16 best Maldives resorts for an island getaway in 2024

The dazzling sea of dream options have been narrowed down to these very best Maldives resorts, which cater to every whim.
Best Maldives resorts: Baros Maldives overwater bungalows

Overwater bungalows at Baros Maldives resort

Baros (main)

Of all the world’s dream destinations, the Maldives delivers most precisely what it promises in the brochures. Blinding white talcum sands. A sea of hues so blue they seem unimaginable, and certainly indescribable. Swaying palms, balmy breezes, astonishing reef encounters — all these come as standard. The question you need to ask yourself is, what else do I desire? A waterslide from my master suite straight into the lagoon? Done. A submarine restaurant where I can dine while surrounded by sea creatures? Take your pick. A private plane to fly me to those hard-to-reach surf breaks? At your service.

With almost 1,200 islands scattered across the equator and just over 100 resorts in the Maldives, there’s a Maldivian address to satisfy every whim.

Best Maldives resort for dining

Overwater villa at One & Only Reethi Rah Maldives resort

One & Only Reethi Rah

Pitched at the ultra-luxury end of the spectrum, Reethi Rah caters to every appetite. Its signature Reethi space is split into three settings, offering a range of cuisines that cater to most tastes. Plus, you can dine on exceptional Japanese fare at Hoshi or opt to dine poolside at Italian-leaning spot Rabarbaro. Or keep it simple with a private dinner at one of the island’s 12 beaches. Finally, the resort’s farm-to-fork concept, Botanica, serves oragnic produce in alfresco setting, among exotic blooms and a spreading banyan tree. It’s the ideal spot to dine under the stars.


Best Maldives resort for design

St Regis Vommuli Maldives Resort six-room spa resembles a lobster

St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

From the air, St Regis Vommuli’s six-room spa looks like a lobster. The bar, a soaring, streamlined form suspended above the ocean, takes the shape of a whale shark. The 44 overwater villas fan out across the ocean like a school of manta rays, and the library channels a giant conch. Opened in late 2016 and designed by Singapore’s aptly named WOW Architects, Vommuli is the Maldives’ most daring design statement. And with form comes function: all villas have private pools.


Best Maldives resort for romance

Gili Lankanfushi Maldives resort villa suite with infinity pool

(Photo: Gili Lankanfushi)

Gili Lankanfushi

The overwater bungalow has become a byword for romantic escape since they first appeared in French Polynesia in the 1960s. The Maldives claims more stilted love nests than any other honeymoon destination, so they can sometimes feel less singular and special than lovers anticipated. All 24 overwater bungalows at Gili Lankanfushi are set discreetly enough apart for privacy. And then there are the Crusoe Residences for a next-level romantic experience. These seven freestanding thatch mansions are perched in the centre of the lagoon, accessible only by boat, each with rooftop terraces, glass floor panels, daybeds and a hammock strung across the water.


Best Maldives resort for your own private island

Four Seasons Private Island at Voavah

Four Seasons Private Island at Voavah

Picture the dream deserted-island hideaway. A seaplane arrival at an oasis of caster-sugar sand anchored in an ocean of aquamarine. The submarine world is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, home to the largest known population of manta rays. In the super-marine world, up to 22 guests stay in a three-bedroom villa, a two-bedroom stilt house in a lagoon, and a communal beach house — each with its own pool. Moored offshore are a private spa with on-call therapists and a 19-metre yacht with divemaster. Imagine beach parties, dinners on secluded sandbanks serenaded by a string quartet, and cocktails. Voavah is an island of absolute privacy and endless possibility, for a reported $US38,000 or so a night.


Best Maldives resort for diving

Overwater bungalow with infinity pool at Baros Maldives resort

(Photo: Baros Maldives)

Baros Maldives

The scuba set are spoiled for adventures in the Maldives, but Baros remains a favourite both for its excellent reef and the fact it was one of the nation’s first dive sites when it opened in the 1970s. Baros’s dive centre offer PADI certification and day or night dives on the island’s renowned house reef, less than 30 metres from shore. Baros is 25 minutes by speedboat from Malé airport, so you’ll be immersed in no time.


Best Maldives resort for surf

Two bedroom Ocean Beach Villa at Six Senses Laamu Resort

Six Senses Laamu

One of the most coveted breaks in the archipelago is Yin Yang, and it unfurls just offshore from the 96-villa Six Senses Laamu on Olhuveli Island. It’s known as one of the most reliable swells in the South Atolls, a sturdy barrel that peaks between June and September (when only more confident surfers should attempt it). A new partnership with Australian outfit Tropicsurf allows the resort to offer professional coaching to all comers.


Best Maldives resort for snorkelling

Aerial view of Amilla Maldives resort

(Photo: Amilla)

Amilla Maldives

Most resort islands have a house reef but only Amilla’s offers direct access to the Blue Hole, arguably the Maldives’ most celebrated snorkelling and dive site. It’s located directly in front of the 67-room property, easily accessed by speedboat or a brisk swim, and is teeming with marine life. Given its prime location on the UNESCO-protected Baa Atoll, Amilla could easily rest on its corals, but its team of marine biologists work hard to interpret the underwater world for guests, who are encouraged to upload their photos to global research databases of manta rays and turtles. The resort is also handily located near Hanifaru Bay, a hotspot for whale sharks and manta rays and accessible only to snorkellers.


