Maldives hotels for every traveller

Eloise Barker for British Airways

Title photography by One&Only Reethi Rah © One&Only Resorts

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Castaways, choose your tropical island resort with care. Save for the odd sunset cruise or dolphin excursion, you’re stranded here for the next two weeks. Luckily each Maldives resort that we feature has something special: whether it’s stargazing, snorkelling or special villas. Pick from our selection of some of the best resorts… in the most beautiful place on earth.

For the submarine: Four Seasons Resort At Landaa Giraavaru

This gorgeous Four Seasons resort might have made the news for launching its own submarine (which takes two guests on an hour-long trip for a cool $1,500) but really, it’s the priceless nature encounters that make this place so special.

The lowdown…

The Baa Atoll consists of a string of UNESCO-listed islands and coral reef. And this is where you'll find the Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru, an ecologically friendly, obscenely luxurious hotel.

There are 106 perfect villas on the island: a tempting selection of over-water and beach properties. Their steeply-pitched roofs, open-plan interiors and big windows make them wonderfully light and airy. Lie in, and let a gentle sea breeze waft in, lifting your curtains to wake you for breakfast.

Once you’re up, you can dine in one of four tempting restaurants and sign up to an even larger menu of activities. Anti-gravity yoga will have you swinging from your hammock in the jungle yoga pavilion, whilst a sandbank picnic and a sunset cruise round off the day. The resort has a Marine Discovery Centre and, from June to November, you'll have a good chance of spotting manta rays off the coast.

Insider’s tip…

Jump on your free villa bike and head to Blu Beach. From here you can kayak out to Landaa Sandbank, or do a lagoon walk. Stroll along the sand spit until it simply pales away – and you’re left standing in the ocean.

Book a stay at Four Seasons Resort At Landaa Giraavaru

  • O' Bar and pool area, Kuredu Resort & Spa. © Kuredu Resort & Spa.

    Kuredu Resort

    Relax at Kuredu resort with a wide choice of restaurants and bars.

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For family holidays: Kuredu

Kuredu is an All Inclusive four star that’s great for families. Its host of activities will keep everyone entertained.

The lowdown…

A 40-minute seaplane transfer north of Malé, Kuredu is unpretentious and popular, with a 3km-long sandy beach. The beach villas are open to all ages, while the O Resort accepts guests ages 12 and up. The Kuredu Sangu Villas offer an exclusive retreat for adults.

Kuredhdhoo island is one of the few islands to offer golf; it has a six-hole pitch-and-putt style course. You can even book in for a night-time session. Kids will love the football pitch. Off-shore, there’s great snorkelling from the sheltered southern end of the island, plus a Prodivers SCUBA centre. In fact, the water sports here are very comprehensive, from fishing excursions to catamaran sailing and wake boarding. Back on shore, dress up for the White Party club night every Friday, then recover in the Duniye Spa.

Insider’s tip…

Kuredu is a great place to see bioluminescence on the beach – especially in November, when you might be able to walk along the sand at night and leave a trail of glowing blue footprints.

Book a stay at Kuredu

For super-luxury: One&Only Reethi Rah

This amazing hotel has had its fair share of celebrity guests, so you know you’ve picked a winner.

The lowdown…

Reethi Rah gives an impressive first impression, thanks to a luxury yacht on hand to transport guests from the airport to the island. Once you step ashore, you’ll find a series of beautiful villas and a buggy service with dedicated drivers that will transport you wherever you please. Get sun-ripened on one of twelve (yes, twelve) island beaches, the prettiest of which is probably Reethi (after all, ‘reethi’ means beautiful in Divehi). Elsewhere on the island, there’s a stellar tennis academy, complimentary kids’ clubs, and restaurants including Botanica – for farm to table freshness, and Tapasake – for Japanese cuisine and sunset dining.

Insider’s tip…

There’s no house reef, so take advantage of the snorkelling excursions from the resort’s dhoni, a traditional wooden boat. There’s a high chance you’ll spot hawksbill turtles.

Book a stay at One&Only Reethi Rah

  • Modern Japanese cuisine at Origami, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort. © 2018 Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas.

    Take a seat

    And lift the lid on modern Japanese cooking at Anantara Veli. Menu highlights at Origami include duck breast with lotus root, pickled baby onion and myoga (Japanese ginger).

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  • Underwater dining at Subsix, Niyama Private Islands. © 2018 NIYAMA.

    Seating with the fishes

    Originally a nightclub, Subsix is now an upscale restaurant that's six metres underwater. Whizz over on a speedboat from Niyama for a lunch you're bound to remember.

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  • Enjoy the live bands and the latest DJs at Breeze, Kandima Maldives. © Kandima Maldives.

    Decks on the decking

    Breeze, the hot pink pool bar at Kandima, is always lively, providing musical accompaniment to a dip in the dramatic, shard-shaped swimming pool.

