Widely considered the planet’s most exclusive holiday destination, the Maldives is home to a string of ultra-luxurious hotels and resorts that embody the ultimate tropical paradise getaway for honeymooners, sun worshipers, discerning travelers, scuba divers and celebrities. The Maldives are a collection of more than thousand small coral atolls, located on the equator towards the south of India and stretching across 800 km (500 mi) of the Indian Ocean on a north-south axis. The stunningly beautiful islands are the visible coral tips of an oceanic volcanic mountain range whose outer edges at some points plunge to depths of over 3 km (10,000 ft). The archipelago is blessed with some of the world’s most astonishing beaches, crystal clear turquoise lagoons, phenomenal underwater wildlife, and unrivaled luxury resorts that take up their own private islands.
Here’s my selection of the 10 best luxury resorts in the Maldives. These resorts definitely come at a price (some at more than $5000 USD per night), so make sure to read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel. Spoiler alert: once you have experienced the otherworldly luxury of a Maldivian resort, any other holiday experience will pale in comparison. And I have some great news as I can offer you complimentary VIP perks at the Maldives’ most exclusive resorts! Read more here.
There is more information (with trip reports & YouTube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Maldivian hotel in the comments section, or take my poll below!
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Situated on a private island 400 km (250 mi) south of Malé and 55 km (35 mi) north of the Equator in one of the world’s deepest atolls, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa – Hyatt’s only five star luxury hotel in the Maldives – blesses its guests with a barefoot luxury resort experience. The sleek interiors of the 50 villas are luxuriously designed and furnished to ensure guest comfort and privacy, whilst maintaining environmental sensitivity. The accommodations are nestled within the island’s tropical foliage, mere steps away from the turquoise waters or perched over the water with sweeping ocean vistas. All villas have direct access to the beach or ocean and feature floor-to-ceiling windows with doors that lead out to a private deck, some fitted with a personal plunge pool. The resort is framed by a mesmerizing and vast coral reef with diverse marine life, more abundant and varied than anywhere else in the Maldives.
Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru is a remote island hideaway in the secluded Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, a scenic seaplane ride from Male. Combining innovation, wellness and conservation, the resort comprises 103 thatched bungalows and villas of contemporary Maldivian design spread across the island’s remote jungle wilderness. A vacation here can be combined with a stay at its sister property, Kuda Huraa, which is a lushly tropical private island close to Male airport, renowned for its exceptional surf and easy charm. Both are linked by the luxury catamaran Four Seasons Explorer, which cruises between the two resorts stopping at exceptional dive sites, tiny uninhabited beaches and remote island communities along the way. In 2017, Four Seasons also opened an ultraluxe private island, called Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, a secluded haven that transcends the private island experience for a maximum of 22 guests.
COMO Maalifushi is the only luxury resort located in the Maldives’ pristine Thaa Atoll, nestled in the archipelago’s untouched southern corner. A sister property of the much-admired Cocoa Island, COMO Maalifushi offers excellent surfing and diving with seasonal whale shark and manta sightings. Designed by Japanese architect Koichiro Ikebuchi, the intimate property not only reflects his sensitive approach to nature and cultural authenticity but also embodies the spirit of the Indian Ocean and the understated chic of the COMO brand. The resort’s 33 overwater and garden villas feature a refined decor, with oak floors, decorative swathes of netting around the beds and plunge pools with thatched salas. The famous COMO health approach is available here, with delicious spa cuisine from the COMO Shambhala Retreat, which also offers Asian-based therapies, exercise and yoga with a results-driven agenda.
Six Senses Laamu is the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, deep in the Indian Ocean. A scenic inter-island plane trip from Malé and a short boat ride bring you to a palm-fringed paradise island with 97 stylishly sustainable Maldivian villas set over the turquoise waters and in the lush tropical vegetation facing the lagoon. Yin Yang, the Maldives’ most famous surfing wave, breaks just offshore. There are nearby beginner’s waves and phenomenal snorkeling is available in the house reef where it is very common to see oriental sweetlips, parrotfish and even green turtles as you make you way along it. The resort’s chefs prepare dishes created from produce grown in the island’s organic gardens, enhanced by tropical vistas. The Six Senses Spa’s highly skilled therapists and visiting practitioners provide a comprehensive range of award-winning signature treatments, rejuvenation and wellness specialties.
- Hotel website: Six Senses Laamu
- Other accolades: Six Senses Laamu also features in my top 10 list of the best resorts in the Maldives for snorkeling.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD food & beverage credit, and a 50-minute massage for up to two people, per room, once during stay).
