From romantic hideaways to family favourites – discover your perfect blend of Maldivian sun, sand and sea
Stay: The fastest way to reach Joali (opening on 1 October) is via a 45-min seaplane flight from Malé. The
resort has five room options to choose from, including luxury beach villas, striking water villas and private
duplex residences that are ideal for larger groups.
Taste: Japanese, Peruvian and Italian fare feature prominently but, if you feel like cooking up a storm, you can master local recipes at Her Kitchen with the help of an expert chef. There’s also a dedicated chocolate and ice cream store.
Play: Discover the best diving
and snorkelling spots where colourful corals and tropical fish abound. For more fun still, hire a speedboat, go parasailing or tame the waves on a wakeboard. For the kids, there’s treasure hunts and storytime with local guest narrators, and even a little spa.
Unwind: Joali Spa by ESPA offers a bespoke array of soothing treatments, from revitalising facials to sleep-inducing massages.
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
Stay: A 35-min speedboat ride from Velana International Airport (MLE), this romantic resort offers three categories of pool villas. Choose from turquoise-hued ocean views, a blissful beachfront stay, or an indulgent spa sanctuary experience complete with unlimited spa treatments for two.
Taste: Dine on fresh fare with the sand between your toes at Ilaafathi, or keep it intimate with in-villa dining or an al fresco meal under the stars. For laidback lounging, Naiboli Bar serves light bites by the beachfront.
Play: Take your pick from wakeboarding, canoeing and more
at the watersports centre, or embark on an underwater adventure at the five-star PADI Gold Palm dive centre. Guests can also try their hand at coral planting and care for sea turtles at the Marine Lab.
Unwind: Many of the therapies on offer at the spa, which has views of swaying coconut trees and rolling blue waves, draw upon the nourishing qualities of locally-made coconut balm.
Reethi Faru Resort
Stay: This bio-luxury resort is a 45-min seaplane flight (or a 20-min domestic flight followed by a 30-min speedboat transfer) from MLE. Whether you’re seeking a family stay with all the trimmings, a romantic hideaway or an over-water villa experience, there’s something for everyone here.
Taste: Six restaurants and six bars serve tasty treats alongside incomparable views. You can sample everything from delicious Maldivian cuisine to succulent grills, wood-fired pizzas, fresh salads and more.
Play: Take to the sea and enjoy canoeing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and other activities at the watersports centre. Glass-bottom boat tours and dolphin safaris are also available, while the diving school offers lessons for those of all abilities. Give back on Reethi Day, on the 20th of every month, when the resort team club together to ramp up conservation efforts with activities such as beach and reef clean-ups, and planting trees and corals.
Unwind: Located in a coconut grove, the Coconut Spa will leave you feeling great both on the inside and out. Let one of the Balinese therapists ease you into bliss with a relaxing massage.
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Stay: Located in North Huvadhoo – one of the largest natural atolls in the world – you’ll need to board a 1hr/1hr 45-min domestic flight from MLE then take a 30/40-min speedboat ride to reach the island, upon which stand 50 luxury villas set amid tropical greenery or elevated above the ocean.
Taste: Take a bite out of island life at The Dining Room, an all-day-dining restaurant serving international specialities. At The Island Grill you can bury your feet in the sand as you eat while, over at The Drift, dishes from Italy, China and Thailand take centre stage.
Play: Located just 55km from the equator, you can journey into the ocean and seize the opportunity to say you’ve swum across two hemispheres. Aside from the usual watersports, there are lots of ways to learn more about North Huvadhoo, the speedboat tour will whizz you through its untouched coral reefs and pristine islands, stopping for a sumptuous picnic along the way.
Unwind: The Vidhun Spa utilises freshly-harvested herbal, botanical and marine ingredients for a soothing Maldivian healing experience. The signature massages, body treatments and facials are designed especially to revive and rejuvenate.
Sun Aqua Vilu Reef
Stay: Just a 35-min seaplane ride from the international airport, this five-star beach and spa resort teams contemporary spaces and stylish interiors with beautiful stretches of white sand. There are five villa categories dotted along the shore, as well as overwater villas including the stunning Grand Reef Suite for families.
