Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire. Over the coming 3 weeks, I will publish top 10 lists (as well as resort reviews) related to the most beautiful destination on earth, the Maldives:
- Top 10: resorts in the Maldives that can be reached without a seaplane (today).
- Top 10: most fabulous overwater villas in the Maldives.
- Top 10: best resorts in the Maldives for snorkeling (to be published the week thereafter).
Today (April 24, 2017): Best hotels in the Maldives that you can reach without a seaplane.
Together with the Seychelles, the Maldives is my favorite beach destination on earth. Sugar white sands, crystal clear lagoons, lush tropical islands, a sentational underwater world, amazing overwater villas and unrivaled luxury make the Indian Ocean archipelago the ultimate desert-island paradise for everyone. The most phenomenal resorts in the country are located further away from Male International Aiport and can only be reached by a seaplane transfer. Although flying on board a seaplane in Maldives and admiring the picture-perfect archipelago from a bird’s eye perspective is one of the ultimate experiences that the destination has to offer, this may problematic for some visitors:
- those with a fear of flying.
- those with a limited amount of holiday time, let’s say less than 4 days (since getting to and from the resort by seaplane can take a large chunk of your holiday time on the day of your arrival and departure, including several waiting hours at the airport).
- those arriving in the Maldives after sunset (since seaplanes only operate during daylight hours).
If you find yourself in one of these scenarios, you’re better off staying in a resort in the North or South Male Atoll, which can be reached by a speedboat transfer varying in duration between 15 minutes and one hour. Due to the proximity to the airport, these resort experience more boat traffic and noise levels as compared the more remotely located resorts in other atolls, although it is nothing too bad. To help you, I have compiled a list of the 10 most exclusive hotels in the Maldives that can be reached by speedboat from the airport.
There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hotel in the North or South Male Atoll in the comments section, or take my poll below!
The breathtaking beauty of the Maldives is obvious the moment you step foot on the lush island paradise of Bodu Hithi, where a variety of gorgeous accommodations await you and friendly and attentive staff members welcome you. Each villa boasts elements of Maldivian architecture and features its own private terrace and pool. Enjoy resort activities from diving and snorkeling to seven restaurants and bars. Choose from adventures such as seaplane excursions and sunset cruises. Every moment in this extraordinary boutique hotel makes for an unforgettable experience – one of relaxation, peace, and luxury.
- Hotel website: Bodu Hithi
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $75 USD hotel credit).
On a small private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean sits Baros Maldives, a heavenly Eden overlooking a glistening blue lagoon. Elegant, secluded villas – 75 in totall – with palm thatched roofs are either over water or facing the beach while a PADI diving centre, a spa with a tranquil water garden, several restaurants overlooking the sea and gentle sea breezes all ensure an unforgettable holiday. Gloriously peaceful, the sandstone and timber beach villas at Baros Maldives are sheltered by large banana leaves and palms while the water villas have a private wooden deck for sunbathing and steps for dipping into the lagoon. Sleek teak flooring, a comfy sofa and designer lighting make these villas extra special.
- Hotel website: Baros
COMO Cocoa Island is an intimate private Maldives island resort with 33 overwater suites allowing you to slip right into the turquoise lagoon to explore an exceptional house reef. Encircled with powder white sand, the carefree, understated luxury experience includes holistic wellness treatments at COMO Shambhala Retreat, South Indian-influenced cuisine and worldclass diving. From its personalised service and sophisticated cuisine to its distinctive design, authentic culture and calming spa, this Maldivian luxury resort works hard to tailor the experience to their guest’s needs. The hotel can orchestrate customised cruises to neighbouring islands and beaches; plan private dinners at secluded locations; arrange yoga, diving or snorkelling; and create adventures for families travelling together.
- Hotel website: COMO Cocoa Island
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru began to welcome guests on the shores of its home atoll in 1995. With its breezy tropical aura and playful air of carefree abandon, the Maldives Island resort is today recognized as a lovely hideaway, where guests can cocoon themselves in a web of shimmering turquoise waters, swaying coconut trees, indigenous blooms and pure white sand. Each of the resort’s 48 all-pool villas is shaped like a seashell and topped with a conical thatched roof to conjure the sensation of living within traditional Maldivian serenity. Thatched roof villas, airy and naturally lit interiors and the evocative island spirit moving almost tangibly across your villa swirl in symmetry to breathe true ocean life into your soul. Quirky motifs inspired from ocean life including starfish and manta rays are found across the villa interiors to infuse the surroundings with an electric aura of shimmering seafaring nature.
- Hotel website: Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa is an enchanting garden island – a half-hour speedboat ride from Malé – that offers a sophisticated and innovative choice of recreation, escapism and conservation. The resort comes with and Island Spa sea sanctuary, Tropicsurf coaches and guides, and waves that host the annual Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy. Its sister property, Landaa Giraavaru, lies to the north: a 44-acre wonderland in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The luxury catamaran, Four Seasons Explorer connects the two via 3-, 4- and 7-night cruises, plus private leisure, surf and manta ray charters. The latest addition to the Maldives, Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, Baa Atoll, opened in December 2016 as the group’s first exclusive-use private island: off limits to everyone else, limitless to you.
- Hotel website: Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa
Escape the frenetic pace and chaos of everyday life, in to luxury’s very own lap at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives. Away from the sparkling lights of Male, this hotel is spread across the Emboodhu Finolhu island in the middle of one of the largest lagoons in Maldives. Renowned for its rich flora and fauna, this tropical isle, also known as the Three Coconu Isle, is situated amidst beautiful coral reefs and only a 15 minute speedboat ride from the airport. This postcard-perfect getaway offers 64 sea-view villas and suites that are luxurious and lavish. Here, time stands still, and yet, there is never a dull moment. Within this oasis of calm set in paradise, guests lounge by the infinity pool or at their private beach, laze in a hammock over the blue waters, or just lay below the stars at night. Pure bliss.
- Hotel website: Taj Exotica Resort & Spa
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, welcome drink on arrival, welcome in-room fruit and chocolate platters, one dinner with a bottle of wine for up to 2 in-room guests, one shared sunset cruise for two, and a departure gift).
Located a short 20-minute ride on board a luxurious motorised catamaran from Malé, Jumeirah Vittaveli offers unmatched diversity, subtle luxury and personalised exploration, whether you are seeking a romantic getaway or an exotic destination for your family. The resort comprises 89 villas and suites each with their own swimming pool and direct access to the beach or lagoon. The private and spacious villas are available with one or two bedrooms making them the ideal accommodation for both families and couples. Highlights are the free-standing Ocean Suites, located only a heartbeat away from the main island and accessible by complimentary boat service. The stunning new 5-bedroom Royal Residence occupies its own stretch of beach, comprising 3,500 square metres of ultra-private ocean front estate. The perfect playground for the extraordinary traveller, this opulent hideaway welcomes up to 14 guests and includes 2 private pools, spa, gym, a full-scale restaurant and private overwater bar.
- Hotel website: Jumeirah Vittaveli
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. The Ocean Houses are on the sunrise side of the resort overlooking the open ocean. They offer a greater feeling of seclusion than the Beach Houses that face the turquoise lagoon.
- 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.
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.
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.