Mar 17, 2019
A 55-minute seaplane flight from Malé to the Noonu Atoll takes you to the midst of sparkling blue oceans, white beaches and alluring coral reefs. Upon landing at Cheval Blanc Randheli, prepare to be blown away by the hotel’s three islands: the first for the 45 one- and two-bedroom villas; another houses the spa; and the third is set aside for the tennis courts. Enjoy the welcome drinks as you are whisked to your private villa on the water.
In the charming white room with large, open windows and doors, with views of the main pool and sea, have a seat wherever you like. Staff is there to please you, and only you. Expect to be treated like royalty. Every food allergy or preference will be noted and e-mailed to the kitchen directly. chevalblanc.com/randheli/en; villas from US$2,250 plus local taxes.
If proximity to Malé is key, this 120-villa resort is a great fit. Only 20 minutes by speedboat from the airport, the Grand Park checks all the boxes, dotted as it is with 65 private pool villas, a large infinity pool, three restaurants, a spa and a kids’ club. The menu here spotlights Asian and Mediterranean flavors, with Firedoor the showcase dining outlet, specializing in smoking, slow-roasting and grilling thanks to its custom-built oven. The spa offers seven treatment rooms that emphasize rejuvenation and renewal. parkhotelgroup.com; villas from US$520 plus local taxes.
The resorts in this atoll like to cheekily use the hashtag #itsbetterinbaa, with good reason. Some of the most loved international five-stars call Baa Atoll their home, and now joining them is a new Westin, designed by PEIA Associati, whose founder has been called the godfather of modern Italian architecture. The one- and two-bedroom suites and villas are all about clean lines and direct ocean access. After a day of snorkeling and tennis, bliss out in the overwater Heavenly Westin Spa, where the glass floor keeps you connected to the beauty of the great blue below. marriott.com; villas from US$1,798 including taxes.
This private island, 15 stand-alone villas here officially opened on December 2018. Most are one-bedroom, but a pair of the villas include two and clock in at 390 square meters. Each of the earth-toned, natural-material villas comes with an ample 44-square-meter infinity pool set above the sea and massive outdoor decks to watch the world go by—above and below the waterline. Bang & Olufsen audio systems are wired into both Netflix and Spotify, while the 24-hour personal butler is a bell away.
At three hectares, this atoll is intimate to say the least, with a separate building or retreat housing a restaurant, bar, spa and communal infinity pool. Five minutes away at the sister resort of Hurawalhi is a restaurant located 5.8 meters under the waves, just because. kudadoo.com; prices available upon request.
“Secret water island” is the direct translation of the name of this all-villa resort. Among the mysteries you’re going to want to get to the heart of here are the Balinese artisan–crafted bamboo bar that includes no man-made materials, and the 200-meter pool that traverses the entire island and links up to the wondrous Coralarium, a semi-submerged hybrid of art and nature seamlessly connecting the skyline, tideline and seabed. Walk-swim-gawk your way through this refuge for both marine life and those intent on viewing them. It’s sure to inspire you to take a dolphin cruise, plant a tree, or create your own art—all of which are, naturally, options. fairmont.com; villas from US$1,230 including taxes.
In the lesser-touristed Noonu Atoll, pristine and untouched is the name of the game. Every villa in this precision Swiss getaway (prefer sunrise or sunset views from bed? The rooms are named accordingly) has its own pool, but with such magnificent nature at your front door, you are going to want to spend all your time in the sea. Mövenpick is near stellar dive sites, including Christmas Rock, a towering reef shaped like the holiday tree where white-tip reef sharks and stingrays come out to play. Game on. movenpick.com; villas from US$850 including taxes.
This is one resort that comes with its own art map. Each of the 73 villas and residences—ranging in size from one to four bedrooms—has its own infinity pool and butler service, but the real innovative features include artisanal amenities, curated in-villa libraries and handpicked art. All of this is meant to take guests on a sensory journey, whether via local artists or celebrated international designers. That creative sense extends to the four restaurants at Joali, including at Saoke, where sake, sashimi and teppanyaki reign supreme.
joali.com; villas from US$3,102 including taxes.