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Top 10 luxury hotels in the Maldives
There's nothing that makes people go quite as weak at the knees other than a couple of weeks in the Maldives and if you've got plans to check out Asia's tiniest country then make sure you read the luxury hotel suggestions below to do it in style. White sands, swaying palms and the Indian Ocean, all you need now is a hammock and glass of fizz and you're all good to go.
The setting: Enjoy a serene setting on a private island in the North Male Atoll, just a 60-minute speedboat or 15-minute scenic seaplane transfer from Male.
The scene: This luxury adult-only hotel focuses on living healthily and joyfully, allowing guests to appreciate the slower lifestyle. Imagine long days spent relaxing by your private pool, enjoying a refreshing cocktail on a swing seat at Beach Hut, or enjoying a yoga class.
The stay: There are only 50 villas at this resort, adding to the exclusive feel. Choose from either a villa nestled on the beachfront or jutting over the lagoon. All of the villas have a stylish and contemporary feel, letting the awe-inspiring views do the talking.
The best bits: Be sure to pay a visit to Baani Spa, a beautiful overwater oasis offering soothing holistic treatments, a vibrant healthy café and a lovely boutique.
More information and to book: Kagi
9. The Standard Huruvalhi Maldives
The setting: Sitting pretty on private Huruvalhi Island in the Raa Atoll, this hotel is blessed with a beautiful surrounding house reef with lots of marine life.
The scene: Mixing socialising with relaxation, The Standard is a modern hotel offering lots of fun activities, including an inflatable water park, adult-only Tonic Pool & Bar with fabulous cocktails and smoothies, and of course Beru Bar – an overwater nightclub with a glass-bottom dance floor. Feeling hungry? The restaurants serve delicious island-inspired cuisine, including succulent seafood at BBQ Shak.
The stay: The villas are bright and contemporary, located either on the beach or above the lagoon. Better yet, every villa has its own private pool, and boast direct access to the beach, lagoon or house reef. You’ll also find a disco ball in the bathroom, and a ukulele so you can have your own concert as the sun sets.
The best bits: The hotel is a snorkeller’s dream, offering fantastic excursions including swimming with mantas and starlit snorkelling. Each villa even has its own ‘activity wall’, with life jackets, snorkelling masks and flippers, so you can explore the lagoon whenever you please.
More information and to book: The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives
8. LUX* South Ari Atoll
The setting: Based on one of the largest islands in the Maldives, Dhidhoofinolhu, within the stunning South Ari Atoll.
The scene: Loads of activities and things to do will tempt you from a day spent in your hammock although, after a couple of tropical cocktails, there's probably nothing more appropriate. 2 infinity pools, kids' and teens' clubs and a spa with no less than 15 treatment rooms, if you're still looking for more options then you probably need to amend your desert island expectations.
The stay: Just shy of 200 guest rooms and suites all of which feature: air-con, WiFi access and plenty of privacy.
The best bits: Aside from the spa, watersports and dining facilities there are lots of secret honesty bars, free phone home boxes and messages in bottles to keep your Robinson Crusoe levels fixed on excited.
More information and to book: LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort & Villas
7. Hurawalhi Island Resort
The setting: This luxurious hotel is nestled on a beautiful, private coral island in the Lhaviyani Atoll, and is the only resort there. Arrive via a 40-minute seaplane from Velana International Airport.
The scene: Perched on its own secluded island, this is intimacy and privacy at its finest, offering barefoot luxury that is incredibly enticing. The ambience is very tranquil thanks to its secluded location, leaving you to truly unwind and make the most of the phenomenal views and vibrant reef.
The stay: Each villa is a little slice of paradise thanks to the stunning sunrise or sunset views. Stay in one of the lavish Beach Villas or Beach Pool Villas and you’ll only be steps away from the wonderfully warm white sands, or truly indulge with an Ocean Pool Villa – perched over the water, you’ll have access to the stunning crystal-clear lagoon.
The best bits: The remarkable 5.8 Undersea Restaurant is not to be missed – it’s a dining experience like no other. Who could resist dining on decadent, world-class tasting menus 5.8 metres underwater? The view of the reef and its tropical marine life is incredible.
More information and to book: Hurawalhi Island Resort
6. JA Manafaru
The setting: Nestled on the stunning island of Manafaru, this resort offers a beautiful blend of sparkling sea, tropical flora, and sugary white sands.
The scene: Surrounded by towering palms and indigenous plants, JA Manafaru really hones in on the pleasure of relaxing in an exotic oasis. Every room features its own plunge pool, but you’ll also have three gorgeous main pools to choose from too – offering a great variety of spots to truly relax and soak up the sun. Beach front restaurants and bars are the perfect complement to a tropical getaway, whilst the wine ‘cave’ with its vintage wines is ideal for a unique evening to remember.
The stay: There are 84 bungalows and villas altogether, all perched along the powdery sands and offering stunning views. The water villas with infinity pool are perfect for a wonderfully romantic honeymoon – you’ll just need to choose whether you’d prefer a dramatic sunset view, or an idyllic sunrise view.
