Like a precious necklace draped across the aqua waters of its gigantic lagoon, the Maldives offers more than a thousand reasons to visit. Welcome to our Maldives travel guide.
The Maldives is made up of 26 coral atolls and almost 1200 remote islands speckled in the Indian Ocean. About 200 of these islands are inhabited, with 90 developed as tourist resorts, each surrounded by waters filled with abundant sea life and fringed by white powdery beaches.
One of the most unique island destinations in the world, the Maldives defies comparison in the luxury stakes. All the major hospitality brands are represented here and island resorts are scattered like loose gemstones across a distance of 90,000km2 to the south-west of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean.
Popular with scuba divers, surfers and especially honeymooners, this idyllic paradise sits upon a tranquil lagoon with year-round tropical weather. The crystal-clear turquoise water is its main feature and many of the activities are focused either on or under the ocean’s surface. However, if watersports are not your thing, each resort has luxury facilities to keep you active and relaxed.
The hardest part is choosing where to stay. There are so many incredibly enticing accommodation options. And while it may seem that a trip to this country will break the bank, there are actually great accommodation offerings on any budget.
There are island’s with underwater restaurants, flagship spas and swanky nightclubs; resorts that house bungalows only accessible by boat (for the ultimate private getaway); and pools that stretch to ‘infinity and beyond’.
On a little freckle-of-an-island, rimmed by powdery white sand and turquoise waters, Cocoa Island by Como is all low-key looks and laidback style but oh boy, what style.
The gentle curves of the chic overwater villas are inspired by the dhoni boats used by local fishermen. There are wide decks for lolling around, or you can snorkel in the warm water among fluro-bright reef fish.
Finolhu has the iconic beach bubble tents – the transparent inflatable bubble allows guests to enjoy a closer-to-nature experience, albeit completely secluded from other guests, but totally on show to the world at the same time. If you’re worried about comfort, you needn’t be – your bubble accommodation is decked out with bespoke furnishings, a separate adjoining bubble bathroom and shower.
Finolhu is also home to the Club Med Villas, made up of 52 overwater eco-villas. Each villa features a personal host on-hand to indulge every whim, for instance breakfast or afternoon tea served in the privacy of your own villa. Meanwhile private dinners or luxury spa treatments at the resort’s organic spa can also be booked at the drop of a sunhat.
Soneva Jani is from the same group that runs Soneva Fushi, a few atolls across the crystalline sea, but this time the luxe factor has been supersized. It’s more of a solitary – rather than a social – experience here, and like everywhere in the Maldives, it’s about the villa above all else, because that’s where you spend most of your time.
Veligandu Island Resort is one of the more affordable options, with a mix of over-water and beach villas.
Velaa Private Island has been designed with incredible architecture and absolute privacy in mind. You can stay in your typical overwater villa or get the ‘honeymoon suite’: a Romantic Pool Residence, which is only accessible by boat and features a sundeck, sunken bath, personal gym, butler and private chef – naturally.