20 of the best resorts the Maldives has to offer

WT Writer
Jun 21, 2020

Find your perfect slice of paradise by immersing yourself in our list of the very best resorts in Maldives, from secluded retreats to family hotspots and hidden hideaways

Baros Maldives

A Maldivian legend, Baros Maldives has been welcoming guests to its idyllic shores for five decades. It’s easy to understand why, with every island fantasy indulged, from a choice of six haute-rustically thatched villa styles (headlined by the textbook romantic setting of the overwater residences), to dining at the very edge of the ocean at The Lighthouse. A swift 25-minute speedboat ride from Malé airport, the house reef-ringed island is perfect for snorkelling adventures. Or, you can charter a private yacht to venture further afield in search of dancing dolphin pods. Back on shore, there’s a delightful infinity pool, daily life-affirming yoga sessions and more at Serenity Spa, as well as three world-class restaurants.

We love…

Row your boat to the overwater Piano Deck for a spot of culinary seclusion and a sunrise bubbly breakfast or seafood sunset dinner for two.  

Make memories by…

No need to pack a waterproof camera. Book a resort reef dive and an underwater photographer will capture every memorable marine life moment.

Arrival jetty at Baros Maldives
You’ll be in love the moment you arrive at Baros Maldives

Reethi Faru Resort

Named after the colourful house reef that embraces Filaidhoo (the island on which is stands), Reethi Faru Resort is where white sands and lush vegetation meet impossibly blue waters, creating an all-natural canvas for all types of holidaymaker. A 45-minute seaplane journey from Malé, eschew a beach or overwater stay in favour of a hidden Garden Villa on the island’s easterly tip, where contemporary interiors blend with Maldivian architecture. Marine conservation is a big deal, with dive centre guests invited to snap pictures of manta rays for the resident marine biologist. Rejuvenate the body with a papaya and red clay wrap at Coconut Spa, which should give you an appetite for the temptations of the resort’s five restaurants and four bars.

We love…

The candy-striped deckchairs and isolated setting of the eastern shore sited Nala Bar. Perfect for a refreshing drink after snorkelling or kite surfing.

Make memories by…

Clipping on a GoPro for stunning shots of the resort from the air, as you brave an exhilarating parasailing experience.

White sands and lush vegetation meet impossibly blue waters at Reethi Faru Resort
White sands and lush vegetation meet impossibly blue waters at Reethi Faru Resort

One&Only Reethi Rah

An A-lister favourite in the North Malé Atoll and a short 15-minute seaplane ride from Malé, at One&Only Reethi Rah you can live and breathe the island lifestyle from the secluded luxury of your private beach or overwater villa. Design influences span Maldivian, Balinese and Chinese cultural accents with the Grand Sunset Residence the ultimate style showboat, complete with private pool and chauffeured buggy. Nine world cuisine restaurants and bars keep the dining offering fresh, but it’s the Japanese-tapas-inspired Tapasake that steals the show with reef sharks swimming beneath your feet. Work off those calories on the climbing wall or in the adults-only lap pool before discovering the 12 beaches, local dive sites and Ayurvedic paradise of ESPA Spa. 

We love…

The resort is a draw card for fashion mavens, with its three boutiques a haven for designer labels and covetable beach and resort wear. 

Make memories by…

Travelling to a desert island aboard a traditional dhoni and rock those castaway vibes with the wind in your hair.

kids going down slide in private pool at one and only reethi rah in the Maldives
Little ones will love One&Only Reethi Rah as much as you do

JA Manafaru

A teeny tiny island reachable in just over an hour by seaplane from Malé, this chic family-focused hideaway is home to just 84 spacious villas and suites, each with a private pool and lush outdoor space. Live large in the two-storey, three-bedroom Royal Island Suite (with its own spa facilities, barbecue area and ornamental pond) and make the resort your leisure playground with beach volleyball, a futsal pitch, games room, infinity pool, and more. Parents can escape to Calm Spa while kids enjoy the dedicated Coolzone and Chillzone. There are seven dining destinations to discover at JA Manafaru, including White Orchid by Michelin-starred chef Da Dong. We say sign up for a Maldivian cooking class.

We love…

Dine two-and-a-half metres below sea level at The Cellar, an award-winning grape cave for 10 guests that offers a side serving of haute cuisine.

Make memories by…

Getting out on the water and stand up paddle board into the distant Indian Ocean sunset. 

