Who doesn’t want some blissful chill time on the warm sands of an Indian Ocean atoll? With over 105 beautiful resorts to choose from and even more accommodation options on the local islands, choosing the best Maldives hotel can be a tricky task indeed.
Hotel websites showcase endless photographs of glittering azure oceans fringed by towering palms — each as beautiful as the next — which makes it difficult to take your pick. However, year after year there are several luxurious award-winning Maldives hotels that remain at the top of the list.
Whether you’re honeymooning or just taking a much-deserved vacation, read on for our top picks for the most highly-rated hotels in the Maldives.
Constance Moofushi: Classic Cool
Topping the Maldives lux list is the incredibly stunning Constance Moofushi. This 110-room resort provides a tropical home-away-from-home with a generous all-inclusive package to boot. Enjoy ever-changing world cuisine at the open-air Manta Bar and restaurant, or choose to dine in the more intimate Alizee Restaurant. Guests rave about the Maldivian spiced reef fish and buttered leeks as well as the grilled lobster.
Knowledgeable sommeliers are on hand to perfectly pair your chosen dishes with fine wines and champagne. The sunset is best enjoyed with a bubbling bellini at the super-chilled Totem bar, while a stocked in-room minibar provides beers, soft drinks, and other goodies. Room service is not an option here, but don’t let that discourage you; Between the tempting restaurants and snack-filled bars, you’ll never be left with a rumbling stomach.
Rooms come fitted with more amenities than you can shake a palm tree at, and the airy beachcomber decor perfectly complements the relaxed island vibe. For the best spot on the sand, choose one of the beachside villas that are numbered between 17 and 25. If you’re after the classic overwater bungalows that feature steps down from the decking into the marine-life filled waters, then go for any of the water villas. Arguably, the two best rooms in the resort go to senior water villas 50 and 78, which both offer the most private and secluded villas right at the end of a jetty.
Aside from pool-side bronzing and beach strolling, you can choose to try your hand at windsurfing, kayaking, pedal boating, and scuba diving. Private excursions include dhoni boat trips where you will likely spot pods of frolicking dolphins, or, on dry land, a romantic beach candle-lit dinner set-up on a deserted island. There is also a sumptuous spa, which is most famous for its signature Enchanting Wave Massage that combines ancient healing techniques from all corners of the globe, while luxury manicures, pedicures, haircuts and beauty treatments are also available.
Like much of the Maldives, this beyond five-star resort offers a hideaway for loved-up couples and honeymooners. However, the babysitting service, kid’s club, and sports area make it a kid-friendly option if you are travelling with the whole family. With its sugar-white sands, tropical chic rooms and attentive staff, Constance Moofushi is certainly hard to fault.
Milaidhoo Island: Eco-Friendly Island Chic
Perfectly positioned in the Unesco Baa Atoll, Milaidhoo wows with its pool thatched-roof villas that perch on top of the island’s shallow lagoon. This barefoot boutique hotel offers a whole lot more too; from the three world-class restaurants to the exclusive spa, every inch has been carefully designed to provide you with a memorable and magical stay.
Foodies will fare well here, and despite its relatively small size, Milaidhoo houses three top-notch restaurants including the aptly-named Ocean and the Shoreline Grill, which is just the spot for freshly-caught seafood and Maldivian favorites with a European twist. A highlight is Ba’theli by the Reef which is set on three traditional fishing boats at the end of a jetty. Reserve the captains table for the best spot in the house, and be sure to sample the traditional crispy banana blossom.
Mixologists are on hand to muddle-up handcrafted cocktails including a refreshing lychee and mango delight, while fresh smoothies and juices are also available round the clock. Milaidhoo offers a generous gourmet plan which includes all meals and drinks during your stay.
What really steals the tropical show is the 50 incredibly designed villas and residences, all of which come with a private infinity pool, oversized daybeds, flat-screen TVs, large tubs and rain showers. The decor hits the spot with beautiful yet minimal custom-made furnishings that reflect the local heritage and culture. Choose the water pool villa for a postcard-perfect stilted room, or go for the beach residence if you want floor-to-ceiling windows, a jacuzzi, and to be just a few steps away from your own slice of private beach.
Dotted around the resort’s grounds you’ll find an open-air yoga pavilion, water sports center, a communal unheated infinity pool, and a thatched-roof spa with four treatment rooms. Milaidhoo also has a number of eco-conscious practices in place including a coral regeneration program and a Manta Trust which helps to protect the marine life.
The island is teeny-tiny though, and you could probably walk around it in around five minutes. So if you’re looking for long stretches of sand then somewhere like One and Only Reethi Rah may be more suited your needs. However, the many nooks, crannies and sandy secluded spots dotted around this island coupled with the privacy of the villas, means that you will always feel like you’re on a remote island far away from home.
It’s worth noting that although kids over the age of nine are welcome, this resort is better catered to those on a romantic getaway. Overall, Milaidhoo offers a true taste of the more luxurious side of the Maldives and will be sure to impress — if your budget allows it.
