April 21, 2021

20+ TOP MALDIVES RESORTS

Thanks for being here! I’m Sarah & I’m the Creative behind SALTY LUXE. I hope these words inspire you to live your best life & see the beauty in every day. And I hope you never stop searching for a life of infinite happiness. Stay Salty, Sarah xxx

Salty Luxe.

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UPDATE April 2022

 

This is the ultimate & definitive guide to the Maldives TOP 20+ RESORTS. We have visited over 40 hand selected Maldives resorts, all varying in budget, experiences & location to ensure you select the perfect one for you.

The Maldives is one of those places that we just keep coming back to. We don’t miss a year without visiting our favourite place in the world. Over 1,000 tiny islands dotted with palms and fringing reefs in the clear warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Wherever you are in this chain of islands, you feel like you’re a world away from everything else.

Click below to navigate

Please note that some of the links in this blog are affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission on any purchase made (at no additional cost to you). Of course this blog captures all my own personal thoughts and feelings and if you’d love to know more about anything, please reach out to me!

Gili Lankanfushi

Our forever favourite! Located on one of Maldives most stunning islands, offering laid back luxury, bucketlist experiences & a pristine lagoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • One of the most stunning natural lagoons in Maldives
  • Large overwater villas, including 7 stand alone ‘Crusoe Residences’ with personal boat
  • Surfing, sunset sailing, destination dining, overwater spa
  • Healthy, organic food catering to all diets
  • Sleep under the stars

$$$  ♻️

Gili Lankanfushi villa

Gili Lankanfushi is very special. We’ve visited more than 40 resorts in Maldives & this is easily one of our favourites. The island has a soul that can’t be described, only felt. And while the pictures of the resort are truly incredible, its impossible to showcase just how magical it is without experiencing Gili for yourself. 10/10 recommendation!

Your typical Gili guest is low key and easy-going, here for barefoot luxury and the natural elements. And this is the energy the island takes on. Bamboo bikes, powdery white sands and a massive lagoon with 100 shades of turquoise. We encountered more marine life in this lagoon than anywhere else, watching eagle rays and sharks pass beneath our villa.

This slice of paradise is wonderfully positioned, only a short 15 minute boat ride from Male airport. 

All Gili room categories are exceptional, so no matter which option you chose, you will be blown away! We highly recommend their overwater luxury villas which are spread across two floors, with open-air living areas, spacious bathrooms and a private rooftop terrace.

If you want to really step it up, opt for a Crusoe Residence. These standalone villas are the epitome of luxury, only reachable by boat & boasting unparalleled privacy! Included with your Crusoe Residence is a private boat which you may exclusively use to explore the lagoon. There is something so raw about pushing your boat off the beach to motor back to your villa oasis.

And as you would expect the food is phenomenal and there’s a very passionate vegan chef too who loves the opportunity to prepare you mouth watering meals. 

By far our favourite place on the island is ‘palm beach’. Absolute palm tree perfection on a small, empty strip of white sand. We spent so much time here from sunrise to sunset, swimming and shooting all day.

Gili gets those special experiences right too. Some of favourites were:

  • The overwater Meera spa – we saw a turtle drifting by beneath us while on the massage bed
  • Sunset sailing on a traditional Maldivian boat
  • Surfing – we sat in clear water taking turns to catch perfect gentle waves against a backdrop of uninhabited palm laced islands

Special mention also to the Private Reserve Villa, the largest villa is South Asia! Only accessed by boat with a full kitchen, 4 bedrooms, spa, gym, cinema, infinity pool and a waterslide (yep, you heard right).

Gili Lankanfushi villas

Soneva Jani

Luxury playground for adults. Sustainability inspired and the most unique bucketlist stay in the Maldives!

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The ultimate bucketlist stay
  • The waterslides!
  • Unique winding boardwalk
  • Huge villas
  • Sustainable travel option

$$$$   ♻️

soneva jani villas

Soneva Jani is a dreamland! Last time I visited solo and so this time around I was bursting with joy flying in with Chesh. This is an absolute bucket list stay and there is so much wow factor. That crazy winding boardwalk, the incredible villas and the water slides are the iconic features that you see all over social media. And they are even better enjoyed in person! We spent the whole stay laughing. And we couldn’t put our camera down. It’s certainly a place to relax but for us, it was a luxury playground where we couldn’t sit still!

