Made up of nearly 2,000 small islands, the Maldives archipelago lives up to all of its descriptors: screensaver-worthy, wanderlust-inducing, and bucket-list paradise. With white-sand beaches, tropical green landscapes, and crystal clear turquoise waters, every angle is picture-perfect -- and that includes resorts. In the Maldives, resorts are typically located on their own private island, which means they have all the necessary amenities for a memorable vacation -- and then some (overwater villas, private pools, and personal butlers, to name a few). There are many dreamy resorts to be found in the Maldives, but here are 19 stunning properties that particularly caught our eye.
Soneva Fushi is among the priciest resorts in the Maldives, but for good reason. The luxury resort, located on its own private island, Kunfunadhoo, provides guests with personal butlers, spacious beachfront villas (most with private pools), delicious food at several a la carte restaurants, an observatory, a spa, and and an outdoor theater. Free perks include all-you-can-eat artisanal chocolates, ice creams, cheeses and charcuterie; a gourmet breakfast buffet; weekly yoga classes and loaner bikes; a kids’ club (ages four and up); and non-motorized water sports rentals (kayaks, snorkels, and sailboats). The lush jungle interior and charming Robinson Crusoe-style decor make this oasis feel like an eco-camp for wealthy castaways. However, guests should be prepared to bike barefoot through the wilderness and get a little dirty (the whole island is a “barefoot zone,” though you can put your shoes back on if you prefer).
With stunning ocean views, Instagram-worthy interiors, jaw-dropping overwater suites, and on-land villas with private pools, the Jumeirah Vittaveli has all the ingredients for an unforgettable escape. But it’s more than just a pretty face. The luxury resort is teeming with things to do — a pro since the closest island is a 20-minute boat ride away. Guests can hit up the diving center, spa, fitness center, yoga classes, four restaurants, a bar, and a gorgeous outdoor pool. Bonus: Hot breakfasts and Wi-Fi are free, and families with children are allowed, though it certainly caters to couples on a romantic getaway.
Soneva Jani, located on Noonu Atoll, is proof that the Maldives is not only made for honeymooners. Each of the family-friendly villas — built using wood from sustainable plantations — feature a private pool and waterslide the drops both kids and adults into the turquoise water below. The retractable roof for stargazing is another in-room highlight, and the open-air movie theater, overwater spa, gym, indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar, and kids’ club also win over guests.
Set on the private Vommuli Island, and surrounded by lush tropical gardens, powder-white sand, and stunning turquoise water, The St. Regis pampers through and through. The spacious villas and suites come with a personal butler, private pool, floor-to-ceiling windows, a walk-in closet, and a private terrace. When you’re not luxuriating in your room, check out the overwater spa, which offers massages, Ayurveda treatments, and other services, or the restaurant overlooking the infinity pool and beach. Or, for something a little more active, try diving, windsurfing, glass-bottom kayaking, and sailing.
If you can afford it, One&Only Reethi Rah is easily one of the Maldives’ most luxe experiences. The spacious, elegant villas either sit over the lagoon or by the beach, and feature high ceilings and beautifully furnished interiors. Some even have their own pool. The island is fairly spread out, meaning guests can expect plenty of privacy, whether they’re at the infinity pool or peaceful beach. Other highlights include a spa (which focuses on Asian treatments), gym, two tennis courts, kids’ club, diving school, and delicious restaurants that serve everything from Japanese to Middle Eastern cuisine.
Constance Halaveli, located on a beautiful private island, almost seems too good to be true. Accessible only by seaplane or speedboat, the resort is secluded and serene. However, there’s still plenty to do: a diving center, water sports activities, spa, pristine beach, gym, scenic dining options, and a kids’ center. The 86 airy villas have lovely amenities, like wine coolers and terraces with plunge pools — but some are in a garden on the beach, while others are above the water. The hotel’s attention to detail and service is also top-notch — guests can expect small touches, like single roses that accompany 24-hour room service. It’s no wonder so many guests refer to this private island resort as “paradise.”
If a property’s guest list is any indication of its desirability, the Huvafen Fushi is about as good as it gets. Celebrities like George Clooney and Kate Moss have spent the night at this 43-bungalow resort, which sits on its own lagoon in the North Male Atoll. The bungalows — many of which are built over the water — include comfy beds with Frette linens, Frank Gehry-designed furniture, and stunning ocean views. Some even have infinity pools and outdoor baths. But you’ll want to leave your room to luxuriate in the infinity pool, underwater spa, several restaurants, and wine cellar.
Hurawalhi Island Resort, an adults-only property located on a private coral island, is known for being home to the world’s largest all-glass underwater restaurant, but that’s not the only reason you should visit. Its 90 rooms — some overwater bungalows directly in the lagoon, others beach suites with large decks offering access to a gorgeous white-sand beach — come with free Wi-Fi, espresso machines, and minibars. Some villas even feature private infinity pools with beautiful views. Dining options are also outstanding, as is the infinity pool, diving and snorkeling, and spa, which offers an array of treatments and free yoga classes.
