Paradise might seem a pipe dream, but the Maldives is one of the few long-haul destinations on the government’s ‘green’ list.
It can be hard to work out the best island resort to suit you. Here, Jane Anderson, Editor of 101 Honeymoons, picks the best of the resorts, depending on your holiday type. Before you book, speak with the relevant tour operator about their rebooking policies, and check the latest entry requirements for the Maldives.
Best for: Honeymoons
It’s hard to go wrong with a honeymoon pretty much anywhere in the Maldives but the stars collide for newlyweds at Constance Moofushi. Much of the appeal comes from the awe-inspiring locale which starts with the epic azure sea views as your seaplane lands at Honeymoon Jetty and continues throughout your stay with the opportunity to dive with manta rays, or explore the lagoon in a dhoni. Senior water villas have bathrooms with outdoor bath tubs, and dreamy verandahs with steps down directly into the lagoon. Even the spa is overwater for soothing couples’ treatments. This is a resort where you can simply suspend normal life and focus on one another.
Book it: Mahlatini offers a seven night all-inclusive honeymoon at Constance Moofushi from £3,170 per person staying in a Beach Villa and including flights, seaplane transfers and lots of added goodies just for honeymooners. Find more honeymoon ideas in the Maldives.
Best for: Spa & wellness
Six Senses Laamu
The Six Senses hotel brand is renowned for barefoot luxury at its best. For wellness seekers, Six Senses Laamu a no-brainer. The spa lies at the heart of the resort with nine individual ‘nests’ dotted amongst lush foliage on the beach. Treatments range from traditional massages and cleansing rituals to a Himalayan body polish and sleep enhancing experiences, all using natural ingredients. This spa outperforms others with its wellness screening, sleep analysis, personal fitness training, movement restoration and mindfulness meditation. You can also enjoy aerial yoga or yoga Nidra from the raised yoga platform with its gentle Indian Ocean breezes.
Book it: Turquoise Holidays offers seven nights from £2,999 per person staying in a Lagoon Water Villa including a complimentary upgrade to half board, flights, domestic flights and speed boat transfers.
Best for: Fine dining
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
The myth that staying on a private island limits your food choices is well and truly busted at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island which is home to Ithaa. It’s the world’s original undersea restaurant, five metres below sea level and with 360-degree marine views. In total, the resort has eight restaurants including the Maldives’ first authentic Chinese restaurant, Ufaa, headed up by celebrity chef Jereme Leung. You can dine under the stars at Koko Grill restaurant, sample rare wines underground in The Wine Cellar or head 50 metres out to sea for the organic menus at Mandhoo Spa Restaurant.
Book it: Inspiring Travel Company offers seven nights half board in a Beach Villa from £2,999 per person (a saving of up to 45%) with flights and seaplane transfers. Find more luxury resorts in the Maldives.
Best for: Solo travellers
Bandos Island Resort
At Bandos Island Resort you won’t feel like the only single on the block amongst a sea of honeymooners. This friendly resort has long been a hit with solo travellers for its affordability and range of activities. Teeming with marine life, the house reef is easy to explore, and there’s access to more than 40 dive sites with daily snorkel and dive trips plus extensive water sports including windsurfing, catamarans, water skiing, parasailing, banana boats, fun tubes and boarding. Unusually, it’s easy to take an excursion to the capital island of Male, just a 20-minute speedboat ride away, or singles can opt to chill out and pamper themselves in the spa.
Book it: Barefoot Traveller offers seven nights in your own room from £1,495 including breakfast, flights and speedboat transfers.
Best for: Marine conservation
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu has all the attributes of a Maldivian resort with its tropical luxury and romance, but it also puts great emphasis on caring for the ocean habitat, without which tourism wouldn’t exist. Marine conservation is a top priority here and it’s impossible to stay on the island without engaging with this vital quest to preserve and enhance the ocean and its wildlife. The resort has in-house marine biologists who can take you snorkelling or diving over pristine reefs, teaching you about the marine life and perhaps spotting a black tip reef shark. Coco Palm is also home to the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre, operated in association with the Olive Ridley Project. Guests can engage with the work being done to rehabilitate the region’s sea turtle population. They can also take a morning cruise to observe wild spinner and bottlenose dolphins.
Book it: Wexas offers seven nights all-inclusive in a Beach Villa from £2,595 per person including flights and transfers. This offer includes seven nights for the price of five, complimentary upgrade to all-inclusive and US$150 resort credit.
Best for: Families
Club Med Kani, Maldives
This northern Male atoll resort is set on its own private island offering all-inclusive stays for families, taking the pressure off when it comes to those cries for cold drinks, ice creams and watersports. Unlimited champagne is served everyday from 6pm which should take the edge off for parents! Furthermore there’s much scope for chilling out when your children head to the Kids Corner. Children aged four to ten can expect shows, cookery, arts and crafts and sand castle building competitions, with over-eights able to go kayaking and sailing too. Those hard to please 11-17 year-olds can try out the flying trapeze, surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, big game fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing, glass-bottom boat trips and outdoor movie screenings.
Book it: Seven nights all-inclusive at Club Med Kani, Maldives start from £5,502 for a family of two adults and one child over six including flights and speedboat transfers. Under-6s stay free.
Best for: All-inclusive
VARU by Atmosphere
VARU by Atmosphere is known for its excellent service and value for money. It’s a resort that suits couples and families alike seeking an all-inclusive experience. Included in the price are premium brand spirits, wines and beers, a weekly gala dinner, unlimited cocktails and mocktails. There’s a free villa mini bar, daily snacks served between 4-6pm as well as lunch, dinner and complimentary non-motorised sports including canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, windsurfing, water bikes, water logs and water castle.
Book it: Etihad Holidays offers seven nights all-inclusive at VARU by Atmosphere from £1,773 per person in a beach villa with flights from London or Manchester and transfers from Male.
Best for: Water babies
One of the first resorts to open in the Maldives back in 1973, Baros has retained its intimacy and Maldivian charm with guests returning year after year. Water-based excursions include voyaging on Nooma, a traditional handcrafted Maldivian sailing dhoni, or a cruise on Serenity, a modern luxury motor yacht. The resort’s commitment to sustainability includes awareness programmes with tours to local villages and uninhabited islands, as well as diving and fishing expeditions. The Marine Centre offers water sports, sailing and fishing, as well as dives with environmentalists.
Book it: Abercrombie & Kent offers seven nights at Baros Island Maldives from £1,450 per person (35% saving) sharing a deluxe villa on a B&B basis. Return flights cost from £690 per person.