on-site fusion restaurant serves lip-smacking meals throughout the day.
All rooms at the Somerset feature all the standard mod-cons plus a coffee machine and private bathrooms. In fact, some rooms even have a balcony with excellent views of the city and the Indian Ocean beyond.
Kandima Maldives is unmistakeably Maldivian in character with a Maya-blue lagoon, white sands, and emerald vegetation. The resort lies on the long and lean Kandima island, which is one of many resort islands in the Dhaalu Atoll. So, it’s a mere 20-minute boat ride or a 30-minute flight from Male. This also makes Kandima tan excellent base for staying in luxury and yet exploring the Top 8 Things To Do In Maldives.
Perhaps the most famous aspect of Kandima is its swimming pool, which is the longest in the country! The kids’ club, Kandiland, is also probably the Maldives’ largest and even has an in-ground trampoline and a pirate ship. A dive club offers a gamut of water sports and activities including snorkeling and diving with sharks. Apart from this, the resort has a million other things to do, including yoga, kickboxing, a 24/7 gym, cooking, and art classes. Moreover, the long stretch of the beach has shallow waters. If that wasn’t enough, the resort has a whopping 10 restaurants and bars. This includes a remarkable, adults-only Forbidden Bar that is accessible only via a sea tunnel! So, it’s no wonder that the resort is popular with Instagrammers, bloggers, and even celebrities.
One has lots of choices when it comes to accommodations. There are affordable studio rooms, private ocean and over-water villas, honeymoon suites, and even family pool villas. Apart from ocean villas which have quieter decor, all other rooms feature vibrant, modern decor.
You & Me by Cocoon Maldives
The name You & Me by Cocoon Maldives pretty much sum up this resort hotel’s offering. The adult-only, Italian hideaway lies on a partially manmade island in the Raa atoll and is a 45-minute seaplane ride from Male.
The setting of the resort is as bucolic and natural as possible, with turtles, rays, and small sharks claiming the shoreline as home. Daybeds and beach pods make it appealing to simply laze on the beach all day long. The resort itself is rustic-glam with sand-floored lobby and Indonesian driftwood-style furniture. Water babies will find everything in the well-stocked watersports center to their liking. There’s even a gorgeous freeform swimming pool which has excellent views of the palm-fringed beach. A host of amenities like beach volleyball, aqua aerobics, a bar, and four restaurants, including an underwater one, cater to the taste of every individual. Topping off the excellent offering is the Elizabeth Arden Spa which lies on its own over-water esplanade.
One has the choice of 10 beach villas and 99 over-water suites and villas across 7 seven categories. All rooms feature beach-chic décor with plush bathrooms, comfortable driftwood-style beds, and a host of slick mod-cons. Overwater villas even have private outside terraces. Honeymooners will love the You & Me Suite, which is the priciest villa, that has massage beds and a large pool of its own.
Komandoo Island & Spa
Komandoo Island Resort & Spa is one of the Maldives’ first and leading adult-only resort hotels. The resort lies a 40-minute seaplane flight from Male on the remote yet breathtaking Lhaviyani Atoll.
The resort is all about rustic, natural luxury. An on-site greenhouse grows herbs and orchids that are peppered all over the place. The reef here seels a huge variety of marine life and is an excellent spot for diving and snorkeling. Those who want to lounge around won’t find a better place than the decadent infinity pool with lounge chairs and plush seats. The outdoor cocktail bar right next to it offers excellent poolside service. Apart from on-site restaurants, Komandoo also has a gym with excellent ocean views and a small library. Don’t forget to indulge in a calming massage at the Duniye Spa.
Visitors to Komandoo can choose from beach villas with daybeds/private beach chairs or overwater ones with an outdoor deck and private ocean access. Moreover, the three styles of rooms are all named after various marine life. If you’re a returning guest, you’ll even get a wooden plaque with your name at the entrance of your abode!
Amari Havodda Maldives
Those staying at the Amari Havodda Maldives on the remote Havodda island on the Gaafu Dhaalu atoll will feel like they have the Indian Ocean all to themselves. After all, getting to this idyllic resort isn’t quite easy. After getting into Male, it’s a 90-minute flight or two to Kaadedhdhoo island. Ultimately, it’s a 10-minute speedboat ride that finally gets visitors to Amari.
The lovely island on which the resort sits can be walked around in one hour at low tide. The shoreline is home to iridescent fish, small sharks, and even rays that swim off the shallow coast. A house reef and a well-stocked dive center allow guests to indulge in scuba diving, snorkeling, and more water adventures. In fact, the resort has a complimentary guided morning snorkel tour too. What’s more, there are even live music performances, movie nights, and even Maldivian cooking classes. The pool lies not more than 20 feet from the beach and makes for a great place to laze around. Finally, a small gym, a spa, excellent restaurants, a multipurpose court, and a souvenir shop complete the resort’s offerings.
60 beach villas and 60 stilted overwater villas jutting out into the ocean make for dream accommodations. All villas feature four-poster beds, high ceilings, lavish bathrooms, and have either direct beach access or ocean access.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars / Food Tours in the Maldives:
- Barbeque Dinner: Dig into a hearty barbecue dinner on Maafushi island. Sit right by the water and gaze at the starry sky as you relish authentic Maldivian cooking.
- Subsix: The Maldives is famous for its underwater dining restaurants. Subsix on Niayama island in the Dhaanu Atoll is also the first underwater nightclub too. Lying 20 feet beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean, the restaurant is famous for its seafood.