Located on a private island in the North Male Atoll, this upscale resort is the smaller and more laid-back of the two Four Seasons properties in the Maldives. The 96 suites and bungalows — some built directly on the beach, and some stilted above the water — all have private plunge pools. Still, the highlight of this resort is the food — several excellent restaurants, two bars, and in-villa and private dining experiences are available. Guests also get access to a small nearby spa, two beautiful pools, a kids’ club, and non-motorized water sports.
Located on its own verdant island, a 45-minute seaplane ride from Male, Noku Maldives is packed with all the features you’d expect from a luxury resort: a large spa, a gym with a tennis court, an oceanside infinity pool, a white-sand (albeit unequipped) beach, and plenty on-site activities. All of this, plus huge villas with high ceilings and large outdoor decks (some with private pools), make for an ideal exotic island escape.
Located on a small, private island with white-sand beaches, the 112-room Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa is a great bang-for-your-buck option in the Maldives. All-inclusive rates include alcoholic drinks, a la carte meals, daily 30-minute massages, water sports rentals, supervised kids’ activities, Wi-Fi, and excursions, making this resort stand out from the pack. There’s also a beautiful beachfront infinity pool with a shallow section for kids, as well as a nice reef for snorkeling and diving (plus a real shipwreck just offshore). The biggest downside? The resort’s out-of-the-way location, which is at least 30 minutes from Male Airport by plane
Maafushivaru is an all-inclusive boutique luxury resort in the South Ari Atoll, home to year-round whale sharks and dolphins (guests have a great chance of spotting some). The 48 sophisticated villas also wow, with private decks, outdoor showers, and comfy king-size beds; some have semi-private pools. Other property highlights include a beachside infinity pool with a large bar, laser light shows, a large overwater spa and gym, and a small wine bar. To top it off, all-inclusive rates encompass alcohol (a rarity in the Maldives).
Honeymooners, take note: Adaaran Prestige Vadoo may be situated on a small island, but it still manages to be the most luxurious of the Maldives’ five Adaaran resorts. In addition to its 50 stellar water villas, the resort offers a solid range of amenities, including an outdoor pool, a spa, a beautiful reef, two upscale restaurants, and two bars — one on the beach and one perched in a scenic spot over the water. Even better, it’s conveniently located just a 15-minute speedboat ride from Male Airport.
Open since 2013, Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives is a fun, adults-only resort with affordable prices (bot half-board and all-inclusive rates are available). Most rooms are overwater villas with private decks, though there are some units situated along the shore. The pool scene (including the pool bar) is lively, and the dining options (a buffet, three restaurants, and 24-hour room service) are varied. Tons of water-based activities, including an outstanding dive center for newbies, are also on offer.
Surrounded by crystal clear waters, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is stunning from any angle. For starters, each of the villas and residences have private pools as well as private terraces with glass floor panels for guests to marvel at the marine life (sharks, turtles, and tropical fish) below. Good looks aside, this resort features an overwater spa, 24-our butlers, a fitness center, three restaurants and a cocktail bar. Guests can also enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving excursions, or find their zen during yoga.
An indulgent island resort frequented by honeymooners, Taj Exotica scores high marks when it comes to food, romantic atmosphere, convenience, and beauty. Located on a private island just 15 minutes from the airport, this 65-room resort is one of the most luxurious spots in the Maldives — and the room rates match accordingly. Highlights include personal butlers, spacious guest rooms with private pools, gorgeous beaches, two gourmet restaurants, and poolside attendants who spritz guests with chilled Evian water and polish their sunglasses.
Reopened in 2009 after a renovation, Lily Beach Resort & Spa is a luxurious all-inclusive resort that caters to both couples and families. The stylish, spacious rooms have outdoor bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, outdoor decks with direct ocean or beach access, and amenities that range from suntan lotion and aloe vera to stocked minibars. Younger guests will love the kids’ buffet, pool, and activity club, while romantic twosomes also have plenty of options (a chic pool bar, infinity pool, and spa). The only downside is the narrow beach.
A screensaver come to life, Kandolhu Maldives is home to 30 villas, all with private sundecks and sea views. The contemporary rooms, outfitted with everything from fluffy towels to wine fridges, may also feature outdoor bathrooms, private beach areas, and personal dipping pools. Underwater lovers will find plenty to admire, as this luxury boutique is surrounded by a fish-filled reef and close to great dive spots. After some adventure, guests can also unwind at the relaxing beachside bar, multiple a la carte restaurants, spa, and library lounge. For those who want it, there is an all-inclusive plan that not only includes meals, snacks, soft drinks, and international alcohol, but also brings better prices on top-shelf booze and imported beers, discounts on spa treatments, free snorkeling equipment, unlimited use of non-motorized water sports, and either a Champagne sunset cruise or hour-long guided snorkel tour around the island.
After a 30-minute flight from Male, followed by a 20-minute boat ride, guests will arrive at Kandima Maldives, a beautiful spot surrounded by a natural lagoon. Its claim to fame is its outdoor swimming pool — the longest in the Maldives — though the luxurious spa, gym with personal trainers, large kids’ club, and multiple restaurants and bars also impress. Art classes, cooking lessons, and plenty of water sports (diving, parasailing, and snorkeling) also keep folks occupied. Guests are also spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation options. Studios make the Maldives a bit more affordable, while private ocean villas are pricier, but offer private pools and amazing sunset views. Those looking to splurge can opt for an overwater villa or honeymoon suite.
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