Taste: Organic, homegrown produce and enticing fusion fare are the hallmarks of the culinary offer at its six restaurants and lounges. Destination dining options include quiet lunches on the beach and romantic affairs over the water.
Play: Don your scuba gear and discover underwater caves and coral-covered wrecks. Back on dry land, there are fascinating nature trails to discover.
Unwind: Sun Aqua Spa at Vilu Reef takes a holistic approach to healing. Inspired by the elements, you’ll find flower baths, natural scrubs and indulgent massages on the treatment menu, each championing a back-to-basics vibe.
Stay: A 25-min seaplane ride from Malé, this resort offers a secluded escape, with three villa types to choose from. We rate the stilted Senior Water Villas, which have an outdoor deck housing a sunken bathtub.
Taste: There are two restaurants and two lounges to dine at. You can go barefoot at both the buffet restaurant Manta and the tropical Manta bar.
Play: The South Ari Atoll is regarded as one of the best diving spots in the world and waters around Constance Moofushi are on the migration route of dolphins and whale sharks. Parasailing, dhoni excursions and big-game fishing are among the other activities on offer.
Unwind: Hovering over the ocean, U Spa by Constance hosts regular fitness and yoga classes. Bio-marine spa treatments are a speciality, with a range of facials and body treatments to indulge in – you can even select your own massage oil.
Furaveri Island Resort & Spa
Stay: Take the 45-min seaplane transfer (or hop on a domestic flight followed by a 45-min speedboat ride) to Furaveri Island Resort & Spa. Home to 107 villas, there are six different categories to choose from, including those with private pools. For families, the Two Bedroom Water Suite With Pool sleeps up to four people.
Taste: There are a variety of dining options, from the international buffet to the à la carte Asian fusion restaurant, and Mexican cuisine served over the edge of the reef. Candlelight dinners on the beach can be easily arranged.
Play: The island is blessed with an incredible house reef that’s home to vibrant coral, attracting turtles, sharks, rays, barracuda and more. The aptly-named Fun Water Sports Team can organise everything from jet-skiing to stand-up paddle boarding and windsurfing courses. The young at heart can jump aboard the fun tube for a thrilling 15-min ride across the ocean.
Unwind: Enforce a digital detox at Furaveri Spa, which focuses on ‘high touch, low tech’ holistic treatments to relax and renew, with four open-air pavilions. When the heat is on, the air conditioned pavilions are ideal for side-by-side couples’ treatments.
Stay: A chic hideaway that’s a 75-min seaplane transfer from MLE, or a short speedboat transfer from Hanimaadhoo Domestic Airport, JA Manafaru has 84 spacious villas and suites designed to complement the beautiful backdrop. The three-bedroom Royal Residence is a fitting choice for large families or groups, with its two swimming pools, exclusive spa treatment room and private stretch of beach.
Taste: Home to seven dining destinations, this resort more than satisfies the taste buds, whether you’re craving traditional Maldivian cuisine, grilled seafood or Asian-fusion. Spoil yourselves with a special occasion dinner at The Cellar, located two-and-a-half metres below sea level, where mood lighting enhances the secret setting.
Play: With a dedicated dive school and a popular watersports centre, the resort promises hours upon end of water-based fun. Make memories thanks to the Castaway Island experience that’ll take you on a journey to one of the resort’s two uninhabited islands.
Unwind: Lose yourself at Calm Spa, which presents a menu of authentic Maldivian healing rituals incorporating elements of age-old Asian therapies, such as ayurveda.
Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
Stay: With a name that beckons romantics everywhere, this private island resort is just 15-20 mins away from the international airport. Guestrooms range from pool cottages to stunning over-water suites.
Taste: Presenting a veritable feast of flavourful fare, the resort offers plenty of choice at its eight restaurants and bars. Savour spectacular seafood at Sea Salt, stop for coffee and snacks at T for Teahouse, or refuel with beachside bites at Kakuni Hut.
Play: Start the day with poolside yoga before heading to the watersports centre for an activity-packed afternoon trying your hand at windsurfing, wakeboarding or stand-up paddle boarding. The resort is also the perfect base to explore popular
dive sites such as Banana Reef
and Okobe Thila.