One & Only Reethi Rah: An Opulent All-Rounder
Perhaps one of the most well-known resorts in the Maldives, and a true celebrity favorite, is the One & Only Reethi Rah. With 121 rooms and 9 suites, 12 beaches, a National Geographic PADI Dive Center, Sun Spa, luxury boutique, library and two pro tennis courts, this mega-resort really does have it all.
Luxury awaits just after touchdown at Malé International Airport. You will be transferred to the dock where one of the resort’s four luxury yachts will transport you on a 75-minute trip to the island, where you will be greeted with a signature hand-over-heart gesture from the staff and then whisked to your residence in a golf buggy.
No matter what room you opt for, you will be sure to feel like you’ve made the right choice. Afterall, each abode is beautifully secluded and comes with high ceilings, private loungers, a huge veranda and large tub. Rumor has it that the Beckham’s like to stay in Grand Beach Villa 142, which comes with living and dining space as well as its own buggy. Don’t worry if you’re not in one of the higher-end villas, each room comes with two bicycles, so you can whizz around the island on your own set of wheels. A nice touch is that all rooms also come with a mobile phone so that you can call your butler when you’re out and about on the island.
When it comes to dining, the star of the show is Reethi Restaurant which is filled with frangipani trees and flickering lanterns. Here, you can enjoy delectable a la carte breakfasts, casual lunches and memorable dinners that combine Asian and European fare. Vegans and vegetarians are particularly well looked after here, and there is even a Chef’s Garden area where no meat is served, and you can dine amongst the vegetable patch. Tapasake is the spot to head for mouth-wateringly good sushi, the Beach Club satisfies your snacking needs, while Faditha is known for its Mediterranean specials.
For a sundowner, head to the Rah Bar and sip on the vintage rum or a creative fruity concoction. Unlike many of the other resorts, Reethi Rah also caters for music-lovers and party-goers. The lively Club One has a resident DJ playing toe-tapping tunes throughout the day and night.
Reethi Rah has been impressing guests for over ten years and it certainly shows. From being handed pressure-point sea sickness bracelets when you step on the yacht, to the carved fruit selections, this resort has some of the sweetest touches that we’ve seen. It may not be the right spot for those looking for a Robinson Crusoe-style getaway, but for everyone else, it seems to be the one – and only.
Soneva Fushi: Intimate Island Paradise
Last on our list of best hotels in the Maldives, but by no means least, is the gorgeous Soneva Fushi. Capturing a little of that rustic charm, Soneva Fushi offers a more carefree and casual setting. The resort has a ‘no shoes no news policy’ – meaning you remove your shoes as soon as you set foot on the island and don’t have to put them back on until you step back onto your seaplane.
There are no less than 12 different styles of accommodation options from which to take your pick. At the more affordable end of the scale is a Crusoe villa, which is still pretty spacious at 235m2. The duplex offers a separate living room, enormous daybeds, and a rather pretty outdoor bathroom. On the other end of the scale is the incredible jungle reserve which covers some 1720m2. Stay here and you’ll have 4 bedrooms, 3 outdoor bathrooms, 2 swimming pools, a library and even a private spa suite where you can indulge in a massage or two.
Eco-conscious guests will be pleased to hear that Soneva Fushi houses one of the largest solar plants in the Maldives, plus they regularly help to fund beach cleans and local turtle conservation products.
Dining-wise, the restaurants reflect the resort’s more laid-back ethos, with several casual dining spots available. Feast on garden-to-fork fare high above the jungle at the Garden Restaurant, or enjoy a long buffet breakfast at the Mihiri Meetha. If you truly want an evening to remember, book a dining experience on a nearby uninhabited island where you can enjoy a private meal underneath a star-scattered sky. The two bars also offer an ultra-relaxed place to grab a tipple with your toes in the sand. A plus is that you can order any meals or drinks from the restaurants to your villa.
Kids of all ages are welcome here, and children under the age of a six can eat for free. There’s a babysitting service, and quite probably the best creche you’ve ever seen, that’s brimming with secret passageways, ball pits, a music room, a DJ corner, arts and crafts and even a zip line. And for the adults there is a fully-stocked water sports center, yoga studio, spa, open-air cinema, dive center, oh, and there is even an observatory.
If we had to get picky, there is no communal pool here, although surrounded by such a stretch of shimmering water it’s hard to complain. If this bothers you, be sure to book a villa that comes with a private pool. Overall, Soneva Fushi is most suited for those looking for a castaway-type getaway with zero pomp.
So what’s it going to be? The all-out extravagance of the One & Only Reethi Rah, or the more chilled shores of Soneva Fushi? These top picks are some of the best hotels in the Maldives, so unsurprisingly they get booked up fast. Reserve early to score your chosen one and remember to request your favorite villa or room. No matter what you go for, a sandy, sun-drenched Maldives getaway will be sure to be one to remember. Happy travels.
[…] up a mental image of the Maldives and you’ll likely see a luxurious stilted villa perched over glittering waters (perhaps with a few swaying palms in the distance). And, it’s true that […]