The Royal Island sweet with private pool surrounded by tress in JA Manafaru Maldives
The Royal Island suite is surrounded by trees and features a private pool

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

The first resort to debut in the Southern Atoll, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa’s eco-credentials are as strong as ever a decade later, with the 50-villa destination a poster child for sustainability. This doesn’t come at the expense of luxury, however, with minimalist villa design and signature hospitality framing a sensational natural landscape. Journey time is around an hour on a domestic flight from Malé to Kooddoo Domestic Airport, followed by a 30-40 minute speedboat ride. Stay in a Park Sunset Ocean Pool Villa for sublime ocean views and oodles of privacy. You’ll often be hard-pressed to spot more than a handful of guests, with the expansive resort designed to create the illusion of complete isolation. Embark on the equator experience, where you can swim across two hemispheres.

We love…

The traditional Maldivian herbal medicine of dhivehi-beys scents the air at Vidhun Spa – try the signature rose, lotus and jasmine oil Sehathu Massage.

Make memories by…

Celebrating Mother Nature in all her glory by watching the sunset from the cooling waters of your villa’s plunge pool. 

sand path to private beach in park hyatt maldives
Enjoy your quick escape to the beach via your very own sandy path

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

Picture postcard tranquillity beckons a mere 20 minutes by speedboat from Malé airport, making this standout resort an all-round winner. A hospitality icon on North Malé Atoll, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa is packed with first-class facilities yet has ample space to ensure that sought-after sense of seclusion. The cosy Cottages are great for couples or those with small children while the overwater bungalows charm from every angle. Eight restaurants and bars run the full spectrum of world flavours, from grilled seafood at Sea Salt to Asian at Baan Thai. Stay active with watersports fun or head off base to check out the diving action at Banana Reef and Okobe Thila.

We love…

Walk this way for escapist, hands-on relaxation at Shine Spa. Set on its own miniature private island, it offers an indulgent menu of Maldivian, nature-inspired holistic treatments designed to soothe.

Make memories by…

Having a giggle with your kids as they test their skills at coconut bowling, or take part in an island scavenger hunt.

Bedroom in the beach front cottage in Sheraton Maldives - Full Moon Resort and Spa
Sleep in a beach front cottage at Sheraton Maldives – Full Moon Resort and Spa

W Maldives

Fun yet stylish, with a dash of contemporary flair, W Maldives follows in the footsteps of its worldwide sister hotels with its signature playful and whimsical atmosphere. Take your pick from the ultra-chic villas located on the beach or over the water – all are just steps away from the island’s wonderful house reef. With your snorkelling gear on, dive in to discover the beauty of hundreds of species of marine life, including colourful fish, rays, turtles, tuna and even reef sharks. Better yet, get away from it all at the resort’s dhow-shaped luxury spa, AWAY Spa, that offers indoor and outdoor treatment areas for an all-encompassing experience. It takes just 25 minutes by seaplane to reach this lively resort. 

We love…

Make your way 15 feet beneath the island sand and dance the night away to hip beats at 15Below, a pumping underground nightclub. 

Make memories by…

Just a stone’s throw from the resort is Gaathafushi, an untouched tropical paradise and the retreat’s own secluded island that’s yours to discover. Offering privacy in spades, the beauty spot is perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime proposal, a romantic adventure under the stars, or a private party with your best buddies.

W Maldives wonderful beach oasis villa
W Maldives brings together the chain’s infamous style with the countries blissful habitat

JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa

The new kid on the Maldives resort scene, understated luxury is the byword for this 60-villa destination located on a crescent-shaped island in the Shaviyani Atoll. With a flight time of under one hour from Malé, JW Marriot Maldives Resort & Spa boasts some of the largest standard villas in the archipelago, starting at 234 sqm; each with a private pool. The standalone Kids’ Club by JW, with its own pool, pirate ship and a packed calendar of activities, will keep younger guests entertained while parents sneak off for a couples’ massage at the signature spa. Dine differently every day with six restaurants including Riha, which serves local flavours under the stars.

We love…

The on-site turtle sanctuary where kids can learn about the resort’s rehabilitation programme, and even help release one of these plucky creatures back into the wild.

Make memories by…

Enjoy breakfast with dazzling views of the Indian Ocean from the comfort of your Duplex Overwater Pool villa master bedroom.