The best bits: The rejuvenating spa paints JA Manafaru as one of Maldives’ most tranquil resorts.
More information and to book: JA Manafaru
5. Baros Maldives
The setting: Just under half an hour's speedboat ride from Male.
The scene: This wonderful hotel is renowned for its water sports and dedication to the marine life of the Indian Ocean. Catamaran sailing, sunset cruises and scuba diving all enable you to get closer to the water and you can always use your private pool if you fancy a fresh water alternative. Three great restaurants, a spa and superb accommodation more than compliment the gorgeous sea views.
The stay: Around 90 villas set within tropical gardens or on the beachfront with teak flooring, standalone tubs and plenty of space.
The best bits: Why not indulge in a spot of sandbank dining for the ultimate in romantic moonlit suppers.
More information and to book: Baros Maldives
4. Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi
The setting: The hotel is tucked away on the Maldives’ most exclusive island, Sirru Fen Fushi. Home to sugary white sands and crystal-clear lagoons, you’ll be treated to incredible vistas and a remote ambience reached by sea-plane from Male.
The scene: We’re certain you’ll love the exclusivity of this luxurious hotel. You can even start with relaxing in the private lounge at Male Airport, enjoying pastries and coffee before your flight. At the hotel, you’ll find sophisticated dining options including the beautiful waterfront Japanese restaurant Kata, as well as relaxing spa treatments inspired by the elements.
The stay: The villas are clearly inspired by the tranquillity of the hotel’s location. The Beach Villas are chic and contemporary, with private plunge pools and close proximity to the water’s edge. Meanwhile, the Water Villas perched above the lagoon boast roomy relaxation decks for enjoying spectacular sunrise and sunset views.
The best bits: Enjoy a unique taste of the Maldivian wilderness by booking a Tented Jungle Villa. Hidden away in the lush foliage, yet still close to the bright white beach, these villas feature canvas walls, a private pool, a sala with comfy seating areas, and dedicated villa host service.
More information and to book: Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi
3. OZEN Reserve Bolifushi
The setting: The hotel is located in the South Male Atoll, a quieter part of the Maldives renowned for its stunning white sands and ambience. Start your holiday right with a 25-minute luxury catamaran transfer from Male.
The scene: Barefoot luxury is key here. Surrounded by two house reefs with lots of marine life, this hotel is ideal for snorkelling enthusiasts who want to see sea turtles, nurse sharks (which are docile) and stingrays. We love that the restaurants take you around the world, including Levantine dishes at Sangu Beach, and the Cuvee Wine Library with 2000 bottles of decadent wines.
The stay: Each villa has its own pool and relaxation areas, boasting either sunrise or sunset views. The Earth Pool Villas are fantastic and offer direct beach access, or opt for an Ocean Pool Villas for that je ne sais quoi – they jut out of the water, and nine of them have a waterslide into the lagoon.
The best bits: There’s lots to excite the whole family here, including the Maldives’ first ice skating rink, and fun motorised water sports including water skiing.
More information and to book: OZEN Reserve Bolifushi
2. Vakkaru Maldives
The setting: The hotel is located in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with impeccable natural beauty. Travel here from May to November and you’ll see the lagoon blooming with plankton, which means you may spot mantas and whale shark.
The scene: This hotel is the epitome of barefoot luxury, with plenty of lovely al fresco spots to relax, including daybeds that look out to sea. The vibe is serene and relaxing, though there are lots of activities for those with itchy feet, including kayaking, sunset cruises, organic garden tours and even a boat trip to catch your own dinner.
The stay: Decorated in peaceful Maldivian flair, the villas here have light, minimalist interiors. Choose a Beachfront Villa and enjoy amazing beach and lagoon views from the terrace, or opt for an iconic Overwater Villa with private decking adorned with a hammock and direct lagoon access. Some villas also have private pools for an extra treat.
The best bits: The organic garden is wonderful, giving you the chance to enjoy fresh and seasonal farm-to-table dining experiences. There is also a great water sports centre, including dolphin cruises and private yacht trips.
More information and to book: Vakkaru Maldives
1. Six Senses Laamu
The setting: Enjoying a secluded setting as the only island hotel in the Laamu Atoll, you can reach this oasis with a short flight and boat ride from Male. The lagoon is abundant in dolphins too.
The scene: This hotel has a true castaway feeling, ideal for those who want to escape normal life and enjoy a taste of paradise. The hotel feels romantic, yet is perfect for families too. Dine al fresco with sustainable ingredients for every meal, enjoy a sunset dolphin cruise, grab a cone at the Ice and Chocolate Studio, and enjoy an evening at the outdoor cinema.
The stay: The villas are peaceful and decorated in true Maldivian style, opting for a minimalist look with a pop of colour. The Overwater Villas are a real treat, boasting direct lagoon access, a netted hammock over the water, and even a glass bottom bathtub. For families, the Family Villa with Pool is perfect.
The best bits: The treetop decks on each villa are the perfect place to admire the panoramic views and relax in the outdoor living and dining area.
More information and to book: Six Senses Laamu