Best Maldives resort for fun

Finolhu Maldives resort beach club


Billed as the “naughty sister” of Amilla, since opening in June 2016 Finolhu has kept Maldives party-goers entertained with a non-stop roster of DJs and live acts that put the lie to the archipelago’s reputation for rest and relaxation. When the sun’s out it’s chilled tunes and poolside lounging. At night the action swings to Finolhu’s duplex beach-club bar, kept lively by a roster of event organisers. Expect mermaids and stilt walkers, weekly pool and monthly full-moon parties and six annual events featuring headline performers and DJs airlifted in to rock the tropics.


Best Maldives resort for extravagance

Floatation pool at Huvafen Fushi Maldives resort

Huvafen Fushi

Huvafen Fushi has been a jetset staple since opening in 2004 with the world’s first underwater spa. Drift from a glass-walled treatment room to one of 44 bungalows – each with plunge pool, espresso machine, and Bose surround-sound system – then to your choice of seven restaurants and bars (including a wine cellar set eight metres underground).


Best Maldives resort for spa treatments

Bathroom in a Sunset Deluxe Water Pool Villa at Velaa Private Island

Velaa Private Island

Indulgence knows no bounds in the Maldives. At Velaa Private Island, a 43-villa affair, the six-room spa offers guests something found at no other resort in the region — a snow room. Conceived as a mini-archipelago of thatched huts hovering above a blue lagoon, this is one dreamy hotel spa. It also features a Cloud Nine flotation suite, a stylised adult “cradle” designed to rock guests into a state of profound relaxation. Velaa also lays claim to the Maldives’ only shaded tennis court, its largest wine cellar — and a submarine.


Best Maldives resort for water sports

Overwater spa complex at Lux South Ari Atoll Maldives resort

Lux South Ari Atoll

At the 193-villa Lux South Ari Atoll resort there’s little rest for adrenaline addicts. When not airborne above the lagoon on flyboards and hoverboards they’ll be kitesurfing, windsurfing or wakeboarding, jet-skiing or water-skiing, paddleboarding or simply paddling. Lux takes its watersports so seriously the resort has committed to adding a new activity every year to keep ahead of the competition. And its location in the southern atolls puts it within striking distance of four top-rated dive sites, including Maaya Thila, Sun Island (for whale sharks) and the Broken Rock canyon.


Best Maldives resort for service

Como Cocoa Island resort, Maldives

Como Cocoa Island

In a rarefied world where the best hotels routinely assign Man — and Woman — Fridays to cater to guests’ every caprice, it’s tricky to pinpoint the hotel offering the finest service. But Como Cocoa Island stands out for its long-serving staff and their uncanny ability to anticipate guest needs. This might be a day at the spa, or a beach barbecue of just-caught fish, or a Mojito delivered poolside. In premium two-bedroom villas, dedicated butlers elevate Cocoa Island service even further.


Best Maldives resort for underwater dining

Sunset at the dining complex, Anantara Kihavah Maldives resort

Anantara Kihavah

Dining on poached lobster medallions and potato-crusted bream in a submarine restaurant while thousands of wild aquatic creatures circle your table might not be everyone’s idea of a relaxed meal.

But the Mediterranean-accented fare, underwater wine cellar and elegant design at Anantara Kihavah’s Sea restaurant offer precisely what many travellers seek in the Maldives — the extraordinary and the unforgettable.


Best Maldives resort for families

Pool area at family-friendly Maldives resort Soneva Fushi

(Photo: Richard Waite)

Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi has a knack for making children feel like adults and adults feel like children the perfect outcome for a family holiday. The wondrously equipped kids’ club has a waterslide, pirate ship and craft classes among myriad diversions. For adults there’s the spa, excellent dining and — most importantly — babysitting services. For all ages there’s the ice-cream kiosk, dolphin spotting by dhoni and private screenings at the outdoor Cinema Paradiso. Accommodation options suit families of any size, and include a residence with giant waterslide.


Best Maldives resort for stargazing

Soneva Jani Maldives resort at twilight

(Photo: Burak Issevan)

Soneva Jani

The night skies of the sparsely populated equator are some of the most dazzling on Earth and this resort makes them a starring attraction. Each of Soneva Jani’s one-, two- and three- and four-bedroom villas feature retractable roofs to encourage heavenly contemplation. For more serious stargazing, there’s an overwater observatory with a telescope and a resident astronomer on hand.


Best Maldives resort for sunset cocktails

Enjoy sundowners at the cocktail bar at Como Maalifushi

Como Maalifushi

The first resort in the southern Thaa Atoll, Como Maalifushi has 65 suites and villas and uninterrupted views of this remote corner of the archipelago. The relative lack of development and passing traffic — on the water or in the air — makes Maalifushi one of the most attractive spots to watch wide-screen sunsets over the Indian Ocean. The best seats are at Tai, an overwater, open-air bar and restaurant where staff enhance the nightly light show with Japanese-accented cocktails.



Singapore Airlines, Ethiad Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates and SriLankan Airlines fly from select Australian cities to the Maldivian capital, Malé, via stopovers.


Peak season for travellers is December to April, when the weather is dry and the humidity eases.

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