Jw Marriott Maldives Resort And Spa overwater villa
A villa over the sea guarantees falling asleep to the sound of the waves at JW Marriott Maldives Resort And Spa

Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

A laidback fun-filled destination that welcomes little ones with open arms, this 112-suite and villa destination is big on fuss-free holidaying with its Ultimate All-Inclusive philosophy. Accommodation is light and bright with high ceilings and uncluttered finishes putting the view front and centre. Throw yourself into island life from dawn until dusk with (almost) everything included, from dining and drinks to Spa Cenvaree credits and complementary activities. A kids’ club offers arts and crafts, games and beach play, with a full menu of watersports and nearby shipwreck dive open to fun-seekers of all ages. Plus, Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives is just a 25-minute seaplane ride from Malé.

We love…

Splash a little extra cash and upgrade to Island Club status for a host of benefits including a private pool, beach access and premium dining.

Make memories by…

Join the evening feeding sessions that lure rays and black and white tipped sharks into view – you don’t even need to get your toes wet. 

Centara Grant Island Resort & Spa Maldives overwater villa blue sea and sky
Views you’ll never bore of at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives

A contemporary take on Maldivian tradition defines this one-island-one-resort destination located just 20 minutes by boat from Malé airport. At Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives, there are five artisan styled villa types on offer with the Grand Residence living up to its name, offering a coveted glimpse of the colourful marine life through its sleek glass floor. Bragging rights are guaranteed if you’re a snorkel or scuba fan, thanks to a teeming house reef and wealth of nearby sites, in addition to above water activities aplenty. The Spa is a haven for Asian, Balinese and Ayurvedic healing philosophies while three restaurants and bars meet the culinary mark; try Firedoor for its out-of-this-world prime cuts.

We love…

The resort’s vibrant villa décor with its artisan crafted touches, tropical pops of colour in its soft furnishings and penchant for macramé.

Make memories by…

Mastering that swan dive and plunge into the lagoon from the wooden deck of your overwater villa.

Woman looking out spa window onto sea at Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives
Booking in at the spa at Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives is a must

Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives

Prepare to be dazzled by the powder-white sands of this family-focused resort nestled on the undisturbed Noonu Atoll, 45 minutes north of Malé by seaplane. Lounge on the upper deck sala of your Beach Pool Suite Sunrise while the kids splash in the plunge pool. Or, let them have the run of the Beach Spa Pool Residence, which sleeps six. Young guests have access to the Little Birds Club for storytelling, music, dance and arts and crafts fun. Sequester yourself in a lush jungle treatment room for a signature therapy at Sun Spa by Esthederm and then snorkel on the house reef among boxfish, rays and sea turtles before dinner. Food is central to the Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives experience, with three resort restaurants including Bodumas, which serves amazingly fresh seafood.

We love…

Perfect your downward dog and child poses during a sunrise or sunset Vinyasa yoga session in the stunning overwater sala.

Make memories by…

Dining on a bespoke menu under a magnificent canopy of stars on a private beach or deep in the lush jungle.

Villa at Movenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives
Find peace when lounging in this serene villa at Movenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Spanning two Alif Dhaal Atoll islands and connected by a bridge, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island‘s remote geography (30 minutes by seaplane from Malé) lets guests dip in and out of daily life without sacrificing personal privacy. Its villas and suites are dotted across the islands, with beach, water or spa locations to choose from. We say opt for a villa on the smaller, quieter island where there’s an adults-only pool. Golf buggies will whizz you around, so you can discover the resort’s 12 award-winning restaurants and bars, pools, beach and Spa Retreat complex. The latter is home to a clutch of dreamy villas, each with its own spa room. For fun, go diving, play a game of tennis, discover the teeming coral reefs, or head off on an excursion, such as the romantic Sandbar Picnic.

We love…

The 3:1 staff to guest ratio, including the lovely poolside chap who will polish your suntan lotion smeared glasses.

Make memories by…

Staying 16 feet below sea level at The Muraka, an ultra-luxurious two-level residence with submerged master bedroom, tunnel viewing theatre and above water deck with infinity pool. It also offers private jet skis.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Ensure there’s no-one around to bother you by staying at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort

An enviable location within the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve forms the backdrop for upscale downtime from the second you step onto the arrival jetty (a 35-minute seaplane flight from Malé) with its visually arresting shell-shaped canopy. The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort‘s architecture presents a modern twist on island style, with talking points such as the ‘floating’ lily pad daybeds in the main pool. Westin signature Heavenly beds, outdoor rain showers and jaw-dropping views come as standard in your choice of villa, from the one-bedroom Beach Villa – Pool to the two-bedroom Heavenly Beach Residence. Your personal thakaru (concierge) will indulge your every whim, including making dinner reservations – head to Island Kitchen for Maldivian specialities. More Heavenly branded experiences await at the spa.

