Top 10: best luxury resorts in the Maldives

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Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (May 12th, 2014): Top 10 most luxurious resorts in the Maldives. 

This list was updated in 2017.

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 offer you a complimentary room upgrade at two of 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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*** Top 10 best luxury resorts in French Polynesia, the SeychellesMauritius and the Caribbean ***


10. PARK HYATT MALDIVES HADAHAA

Situated on a private island 55 km (35 mi) north of the Equator in one of the world’s deepest atolls, Park Hyatt is a strikingly modern design resort. Featuring only 50 villas, the minimalist style interiors of the accommodation 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 floor-to-ceiling windows, and every comfort you would expect, with some villas having the added luxury of a plunge pool. The resort is framed by one of the archipelago’s most unspoilt house reefs, providing easy access for exploration of the underwater marvels of the Indian Ocean.


9. FOUR SEASONS LANDAA GIRAAVARU

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. A stay here can be combined with a holiday at its sister property, Kuda Huraa, which 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. Recently, 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.

FOUR SEASONS LANDAA GIRAAVARU
FOUR SEASONS LANDAA GIRAAVARU

8. COMO MAALIFUSHI

COMO Maalifushi is the first luxury resort in the Maldives that opened in the pristine Thaa Atoll in the archipelago’s southwest. Among Maldivian island hotels, the private island resort stands apart with its understated style, encapsulating the spirit of the Indian Ocean and the barefoot chic of the COMO brand. 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, COMO Maalifushi may be the ultimate away-from-it-all destination for families, couples, surfers and divers.


7. SIX SENSES LAAMU

Six Senses Laamu 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. Yin Yang, the Maldives’ most famous surfing wave breaks just offshore. The luxury Maldives resort is a combination of fabulous on-land and over-water villas constructed of sustainable materials and set around the palm-fringed paradise. The house reef that encircles Six Senses Laamu is simply spectacular, with a stunning coral garden where it is very common to see Oriental Sweetlips, parrotfish and even green turtles as you make you way along it.

  • Hotel website: Six Senses Laamu
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD food & beverage credit, and $100 USD spa credit).
  • Other accolades: Six Senses Laamu also features in my top 10 list of the best resorts in the Maldives for snorkeling.
SIX SENSES LAAMU

6. VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND

Tucked away within the collection of islands that form the Noonu Atoll, Velaa Private Island is elegantly positioned to overlook enchanting vistas of a cerulean ocean. Its name derived from the generations of sea turtles that flock there to nest and hatch, the resort is comprised of 45 private villas. Each villa comes with a personal butler, all services offered can be tailored to personal specifications, and attention to detail everywhere is impeccable: stone pavements from the desert in Jordan, Indonesian flowerpots, luxury wood panelling from Borneo, and glimmering Italian marble. The resort also includes a Romantic Pool Residence which can only be reached by boat, allowing even more exclusivity.

VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND
VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND


5. THE ST REGIS MALDIVES VOMMULI RESORT

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort brings the iconic St Regis brand and its hallmark luxury services to one of the world’s most magnificent destinations. A 40-minute seaplane ride southwest from Malé airport, the new St Regis hotel is located on a private atoll spanning more than 20 acres, surrounded by unspoiled beaches and a secluded lagoon with sparkling turquoise waters. The resort features 77 luxuriously appointed private villas, all with a distinct contemporary design scheme inspired by the island’s natural materials and color palette. Guests have access to a tranquil spa, an infinity swimming pool (if a private pool on your room’s terrace does not do it for you), a dive center, and three terrific fine dining venues.


4. CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI

The ultraluxe Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy resort calls the Noonu Atoll its home, which includes a handful of unspoiled green islands protected from the ocean by a large coral reef.  The islands blend elongated palm trees, tropical flowers, white sand banks, pristine turquoise water and fringing reef. The famous 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, 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.

CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI
CHEVAL BLANC RANDHELI

3. ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH

This chic 6-star resort offered a level of style and sophistication unsurpassed in the world when it opened in 2005. The resort is spectacularly designed in an octopus shape with an extraordinary 6 km (3,7 mi) of coastline. Set on one of the largest islands in North Male’ Atoll, adorned with endless 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 crystal clear waters of the lagoon. Service and dining are geared to guests accustomed to the highest world-class standards. One&Only Reethi Rah is a favorite among royals and A-list Hollywood celebrities.

ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH
ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH

2. SONEVA FUSHI

Soneva Fushi Resort, the Maldives’ original desert island hideaway, is located in the stunning Baa Atoll island archipelago, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. 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. Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers who know what you want before you want it. A stroll on the islands’ spotless beaches invariably summons up Robinson Crusoe stories.

Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Fushi at the time of booking.


1. SONEVA JANI

Inspired by a word that means wisdom in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is located on Medhufaru island, which is part of an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll. The Maldives’ most exclusive hotel 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 360° views of the Indian Ocean. Each one of the 24 water villas has a private 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.

Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Jani at the time of booking.


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9 Comments

    • I stayed at these resorts shortly before I started the blog. Gili Lankanfushi was still Soneva Gili at the time, and Velaa Private Island had just opened. I hope to return soon to take some extra photos & clips, and enjoy the splendid nature of the Maldives. Be sure to keep an eye out on Soneva Jani, opening in October: it promises to be the most spectacular resort in the Maldives, probably world (I can even get you an upgrade there).

  1. Hi,thanku so much to share such a great information on luxury Maldives resorts to us.I just want to share my experience with Kurumba Maldives resort and you can add this luxury resort to your informatic list.Kurumba is the perfect example of classics and also the first resort open in Maldives in 1970.With eight restaurants and three bars, live entertainment, and activities for guests of all ages, the Kurumba Maldives offers everything that luxury vacationers need to enjoy a break from the “real world”.You also can review the Kurumba Resort features from https://goo.gl/K12dvQ

  2. Hi have you any views you can share on huvafen fushi we’re considering here…lovely website by the way

    • Huvafen Fushi is a great, ultraluxe albeit older resort, not far away from the main airport. It does have the Maldives’ only underwater spa and offers great snorkeling. But there are better and more luxurious options in the Maldives these days. Also, the hotel has changed management lately, so not sure what this change will bring.

  3. Love your work. What are your thoughts on Milaidhoo Island Maldives? If you haven’t been what have you heard? Your review or Soneva Jani made it look like a dream, although this property seems like it’s right up there.

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