Hotels & Resorts

11 of the Best Maldives Resorts for Luxury and Honeymoon Escapes

The best resorts in the Maldives for luxury vacations and honeymoon escapes offer their guests star-lit picnics, coral plantations, and wine tasting in the company of rare marine creatures.

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Courtesy of Fairmont Maldives

By Justin Calderón

Dec 8, 2021

REMOTE OVERWATER VILLAS set upon impossibly sapphire blue lagoons is the most common image that pops into our mind when we think of the best resorts in the Maldives — but the most memorable experiences are so much more than that, especially for those looking for truly luxurious vacations and honeymoon escapes. 

From a private dip in a plunge pool just steps from your bed, to deep-sea diving with manta rays — the Maldives offers both serenity and adventure for couples who seek it out. Little wonder it’s often referred to as a honeymooners’ paradise.

The Maldives is a cauldron of cultural influences. Across centuries, explorers, seafarers, and wanderers from India, Persia, Arabia, Africa and Sri Lanka set up home in the atolls of Maldives, bringing with them a host of culinary flavors. 

This history makes the global range of culinary experiences available there, in even the farthest-flung islands, seem like a natural progression. While, today, curries in tropical coconut milk are the predominant palette-definers for locals, many of the best resorts in the Maldives offer up to eight different restaurants on one island, including luxurious options for couples looking for vacation date nights. 

This list of 11 of the best resorts in the Maldives for couples and honeymooners offer stunningly unique tropical architecture, easy access to gorgeous coral reefs, yachts slicing through the still of the ocean, dives with whale sharks, and seafood with a side of indigenous tropical cocktails. 

1. Naladhu Private Island Maldives

The private island housing this Maldives resort seems perfectly made for couples.  

The villas are arranged such that the experience of being in them is one of complete privacy, with the staggered layout, interspersed with tropical vegetation, cutting out the visual interruption of any wandering guests. The individual villas are open plan with standalone bathtubs that overlook the private pool and are surrounded by a natural stone deck. 

Why it’s on the list: “The Kuwaanu [butler] is at guests’ disposal 24 hours a day,” says Giles Selves, the cluster general manager at Naladhu Private Island, “both as their guide and to provide services ranging from unpacking or serving an early morning smoothie or arranging a romantic private dinner on the beach.”

Number of villas: A Maldives resort of 20 private houses on the South Male Atoll, Naladhu Private Island Maldives offers its guests a bespoke luxury experience — curated by the resort and delivered by a butler round the clock. 

Connection time: This resort is 30 minutes away from the Malé International Airport via a speedboat connection. 

2. Six Senses Laamu 

The Six Senses Laamu builds on the resort brand’s philosophy of cultivating holistic health through all six senses. 

Among the features of the guest villas are open-plan bathrooms with antique travel trunks repurposed as washbasins — adding a hint of quirkiness to an otherwise meditative white and wood interior. 

Centered around the sustainability and wellness pillars for which Six Senses is known, this Maldives resort offers nature walks with one of the biggest marine biology teams in the nation. 

The resort is also located near to world-renowned dive sites situated close to the island, as well as big waves for travelers seeking fun adventurous water sports, such as surfing, as well as a spa with wellness experts and a host of therapeutic treatments. The resort currently has five distinct dining outlets, each with continually evolving menus. 

Why it’s on the list: “There’s a range of sustainability and marine conservation initiatives visitors can get involved with, including marine biology talks and sustainability tours,” says Marteyne van Well, the general manager of Six Senses Laamu. These unique educational experiences make Six Senses Laamu one of the best Maldives resorts for couples with either young children or just a childlike curiosity about the natural world. 

Number of villas: This 97-villa property features daybeds on the deck overlooking the ocean, open-to-sky showers curtained off with bamboo embankments, and inbuilt couches with upholstery mimicking the colors of the setting sun. 

Connection time: Located on the Laamu Atoll, 50 minutes away from Malé International Airport via a domestic flight right onto Laamu’s Kadhdhoo airport, Six Senses Laamu is one of the best resorts in the Maldives for honeymooners seeking barefoot luxury with a healthy dose of sustainability. 

