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Dusit Thani Maldives 5.0

Baa Atoll, Maldives

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Located on a private island with white-sand beaches
  • Excellent on-site reef for snorkeling and diving
  • Spacious and stylish villas all offer direct beach or ocean access
  • Most rooms come with private pools and butler service
  • Home to one of the largest infinity pools in the Maldives
  • Three restaurants, two oceanfront bars, and excellent Thai cuisine
  • Free snorkeling gear, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards 
  • Dive center and water sports rentals (such as Jet Skis and catamarans)
  • Excursions available such as dolphin cruises and fishing trips
  • Free yoga classes offered multiple times per day
  • Free Wi-Fi in rooms and most public areas
  • Full-board, half-board, and breakfast packages are available
  • Above average spa with an all-Thai staff, plus a modern fitness center
  • Babysitting services and a free kids' club

Cons

  • Pricey seaplane (or domestic) flight necessary to reach the resort
  • Beach is smaller and narrower than at other luxury resorts
  • No 24-hour room service
  • No free breakfast
  • No children’s pool
  • Steep prices for food and drinks
  • Limited nightlife (pro for some)

Bottom Line

Built in 2012, this Thai-style resort is one of the best all-around luxury picks in the Maldives. Highlights include 108 attractive waterfront rooms, great food, a large infinity pool, and an excellent house reef. Dusit Thani is pricey (for good reason), but it also includes nice freebies such as snorkeling gear, kayaks, Wi-Fi, daily yoga classes, a kids' club, and in-room Nespresso machines. The resort’s biggest drawback is its out-of-the-way location, at least 35 minutes from Male Airport by plane. The similarly priced Taj Exotica has a more convenient location, but it lacks Dusit Thani's kids' club

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Scene

Beautiful island resort with a Thailand-meets-Maldives vibe

Villas, a Thai restaurant, and bar are built over the lagoon on stilts at this beautiful island resort

Dusit Thani is located on its own private island, Mudhdhoo, which stretches just over 600 meters from tip to tip. Guests can walk between the restaurants, outdoor pool, main bar, spa, and sports facilities using shady pathways that wind through a lush jungle interior (loaner bicycles and a shuttle are also available). An excellent Thai restaurant, bar, and 54 villas are built over the lagoon on stilts (the other 54 villas are on land, next to the beach).

Owned by a Thai company based in Bangkok, Dusit Thani incorporates subtle elements from both Thailand and the Maldives throughout the resort. The odd triangle pillow or piece of oriental artwork gives a nod to Thailand, while thatched palm roofs, high ceilings, and sandy floors in the lobby and main bar are classic features of Maldivian resorts. Most of the decor is contemporary and stylish, with wooden furniture and fluffy pillows in shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, and brown. The resort is polished and well maintained.

Families are welcome at Dusit Thani, but the bulk of guests are couples from Russia, Asia, and the Middle East. Most people spend their days snorkeling, going on diving or boating excursions, or relaxing on the white-sand beaches. The place was quiet during our November visit, with plenty of empty recliners up for grabs. 

Location

On its own private island in Baa Atoll, a 35-minute flight from Male

Map of Dusit Thani Maldives

Located 120 kilometers northwest of Male in Baa Atoll, Dusit Thani is one of the more inaccessible resorts in the Maldives. The cheapest way to reach the resort is to catch a 30-minute domestic flight to the local island of Dharavandhoo, followed by a two-minute golf cart ride to a marina and a 10-minute speedboat ride to resort’s private island (locally known as Mudhdhoo). Guests willing to pay extra can take a more direct (and more scenic) 35-minute seaplane flight to the island. Recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Baa Atoll has some of the richest marine life in the Maldives. Hanifaru Bay, one of the world’s best places to swim with whale sharks and giant manta rays, is 10 minutes away by speedboat (excursions are offered every other day). A 250-person staff lives in the middle of the island year-round.

Rooms

Stylish rooms with minibars, free Wi-Fi, and private pools

The Two Bedroom Ocean Pavilion has a large deck with private pool, as well as direct access to the ocean

Dusit Thani has six categories of villas. Half (Ocean Villas, Water Villas, and Ocean Pavilions) are perched over the lagoon on stilts, and the rest (Beach Villas, Family Villas, and Beach Residences) are situated next to the beach. With the exception of 20 Beach Villas, every room on the island has a private outdoor pool.