We love…

Let the little ones off the leash at the on-site kids’ club housed in a repurposed shipping container, with free activities for four- to 12-year-olds. 

Make memories by…

Taking a day trip by boat to Hanifaru Bay to spot gliding manta rays and frolicking whale sharks. 

The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort villa
Westin signature Heavenly beds, outdoor rain showers and jaw-dropping views come as standard in your choice of villa

Six Senses Laamu

Feel at one with nature at the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, where sustainable luxury reigns supreme and exploring barefoot is the order of the day. Fly from Malé into Laamu Kadhdhoo Domestic Airport and then hop on a 15-minute speedboat ride to the resort where Six Senses’ 12 villa types offer something for everyone. The Lagoon Beach residences at Six Senses Laamu are a favourite for lovers of solitude with a charming treetop deck. The beachfront spa houses four couples’ nests and an Ayurvedic pavilion and there’s a roster of renowned visiting practitioners for personal consultations. Eat well on organic produce at the resort’s six restaurants and bars, from signature venue Leaf, which works with Maldivian fishermen and farmers to source local ingredients, to the dramatic sunken bar setting of Sip Sip.

We love…

Decadent indulgence is the preserve of the Ice & Chocolate Studio, an alfresco ice cream parlour serving more than 40 varieties of creamy frozen goodness.

Make memories by…

Swimming with dolphins, snorkel among the vibrant marine life and get set to catch the Yin Yang, a popular surf break that’s just a five-minute boat ride away.

Six Senses Laamu water villa Maldives
Sustainable luxury reigns supreme at Six Senses Laamu

Milaidhoo Island Maldives

Small but perfectly formed, with just 50 hideaway villas, this coveted resort pairs Robinson Crusoe-esque escapism with upscale island living. Milaidhoo Island Maldives is couple-centric (it’s a no-go for children under nine), and each beach or overwater villa boasts a private infinity pool and terrace while romance is definitely in the air at the spa’s intimate stilted treatment rooms. Leave the confines of your oversized terrace daybed long enough to try the three restaurants and two bars, including Compass Pool Bar’s delicious bento boxes. Milaidhoo also has its own dive centre, as well as a fantastic range of island-hopping excursions. It’s a scenic 30-minute seaplane ride away from Malé.

We love…

Say “ahhhhh” with a divine couples’ spa retreat at Serenity Spa, which includes a dreamy coconut scrub, fruity bubble bath and deep-tissue massage for two. 

Make memories by…

Raising a glass to romance and dine on exquisite Maldivian cuisine with a chef-curated dinner for two on your private deck. Starlit sky and heart-stopping views are complimentary.

Milaidoo Island Maldives vall bedroom looking out onto the sea
Milaidhoo Island Maldives is small but perfectly formed with just 50 villas

Anantara Kihavah Villas Maldives

A 35-minute seaplane journey from Malé airport lands you in the heart of the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on the shores of a lush emerald paradise. Out of respect for the environment, the 80 beach and overwater villas are discreetly sited in and around natural gaps in the landscape and feature a fusion of Indian Ocean, Arab and Portuguese design motifs. Leisure comes in all forms, from stargazing at the Maldives’ only overwater observatory to sea bobbing through the water, joining an art studio session, lazing on a suspended daybed, and dining beneath the Indian Ocean at Sea (there are five other venues to check out, too). Children enjoy special amenities and access to the Thiththi Boli Kids’ Club when staying at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, too.

We love…

Settle back on a comfy sofa with popcorn in hand, or go grown-up with bubbles and oyster nibbles, for a classic or blockbuster movie night at the Cinema Under The Stars. 