3. The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort has one of the most avante-garde yet environmentally conscious designs in the country, thanks in part to exaggerated roof slopes built with local thatch. 

Its pared-down minimalist interiors draw attention to the vibrance of the surrounding nature — a turquoise ocean that runs onto a sea-shell dotted beach — the emblematic main show that guests travel to the Maldives to experience. 

Of the wellness highlights, The St. Regis Maldives offers an Ayurvedic couples massage in its Iridium Spa, combined with a unique hydrotherapy session in the Blue Hole,  a naturally formed pool in the Indian Ocean. 

For honeymooners seeking a culinary experience, this luxurious Maldives resort also offers private, sommelier-led wine tastings in its underground wine cellar, as well as a five-course tasting menu. 

Why it’s on the list: The St. Regis Maldives offers a diverse range of activities for couples, including, says Vincent Pauchon, the general manager, a “romantic movie night tucked amongst the lush vegetation, private charters for snorkeling explorations and dolphin spotting across the Indian Ocean.” 

Number of villas: One of the best resorts aesthetically, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort houses 77 villas, 44 of which are overwater and 33 on the beach. 

Connection time: The resort is a 45-minute seaplane flight away from the Malé International Airport.

4. LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort & Villas 

One of the best resorts in the Maldives, LUX* South Ari Atoll Resorts and Villas has taken the concept of eco-friendly to the next level, having installed the world’s largest floating solar panel system off of its coast. 

An interesting experience for eco-conscious honeymooners seeking a sustainable holiday destination, this resort has its own drinking water plant, has recycled over 800,000 plastic bottles, and hosts an “adopt-a-coral” program. 

The LUX* South Ari Atoll Resorts and Villas offers selective seclusion with customized picnics on the beach, as well as special menus in a herb garden, all with the possibility of tasting Italian, Japanese, Indian, Maldivian, Mediterranean, and Asian menus. 

Why it’s on the list: “Couples can choose to admire the famed Maldivian sunset on a traditional dhoni boat,” Patrick Aira, the General Manager, tells us. The resort also offers “a pop-up cinema under the stars, a couple’s massage class at LUX* Me Spa, and a cooking masterclass,” he says. 

Number of villas: LUX* South Ari Atoll is one of the best resorts for couples seeking options, as it features 193 villas, including pool water villas, temptation pool water villas and one LUX* Villa, located on one of the largest islands in the South Ari Atoll in the Maldives.

Connection time: A 25-minute seaplane from the Malé International Airport.

5. Conrad Maldives Rangali

This adults-only resort has a twin-island design, as well as The Muraka, an underwater residence, submerged five meters below the sea, providing a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive experience for honeymooners seeking the ultimate in luxury in the Maldives. 

We appreciate its seamless integration of the indoor and outdoor sceneries in all its villas, and its ode to tropical Maldivian architecture with local wood and thatch. Interiors throughout Conrad Maldives Rangali are minimalist with tones of white and light grey creating a fertile canvas for the streaming sunlight and the reflected ripples of the ocean. 

The expansive rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows are capped by slate roofs that echo both the light greys of the interior as well as mild greens of the palms around. A pebbled path leads to private pools, which mirror the resplendent turquoise of the daytime Indian Ocean. 

Why it’s on the list: The island offers myriad marine experiences, from snorkeling to glass-bottomed boat kayaking. “It is an explorer’s playground, surrounded by one of the country’s best diving and snorkeling areas, with whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins and turtles,” says the resort’s general manager, Carla Puverel. Moreover, what makes the Conrad Maldives truly unique are its undersea spaces — including an undersea restaurant — with cylindrical roofs allowing you to marvel at fish swimming overhead.

Number of villas: It has a total of 100 villas spread across two islands.

Connection time: Nestled in the South Ari Atoll, Conrad Maldives is a 30-minute seaplane ride away from Malé International Airport.