Unwind: Set on its own idyllic island, Shine Spa offers signature massages and a range of holistic treatments that draw on natural elements, such as therapeutic lava stones and fragrant rose essence, to relax and renew.
Milaidhoo Island Maldives
Stay: This dream-like hideaway is nestled in the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, a 35-min seaplane ride from MLE. The villas open up 180-degrees to showcase awe-inspiring vistas at every turn – views that are best enjoyed from the comfort of your undhoali (hanging swing).
Taste: A firm foodie favourite, Milaidhoo has three restaurants and two bars that place an emphasis on authentic flavours and warm service. Prepare to be bowled over by Ba’theli Restaurant & Lounge, which is renowned for dishes inspired by the Maldivian Spice Route.
Play: Let your inner child roam free by snorkelling alongside sea turtles, watching whale sharks glide through the water, and learning traditional fishing techniques from local fishermen. Milaidhoo also offers a fantastic range of excursions on and around the island.
Unwind: Delivering on the promise of its name, Serenity Spa combines the healing power of local herbs and plants to lull you into a state of bliss.
Soneva in Aqua
Stay: Combining five-star hospitality with a life on the ocean wave, Soneva in Aqua invites you to enjoy an ultra-exclusive escape aboard a luxury yacht, with a little help from the on-board crew. The two-bedroom vessel, which sets sail from the flagship resort Soneva Fushi (30-40 mins from MLE), can accommodate up to four adults and two children and has a spacious master suite with a glass-bottomed spa tub.
Taste: Whether you choose to dine below deck or on a castaway island, your dedicated sous chef can craft a personalised menu. Don’t miss the chance to try authentic Maldivian seafood specialities featuring the catch of the day.
Play: Let the dive master show you the ocean’s hidden depths. Back on deck, there’s even an astronomer available upon request.
Unwind: Thanks to the on-board yoga and spa therapist, downtime at sea has never been more fun. Indulge in a relaxing massage before soaking up the sun in the outdoor Jacuzzi.
Inspired to go? Click here for the latest offers.
Vivanta Coral Reef, Maldives
Stay: Teaming smart décor (there’s no beach theme here) with modern and spacious accommodation, this resort is all exotic ocean views and dramatic sunsets. At the top end of the scale, the Two Bedroom Nirvana Presidential Suite with pool affords total privacy. The resort is 40-50 mins by speedboat from the airport.
Taste: With five superb restaurants and bars, the resort cooks up tantalising delights from around the world, including South American cuisine at Open The Grill, Italian specialities at Pizzeria and refreshing light bites at Pool Side.
Play: Recharge the senses by feeding stingrays along the main beach, conquering the waves with exhilarating watersports, or diving at the centre, which offers PADI courses and certifications. The resort also offers whirlwind sightseeing tours and romantic excursions for two.
Unwind: Time seems to stand still at the Indian-inspired Jiva Spa, which shines a light on natural ingredients and age-old healing techniques. Signature experiences tap into elements of ayurveda and yoga to help you feel your best.
Hurawalhi Island Resort
Stay: In the Lhaviyani Atoll, this private island resort has plenty to swoon over. The 90-villa, adults-only resort is ideal for romantics and is a 40-min seaplane ride from MLE.
Taste: At the main, buffet-style venue, Canneli Restaurant, be sure to grab a table outdoors at breakfast, which is high time for dolphins to be seen frolicking in the distance. Another stand-out dining experience, is 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, which is (you’ve guessed it) situated 5.8 metres below the sea, with large glass panels offering uninterrupted views of the marine life. Make the evening last a little longer by stopping by the Champagne Pavilion for a glass of bubbly and petit fours.
Play: Staying active isn’t an issue here, with watersports, a gym, badminton, tennis and scuba diving to keep you busy. If you want to slow down the pace a little, head to the on-site marine biology centre for a lesson in local flora and fauna.
Unwind: The award-winning Duniye Spa will ease you into a state of relaxation, with therapeutic massages, antioxidant-rich skincare and freshly prepared exfoliating treatments. Combine them with yoga and mindfulness practices for an holistic approach to wellbeing.
