It’s the ultimate opulent escape, a longstanding favourite with honeymooners and the feature of many a bucket list. The Maldives – where turquoise waters meet pristine white-sand beaches and indulgence is an everyday affair – is a tropical haven scattered across the Indian Ocean. From breathtaking overwater villas to underwater restaurants and unparalleled tropical marine adventures, the islands’ resorts epitomise paradise living. Whether you’re a couple seeking that quintessential romantic holiday of a lifetime, a family wanting equal quantities of seclusion and activity, or an individual looking for somewhere to relax and rejuvenate, you’ve come to the right place.
Ozen Reserve Bolifushi
Ozen Reserve Bolifushi is an ultra-luxurious resort nestled in lush tropical vegetation and surrounded by white beaches and turquoise waters. This exclusive island offers 90 stunning villas, each with a private swimming pool and beautiful ocean views. Just a short 35-minute luxury catamaran ride from Velana International Airport, the resort welcomes you to experience the epitome of relaxation and opulence. Villas feature timber flooring, high ceilings, and spacious bathrooms, providing a perfect blend of tradition and luxury. Some water villas even have slides leading into the lagoon. Culinary delights await you with a variety of dining experiences, showcasing traditional Indian dishes, Middle Eastern delights by the beach, and gourmet seafood creations complemented by excellent wines and champagnes. For adventure enthusiasts, the resort boasts one of the finest house reefs in the South Malé Atoll, making snorkelling and diving experiences extraordinary. A PADI-certified dive centre arranges courses and expeditions for exploration. Indulge in relaxation at the spa, offering 100% organic treatments, or stay active at the overwater gymnasium. Non-motorised water sports and semi-submarine adventures provide ample opportunities for marine exploration while complimentary bicycles are available for leisurely island rides around the island. Families are warmly welcomed with a Kid’s Club and Teen Lounge, where regular events and activities, including the educational Island Treasure Hunt, keep younger guests entertained.
Ozen Life Maadhoo
Arrive via speedboat and heralded by the blowing of a conch shell, as you step into this resort inspired by nature’s elements. Half of the accommodation is beachfront, the other is set on stilts overwater with villas offering a peek into the marine life below via glass panels. Dive further into the ocean with the M6M dining experience, a restaurant set six metres below the sea, scuba lessons, snorkelling the reefs, or via a sub expedition, riding just one metre beneath the surface. The resort also has a spa (with over-water treatment rooms and therapies based on the principles of earth, wind, water, fire and wood) as well as a beach club, bars, an infinity pool and multiple other dining experiences. This is the true definition of desert island luxury.
JA Manafaru Maldives
Occupying a private island in the Haa Alifu Atoll this award-winning resort offers beach and overwater villas, as well as private residences – all categories have their own pools. There are also three main pools, including one designed for children. Ayurvedic treatments are offered at the Calm Spa sanctuary and the watersports centre provides opportunities to explore the surrounding reef. Guests can take meals (including a refined afternoon tea) and drinks at seven venues, one of which provides wine and food pairings in the Maldives’ deepest subterranean wine cave, made from lava stone.
Amari Raaya Maldives
Amari Raaya Maldives is a new luxury resort situated on a lush private island in Raa Atoll. The resort draws inspiration from the natural surroundings and the open ocean, offering guests a sense of adventure. It features 187 beach and ocean villas with stunning ocean views. The resort experience is intertwined with the story of Seb, a shipwrecked artist who made the island his home. Seb’s story adds a unique touch to the resort, showcasing his art studio, ship, and watch towers converted into dining and star-gazing venues. In the evening, guests can enjoy live entertainment, traditional Boduberu performances, and cultural events. The resort offers various exciting activities such as diving, water sports, and excursions on the open ocean. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, including archery, kids’ play areas, mini golf, and paddle tennis. Guests can also indulge in delicious food and pampering spa treatments at Maai Spa. Overall, the resort promises an unforgettable and immersive experience in a beautiful and adventurous setting.
Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
A complimentary speedboat transfer will deliver you from the airport to this idyll on the private Furanafushi Island in less than half an hour. After getting settled into your thatched overwater bungalow, you can choose whether to visit the Shine Spa, swim in the freshwater pool, play tennis, take a yoga class, book a dive session, or unwind with a beverage at the Anchorage or Beach Bars. When you’re feeling peckish you can snack on dim sum at Chopstix, tuck into steak and seafood at Sea Salt Beach Grill or dine at Baan Thai, eat anytime at Feast and al fresco at the Masaala Hut.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
The ultimate in exclusivity, you can book your own private island within the already super private Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi; it comes with five pools, a cinema, two spas, a children’s playground and an entourage of chefs and butlers. Found in the South Male Atoll, the resort is spread across just over two miles and three islands (including the private one), accommodating 11 dining venues, watersports and a sprawling wellness centre. Shakira recently shared snaps on social media of herself and her family at the hotel, living the Maldivian dream, paddle boarding and taking speed boat rides from the hotel.