Arrival into the crazy clear lagoon and your eye is drawn to the main overwater pavilion with high ceilings and white washed timber. This is nothing like you’ll see in the Maldives. And this feeling continues to the villas. The turret style roof and waterslides flowing into perfect blue water are seriously magical. We had so much in-villa dining because we didn’t want to leave our massive villa. Your water villa is almost like a private resort with everything you need, from upstairs dining areas, outdoor couches, opening bedroom ceiling and everything else you need from your ‘barefoot butler’. If you can spend even a few nights here you’ll never forget it. We felt so spoilt and took so much gratitude for every single moment.

We stayed in ‘Chapter 1’, which is the original part of the island that’s been established for around four years. Soneva has also just opened ‘Chapter 2’, which boasts new and improved water villas. A buggy ride or boat shuttle connects you easily across the resort. One of our favourite dining options was the Crab Shack which serves up beautiful fresh breakfast and lunch on the beach.

As you would expect from the Soneva brand, this resort has sustainability at the core of everything. Even with all the crazy offerings here there’s a genuine focus on minimising their footprint. If you look or ask the right questions you will see how much goes on behind the scenes. From no plastic use to sustainable organic gardens, this is just part of life here. You can relax and enjoy this slice of paradise with complete confidence in the work your hosts are doing to keep this place beautiful.

Other mentions:

  • Overwater cinema – we watched a movie with headphones while eating dinner
  • The first overwater villa for disabled access – so inspiring!

One & Only Reethi Rah

The ultimate luxury stay where everything is possible! Next level experiences and special moments – every day.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Exceptional dining, including magnifecient destination dining options
  • Personal buggy to explore the beautiful island
  • Maldives most elegant overwater & beach villas 
  • Private sunset & champagne experience onboards a traditional Dhoni boat
  • Olive Ridley Turtle conservation onsite

$$$ ♻️

One & Only Reethi Rah island

Seriously incredible! We absolutely LOVED One&Only and would highly recommend this prestigious resort to anyone looking for an elevated Maldives stay. Nothing is too hard and every single moment & detail has been curated thoughtfully to ensure your stay is memorable.

Even before you arrive to the island you feel chic and pampered – you’ll be transferred by the resorts luxury vessel, which could seriously be an experience on its own! One&Only is one of the largest resort islands in the Maldives, however there’s so much to do and everything is so spread out that you’ll feel you have the island to yourself. We stayed in an overwater villa that comes with it’s own personal buggy. Of course there are bikes as well but it was so fun heading to breakfast or cocktails whipping through the jungle in our own cart.

We had some very special dining experiences here, which is major drawcard for One&Only. Our favourite was their vegan tasting restaurant ‘Botanica’ which hosts a botanical gin bar in a stunning garden setting. They are even establishing their own hydroponics to grow fresh leafy greens. Another not to be missed dining experience is their private treehouse dinner, nestled high among the surrounding palm jungle. And the cocktails are amazing too – some of the most delicious sundowners with the freshest ingredients.

Other mentions:

  • The beach villas are insane with huge private sandy spaces to relax in a hammock and enjoy the lagoon.
  • Thanks to the unique island shape, there’s so many gentle beach coves to discover & enjoy a swim
  • We were lucky enough to head out with the resorts marine biologist for a turtle snorkel. This experience was made more special by the knowledge shared with us during our visit to the islands Olive Ridley Turtle Conservation centre! Well done One&Only!
One & Only Reethi Rah
One & Only Reethi Rah island

Four Seasons Explorer 

The must-do bucketlist experience for ocean lovers, divers and snorkelers. Our best days spent underwater in the Maldives, ever!

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Exploring remote Maldivian atolls & reefs in a luxury liveaboard vessel
  • A curated diving / snorkel itinerary to an abundance of unique sites
  • Sandbank massage and sunset dinner

$$$

Four Seasons Explorer 

One of the best & most incredible experiences of my life! The Four Seasons Explorer is an intimate floating hotel for up to 22 guests, pampered with air-conditioned suites, dining room and sun deck. Cruising through Maldives’ turquoise waters, you have everything you need onboard, with the added benefit of Four Seasons service.

