Today (May 12th, 2014): Top 10 most luxurious resorts in the Maldives.
*** For an updated list (including the Maldives’ newest hotels), click here ***
Perhaps the globe’s ultimate luxury destination, the Maldives has become a synonym for paradise whether it is for honeymooners, sun worshipers, scuba divers or celebrities. Located on the equator towards the south of India and stretching over 800 km, the Maldives are the visible coral tips of an oceanic volcanic mountain range whose outer edge at some points plunge to depths of over 3 km (10,000 ft). The stunningly beautiful islands are blessed with some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, crystal clear blue lagoons, incredible underwater wildlife, and unrivalled luxury resorts that take up their own private islands.
The following list is my pick 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 you read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel. But be warned: once you experienced the luxury of a Maldivian resort, any other holiday experience will pale in comparison. And I have some great news for you, as I can get you a complimentary room upgrade at the Maldives’ most exclusive hotel (read more here)!
There is more information (with reviews & Youtube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Maldives hotel in the comments section, or take my poll below!
Rather than competing with the beauty of nature, Six Senses Laamu complements it. It is the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, deep in the Indian Ocean. Just an inter-island plane trip from Malé International Airport and a short boat ride brings you to a place where dolphins swim. The resort is a combination of on-land and over-water villas constructed of sustainable materials and set around the palm-fringed paradise. At several lounges and restaurants, Laamu’s chefs from East and West prepare mouthwatering dishes, many created from produce grown in the island’s organic gardens.
- Hotel website: Six Senses Laamu
- Other accolades: Six Senses Laamu also features in my top 10 list of travel Youtube videos that will make you daydream.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD food credit, and $100 USD spa credit).
Imagine paradise. Tropical island sands. Swaying palms. Endless turquoise waters. Open your eyes and you will be in Naladhu, a gorgeous resort sharing a ridiculousy clear lagoon with its sister resorts Dhigu and Veli. Maldivian for “beautiful island,” Naladhu offers a mosaic of timeless moments on the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The resort is very exclusive as it has only 20 expansive villas and houses, each with a magnificent private pool fronting the azure Indian Ocean, unsurpassed comfort, and a graceful elegance that never goes out of style.
- Hotel website: Naladhu
- Other accolades: Naladhu also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s best hotels with private plunge pools and the world’s best honeymoon resorts.
- Review: read here my review of Naladhu.
In a paradise nation where every hotel is located on its own, picture-perfect island, it is difficult to pick one favourite, but the Shangri-La Villingili is a standout since it is the largest of all Maldivian resort islands. The island, operated by one of Asia’s finest luxury hotel brands, lies in the extreme south of the archipelago in the Addu Atoll, and is a super-de-luxe resort on a grand scale, with 132 impressive overwater and beach villas (that come in 7 categories, in addition to 2 presidential villas) as well as a wealth of facilities from spa to tennis and golf.
- Hotel website: Shangri-La Villingili
- Other accolades: Shangri-La Villingili also features in my top 10 list of the most exclusive private island resorts.
Situated on a private island, 55km north of the Equator in one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world, North Huvadhoo, Park Hyatt is a strikingly modern design resort. Featuring only 50 villas, on land and over water, these impressive spaces are designed with the utmost comfort and luxury in mind, whether nestled within the island’s tropical foliage, only steps from the ocean, or elevated above the water. All villas feature a minimalist style, floor-to-ceiling windows, and every comfort you would expect, while Park Pool Villas have the added luxury of a plunge pool.
- Hotel website: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
- Other accolades: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels for amazing award redemptions and the world’s most remote luxury hotels.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD spa credit).
With 103 spacious villas spread across a remote jungle wilderness in the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru combines impeccable service, five-star facilities and world-class cuisine with a real sense of discovery. Its sister property, Kuda Huraa, is a lushly tropical private island to the south, renowned for its exceptional surf and easy charm. Both are linked by the luxury catamaran Four Seasons Explorer, which cruises between the two island resorts stopping at exceptional dive sites, tiny uninhabited beaches and remote island communities along the way.
