Top 10 best hotels in the Maldives accessible by speedboat

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today: Best hotels in the Maldives accessible by speedboat

Together with the Seychelles, the Maldives is my favorite beach destination on earth. Sugar white sands, crystal clear lagoons, lush tropical islands, a sensational 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 Malé International Airport 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 travelers:

  • Travelers with a fear of flying.
  • Travelers 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).
  • Travelers 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 resorts experience more boat traffic and noise levels as compared the more remotely located resorts in other atolls, although it is nothing too bad. Also, several of these resorts are located on artificial, man-made islands and often lack the charm of the archipelago’s natural islands further away. To help you plan your next Maldivian getaway, I have compiled a list of the 10 most exclusive hotels in the Maldives that can be reached by speedboat from the airport (and thus do not require seaplane transfers).

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.

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Long noted for its beauty among the locals, the small private island of Naladhu invites guests to unwind in blissful seclusion. Maldivian for ‘beautiful island’, Naladhu offers a mosaic of timeless moments on the most serene sapphire waters of its lagoon, which it shares with its sister resorts Dhigu and Veli. The resort features 20 timelessly elegant houses, each a spacious sanctuary with private swimming pool. From bespoke culinary experiences to blissful beach days, water sports to spa indulgences, an array of experiences means this special place holds a unique story waiting to be written by each of our guests. Naladhu Private Island Maldives was named the best resort in the Indian Ocean four years in a row and in the top 10 Best Resorts in the World by Condé Nast Traveler 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards.

  • Hotel websiteNaladhu
  • Review: read my review of Naladhu here.



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 personalized 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 customized cruises to neighboring islands and beaches; plan private dinners at secluded locations; arrange yoga, diving or snorkeling; and create adventures for families travelling together.



Gently rising from a sheet of turquoise, Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa is an enchanting garden island hotel – a half-hour speedboat ride from the Maldives’ capital Malé – that offers a sophisticated and innovative choice of recreation, escapism and conservation. The resort has four superb restaurants, a sunset lounge and a bar, as well as a huge fresh water infinity edged swimming pool. It also 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 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.



Away from the sparkling lights of Male, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa is located on 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 the hotel is only a 15 minute speedboat ride from the Maldives’ main airport. Each of the 58 villas and 6 suites is blessed with warm wood accents, floral scents, soft lamplight, and expansive ocean views – as well as modern touches, of course, including a DVD/CD player, satellite television, and Wi-Fi. Romantics love the Jiva Grande Spa for its authentic Indian wellness experience with yoga and meditation; the eclectic gourmet dining options (in every atmosphere, from casual to formal); and the myriad water sports, including scuba diving, sea kayaking, and catamaran sailing.

  • Hotel website: Taj Exotica Resort & Spa
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, $100 USD food & beverage credit, early check-in, and late check-out).



Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island – previously known as LUX*North Male – is tucked away in the crystalline turquoise waters of the North Malé Atoll, easily reachable by speedboat from Malé Airport. The resort’s unique architecture is the work of Singaporean design studio, Miaja, who have created an elegant contemporary ethos in harmony with the natural environment. The property offers 67 beach and overwater villas, each one featuring a private infinity pool and a roof-top terrace with a dedicated dining area to take in the sensational views while indulging in delicious dishes. Dining experiences include two of Jumeirah’s award-winning signature restaurants, Shimmers and Kayto. The Talise Spa, with its six overwater treatment rooms, offers unfettered access to wellness and relaxation with a range of therapeutic and re-energizing treatments.

  • Hotel website: Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, $100 USD food & beverage credit, early check-in, and late check-out).



The new Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands offers guests a truly luxurious Maldivian experience with white sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons, coral reefs teeming with marine life and outstanding guest services for which the Ritz-Carlton brand is known. The hotel is located in the North Malé Atoll of the Maldives, and is only a 45-minute journey by speedboat from Malé International Airport. The property is the first Ritz-Carlton hotel to open in the region and is situated on Fari Islands, an archipelago that features three other luxury properties as well as Fari Marina – the archipelago’s communal beating heart with a vibrant Beach Club, charming boutiques and a range of dining options. The resort’s three islands and overwater quay serve as a base for discovering all the archipelago has to offer.



Designed by renowned Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan, Patina Maldives offers 90 exquisitely appointed beach and water pool villas, ranging from one to three bedrooms. Situated in the heart of the Fari Islands archipelago in the North Malé Atoll, a 50-minute speedboat journey from the Maldives’ main international airport, Patina Maldives offers guests the freedom to explore its two neighboring hotels (the Ritz-Carlton and soon-to-open Capella), embracing a vibrant social scene centered at the development’s Fari Marina Village and Beach Club. And with nine restaurants and bars, plus three on-site food trucks, you’ll have your choice of sustainable cuisine from sunup to sundown. Even the experiences have an eco-friendly focus with activities like seeding coral reefs, adopting injured sea turtles, and observing wild dolphins.

  • Hotel website: Patina Maldives
  • Other accolades: Patina Maldives also features in my list of the best new hotels of 2021.
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, $100 USD food & beverage credit, early check-in, and late check-out).



Set on the private island of Lankanfushi in the North Malé Atoll, Gili Lankanfushi (previously known as Soneva Gili) is an intimate coral island in a sparkling lagoon, with three jetties threading across the water out to spacious villa accommodations. This luxury hotel is just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport at Malé, the capital of the Republic of Maldives. Here your idyllic personal hideaway is one of 45 spacious, rustic overwater villas, sustainably and exquisitely designed and crafted from natural wood and glass. The tranquil private resort feels like home, a place where lasting memories are made with Gili. The island’s surroundings are teeming with marine life and the resort has its own fully-equipped padi diving school plus a variety of water sports.

  • Hotel websiteGili Lankanfushi
  • 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, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD food & beverage credit with 3-night stays, and combined round-trip airport transfers with 5-night stays).
  • Review: read my review of Gili Lankanfushi here.



Alfresco pavilions, swaying hammocks, and jaw-dropping views come with the territory at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. Spanning three islands in South Male Atoll, the resort has 119 beach and overwater villas, carefully positioned to guarantee privacy for the guests while providing them with unsurpassed views of the ocean. Each villa is equipped with a private pool, jacuzzi and lounge deck. The thatched roofed villas may appear simple on the outside, but on the inside they are fitted with luxurious interior furnishing and branded amenities. There’s a palatial spa as well as numerous food and beverage offerings that cater to a diverse culinary palette, including Terra where guests can dine among the treetops in one of seven bamboo nests.


One&Only Reethi Rah is a place where joy comes alive – an exquisite Maldivian haven that celebrates life to create magically unscripted stories for the world’s most discerning guests. The resort, set on a large and private, partly man-made 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. Restaurants consist of Reethi Restaurant, for international dishes; Tapasake, for Japanese cuisine; Botanica, for natural fare; Rabarbaro, for Italian fare; and Fanditha, for Middle Eastern dishes. The spa’s tailored treatments take place in a private pavilion. Enjoy water sports, tennis, football, an art studio, snorkelling, pools, a KidsOnly Club, and teen activities.

  • Hotel websiteOne&Only Reethi Rah
  • Other accolades: One&Only Reethi Rah also features in my top 10 list of luxury hotels loved by celebrities.
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).
  • Review: read my review of One&Only Reethi Rah here.

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1 Comment

  1. Wow, that was a very good blog, it was really informative, and I felt very happy to read it, Thank you so much to share it with us. by the way i am doing a plan to travel to the Seychelles resort and this blog is doing help me for that trip.

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