The Explorer is ideal for certified divers, as well as snorkellers of all experience levels. You’ll have the opportunity to dive/snorkel up to 3 times a day, with each trip offering diverse dive sites & marine encounters. 

We enjoyed a beautiful table top reef dive, as well as technical dives with drifts, anchoring, and underwater caves! My favourite was the night dive. Facing my fears and plunging into the darkness was nerve-racking. But seeing all the corals opening up and experiencing the reef only by torchlight was something I won’t forget (and probably would never have done, if not for the experienced team onboard The Explorer). 

The itinerary is so full and you sleep soundly every night after delicious dinners and sharing stories with the small group of fellow ocean lovers. 

For those wondering about other activities during the cruise, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll enjoy a ‘sandbank day’ between dives, where you’ll be whisked away to a private stretch of pure white sand to enjoy indulgent massages, beach activities & sun beds! This was our favourite day on board & we especially loved the sunset cocktails & bespoke group dinner that followed! 

Check out more on our One Week Four Seasons blog here.

St Regis Vommuli 

Top tier luxury accomodation, food and experiences made special by impeccable service. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • First class service from start too finish
  • The Whale Bar for sunset cocktails and tapas
  • Hydrotherapy pool and overwater spa
  • Luxury Yacht experience onboard ‘Norma’

$$$

 St Regis Vommuli yacht

I have always wanted to visit St Regis Vommuli and it definitely delivered to my expectations! Everything is very luxe, right from the start of your stay. From being met at the airport by private vehicle and served breakfast at their private lounge to the personalised greeting from your island butler prior to arrival. Everything is very thoughtful & we really appreciate all the touches.

The island itself is quite small and packs in all of your quintessential Maldives needs. The water villas are unique with their contemporary design and the curved structure of Whale Bar overwater restaurant is the ultimate sunset spot. The Whale Bar has a delicious tapas menu and there’s an amazing variety of cuisine elsewhere, including Asian/Japanese, seafood and the beach shack ‘Crust & Craft’.

Some of the unique luxe attractions here include the luxury yacht ‘Norma’ (perfect for a private sunset champagne charter) and the hydrotherapy pool at the Iridium Spa. The hydro spa is the largest in The Maldives and hangs over the lagoon for the ultimate relaxation experience. 

Other mentions:

  • JetSki trip to a nearby deserted island where we watched locals collecting coconuts while we lazed on the shoreline.
  • The beach at the top of the island has the most perfect array of palm trees hanging out towards the ocean.
 St Regis Vommuli jetskiing
 St Regis Vommuli  sunset

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

Prestige Maldives luxury with a beautiful lagoon. Amazing food and villas.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Boasts one of Maldives more pristine lagoons, as well as long private sand bank
  • Amazing dining options, including destination dining options
  • Equally impressive beach villas and water villas (sunset side)
  • Coral Planting & turtle conservation
  • Overwater spa

$$$

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

We love coming back to Four Seasons Landaa! The lagoon’s vivid blue tones surrounding the resort, as well as the islands private sandbank make this one of the most naturally beautiful locations in Maldives!

The food is another reason why we keep coming back. Healthy breakfasts at Blu and Mediterranean dinners at the overwater Al Barakat literally make my mouth water! The best way to end a day is walking or biking home via the islands palm lined jungle paths – imagine balmy evening air, lanterns illuminating the lush greenery & birds singing. Massive vibes!

Other mentions:

  • We tried wake surfing on Landaa’s state-of-the-art ski boat – so much fun & highly recommended!
  • If you want to see the island from a different vantage, try parasailing. This was one of our all time most memorable Maldives experiences!
  • Head to the island boutique where Four Seasons stocks our sustainable swimwear line!
  • Our in-villa massage was the ultimate luxury.
  • We stayed in an overwater villa and beach villa this time around and Landaa is one place where the beach villas might even be better
  • Plant coral with the marine team & head into their islands turtle conservation for a truly unbelievable experience

Check out more on our One Week Four Seasons blog here.

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru villa

Four Seasons Voavah Private Island

An extraordinary 5 acre UNESCO private island hideaway for up to 21 guests. Maldives’ most exclusive stay!