- Hotel website: Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD spa credit, welcome amenity in room on arrival, and departure gift).
Gili Lankanfushi, formerly known as Soneva Gili, is located in the North Malé Atoll, a 20-minute speedboat ride from the International Airport at Malé, the capital of the Republic of Maldives. It is an intimate coral island in a sparkling lagoon, with jetties threading across the water out to 45 spacious villa accommodations. Each villa is designed with the utmost attention to detail, and built to be environmentally friendly. Your own private water garden and sun deck, as well as a separate shower linked to your bathroom by an open-air walkway allow you to live right by the water’s edge.
- Hotel website: Gili Lankanfushi
- Other accolades: Gili Lankanfushi also features in my top 10 list of the most spectacular hotel bathrooms in the world.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, Maldivian Tapas served with one glass of Champagne per person, a 30 minute spa treatment for two, $100 USD food & beverage credit, combined round-trip airport transfers, early check-in, and late check-out).
- Review: read here my review of Gili Lankanfushi.
Maalifushi by COMO is the first luxury resort in the Maldives that opened in the pristine Thaa Atoll in the archipelago’s southwest. Among Maldives island hotels, the resort stands apart with its understated style, encapsulating the spirit of the Indian Ocean and the barefoot chic of this COMO private island resort. The luxuries are all here, with a COMO Shambhala spa, world-class yoga facilities and exceptional cuisine along with the Maldives’ vibrant marine life (whale shark sightings are common). With 33 overwater villas and garden suites, Maalifushi may be the ultimate away-from-it-all destination for families, couples, surfers and divers.
- Hotel website: Maalifushi by COMO
- Other accolades: Maalifushi by COMO also features in my list of the most luxurious hotels that opened in 2014 and in my top 10 lists of the world’s most amazing beach resorts and the world’s best luxury hotels.
- Review: read here my review of Maalifushi by COMO.
The Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy resort offers 46 Island, Water and Garden villas in neutral colors and tones that complement the open design of the space. They each have a variety of contemporary design elements, high doors and ceilings, outdoor areas for relaxation, pool terraces, a 12.5m long private swimming pool and lagoon-side pontoons. The Cheval Blanc Spa offers exclusive Guerlain treatments in special treatment villas. The Hair Spa by Leonor Greyl doubles as a beauty studio and barber shop.
- Hotel website: Cheval Blanc Randheli
- Other accolades: Cheval Blanc Randheli also features in my list of the best new luxury hotels of 2013.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $150 USD food & beverage credit).
Supreme and private luxury amid nature’s tropical magic, One&Only Reethi Rah is a jewel among a string of coral atolls, lagoons, and white sands. The resort, set on a large private island, offers 130 private resort villas well separated along the shore, either on the beach secluded by lush tropical greenery, or set above the clear, protected waters of the lagoon. Designed in an elegant contemporary style, these are among the largest resort villas in the world. The 12 sugar white beaches, some of them man-made, are the epitome of a tropical paradise.
- Hotel website: One&Only Reethi Rah
- Other accolades: One&Only Reethi Rah also features in my top 10 lists of the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, the world’s best hotel spas, and luxury hotels loved by celebrities.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, exclusively designed Reethi Rah Kaftans, a complimentary ‘Secrets of the Thila’ excursion or a complimentary dinner for two in the Reethi Restaurant excluding beverages).
- Review: read here my review of One&Only Reethi Rah.
Soneva Fushi Resort, the Maldives’ original desert island hideaway, is located in the stunnnig Baa Atoll island archipelago, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Massive, Robinson Crusoe-style, multi-bedroom 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. Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers who know what you want before you want it.
Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at the time of booking at Soneva Fushi.
- Hotel website: Soneva Fushi
- Other accolades: Soneva Fushi also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s best family hotels and the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, welcome Champagne with Maldivian tapas on arrival, one lunch for two, original handcrafted arrival and departure mementos, shoreline beach dinner, private sunset sailing by Dhoni at Baa Atoll, and a cooking class for two).
- Review: read here my review of Soneva Fushi.