Villas start at 1,313 square feet and have traditional thatched roofs, hardwood floors, and stylish modern decor accented by colorful throw pillows. Rooms also feature Thai-inspired touches like oriental paintings and bamboo-shaped frames. Highlights include large bathrooms with soaking tubs and separate rain showers, private patios, Molton Brown bath amenities, bathrobes, flat-screen TVs, and fully stocked minibars with wine chillers. Nespresso machines, coffee, tea, bottled water, and Wi-Fi are included for free.

The lower-tier Beach Villas and Water Villas come with “villa ambassadors,” but not full-time butlers. Family Beach Villas, Ocean Pavilions, and Beach Residences -- the top-tier villa categories -- come with two bedrooms, larger pools, and range from 2,820 square feet to 6,028 square feet.

Features

Beachfront infinity pool, treetop spa, fitness center, gift shop, and kids' club

Treetop spa location

Dusit Thani has a solid range of amenities. An attractive beachfront infinity pool offers bar service and has a unique banyan tree growing in the center; staff claims that it’s the largest infinity pool in the Maldives. A free kids' club with a playground is available for children ages three to 11. An above-average spa features six treetop treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room, pool, and an all-Thai staff. The resort also has a gift shop, jewelry store, 24-hour medical clinic, and modern fitness center (most cardio machines have personal TV screens).

Services

Off-site excursions, room service, babysitting, and free Wi-Fi

The resort provides daily excursions in speedboats equipped with Wi-Fi

Plenty of perks are available for those willing to pay extra. Guests can take advantage of the resort’s “borderless dining” concept to arrange meals just about anywhere -- on the beach, on a sand bar, or even in the lagoon with the table and chairs in the water. Babysitting can be arranged by the hour.

A number of excursions are offered daily, such as local island photography tours, dolphin-watching cruises, and fishing trips. Maldivian and Thai cooking classes are also offered throughout the week. Free Wi-Fi is accessible in rooms and most public areas -- even speedboats have Wi-Fi that guests can use during excursions. Room service is available, but it’s not 24-hour. The higher-end villas include on-call butlers who will arrange excursions, unpack luggage, run a hot bath -- you name it. DJs play music at the bars on select nights.

Beach

White-sand beaches, lounge chairs, and an off-shore reef

White sand beaches and a clear, turquoise lagoon on-site

Like most resorts in the Maldives, Dusit Thani is surrounded by lovely white-sand beaches and a clear, turquoise lagoon. Guests can take their pick from a number of public lounge chairs with umbrellas, or those staying in beach villas can use the loungers outside their room. An impressive reef is located just off shore, and sea turtles are a common sighting. The water temperature was perfect (warm but refreshing) during our visit. We couldn’t find a speck of trash anywhere. There are other resorts with more sand and wider stretches, however. 

Food

Great a la carte and buffet cuisine at three restaurants

A wide array of international buffet cuisine at The Market, which is open for breakfast and dinner

The resort’s main restaurant, The Market, serves a nice array of international buffet cuisine for breakfast and dinner, with buffets themed after different countries' cuisines (Italian, Korean, and South American) offered in the evenings. An international seafood restaurant, Sea Grill, features live grilling stations and a wine cellar (available for private tastings); it’s open for lunch and dinner. Our favorite restaurant on the island was Benjarong, which serves authentic, a la carte Thai cuisine (prepared by an all-Thai staff). Benjarong is open for dinner only. Guests can pay for meals as they go or upgrade to an all-inclusive dining package; full-board, half-board, and breakfast packages are available.

Physical Activities

Scuba diving, snorkeling, watersports rentals, and tennis

A watersports rental center features Jet Skis, diving equipment, and non-motorized water sports

There are plenty of great water activities at (and around) Dusit Thani. A dive center offers lessons and organizes excursions to nearby dive sites, and guests can even explore three underwater caves next to the island’s reef.  One of the top excursions is a snorkeling trip to Hanifaru Bay, a protected area famous for its whale sharks and manta rays (available every other day). A water sports center rents free snorkeling gear, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. Guests can also pay to rent Jet Skis, windsurfing gear, and catamarans. There’s less to do on land, but the resort does have two lighted tennis courts and offers free yoga lessons multiple times per day.

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Address

Mudhdhoo Island, 2188

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