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • There’s no set Voavah experience or typical itinerary. It’s your island, your rules and your way
  • Your own 62 ft yacht, dive centre, spa, Beach House, seven bedrooms and resident pod of dolphins
  • A naturally beautiful island with vivid blue lagoon surrounding 
  • A short boat ride to Four Seasons Landaa, though I’d never want to leave!
  • 3 seperate villas, so perfect for a large group travelling together

$$$$$

Four Seasons Voavah Private Island

Anything is possible at Four Seasons private island ‘Voavah’. Want to head out on your private yacht? It will be ready to set sail in 15 minutes! Exquisite dining, events & experiences are just the beginning!

Just a short boat ride from Landaa Girravaru, this pristine paradise boasts everything a large resort has, but is exclusively yours for the duration of your stay. The island has an epic double storey beach house, as well as a seperate beach villa, water villa and overwater spa! In total the island accommodates 21 people & is the absolute pinnacle of private luxury in the Maldives!

Raffles Maldives Meradhoo

A stunning small island with the incredible service you would expect from Raffles. Intimate, relaxed and beautiful. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Tiny island 
  • Excellent service
  • The best spa we visited 
  • JetSki to sand bank and snorkelling
  • Private sunken table beach dinner
  • Tasty food options (vegan too)

$$$

raffles maldives jetskiing

Located in one of the more remote Southern atolls, Raffles is the ultimate luxury escape. Far from other resorts, this tiny island has every detail perfected to give that retreat feel. There’s only 38 villas here, with 16 of the villas located on the ‘overwater island’ – a short 1-2 minute boat ride from the island. This means that you have so much space to enjoy this little slice of paradise for yourself. 

We stayed on the island in a deluxe beach villa and it was huge and totally private. And because of the island’s size, it’s only a few steps to the water, swimming on the house reef. Or head along the jungle path to reach dining areas, like the main restaurant with a band playing and fairy lights strung between the palms. And speaking of beach dinners, I’d highly recommend the sunken table dinner. Candles everywhere and a blazing sunset – so romantic! 

One of our highlights here – and a trip highlight – was jumping on JetSkis with the marine biologist and heading out exploring. We were laughing and playing music until we reached a remote sand bank with no land in sight. From here we chased each other to a section of reef, put on our snorkel gear and slipped off the ski to explore underwater caverns and amazing reef features. Such a feeling of freedom. This was SO fun and one of my best travel days!

Special mention has to go to the spa – the best we visited during our trip to the Maldives! Beautifully furnished inside and out, the overwater spa puts you literally on the edge of the reef and in absolute bliss!

Joali

A bucket list stay for luxury Maldives travel. Some of the best food, clearest water and most stunning villas in all of our Maldives travels.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Overwater (and beach) villas with high ceilings & chic styling
  • Crystal clear waters
  • Sand bank stretching from the island 
  • Amazing food for every meal

$$$

joali maldives

Joali is simply beautiful! Thanks to it’s position, the lagoon has some of the clearest water in the Maldives. The long sand bank stretching between the island and the water villas creates every shade of blue you could possibly dream of. We spent so much time in this lagoon swimming, laying in the shallows and then watching sunsets with a cocktail.

The villas boast high ceilings, stunning decor and styling, a bar area, pool, indoor and outdoor shower, and comfy cabana. We are usually always outdoors in the sun and ocean, but Joali was one exception where we loved being in the villa just as much as exploring outside. Our ocean villa was the perfect spot to watch the sun set, laying in the overwater hammock with champagne and taking dips late into the evening. One of our travel highlights for sure!

A definite mention needs to go to the dining experiences. Joali is centred around health and wellbeing, and the food options are aligned with this concept. There are five restaurants to choose from and all have a la carte menus, keeping the food fresh. As a vegan who eats quite healthy I loved the food options! Such good variety for the breakfast and the overwater Japanese restaurant was extremely fresh and tasty.

Other mentions:

  • Beach villas – we spent one night in a beach villa and loved it just as much as the overwater villas. We enjoyed the same luxe interior, swapping the ocean underneath for a large, private garden and direct beach access.
  • Marine life – eagle rays passing us at dinner in the Japanese restaurant and even a lone dolphin passing by our water villa!
  • The spa – so many styles of massage available and a beautiful complimentary spa space to be enjoyed by everyone.

Soneva Fushi

Trailblazers of sustainable & barefoot luxury in the Maldives. Incredible food and amazing people!

