The Maldives is a white-sand archipelago nation that is made up of almost 1200 islands. As a tourist destination, it was virtually unknown until the 1970’s, when the first two resorts opened. At present, there are over 105 resorts located in the different atolls that make up the Maldives.
Each resort in the Maldives is located on its own private island, a situation that is unique to this nation. Resorts here cater to divers and snorkelers, boaters and beach lovers. In addition to its beach encircling the island, each island has its own house reef which serves as a coral garden and natural aquarium for scuba divers and snorkelers. The shallow water enclosed by the house reef also serves as a large natural swimming pool and protects swimmers from the ocean waves and strong tidal currents outside the reef.
A Maldivian classic is the water villa (also known as an overwater bungalow), built on stilts directly above the ocean. Even the least expensive water villa will usually have a glass-floor section. Some luxury resorts offer water villas that have private pools on the terrace of each villa.
Due to its extraordinary underwater scenery and clean water, Maldives is ranked among the best diving destinations of the world. It is also one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations. The natural state of much of this country leaves a lot of room for green resorts and ecotourism. Here is a look at some of the top resorts in the Maldives:
1. Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
The Gili Lankanfushi resort, located in the Male archipelago, was rated one of the top five luxury resorts in the world by TripAdvisor. The main restaurant is outdoor, right on the sand, and they offer an a la carte Japanese fusion restaurant for something more formal. Villas are raised-platform beach huts that have rooftop access with convertible day beds up top for guests who want to sleep outside in the privacy of their own quarters.
2. Constance Moofushi
This five-star luxury resort offers an all-inclusive Cristal package to provide for all the needs of their guests. Rooms are all villas, and guests can choose between beach homes or stilted villas sitting over the water. The Constance Moofushi is a top 25 TripAdvisor hotel. Diving, fine dining, wedding and event planning and much more are available, and the high reviews include such praise as “luxury without pretension.”
3. Baros Maldives
The Baros Maldives is a perfect choice for those who love marine life. It not only boasts its own dive center with an in-house reef and over 30 dive sites within an hour from the resort, but a separate marine life center, where the non-SCUBA set can get up close and personal with the local sea animals and corals. Villas are beachside, poolside, or right on top of the water. Three on-site restaurants and two bars are included in the package as well.
4. Komandoo Maldive Island Resort
The Komandoo Maldive Island Resort, located on Lhaviyani Atoll, is most accessible by seaplane ride. In addition to beach and ocean villas, there are jacuzzi-side villas as well. Spa, pool and jacuzzis, open air showers and long expanses of beach are all a part of this resort, as are a number of excursions. Guests can participate in deep sea fishing, night fishing, luxury sailing or the “Robinson Crusoe” trip that allows a couple to be transported to an island that they have completely to themselves for a day.
5. Kurumba Maldives
This was the very first Maldives Resort, and has continued its tradition of opulence and luxury. Eight restaurants, three bars, beach and poolside villas, nightly entertainment and a house reef are just the beginning of the amenities that the Kurumba resort offers guests. Additionally, it is a mere 10-minute boat ride from Male. This makes it a great location for those who want to better understand the native culture, food, and lifestyle that Maldives residents partake in.
6. Lily Beach Resort
Lily Beach presents itself as one of the pioneers of the “affordable luxury” concept when it comes to all-inclusive resorts. They created the first all-inclusive plan that was rated five-star platinum in the region. Its location on Ari Atoll along Huvahendhoo island is a premiere location near many popular dive sites, and it is a great combination of lush tropical vegetation and expansive beach and reef opportunities on-site.
7. Kuredu Island Resort
The Kuredu Island Resort has a large variety of beach, water, pool and garden villas to choose from on site. Ninety percent of TripAdvisor customers claim they will either return or recommend this location to their friends. There are two levels of all-inclusive, gold and plus, that cover either the basics or the basics plus a few of the extra a la carte options as well. Four restaurants, two bars, and a large supply of non-motorized watersports are on site, as are pool, spa, and fitness center.
8. Anantara Dhigu Resort
This environmentally conscious resort follows the strict Green Globe standards. It is family friendly, offering activities from an organized children’s’ club and free meals to children under six. In addition to the 110 villas, nine on-site restaurants and several bars, the Anantara Dhigu brings special focus to the beauty of the land and surrounding ocean. It offers a special “adopt a coral reef” option for guests to become more intimately involved with the sea life around the resort, and take special care to protect their own coral animal.
9. Kuramathi Island Resort
The family-friendly Kuramathi Island Resort is another with a designated childrens’ club. It has a number of different villa types, including beach, water, garden, pool, jacuzzi, and honeymoon. The resort has a number of vow renewal or love ceremony packages that a couple can choose from. Additionally, a large sports center has infinity pool, jacuzzis, spa, exercise equipment and lit tennis courts. A local eco center with on-site marine biologist gives science buffs a great place to visit.
10. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
This Hilton-owned resort has twice been voted the best in the world. It straddles two islands with a beautiful lagoon between that is home to rays, young sharks, bright tropical fish and vibrant coral. The Conrad Maldives boasts 50 water villas, 79 beach villas and 21 spa villas with private treatment rooms. Guests are offered the experience of dining 4.9 meters (16 feet) below sea level with 180-degree views of the reef and marine life. On special occasions, the underwater dining room is transformed into a private bedroom suite. Other amenities at this resort include a luxurious cheese bar and a wine cellar with over 20,000 bottles.
11. Club Med Kani
This smaller, all-inclusive resort is situated on the island of Kani. This Club Med branch has only 75 stilted villas that are arranged to look like a palm tree from above. Kani has lush tropical foliage and a lovely snorkeling lagoon. They welcome children beginning at age 2, though they do not have children’s’ club facilities. Watersports that are included at the Club Med Kani are snorkeling and paddling by glass-bottomed kayak, and surfing and scuba are available for an additional fee.
12. Meeru Island Resort
One of the largest resorts in the Maldives the Meeru is split into three distinct zones, each based around a reception, bar, lounge and restaurant or café, two of them with a pool and one by the over-water spa. Though meals are buffet style, the chef takes special requests and will accommodate dietary needs for guests. Rooms are a mixture of hotel-style rooms in a garden courtyard and independent beach and water villas. A wide variety of entertainment and excursion options are available, as well as complimentary beach and water equipment.