Adaaran Prestige Vadoo
Stay: Boasting its own exotic reef, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, a 15-min speedboat ride from MLE, is teeming with vibrant aquatic flora and fauna, and the resort’s water villas offer the perfect vantage point. Perched atop the ocean, the Sunrise and Sunset Villas feature private pools, while the Honeymoon Villas exude an added air of exclusivity.
Taste: Dine on fine fusion food and Asian specialities at Farivalhu Restaurant and discover artful Japanese flair at Kithajima Restaurant. The Main Bar stands out for its three-sided wooden deck, while the chilled Dhoni beach bar is ideal for sunset sessions.
Play: Let the ocean be your playground thanks to the variety of watersports available here. Plus, you can tick whale watching off your bucket list by embarking on the Whale Submarine Adventure, which will plunge you deep into the ocean amid vibrant coral gardens, shoals of fish and (fingers crossed) friendly whales surging through the water.
Unwind: Chavana Spa has a full menu of pampering delights, including traditional massages, nail services and expert skin treatments. Book one of the spacious rooms that celebrate a sense of place, or plump for an outdoor treatment pavilion and soak up the lush setting.
Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives
Stay: Escape to this breathtaking ‘one island, one resort’ destination –
a 20-min speedboat ride from Malé. The Park Hotel Group resort features a collection of 120 distinctive beachfront pool villas, incredible over-water villas and grand two-bedroom abodes.
Taste: There are three restaurants and bars, each serving something special. The Edge presents international cuisine, Breeze offers light bites beside the pool and Firedoor impresses with fresh grills and prime cuts. There’s also an array of private dining experiences.
Play: Maldives is best experienced on the water, which is why watersports and diving are the star attractions here. To take in more stunning scenery, set off on a traditional dhoni boat or enjoy a romantic sunset cruise.
Unwind: The Spa presents a tailored take on wellness, combining the best of Asian, Balinese and ayurvedic healing philosophies. The comprehensive spa menu features
a variety of treatments to balance body and mind, as well as relaxing yoga sessions.
Reethi Beach Resort
Stay: In the local Dhivehi language, Reethi means beautiful, and it’s easy to understand why. Just like its sister resort, Reethi Faru, this paradise hideaway is located on a tiny island in Baa Atoll, a 35-min seaplane flight from Malé, and is populated with spacious detached and semi-detached villas built in the typical Maldivian-style. Stay in a Water Villa for direct lagoon access.
Taste: There are five restaurants and five bars to keep you well fed and watered. These include the main buffet-style restaurant, The Rehendhi, the boutique style Saima Garden (there are just five tables, so you need to book in advance) and the ever-popular Reethi Grill for fusion cuisine enjoyed on balmy evenings under the stars.
Play: Many of the best diving spots are just a 20-30 minute boat ride away. Plus, you can splash around in the fresh water swimming pool, or play a game of tennis, badminton, squash or table tennis before retiring to a deck chair.
Unwind: Coconut Spa offers massages, body and hair treatments, pedicures, manicures, facials and comprehensive spa packages. You can take your treatment in an airy thatched hut on the beach.
Stay: Over-water villas may be ubiquitous in the Maldives, but those that boast a giant slide winding down from the second floor to the translucent lagoon below are limited to this wonderous paradise, a mere 40-min seaplane flight from MLE. Incredibly, the slide is not the only jaw-dropping feature of the villas here – the master bedroom has a retractable roof, so you can sleep beneath a star-filled sky. The younger sister of the legendary (for very good reason) Soneva Fushi, this place takes fun very seriously.
Taste: The unique elements extend to the ample dining options, which include So Starstruck, comprising four tables atop the Maldives’ first over-water observatory. But we really love So Cool, a roomful of handmade chocolates and ice creams that are yours to indulge in on a complimentary basis (don’t tell the kids, but it never closes.)
Play: Cycle across the island to the open-air, floating cinema, where you’ll be handed a pair of Bluetooth headphones to avoid any sound effects disturbing the turtles. And did we mention the slides?
Unwind: Treatments at the spa are tailored to suit, and there’s also a gym, yoga pavilion, sauna and steam rooms to enjoy. There’s no better way to end a day, however, than aboard a private sunset dolphin cruise.