6. Cheval Blanc Randheli

Cheval Blanc has 46 villas set in the pristine Noonu Atoll. Its French style of hospitality, emphasizing French gastronomy, sets it apart in a nation of tropical and Asian cuisines and breezy island lifestyles. 

Cheval Blanc Randheli is creative in its blend of French concepts with local Maldivian experiences in both its menus and its interiors. High sloped ceilings interrupted with wooden rafters and highlighted by hanging lights — in both the villas as well as the restaurants — allow for the space to feel generous, luxurious and warm, with sunlight streaming in and the ocean reflecting on its white-linen king beds. 

Lemon-colored accents line the couches and the bathroom to add a pop of color to the otherwise mellow interiors of slatted wood and off-whites.  

Courtesy of Cheval Blanc Randheli (2)

Why it’s on the list: Cheval Blanc has a host of local dining venues where guests are “welcomed with the Maldivian Maison’s signature Art de Recevoir, a unique sense of genuine warmth, and the refinement of French savoir-faire,” says Marlene Simon, the resort’s sales and marketing manager.

Making Cheval Blanc even more unique: a surf simulator, the only one in the Maldives. 

Number of villas:  46 villas, including Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island, which is a one-hectare private island containing a four-bedroom luxury villa 

Connection time: A 40-minute seaplane ride from Malé International Airport.

7. Patina Maldives Fari Islands

Designed by renowned Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan, Patina Maldives is located in the new Fari Islands archipelago in the North Male Atoll.

Its architecture was designed to foster deep connections with nature, as well as with local people through its materials and textures of deep earthy tones and fine-grained wood. The step-down decks that project out from the bedroom of overwater villas onto the plunge pools hanging over the sea show a careful integration of architecture with the Indian Ocean.Unlike a lot of other Maldives luxurious resorts, the Patina Maldives has flat roofs, which house solar panels to power the property sustainably.

The team at this resort collaborates with renowned names in art, music, culinary arts, photography, fashion, and design. The resort offers an immersive culinary experience of 12 intimate dining concepts, a portion of which are assembled by two-Michelin star chef Nick Brill at Fari Beach Club, who visits the island several times a year. 

Courtesy of Patina Maldives Fari Islands (2)

Why it’s on the list: For those looking for unique honeymoon experiences, the resort offers a variety of options, “from cruises and romantic dinners onboard superyacht Adastra, to line ups of musicians and permanent installations by international artists, including the revered James Turrell,” the resort spokesperson says. 

Number of villas: 90 contemporary one- to three-bedroom Beach and Water Pool Villas and 20 Fari studios.

Connection time: A 45-minute luxury speedboat or 15-minute seaplane ride from Malé International Airport.

Sponsored by Patina Maldives

8. Kurumba Maldives

Located in the North Male Atoll, Kurumba Maldives is one of the most convenient resorts in the Maldives to feel immersed in.

The interiors of the beach villas here offer intimate connections with the outdoors. Multiple openings in the villa span the entire width of the wall and are openable through glass windows, as well as hand-operated wooden levers. 

For an additional natural touch, the open-air showers and sundecks are built into the layout of the beach villa, adding an immersive feeling of nature. 

Why it’s on the list: The Veli Spa, inspired by the Maldivian Ocean, offers healing remedies to its guests which represent “the balance of the oceans and the energy of the indigenous people of the Maldives,” says Andrew Jansson, the general manager at Kurumba. The resort offers eight restaurants and four bars with menus ranging from traditional Maldivian to to Thai to an intimate overwater Japanese teppanyaki bar. Prioritizing convenience, Kurumba has all-inclusive dining packages and runs their speedboat from the airport 24 hours a day, so couples can start their romantic Maldives experience almost immediately after they land.  

Number of villas: Kurumba has a total of 180 rooms in 8 different categories, each with its own unique style ranging from modest and artistic, to majestic and generous as overwater and beach villas. 

Connection time: Located on the North Male Atoll, Kurumba Maldives is a 10-minute boat ride away from the Malé International Airport. 