Translating as “Turtle Island” in the local Dhivehi language, Angsana Velavaru is a wonderful place to snorkel and dive if you’re dreaming of coming up close to Maldivian marine life. It has its own PADI 5-star Gold Dive Centre and a Marine Lab (dedicated to protecting coral reef ecosystems through research and conservation) where you can join a class or a snorkelling safari. Those preferring to take it easy can visit the outdoor treatment pavilions of the award-winning Angsana Spa, or bliss out at the infinity pool with a design cocktail from the bar. Meanwhile, kids are catered for with activities at the Rangers’ Club.
COMO Cocoa Island
With two private house reefs teeming with green turtles, reef sharks and bigeye trevally, this is an elite dive spot. 33 overwater villas have an understated design, adding to the sense of serenity encouraged at the resort. COMO Cocoa Island is a place to disconnect from the outside world; take a yoga class in the open-air studio, book a Shambhala massage treatment beside the lagoon, ease aching muscles in the hydrotherapy pool and take a wellness class to get fine-tune your holistic well-being. The food is created to balance flavour and nutrition, with organic ingredients rich in living enzymes, vitamins and sea minerals, served raw, steamed or grilled for optimum health benefits.
Six Senses Laamu
Since opening a little over a decade ago, Six Senses has maintained a strong commitment to sustainability. Shoes are discarded on arrival, making it true barefoot luxury, and with the opportunity to feel the soft silver sand between your toes, and soak in your own glass-bottomed bathtub with marine life passing beneath, who needs footwear? It offers some unforgettable experiences and excursions, like sunset dhoni cruises, private picnics, sand-dune dining, chilli dining (at a communal table, surrounded by a garden of chilli plants), Cinematic Orchestra DJ sets and jungle movie nights.
Conrad Rangali Island Maldives
Dita Von Teese, Roger Federer and Kris Jenner have all been spotted holidaying at this celeb-friendly idyll. It’s spread across two islands joined by a wooden bridge, in the South Ari Atoll. Villas and suites are either nestled among greenery or suspended above the lagoon. And if you want to see underwater without getting wet, you can book a table at the incredible Ithaa, which takes the form of a subaquatic tunnel, five metres below ground (there are 11 other restaurants besides). Or stay in the Conrad Rangali Island’s showstopping underwater suite, The Muraka, where you’ll receive 24-hour butler service.
Four Seasons Maldives Kuda Huraa
A brief speedboat hop from Male will bring you to Kuda Huraa, a coral island with 96 palm-thatched pavilions and bungalows (sleeping up to five) situated beside the sand and above the lagoon. Separate adult-only and family pools ensure both types of traveller are at home here and there are treatments catering to both younger and grown-up guests; take the minute-long sail across the lagoon by dhoni, to reach this very special mini-island spa, where you can indulge in rituals both day and night. Addtonally, you’ll have access to two restaurants, a surf school and PADI 5-star diving centre, a kids’ club, shark safaris, dolphin cruises and the onsite Marine Discovery Centre.
Raffles’ Maldivian property encompasses two islands of the Gaafu Alifu Atoll; one is set entirely over-water and includes its spa, the other offers lush tropical flora and fauna, with sandy beaches and villas, each has its own reef and around the clock butler service. The larger island hosts the laidback all-day dining venue,Thari, perched beside the shore, while the over-water dining option is Yuzu, serving international fusion Nikkei Cuisine in rustic-chic surroundings. During your time at Raffles, you may like to go snorkeling with a marine biologist, practice yoga at sunrise and swim in its divine infinity pool.
Soneva Jani is nestled within the tranquil waters of the Noonu Atoll, presenting breathtaking panoramic views of turquoise waters and blue skies. With just 51 over-water and three island residences, the resort offers guests privacy and space. Choose from Chapter One: Water Retreat or Chapter Two Water Reserve Villa (the latter being the most recent properties) – all of which boast private pools and some of which have their own waterslide into the lagoon. Dining is an international affair with several restaurants presenting varied menus; from plant-based dishes to seafood and the exciting secret menu and location concept. A wide range of activities and experiences, for all the family, can be enjoyed within the resort and within the local area; from dolphin spotting, diving, DJ’ing, cooking classes or a restful time at the spa.
Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa
Just 20-minutes by speedboat from Male airport, this brand new resort on Amingiri Island is taking bookings for its very first guests in September 2022. 109 villas are either on the beach or overwater, all with their own pools, ocean-facing bathtubs and floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing the paradise views of the surrounding aquamarine lagoon. Additionally, the family-friendly resort offers a shared pool, a kids’ pool, a spa, salon, fitness centre, a kids’ club and a teen zone, as well as six dining concepts and bars (one of which is adults-only, specialising in gin and champagne and suspended above the water).
Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island
This blissful island retreat seamlessly blends beachfront and overwater living with contemporary architecture and interiors – with crystal blue waters as its backdrop. From relaxing to spa treatments to an energetic workout in the fully equipped gym, the spectacular overwater views can be enjoyed from every angle. There is a superb range of dining options which include fusion cuisine from Japan and Peru, Mediterranen-inspired menus and many delightful all-day snacks. The private butler service, sporting activities, kids club (and more!) offer guests the option to enhance their Maldivian experience. This is the ideal choice for a holiday where sanctuary and seclusion are high on the agenda.