Located in the Noonu Atoll, 187 km (110 mi) north of Malé, Velaa Private Island is the realization of a dream to create a ‘beyond luxury’ exclusive hideaway where guests are treated like royalty. Its name derived from the generations of sea turtles that flock there to nest and hatch, Velaa was developed to embody the very best of this unique archipelago, bathed by azure skies in the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean. The resort comprises 45 private villas, houses and exclusive residences – sleeping from 1 to 10 guests – and also includes a romantic pool residence which can only be reached by boat, allowing even more exclusivity. Each villa comes with a personal butler, all services offered can be tailored to personal specifications, and attention to detail is impeccable: stone pavements from the desert in Jordan, Indonesian flowerpots, luxury wood panelling from Borneo, and glimmering Italian marble.
Located in the Dhaalu Atoll – a 40 minute seaplane ride southwest from Malé – the iconic St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is surrounded by dreamy landscapes, thick tropical vegetation, a fine white-sand beach, a pristine lagoon, and the glistening turquoise Indian Ocean. Combining contemporary design and local craftsmanship, with a profound appreciation for the ecological environment, the resort’s 77 luxuriously appointed villas feature expansive private terraces leading to pristine beaches and infinity pools with the magnificent Indian Ocean as a tranquil backdrop. The resort also boasts the largest three bedroom over-water villa in the Maldives, the John Jacob Astor Estate. Guests can savor epicurean delights from all over the world in the six restaurants and bars and restore their well-being at the over-water Iridium Spa.
The ultraluxe Cheval Blanc Randheli Resort calls the Noonu Atoll its home. The property is built on a handful of tiny islands protected from the ocean by a large coral reef which houses a dazzling sampling of multicolor fish, rays and sea turtles. Getting there involves a trip onboard a Twin Otter of Havilland seaplane that has been exclusively designed for the Maison, combining the brand’s signature taupe with Randheli’s solar yellow. The famous resort offers 46 island, water and garden villas in neutral colors and tones that complement the open design of the space. The accommodations feel like elegant cathedral-style lofts, each featuring a variety of contemporary design elements, high doors and ceilings, outdoor areas for relaxation, stunning private swimming pool and lagoon-side pontoons. Cheval Blanc Randheli was the playground of Kate and William during their Maldivian getaway a few years ago.
This chic resort offered a level of style and sophistication unsurpassed in the world when it opened in 2005 and it still delivers as the Grand Dame of the Maldivian archipelago. Set on a partly man-made, octopus-shaped island in the North Male Atoll, the resort is blessed with an extraordinary 6 km (3,7 mi) of coastline, dotted with white sand coves and turquoise bays. All 130 spacious villas are discreetly placed amidst beautiful landscaping, each occupying its own secluded piece of sandy shore or private deck over the lagoon’s crystal clear waters. Food is innovative and of the finest quality, prepared in an inspiring variety of ways, and staff are always receptive to the personal requirements of each and every guest. Set apart from the rest of the resort, the spa is located within tranquil gardens and manicured lawns. One&Only Reethi Rah is a favorite among royals and A-list Hollywood celebrities.
Soneva Fushi, the first ‘Robinson Crusoe’ style hideaway in the Maldives, is set on the privately owned tropical island of Kunfunadhoo in Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The island – which is 1,400 m (4,600 ft) long and 400 m (1300 ft) wide – ranks among the largest islands in the Maldives. Apart from the crystal clear waters, white beaches and tropical climate, the island’s unusually rich vegetation offers a unique natural experience. Massive, multi-bedroom, fairytale-like luxury villas and private residences are hidden among dense tropical foliage. In keeping with the castaway theme, many are built to resemble tree houses. All open to their own private stretch of sugar white sands, and most boast their own private seawater swimming pools. In summer 2020, Soneva Fushi also unveiled eight fabulous water retreats, which are the largest and most luxurious overwater villas in the world.
Contact me to get complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits at Soneva Fushi (e.g. resort credit, and two personalized Soneva experiences).
Located on an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll, the Maldives’ most exclusive resort is fringed by pristine beaches, blanketed with lush tropical greenery, and surrounded by a 5.6 km (3,4 mi) lagoon of crystal clear waters with uninterrupted Indian Ocean views. Each one of the phenomenal water villas has a private lap pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring slides going directly from the top deck into the lagoon below. The highlight of the villas is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button so that guests can lie in bed and stargaze. A few months ago, Soneva Jani added Chapter Two to its portfolio of luxurious water villas, and introduced exciting new dining concepts, an overwater Soneva Wellness Center, and a whole new all-inclusive way to experience the best of the resort with Soneva Unlimited.
Contact me to get complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits at Soneva Jani (e.g. resort credit, and two personalized Soneva experiences).