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Vibrant & happy people
  • Sustainability at its core
  • Healthy food
  • Lush jungle surrounded by perfect water
  • Overwater restaurant with waterslide

$$$   ♻️

soneva fushi villas

We love Soneva. They are the OGs of sustainability here in the Maldives and have absolutely nailed the barefoot luxury vibe. Lose the shoes and expect only sand and wood on your soles during your stay. So much of the island is untouched and you’ll see lizards darting across the jungle paths and hear bird calls as you are exploring on your bike. It’s not uncommon to be completely surrounded in jungle without any signs of mankind. And this is all part of the way things are done here.

We hadn’t been to Soneva Fushi for around four years and we couldn’t believe how many people remembered us and welcomed us so warmly. We had so many moments of smiles and laughter with the staff. There is a very strong family vibe here and everyone is just so happy – it makes you smile! The other thing we hadn’t forgotten was the fresh and nourishing food – yum! They cater for all diets with exceptional options. Amazing elixirs, fresh organic greens from the cold room, pressed juices, delicious vegan and gluten free options – you can feel properly catered for and eat the very best food every meal.

One of my favourite experiences was their ‘Green in the Garden’ dinner. This is a vegan dining experience where you walk around the grounds with the chef, tasting fresh produce, sipping wine and snacking on pumpkin roasted over coals, followed by a 4 course meal under banana palms! Gosh take me back to that! 

Soneva Fushi has always been a jungle stay, however they have just opened 8 new overwater bungalows. These villas have taken on the Soneva Jani concept with added improvements – that’s right, they have waterslides too. The other new feature on the island is the overwater restaurant and chill area, ‘Out of the Blue’. Equipped with a waterslide, day beds & overwater hammocks to be enjoyed by all guests.

For those that value sustainability like me, Soneva has been genuinely caring for its island and surrounds for 20 years. Well before it was ‘cool’ or a marketing tool. It’s just in everything they do here, from their building materials, waste treatment and recycling, water usage and plastic reduction.

Other mentions:

  • Turtle snorkel – we saw 10 in one swim!
  • Sandbar experience just off the island
  • Guests are a community of like-minded, health-inspired, eco wanderers 

Six Senses Laamu

Sustainability minded barefoot luxury. An incredibly fun resort with so much to do, and a friendly atmosphere with like-minded people.  

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Private sand bank
  • Surfing 
  • Sustainability minded
  • Barefoot luxury
  • Untouched reefs in a remote setting

$$$   ♻️

aerial view of Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses has the perfect formula of healthy food, environmentally friendly luxury and organic experiences. The restaurants and villas are all constructed of natural timbers and all the touches are very earthy and raw. And everything is done so beautifully, from the outdoor showers to the overwater cafe & restaurants. There’s a treehouse restaurant too (Leaf) set amount the trees overlooking the garden where all the fresh produce is sourced. And the a la carte breakfast menu has the best fresh juices, smoothies and coffee options.

The island is in the Southern atoll of Laamu, far from other resorts and so is very pristine and largely untouched by tourism. This means that there is an abundance of amazing marine life. We got to check out the house reef with a snorkel, swimming with turtles, before heading out to the tall cylindrical pinnacle reefs just off the island. We were also lucky enough to squeeze in a house dive. Eagle rays, lion fish and a Moray eel were just a few of the encounters we had just off the island!

And so with all this untouched magic, Six Senses has made a massive effort to look after what it’s got. Sustainability is a part of everything that happens here and I was so happy to learn more. The team works with local communities for improved plastic consumption within the atoll, they protect significant parts of the region, help with local jobs and school education, carry out important marine research and sea grass protection for turtles, and incentivise sustainable fishing from locals. So inspiring!

One of favourite memories from our stay was being dropped at a sand bar just in sight of the island. We were left, just the two of us, with nothing but an umbrella and a water cooler for 2 hours on perfect white sand and crystal clear water. Then we headed home and watched the most brilliant sunset over palm trees on a neighbouring island. What a way to spend a day in the sun.

