Top 10: most fabulous overwater villas in the Maldives

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.  Over the coming weeks, I will publish top 10 lists (as well as resort reviews) related to the most beautiful destination on earth, the Maldives:

Today (May 1, 2017): Top 10 resorts with the best overwater villas in the Maldives.

If you’re dreaming of spending a holiday with your loved one(s) in a sumptuous overwater bungalow, the Maldives is probably the first location that comes to mind. If not, it should be since it you will have a hard time trying to find a more romantic, secluded and exclusive holiday destination. The Indian Ocean nation harbors the most luxurious resorts in the world, each one of them located on its very own private island that is surrounded by the whitest of sands and the bluest of waters. Most of the overwater villas in the Maldives are downright phenomenal, with large outdoor decks and extras such as plunge pools and hammocks. I picked the 10 most fabulous overwater bungalows in the Maldives, to help you plan your next getaway to the holy grail of luxury travel.

There is more information (with reviews and Youtube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Maldivian hotel with the best overwater villas in the comments section, or take my poll below.

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Situated on a private island 55 km (35 mi) north of the Equator in one of the world’s deepest atolls, Park Hyatt Hadahaa has a strikingly modern and sleek decor. Featuring only 50 villas, the minimalist style interiors of the accommodations are designed with the utmost comfort and luxury in mind, whether nestled within the island’s tropical foliage (36 villas in total), only steps from the ocean, or elevated above the water (14 villas in total). All villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows, and every comfort you would expect, with some beach villas having the added luxury of a plunge pool (overwater villas don’t come with a private pool though). 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.


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 Asian 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). The resort’s overwater suites and villas are built off wooden walkways that stand above the shallow lagoon, and each one of them features a private pool, sundeck and full-length windows overlooking the Indian Ocean.


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, some of them overwater. 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.



The ultraluxe Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy resort calls the Noonu Atoll its home, which includes a handful of unspoiled green islands (some of them man-made) 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.



This ultra-chic 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 the North Male Atoll and 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. The resort recently added some private pools to some of its overwater villas. 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.



Set on Kihavah Huravalhi, one of the most pristine Maldivian islands, the resort is a 30-minute seaplane flight from Male International Airport, an unforgettable experience in itself as the plane flies over a string of glowing coral islands amidst turquoise waters. The 79 spacious ultra-luxurious villas are either poised over the water with sweeping ocean views or nestled along a pristine stretch of private beach. All overwater villas are built out of groove-lined timber, with high ceilings and hardwood floors, and feature expansive terraces with private pools, from where to take in the horizon and catching sightings of turtles in the lagoon and dolphins in the Indian Ocean. At Anantara Kihavah Villas guests are treated to a host of dining options, including an incredible underwater dining experience.



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. The resort is unique as it only offers overwater accommodations (no beach villas). 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. Some of the overwater villas offer a totally remote island experience as they are detached from the main island and can only be reached by boat.



Nestled at the south end of the Maldives in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Dhevanafushi was created for life’s tranquil pleasures. Stretched across two islands, this ultraluxe and enchanting hideaway offers everything you need to get away from it all. Lush foliage, crystal blue waters and stretches of white sandy beach create a sanctuary. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi houses 21 island villas, each with its own private beach and pool. Another part of the resort is laid out for the most discerning luxury traveler on a overwater village, a mere 800 meters (0,5 mi) from the main island, suspended on platforms above the most iridescent sea in the world. Here, you’ll find the resort’s most fabulous accommodations, 16 ocean villas with steps directly down to the deep and outdoor marble baths looking out the horizon.

  • Hotel websiteDhevanafushi Maldives Luxury Resort
  • Other accolades: Dhevanafushi Maldives Luxury Resort also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in the Maldives for snorkeling.
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast,  $100 USD resort credit, sunset champagne cruise, early check-in, late check-out, and one complimentary yoga, Pilates or personal trainer session).
  • Review: read here my review of Dhevanafushi Maldives Luxury 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 magnificent St Regis property 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. The overwater villas are designed in the shape of manta rays, and all of them feature expansive, private outdoor terrace where a plunge pool, plush daybed, sun loungers, and overwater hammocks offer direct access to the unforgettable azure waters of the Indian Ocean. 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.


Inspired by a word that means wisdom in Sanskrit, the sensational and recently opened Soneva Jani resort is located on Medhufaru island, which is part of an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll. The Maldives’ most exclusive and stunning 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 palatial water villas – the largest in the Maldives, each one bigger than some hotels – has a large private pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring curving 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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