9. Vakkaru Maldives

Nestled in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Vakkaru Maldives is surrounded by an abundance of warm tropical waters teeming with vibrant coral reefs. 

Dressed in warm earthy tones, the overwater villas at Vakkaru offer unrestricted views of the ocean right from its king-size beds. On the island, beach villas open up to sky-colored private pools surrounded by lush foliage and white sand. 

Why it’s on the list: There is no shortage of activities at the Vakkaru, an important quality of the best resorts in the Maldives. “The resort has seven restaurants and bars, an overwater Merana Spa, an overwater gym and yoga deck, and tennis and padel courts, plus a host of watersports and culinary experiences, including intimate sandbank picnics and private plant-based dining in the resort’s lush organic garden,” Maria Sadipun, the assistant director of marketing and communications says. The Vakkaru also offers an exclusive ‘Under the Stars’ package: a unique spa journey that includes a guided meditation session and couples massage, culminating in a romantic destination dinner on The Sandbox, in an open-air locale. 

Number of villas: One of the best Maldives resorts for romance of the moonlit-beach-walk variety, the Vakkaru consists of 113 beach and overwater villas, each with a master bedroom, a living room, and a private deck. 

Connection time: A 30-minute seaplane ride from the Malé International Airport

10. Fairmont Maldives 

Tucked within the Shaviyani Atoll, the uber-luxurious Fairmont Maldives is popular for its immersive marine-life experiences and its overwater villas, which stretch over the Indian Ocean in an almond-shaped formation and adorn countless postcards and travel guides for the Maldives. 

The resort’s beach villas are built with slatted bamboo and heavy door frames, lending stability to the otherwise airy, relaxed atmosphere of the interiors. The bathrooms house rustic-style fixtures with granulated textures on the walls and a rough-stone pathway leading to the open-air showers and bathtubs. The jungle villas are tent-style rooms with a fabric structure, set amidst tropical foliage. 

Courtesy of Fairmont Maldives (2)

Why it’s on the list: This resort offers multiple dining experiences — some for sushi, some for fresh lobsters, and some for lavish buffets accompanied by sunset views and exotic cocktails. A set of unique experiences at the Fairmont Maldives includes looking after turtle nests and witnessing turtle egg hatching, as well as planting coral reefs at the Coralarium, the Maldives’ first and only coral regeneration project in the form of an underwater art installation.

Number of villas: Fairmont Maldives has 120 luxury overwater and beach villas

Connection time: A 55-minute seaplane ride from the Malé International Airport

11. Anantara Kihavah

Situated on the scenic, UNESCO-protected Baa Atoll, Anantara Kihavah is built in harmony with the existing natural features of the site. No trees were felled during the construction of this resort, explaining why an occasional coconut tree juts through the roof in the villas. 

The underwater restaurant Sea is one of the most scenic in Asia, with mirrored interiors, expanding the ocean views and giving its guests the feeling of truly being inside the ocean. It also hosts the world’s first underwater wine cellar. 

Why it’s on the list: Anantara Kihavah’s island is home to a fantastic coral reef teeming with tropical wildlife and rare nocturnal marine creatures, such as hawksbill turtles, nurse and reef sharks, and manta rays — making it one of the best resorts in the Maldives for couples who dive or want to learn. Ross Sanders, the resort’s general manager, tells us the story of what they call The Golden Wall: “A vertical section of the house reef descends to a depth of 30 meters. Its beauty is found in the sea life inhabiting the wall, covering its surface, overhangs, and edges. The wall is dominated by widespread colonies of soft corals in multiple colors. However, the predominant gold and yellow variations make it clear to any diver why this reef is called the Golden Wall.” 

Number of villas: Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas is an all-pool-villa private-island resort featuring 73 pool villas that are overwater adorning the Indian Ocean or tucked away in the privacy of white-sand beaches. There are also 7 multi-bedroom pool residences, each equipped with a living and dining room, fully fitted kitchen, spa-treatment room and gym.

Connection time: A 35-minute seaplane ride away from the Malé International Airport

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