Surfing is one of the main attractions for Six Senses and one of many reasons we visited. The island is so well set up for surfing thanks to TropicSurf, who can take you for beginner lessons straight off the beach or out to more advanced reef breaks like the well-known right hander, Yin-Yang. We had another trip highlight here, Chesh and I both getting fun waves, with turtles in the water and a backdrop of the water villas and palms on the shore.

island at Senses Laamu

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

The perfect blend of relaxation, luxury, adventure & conservation. And all served up on a picturesque tropical island. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Private island spa
  • Stunning lagoon and long beach
  • Adventure experiences (like surfing) at your fingertips
  • Conservation works in reef restoration and turtle rehabilitation

$$$

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

There’s so much to love at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. Stunning overwater villas, immaculate beaches for swimming, coral planting & turtle rehabilitation initiatives and access to an abundance of nearby epic surf breaks. 

However the island spa is my absolute favourite aspect of the resort! It’s truly unique & taking a ride on the tiny traditional Maldivian dhoni boat to reach the spa, it’s an experience in itself. You’ll feel like a goddess before you even arrive, followed by one of the best spa experiences of your life! 

Other mentions:

  • Surfing with Tropic Surf. A short Dhoni ride to find clear waves that’s perfect for all levels. The perfect way to spend a day in the tropics and earn your sunset cocktails.
  • We saw rays, sharks and turtles snorkelling on the sunset-side lagoon, as well as seeing the coral frame we planted last time we visited.
  • The Indian food is amazing. We witnessed the way they cooked so authentically using a tandoor on a previous visit and the tastes are so reflective of that.
  • Turtle rehabilitation centre where you can witness first hand turtles being rescued & cared for by the amazing Marine Savers team.

Check out more on our One Week Four Seasons blog here.

Como Cocoa

An intimate and peaceful stay in barefoot luxury where wellness is the focus.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • One of the best menus in Maldives! Organic, garden to table dining with lots of vegan options
  • Small island with limited villas for an intimate stay
  • One of the most incredible sandbanks we have ever explored
  • Iconic COMO Shambala spa, including hydrotherapy pools for guest use

$$ ♻️

Como Cocoa sandbar

Como Cocoa is a beautiful, small island that embraces the best of barefoot luxury. Thanks to the small number of villas, there is an instant relaxation and peace that you feel as soon as you step off the boat. And this is all amplified by Como’s focus on health and wellness. With only one restaurant and no bikes or buggies, Como Cocoa is very intimate and calming in its stunning simplicity.

We loved the styling on the island. Recently renovated & encompassing natural materials, it makes for a raw experience where nature takes priority. The surrounding lagoon is shallow, calm & vivid. Explore the islands private, snaking sandbank & prepare to be mind blown! 

Probably our favourite part of the island was the food. The Como Shambhala menu was our go-to (açai bowls, fresh tacos & poke) and everything is so fresh, organic and nourishing. Without a buffet, the team can focus on delivering their single menu to an extremely high level of care. And the coffee is great too.

Other mentions:

  • Sustainability is a feature of Como’s operations, with coral planting and a no-plastic policy.
  • There is a famous dive site for sharks straight in front of the resort, though we didn’t have the time. Next time hopefully! 
Como Cocoa villa

Como Maalifushi   

Remote resort stay with its own private, uninhabited island next door.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Private castaway lunch experience
  • COMO Shambala spa offering exquisite wellness options
  • Organic, raw & healthy dining
  • Night snorkelling with whale sharks

$$$

Como Maalifushi island

Como Maalifushi is the only operating resort in the Thaa Atoll, so naturally, your stay will feel divinely remote. The seaplane journey is one of the best in Maldives, gliding over pristine natural islands lined with palms & pristine lagoons.

One of our highlights was spending the day at Como Maalifushi’s neighbouring island. It’s a short paddle from the resort, accessible for all guests and is nothing but dense palm jungle surrounded by turquoise water. An absolute dream! We opted for a private lunch experience, so we were whisked away by boat to indulge & explore the island privately for a few hours. Highly recommend!

The resorts aesthetic is laid back luxury with plenty of natural materials used throughout. We stayed in an overwater villa with a massive pool and cabana that was perfect for relaxing. We spent hours taking in the views of the lagoon and the island beyond.