Stay: Those with an eye for design will appreciate this stylish resort situated on Ookolhufinolhu island, which is a 30-min seaplane journey from MLE. Its sleek Italian design showcases the destination’s natural beauty – think contemporary suites and villas with rustic wildwood tables and ‘floating’ beds.
Taste: Octopus is the main restaurant, serving buffet-style fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For scenic views, head to Manta Restaurant, which is perched over the lagoon.
Play: When it comes to activities you’re spoilt for choice, with dolphin cruises, big-game fishing, snorkelling and watersports galore. The atmosphere is buzzing too, with daily entertainment in the form of a live band, disco and Maldivian cultural show.
Unwind: The Cube Spa’s therapists offer a range of treatments from various corners of the world to ensure a sublime spa experience. Simply lay back, relax and unwind your body and mind.
Stay: This eco resort, a 20-min speedboat ride from MLE, shies away from prescriptive luxury, instead offering its guests the freedom to curate their own kind of stay. So if you place a premium on privacy or simply want to unwind with a good book, you can go your own way at this happy hideaway. In terms of where to rest your head, the stand-alone Crusoe Residences, a short boat ride away, are stunning.
Taste: Kashiveli beachfront restaurant utilises locally-sourced ingredients to create nutritious meals like fresh fruit plates made to order and Maldivian favourites such as Mas Huni (a traditional breakfast of tuna, onion, coconut and chili). Head to the Overwater Bar for fresh salad from the organic garden.
Play: Surfing is all the rage here, due to the resort’s enviable location in the North Malé Atoll, meaning some of the best breaks in the country are on the doorstep. So grab a board and get going. Lessons are available in the lagoon.
Unwind: Salute the sun at Meera Spa’s yoga and meditation champa, or head inside an overwater treatment room for a tension-busting rub-down (each session begins with a mineral-rich sea salt foot scrub).
Stay: The 77-room W Maldives is only accessible by seaplane (a 25-min journey) and has a distinctive design that blends a tropical island feel with plenty of luxurious touches. All the rooms, including the famous Wow Suites, feature an infinity-style plunge pool.
Taste: All-day-dining bistro Kitchen whips up dishes that feed the soul whereas Fish specialises in fresh seafood, Fire offers a jungle-meets-beach style barbecue feast, and Kada pop-up café serves local delights with plates at the centre of the table for everyone to share.
Play: Watersports are a given here. There are a number of awesome dive sites nearby, and snorkellers can set out in search of reef sharks and turtles. While there is a focus on privacy at the resort, its social vibe invites you to mingle and dance the night away.
Unwind: Be pampered at the dhow-shaped Away Spa – try the gold and diamond dust massage.
Inspired to go? Click here for the latest offers.
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
Stay: This coveted resort sets the scene for a spectacular escape, with villas by the beach and perched over the water. Rocking a home-away-from-home vibe, the three-bedroom Grand Sunset Residence features a large private pool and sleek entertaining spaces. Arrive in style via yacht or speedboat (40-50 mins from MLE), or take the 20-30 min seaplane ride.
Taste: Dining here is a gourmand’s delight, with incredible private dining options, three inspired lounges and six restaurants presenting everything from fusion fare to authentic world cuisines.
Play: Stay entertained both on land and at sea. There’s a resident artist offering object-based classes such as ceramics and jewellery making, a climbing wall, deep-sea diving, luxury yacht charters, big-game fishing and whale shark adventures to enjoy.
Unwind: Set amid a private garden and overlooking the ocean, One&Only Spa impresses with its want-for-nothing menu featuring harmonious massages, body rituals, facial treatments and ayurvedic experiences.
Stay: When one paradise island simply isn’t enough, take a trip to this bohemian beauty, which encompasses no less than three private islands (two deserted neighbouring islands and Kanuhura itself). A 40-min seaplane flight from Malé, Kanuhura has mastered the art of barefoot luxury with a wild edge, luring free-spirited adventurers to stay in its tastefully-furnished villas.
Taste: Balance fine dining with off-the-beaten-track foodie experiences, such as learning to cook Maldivian delicacies, sipping sundowners inside a teepee, or enjoying a romantic meal in a sunken table dug into the beach.