W hotels are known for being distinctive and cutting edge and it’s no different in their Maldives resort. Located on the beautiful and private Fesdu Island, W Maldives is the epitome of luxury in each of its suites and ocean havens, each with its own deck and plunge pool. When you aren’t enjoying the turquoise water in the house reef, home to wondrous wildlife, and white sandy beaches, you’ll enjoy a pampering spa menu, six gourmet restaurants, and a lounge bar. The water sports menu is adrenaline-rushing with parasailing, windsurfing, diving, snorkelling, water skiing, sailing, and more.
Luxury abounds here, but there’s also plenty of rest and recreation to choose from. Enjoy villas that cater to adventurous visitors or kick back in style in one of the over-the-water studios on one of two private islands: Play and Chill. Hop back and forth between the two islands for alternating thrills and adventure and tranquillity and relaxation. An exclusive spa and premier dining are ideal for after a day of water sports, biking, or reef diving.
Lux Maldives South Ari Atoll
Nestled in the South Atoll, this luxury 5-star resort is a haven for a laid-back island getaway and especially for unplugged vacations. The 193 villas extend out onto the water, giving you a premier experience. Facilities include two infinity pools, floodlit tennis courts, a cinema, and a luxury spa. When you aren’t enjoying being in or near the ocean on the two miles of stunning beaches where you might catch a glimpse of a whale shark, you can enjoy the state-of-the-art fitness centre.
Dusit Thani Maldives
Mudhdhoo Island is a gorgeous part of the Maldives and home to this resort with some of the best diving, snorkelling among manta rays, and swimming in the country. Located on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the resort features 360-degree ocean views, a turquoise lagoon and white sandy beaches, as well as spa rooms elevated coconut trees, and activities for families of all ages including tennis, yoga, and cycling. Dusit Thani also has one of the largest infinity pools in the Maldives.
Anantara Kihavah Villas Maldives
This beachfront haven is one of the best for exploring the Indian Ocean from either your oceanside villa or overwater villa nestled amid lush vegetation on a pristine island. Crystal waters are prime for snorkelling amid the five species of turtle that call the reef home and there’s an underwater dining room for a truly unique experience. Don’t miss the on-site holistic spa which can tailor-make a wellness experience during your stay or the many dining options.
This resort can be found on its own private island nestled amid lush green foliage. In addition to the traditional villas, the resort also offers the Private Reserve, complete with its own gym, chef, and children’s area. All of the villas are luxuriously outfitted with pools and plush bedding and the resort also offers premier diving, a Lego room, music room, a library, and decadent dining options to please any palate. An excellent menu of excursions and activities includes a picnic, a dolphin sunset cruise, eco-friendly windsurfing, and an astronomy dinner cruise.
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
Located on the North Malé Atoll, this superb 5-star resort presides over the ocean with its luxurious villas complete with decks and overwater hammocks. Indulgent gourmet dining and romantic white beaches make this a great place for couples. There is an excellent choice of water sports which includes lessons for beginners in windsurfing, catamaran sailing, water skiing and wakeboarding, and of course, diving. There are also a number of daily excursions meaning that families will also enjoy a stay here. Cooking classes and an exclusive spa are also on-site for fun and relaxation when you aren’t strolling the beach or enjoying the mesmerising views of the turquoise Indian Ocean.
Home to the Maldives’ first-ever Medi-spa, this retreat is in the Raa Atoll. Choose from 150 villas, some over-water, duplexes, others on the beach and those best suited to family groups. Depending on the category, you can benefit from butler service and a private pool, with those in ocean suites able to dine at an overwater restaurant and exclusive bar. There are five further restaurants, providing buffets, grilled seafood, Sri Lankan fine dining and a chef’s table, plus several bars with views to die for. Plus there are two swimming pools, a playground, a kids club, futsal fields, tennis courts and watersports.
Fairmont Maldives – Sirru Fen Fushi
Perched on a huge lagoon, beside jungle and the ocean, this all-villa resort is on Sirru Fen Fushi island, in the Shaviyani Atoll. Stay on the beach, hidden in the mangroves, over-water or in a luxury tented residence nestled in the jungle. Each makes use of local materials, with local design and ranges from one to three bedrooms. Play tennis, beach volleyball and water sports, take a Maldivian cooking class, paint at the onsite art studio and swim in what is the longest swimming pool in the Indian Ocean. Other amenities include the Willow Stream Spa, four restaurants, a kids club and a teen games room.
The Residence Maldives at Falhumaafushi
Set in the coral-rich Gaafu Alifu Atoll, this resort takes its design cues from the surrounding natural environment and traditional Maldivian architecture. Thatched villas can be found over the water, as well as beside the pristine beach, with an in-villa floating breakfast service provided in your own pool. Guests can also take a dip at the main freshwater pool, do watersports or dive at its PADI centre and hang out in five onsite restaurants and bars. The Residence houses the first Spa by Clarins in the Maldives, with a yoga deck and salon.