Other mentions:

  • Whale shark night snorkel – we were on the wait list but unfortunately there were no sightings during our stay. The concept is truly unique though & we will visit agin to try our luck next time.
  • Private movie night was the best way to extend our day after dark, watching our choice of movie under palms trees and stars.
Como Maalifushi villas

Patina

Brand new Maldives resort offering a unique concept and Mexican vibes.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Architecturally designed villas and restaurants
  • Very calm and vibrant lagoon
  • Variety of restaurants with delicious menus

$$$

patina vila

Patina is a brand new resort. Everything is very trendy from the restaurants to the villas, catering for a younger crowd. The post-modern design features a lot of glass, natural materials and retro-style square shapes. And the concept is to blend the resort into the natural elements,  which has certainly been achieved.

Patina is one of three resorts (also Ritz Carlton and Capella) that have been built on the newly created ‘Fari Islands’. The concept here is that you can visit the other islands by boat to check out their facilities and restaurants, enhancing your stay and having plenty to see and do. Honestly though, we didn’t want to leave Patina island as the food was very good and with so many options. Our favourite was their vegan signature restaurant ‘ROOTS’, but otherwise there’s a dining strip at the marina that has amazing options too.

Other mentions:

  • Hammocks everywhere you look, including one in every villa
  • We stayed in a stunning water villa, however the beach villas are just as special. I felt like I was in Mexico because of the styling!

Baglioni 

The Italian take on a perfect Maldivian island. The best snorkelling trip ever!

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Italian food and coffee
  • Insane snorkelling trip at the neighbouring island 
  • Beautiful clear lagoon along the whole island
  • Great energy for couples and families 

$$

island of baglioni

We loved our Baglioni stay. The infusion of Italian culture into this perfect Maldivian island was such a unique way to enjoy this paradise. There was great coffee & pizza, and the greetings of “Bongiorno” made us smile every time.

Our highlight here by far was the snorkelling experience. This was honestly the best I have ever had in the 5 years I’ve been coming to Maldives. We saw incredible plate corals and seeing the reef so healthy here made me cry into my snorkel! We saw turtles, sharks and eagle rays in perfect conditions. And the reef was just off the most picturesque uninhabited island. I was in heaven.

Other mentions:

  • There is a big lagoon with baby sharks cruising the clear waters.
  • The main pool is very nice even. I’m not a pool person but I couldn’t help a little swim before our lunch of pizza and affagatos!

Vakkaru

Vakkaru you have my heart! This was one of our favourite stays. The staff and the service here was exceptional.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Overwater spa with luxury pools
  • Outdoor cinema and candlelit beach dinner
  • JetSki to a secluded sand bar
  • Yoga under the stars
  • Private wine reserve

$$$

vakkaru villa

Vakkaru’ (meaning coconut timber) is a fairly new property built on a former coconut plantation and the abundance of coco palms made this heavenly for me. This island is a pristine retreat destination. The villas and facilities are all so fresh and new, but there’s still a warm and relaxing vibe. For me, that vibe comes down to the people you’ll meet here. Smiling faces and nothing is too hard. These are the details that let you unwind and take in the rest of what the island has to offer.

If you are looking for relaxation, the spa area must be visited. We tried a couples massage as well as an Ayurvedic massage (with an expert consult beforehand). We also loved the complimentary spa space. The spa area is all overwater and you can relax in either the spa or pool after your massage – such an epic way to end your massage! You can also try Kundalini yoga under the stars. We had a private session and although we were a little out of our comfort zone at first, we felt so relaxed and connected to each other after our session.

If romance is more your thing, try the private beach dinner – an intimate meal by torch lights watching the sunset colours light up the sky. Followed by this we moved to our own private cinema, with a screen set up on the beach, our movie of choice and lounge suite with popcorn! This was such a memorable highlight for us! We were also at Vakkaru for Valentines Day and they spoiled us with a floating champagne in our villa pool.

Of course there’s plenty of adventure on offer too. Our fav was the JetSki to a private sand bank. Just a guide, Chesh and I travelling out through clear turquoise water to reach our own tiny little sand island for a few hours. Such a vibe!

Other mentions:

  • Several food options – we chose the overwater Japanese restaurant 3 times (our fav)
  • Dining experiences – like an organic farm to table lunch in the garden, the candlelit beach restaurant, and the wine reserve for dinner and wine pairings

vakkaru

Sarah walking on sandbar

Kandolhu

Tiny island with the best snorkelling, a Mexican bar and bathroom goals.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Very small island
  • Multiple dining options
  • House reef alive with marine life
  • Overwater villa bathrooms

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Kandolhu island

The smallest island we visited and we LOVED it! There’s only 30 villas and that means you have such an intimate experience. Kandolhu feels very remote and everyone (guests and staff included) are extremely friendly in a community sense. It’s a very wholesome vibe, surrounded by other tiny uninhabited islands.