Play: There’s watersports aplenty, but it’s the beach activities that come to the fore at this chilled-out resort, with everything from cooking classes to massages and traditional entertainment around a bonfire on the agenda. A novel idea: visit the Memory Lab and use the props to stage some Instagram-worthy shots.
Unwind: Join an invigorating sunrise yoga session, still the mind with meditation, or head to the spa for a beauty boost.
Velaa Private Island
Stay: You’ll be treated like royalty at this exclusive retreat in the Noonu
Atoll, a 40-50 min seaplane ride from the airport. Like the rest of the island, the villas and residences are designed in a contemporary yet intimate style. The Velaa Private Residence is what Maldivian dreams are made of, with four bedrooms accommodating up
to 10 guests, two terraces, a pool, outdoor fireplace and a courtyard.
Taste: With its distinctive design, Tavaru will lure you to try its Teppanyaki grill cuisine. Signature restaurant Aragu is the place to go for modern European cuisine with an Asian twist – try a tasting menu to suite your palate.
Play: Watersports and scuba diving are popular pursuits, and if you want to keep your mind active too you can take part in a yoga session at the raised-tree meditation platform, or head to the library and lose yourself in a good novel. There’s also a Golf Academy for those who want to improve their game.
Unwind: At the spa, therapists can curate a personalised wellness programme that’ll last for the duration of your stay.
JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa
Stay: Set on the stunning island of Vagaru, a 55-min seaplane flight away,
JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa is set to open in 2019. Understated luxury is order of the day, with 61 beach and overwater villas, each with its own private pool. The dual aspect Overwater Pool Villa offers sunrise and sunset views for the ultimate romantic escape.
Taste: Carefully curated dining experiences will complement the perfect holiday. Traditional Thai cuisine at Kaashi, international fare at Aailaa, modern Japanese at Hashi, and irresistible regional curries at Riha are among the options.
Play: The resort will offer a range of water-based fun, including kayaking, diving, jet-skiing, sailing and more. The open-air cinema is ideal for a chilled evening under the stars.
Unwind: The Spa by JW will offer a comprehensive pampering menu, including fragrant scrubs, relaxing massages, targeted facials and beauty services, all designed to leave you
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort
Stay: Opening in November 2018, you’re assigned your own personal butler at this southern-Maldives paradise (a 55-min flight from MLE, followed by a 15-min speedboat transfer). A private swimming pool, marble plunge bath and stellar views come as standard but if you feel like splashing out, opt for the 1,400sqm Raffles Royal Residence, which has an infinity pool and direct private lagoon access.
Taste: Dine at Azara, which suits all tastes with its buffet breakfast, and à la carte lunch and dinner menu. For seafood and fine meat cuts, Johara is your go-to while Mumayaz will tempt you for a barbecue on the beach.
Play: Fishing, diving and windsurfing will keep you active during the day.
Unwind: Take a load off at the spa or enrol in a yoga programme to unwind the mind.
LUX* North Malé Atoll
Stay: Fancy swapping a traditional thatched villa for an oversized penthouse that cuts a chic design? A short speedboat ride from MLE, this five-star resort, opening in early 2019, is bringing a South Beach vibe to the Maldives, with its 67 double-storey penthouse residences, each with its own private pool and spacious rooftop deck.
Taste: With a refined approach to creative culinary arts, guests can dine at Glow Restaurant for island specialities, INTI for delicious Peruvian-Japanese fare, The Barium private dining room for intimate dinners (complete with wall-to-wall aquarium), and Beach Rouge for a superb supper-on-the-sand style experience.
Play: Snorkellers, divers and underwater photographers will be eager to take part in the resort’s highly-anticipated Underwater Festival in 2019. Embark on a voyage of discovery aboard the LUX* Superpanache Yacht for a picnic on an untouched shore or to reel in the catch of the day with the help of
a Maldivian fishing expert.
Unwind: The over-lagoon LUX* Me Spa will offer signature treatments crafted in collaboration with wellness guru Shirley Page, with five scenic overwater treatment villas and rooftop yoga for moments of zen.
Inspired to go? Click here for the latest offers
Inspired to go? Click here for the latest offers