Make memories by…

Letting the high seas carry you away for an overnight adventure aboard the Ocean Whisperer, the resort’s luxury 42-metre gulet. 

two people doing yoga on the beach at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Spend your mornings doing yoga on the beach at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villa

Velaa Private Island

The passion project of a billionaire Czech financier, Velaa Private Island is named after the sea turtles that flock here to hatch and the high number of repeat (human) guests is testament to its appeal. A 45-minute seaplane ride from Malé, the mix of beach and overwater villas with private pools, outdoor bathing and dining spaces and sundecks is deservedly swoon-worthy. Action and relaxation come in equal measure with tennis, squash, climbing and aquatic fun as well as a Spa My Blend by Clarins destination. Reserve an overwater, treatment villa with sunken Jacuzzi for some next level pampering. Six diverse dining locations deliver world-class cuisine, but do save space for tower teppanyaki restaurant Tavaru, which is also reputedly home to the largest bottle collection in the archipelago.

We love…

Sharpen your short game across 170 metres of lush greens at the resort’s golf academy, with its Jose Maria Olazabal designed swing studio.

Make memories by…

Booking the lagoon suspended Romantic Pool Residence and be rowed home to your (temporary) love nest by your personal butler.

Ocean Pool House Exterior at Velaa Private Island in the Maldive
Velaa is named after the sea turtles that flock here to hatch here

Soneva in Aqua

Sail the ocean waves aboard this super luxury yacht-meets-floating-villa for a five-star stay on the water. Part of the Soneva Fushi family (you can board via Soneva Jani or Soneva Fushi, which are a 45- and 30-minute seaplane ride from Malé respectively), the yacht has two en-suite bedrooms, a main deck Jacuzzi and lounge area with plump cushioned daybeds, as well as an indoor dining space and library. Plot a bespoke itinerary with the captain, who will weigh anchor so the chef can catch your lunch fresh from the ocean. Check out the archipelago’s best dive spots under the watch of the expert Soleni Dive team – keep your eyes peeled for turtles, dolphins and manta rays when staying at Soneva in Aqua.

We love…

Say “hello” to your personal onboard crew, inclusive of a captain, sous chef, Mr. Friday and massage therapist. You’ll also benefit from the on-call dive master and astronomer. 

Make memories by…

Pushing the wall button in the master suite to reveal a glass-bottomed Jacuzzi hidden beneath the wood panelled floor.

Dolphin spotting at Soneva in Aqua in the Maldives on yacht
Get close to nature by dolphin spotting at Soneva in Aqua in the Maldives

Heritance Aarah

This welcoming resort calls with its eye-catching smattering of thatched-roof villas and suites. The jewel in the crown is the stunning two-bedroom Ocean Residence, which elevates the Maldives’ water bungalow game with its private plunge pool, large terrace and butler service. Dining at Heritance Aarah is a joy, with eight venues to discover, including Ambula, which specialises in the exotic flavours of Sri Lanka. Plus, there’s the option to book a private meal on the sand. The resort is a 40-minute seaplane ride from Malé.

We love…

Retreat to the overwater spa, which offers a mixture of soothing spa therapies and medical spa treatments, such as skin peels, to pick from. You can’t go wrong with the Island Indulgence, which includes a traditional aromatherapy massage, along with a de-stressing scalp and facial rub.

Make memories by…

Bring out your adventurous side by testing your skills at flyboarding under the watchful eye of a trained professional who’ll be on hand to control the throttle of the wave runner, so you can simply fly.

Pool beach villa at Heritance Aarah
Enjoy a private pool and beach views at Heritance Aarah

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi

With a name that translates as ‘secret water island’, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is a gem of a holiday spot is concealed within a 600-hectare lagoon in the Shaviyani Atoll, a 55-minute seaplane ride from Malé. Let your cares melt away at the sight of the sun-kissed ocean that surrounds this all-villa resort – for a taste of adventure, opt for the castaway style Tented Jungle Villa. Renowned for its culinary flair, foodies can dine at four destinations, including seafood market Azure and bamboo bar Onu Onu. Not the sun lounger type? Try Thai boxing, pummel out the jet lag at Willow Stream Spa, embark on a desert island picnic for two, or meet the locals on a cultural tour.

We love…

Take a 50-metre snorkel swim to view The Coralarium, a semi-submerged
tidal art installation sea-scaped with underwater trees and endemic planted corals.

Make memories by…

Getting some laps under your belt with a swim in the 200-metre pool that bisects the island; the longest in the Maldives.

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi Three Bedroom Water Sunset Villa Bathroom
Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi Three Bedroom Water Sunset Villa Bathroom

Inspired to go? Click here for the latest offers and find out more about visiting the Maldives here. Please note, the Maldives is opening up for tourists from 15 July 2020, with some resorts opening a bit later in the year. Check for timings and availability with your travel provider ahead of planning your trip.