The Maldives is well known for its picture postcard beaches, azure lagoons, stunning coral reefs and aquatic wildlife. However, tourism in the nearly 1,200 small islands which make up the Maldives only began relatively recently. In fact, tour groups only started arriving in 1972 when the first resorts (Kurumba Island and Bandos Island) opened, catering to around 300 guests.
Flash forward to 2018 and there are now hundreds of resorts spread across the islands which encompass the Republic of Maldives, catering to around 1.3 million tourists a year. It is now also possible to stay at a number of guest houses which have sprung up across the islands following a law change in 2009, meaning tourists are allowed to stay with the local population rather than just on privately owned island residences.
For sheer luxury and indulgence, you can’t beat the stunning resorts the Maldives has to offer. We have shared some of our favourites with you below.
- Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru – This five star plus resort occupies the entire island of Vabbinfaru, and is only a 25 minute speedboat ride from Male (the capital of the Maldives). All villas come complete with their own private swimming pool and private dining is available either on the beach or in your own private villa.
- Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Hurra – A great all rounder with a family friendly focus. Featuring private pools, villas (quite literally) sitting atop the ocean, as well as pampering like none other, this hotel consistently receives fabulous reviews and it’s easy to see why.
Pictured Above: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Hurra
- Mercure Maldives Kooddoo – This new resort has been built with local materials and features both beachfront and over-water villas. Best of all, the resort is within a direct flight of the capital Male so no speedboat transfers needed! Complimentary water sports are aplenty, with snorkelling, sailing and kayaking all free.
- Shangri-La Villingili Resort And Spa – Built on stilts above the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, this five-star resort boasts a highly rated spa, excellent activities and even has a 9 hole golf course. After a busy day of water sports, running trails and yoga classes, visitors can choose between five restaurants and bars that serve a variety of international flavours.
- Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru – Maldives – One of those rare resorts which seem to have something for everyone; families and couples, the health conscious and luxury seekers alike. With four swimming pools, a spa, kids’ clubs and even a submarine experience for two, this resort has it all.
- Six Senses Laamu – The only resort on the Laamu Atol, Six Senses Lammu was rated as one of the top 10 romantic escapes in the world by Traveller magazine. Keen eyed Star Wars fans may notice some similarities between the nearby islands and the planet Scarif from Rogue One, namely because this was one of the main filming locations for the planet. Many of the villas at Six Senses come with their very own swimming pools, and we especially like the resort’s beachfront ‘Cinema Under the Stars’ idea.
Pictured above: Six Senses Laamu
- Atmosphere Kanifushi – This luxury five star resort is surrounded by pristine beaches, and is one of our top picks for its fantastic all inclusive package. Specifically, if you opt for the Platinum Plus package you can expect lounge access at the seaplane terminal, meals, premium beverages, a round of sunset fishing, a complimentary excursion, use of an in-villa mini bar which replaced twice daily, 50% off couples massages and so much more.
- Cocoon Maldives – Voted the Leading Design Resort in South Asia in the SATA Awards, this attention to detail shows in the outstanding reviews on Tripadvisor. The resort’s Lagoon Villas are especially sought after, and the island itself is known as one of the most beautiful in the Maldives.
- LUX* South Ari Atoll Maldives – Lux by name and luxurious by nature – stunning setting and a host of activities to suit all travellers. Voted “Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel” in the World Travel Awards 2017, the resort is situated on one of the largest islands in the Maldives and boasts a range of luxury suites and villas. This resort is especially popular with foodies since it boasts 7 restaurant and 6 bars.
Pictured Above: LUX* South Ari Atoll Maldives
- The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi – Another World Travel Awards Winner 2017, this time for “Indian Ocean’s Leading Family Resort”. Guests will be spoiled for choice when it comes to mealtime with no less than 14 restaurants and bars to choose from, offering Indian, French, Japanese, Vietnamese, Maldivian and Italian cuisine.