Despite being so small there’s still four restaurant options. Our favourite place to eat by far was the lunchtime Mexican bar. Wow! A tiny little shack on the jetty with 6 bar stools and the best tacos in the Maldives. After swimming in the heat we dripped off in the shade and tucked into a Mexican feast. This was an absolute highlight of our trip!

The other massive mention has to go to the snorkelling straight off the beach. Seriously the best house reef in the Maldives. There is such an abundance of marine life in the water bustling around you. We were literally trying to avoid turtles bumping into us. And there’s a corner of the reef full of anemones and clown fish. So many active schools of fish and baby reefs sharks in the shallows. With such glassy conditions and clear waters it was like having an aquarium at your doorstep. You don’t even need to go below the water surface to see everything.

Oh and did I mention the Mantas? 😝 The Manta excursion was so insane. We saw 3 massive Mantas on our private tour and not another boat in sight. Pulling up in the middle of nowhere and sliding into the water with these beautiful creatures was such an incredible experience.

And finally I need to give special mention to the overwater villa bathrooms. The floor to ceiling glass bathroom with free standing bathtub was something that majorly caught my eye and was a massive drawcard for me. I don’t normally like to spend time sitting still when in the Maldives but this tub was the exception.

Coco Bodu Hithi   

A taste of traditional Maldivian hospitality and aesthetic where your happiness is the priority.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Private sand bank picnic
  • Sunset beach dinner
  • Manta snorkelling right near the resort

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beach day at Coco Bodu Hithi

Coco Bodu Hithi has a very calming feeling, warm staff and beautiful natural elements. Nothing was a problem here and the team genuinely wanted us to have very special experiences.

The jungle is very lush and the use of traditional dark timbers brings in that authentic Maldivian flavour to your stay. We loved walking along the curved jetty to get back to our water villa, catching turtles and eagle rays passing beneath us in the vibrant blue lagoon.

Coco does the bespoke experiences really well. The sunset beach dinner was a massive highlight where the team set up a little gazebo with white line curtains and the most insane fiery sunset. But our favourite experience was the sand bar picnic. Taking a traditional dhoni boat to a nearby empty sand bar, we had our own little timber & canvas shelter on the shoreline with nothing but 360 degrees of perfect blue lagoon.

Other mentions:

  • We had an amazing snorkel swimming with mantas! Close by the resort is a cleaning station where the mantas were hanging straight below us for around 10 minutes. Magic!
  • The overwater spa is visually stunning and we had the most relaxing afternoon going from the steam room to outdoor spa, following a lovely couples massage.
sunset boardwalk shot of Coco Bodu Hithi

Constance Halaveli

A great all-round mix of island vibes, overwater luxe, activities and great food options.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Swim with Mantas
  • Perfect palm laced beach and hanging chair
  • Sunset dhoni cruise

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sarah at constance halaveli

Our highlight at Constance Halaveli was easily swimming with Manta Rays – this is one of our most memorable experiences of our time in the Maldives. Chesh and I were just floating by ourselves away from our group when two massive Mantas started doing laps around us. It was so surreal to see these majestic rays totally unaffected by our presence. But what stood out was how the Constance team cared so much for the well-being of these beautiful animals and provided a very conscious and unobtrusive interaction in the ocean. This made the whole experience so special!

Our favourite part of the island was the beach near the Jahaz Bar. With the neon blue lagoon waters, the curved white sand beach, perfect palm trees and a hanging chair, it’s such a beautiful part of the island to enjoy. Our overwater villa had views of this beach too and watching the sun rise over this slice of paradise from our deck was unbelievable.

Another memorable experience would be the sunset Dhoni cruise followed by dinner at the Asian overwater restaurant. We watched sharks and fish swimming beneath us in the night lights as we ate. We also LOVED the sunrise with a floating breakfast in our pool, watching the sunlight break through a cluster of palm trees over our favourite beach. 

Other mentions

  • Glass bottom canoe
  • House reef was massive vertical drop-off for snorkelling

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