Take a look at the best boutique hotels in North Male Atoll.
Gili Lankanfushi is widely considered to be the top resort in the Maldives, and for good reason. This stunning, 46-villa, eco-friendly resort just 20 minutes from the airport succeeds in delivering truly unpretentious, relaxed luxury. Bare feet are encouraged (shoes are removed as soon as guests get on the boat from the airport), and each guest is taken care of by a personal butler with the title Mr. Friday. The spacious, charmingly simple overwater bungalows are made of several types of wood, and have outdoor (and rooftop!) decks with views that might induce tears of joy. On land, the beautiful island with 683 palm trees offers a range of activities and dining options. This special gem in the Maldives has more authenticity than other brand-name resorts of the same price point — just ask tennis pro Novak Djokovic, practically a regular here.
This luxury boutique resort from Thailand's Banyan Tree is slightly bigger and more expensive than sister property Angsana next door. Each of the 48 spa-like villas offers direct water access from the front (beach privacy varies), and in the rear, the pièce de résistance: a walled-in plunge pool and jetted tub area. Large bathrooms that have indoor and outdoor showers, which helps compensate for the slightly cramped bedrooms dressed in neutral decor. The walkable island has plenty of white sand and free non-motorized water sports; scuba divers have access to a shipwreck nearby. Spa lovers will adore the large Thai treatment rooms and professional staff, all of whom are trained heavily at Banyan Tree Spa Academy. In the evenings, couples -- and yes, a few families -- stroll down the long jetty to spot reef sharks after dining on contemporary cuisine. The resort provides 24-hour boat transfers from the airport, a 25-minute speedboat ride away, as well as free Wi-Fi.
This small rustic resort attracts mostly European couples who take up residence — sometimes for three weeks at a time — in the 36 bungalows spread out over six acres of sand. Locals opened the property in 1982, and it is one of the oldest resorts in the Maldives; many guests have been coming for years (40 percent are repeat visitors). Other special distinctions: There is no Wi-Fi anywhere (!) and there are no TVs -- both intentional choices to keep guests relaxed and unplugged. Most will spend their days exploring the turquoise sea (scuba and snorkel are big here!). Half-board and full-board packages are available -- just make sure to fill up on lunch, since dinner isn’t served until 8 p.m.
Located near several popular dive sites in the North Male Atoll, Eriyadu Island Resort was one of the Maldives' first tourist resorts. With more than 30 years under its belt, this 76-room, upper-middle-range resort is slowly updating its style and moving toward four-pearl status. Pluses include an excellent, easily accessibly house reef; on-site activities; and direct beach access off all rooms. However, the lack of free water or Wi-Fi, average buffet quality and selection, and slow renovation process (there's a huge disparity in room quality) still leave much to be desired. Prices are fair for what you get, though; competitors such as Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, which also has an on-site reef and simple rooms, typically cost more.
This slim and tall 14-room hotel in the city of Malé is best suited for those in transit or business travelers on a budget. It was opened in 2012, and its basic but modern rooms have white bedding, flat-screen TVs, and (small) desk areas with free bottled water and minibars; suites have separate living rooms and kitchens for longer stays. Courteous staff can arrange day-trip excursions and airport transfers -- they will even pick-up and drop-off guests at the international terminal, a ferry ride away. Room service is available throughout the day and free coffee, toast, and eggs are served in the cafe each morning. Overall, this is a clean and safe place those who need to be in the capital. Upper floors are quieter, but guests can try opening windows to hear the sounds of local culture, such as mopeds and the call to prayer. Wi-Fi is free.