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For the underwater restaurant: Niyama Private Islands

Divide your time between two islands labelled for your convenience: on ‘Chill’ Island you can go to the outdoor cinema or stay ensconced in your overwater villa. On ‘Play’ Island there’s an enormous kids’ club, water sports, tennis, football and ‘Surf Point’ – for some of the best rides in the Maldives.

The lowdown…

Connected by a wooden bridge, the Niyama Private Islands provide ample space for both couples and families. There’s a plethora of activities, plus simulators and video games in the high-tech games room. But the star of the private islands is actually out at sea. Subsix, the unique underwater restaurant lies six metres below sea level, bathed in eerie blue light by the open water. Submerge for a lunch sitting, or head over in the evening for a ‘glow party’. For more underwater spectacle, sign in for the daily snorkelling trips out to the reef.

Insider’s tip…

If you’d rather dine underwater for a Champagne breakfast or dinner, request a ‘Destination Dining’ experience at Subsix.

Book a stay at Niyama Private Islands

For adults only: Anantara Veli

Perfect for romantic holidays, this 18+ resort comprises just 36 villas on a private island. At Anantara Veli you get privacy and peace, but you also have full use of the facilities at two sister islands: Anantara Dhigu and Naladhu Private Island.

The lowdown…

Sitting in a trio of islands just a short speedboat transfer from Malé, Anantara Veli counts a great dive centre, authentic Japanese cuisine, and a fantastic Thai restaurant among its riches. Popular with honeymooners, there’s plenty to do for active couples – from tennis to snorkelling, parasailing and even surfing. Pop over to Dhingu for their over-water spa with a glass floor, or stick to the Vilu spa, set in the heart of the island.

Insider’s tip…

Get a picnic packed and visit Moyo island for some deserted dining – with only hermit crabs for company.

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For castaways: Gili Lankanfushi

What if Robinson Crusoe had washed up here? Gili Lankanfushi might have a castaway vibe (and the personal butlers are even called ‘Mr/Ms Fridays’, after the book), but you won’t be sending any desperate messages in bottles from these shores.

The lowdown…

Take your shoes off. Gili Lankanfushi is a little resort where, aside from tennis, you can do everything with your toes out and enjoy its so-called ‘no news, no shoes’ policy. Everything here is charmingly rustic; there are hammocks slung between pieces of driftwood, a swing set up over the open water, a cinema on the sand, private sailing cruises, and snorkelling tours with the resident marine biologist.

The whole hotel is built from sustainable materials, including bamboo, teak and palm – plus recycled telegraph poles – all magically reconfigured into beautifully-designed spaces. Your overwater villa includes an outdoor shower and a sun deck over the ocean.

Insider’s tip…

Among the fantastic restaurants, seek out the underground cheese and chocolate room to take your brunch to the next level of decadence.

Book a stay at Gili Lankanfushi

For island fun: Kandima

It’s all about being seen and having fun at the new and funky four-star Kandima resort. Honeymooners might want to look elsewhere, but the pace of life here suits families, groups, and sporty couples.

The lowdown…

A plane ride and speedboat transfer from Malé, Kandima has welcomed its fair share of British celebrity visitors since opening in 2017 (though we’re talking Love Island and Strictly television stars rather than grand dames or royalty).

The island is as long and skinny as a supermodel, and therefore has a whopping 3km stretch of beach. Every inch of the resort is devoted to fun, from the weekly beach club pool parties to the hot pink deckchairs, and the longest pool in the Maldives. There’s an enormous kids club, ‘Kandiland’ with a water play area and suitably whimsical activities – candy-floss making, anyone? Choose an affordable studio room with a private terrace, or upgrade to one of the water villas on the gracefully-curving jetty.

Insider’s tip…

Hammerhead Point is nearby, and divers can go and see eye-to-eye (one eye at a time) with one of the weirdest sharks in the sea.

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For value for money: Reethi Beach

On a tiny island reached by seaplane, Reethi Beach is great for active couples, with some of the largest sports facilities in the Maldives.

The lowdown…

This good-value hotel lets its scenery do the talking. With a fantastic location in the biodiverse Baa Atoll, there’s plenty of visiting ‘big game’ marine life: eagle rays, sting rays, sharks and dolphins. The house reef rests 30m from the shore, where you’ll get a serving of what’s known as ‘fish soup’ – water so thick with tropical fish that it’s practically chowder.

This tiny island is just 600m long and it might lack the polish of a super-luxury five star, but you’re here for the laidback vibe. Hang out on the beach or get in the water to make use of the excellent dive facilities. Scuba enthusiasts will find 30 different sites around the island’s house reef – suitable for both day and night diving. On land, the sports facilities are some of the largest on any island: serving tennis, badminton, squash and a gym.

Insider’s tip…

You’ll find the island’s Coconut Spa (with massage, body scrubs and other treatments) much better value than many other Maldivian spas.

Book a stay at Reethi Beach