The Maldives is the ‘holy grail’ of tropical destinations and should be on any tropical lover’s bucket list.
After several months of reading reviews and talking with experts, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of the best Maldives resorts
Quick note: We suggest you read our Maldives Vacation Guide before picking your resort. It’s written by an expert that has been to 13 different Maldives resorts.
Below is our short answer, but you’re going to have to do more research to determine which resort is right for you.
What is the best Maldives resort?
The best luxury Maldives resort in our opinion is Soneva Fushi, however, it’s going to depend on your budget & preferences. Soneva Fushi is a resort that not everyone can afford. Our favorite budget resort in the Maldives is Bandos Maldives.
Alright, enough talking – here are the best resorts in the Maldives.
11. Bandos Maldives
Location: Bandos Island, North Male Atoll
Distance from airport: 10min via speedboat
Formerly known as Bandos Island Resort & Spa – it recently had a facelift to its overall appearance and renamed to Bandos Maldives.
It’s one of the closest resorts to Male International Airport, so if you don’t want to do much more traveling after landing, this is a great option. Like several of the other resorts, there’s a beautiful coral house reef that surrounds Bandos, making it a great place to snorkel & scuba dive. The reef is regarded as one of the best ones in the Maldives and is only a short swim away.
Staying at Bandos is still going to be fairly pricey, however, it’s cheaper than most resorts in the Maldives.
They offer 7 different types of rooms…
- Classic rooms
- Standard rooms
- Garden villas
- Deluxe rooms
- Jacuzzi beach villas
- Jacuzzi pool villas
- Overwater villas
Each type of accommodation ranges from being located on the beach to stilts over the water.
I’d consider Bandos Maldives if you’re not looking to spend an arm and a leg or if you’d like to be closer to the Male International Airport.
10. Komandoo Maldives
Location: Komandoo Island, Lhaviyani Atoll
Distance from airport: 40min seaplane ride
Komandoo island is a small, romantic island that stretches about 1600ft long by 650ft wide. As mentioned above, the seaplane ride is about 40 minutes – however, it’s one of the most scenic flights. It’ll go by quick because of the awe-inspiring views of the tropical islands you pass.
It’s an all-inclusive, adults-only resort, so it’s not the place for your next family vacation. It’s always nice to visit a truly all-inclusive resort – from the minute you arrive, you don’t have to worry about how much your next meal will cost.
They’re highly conscience of maintaining the sustainability of their island and even release a yearly sustainability report. From chemical management to environmental awareness, they have a strong eco-driven approach.
Offering 65 villas to choose from and it starts by choosing the location – either on the beach or overwater.
Their accommodation options include…
- 15 jacuzzi water villas
- 36 jacuzzi beach villas
- 15 beach villas.
First, determine your budget and then decide if you’d like to have an overwater villa or beach villa.
It’s always a great idea to split your stay between a beach villa and overwater bungalow if you haven’t experienced one or the other.
9. Veligandu Island Resort
Location: Veligandu Island, North Ari Atoll
Distance from Airport: 20min ride via seaplane
Covered with lush, white sand and surrounded by a beautiful turquoise lagoon, there’s not much more you could ask for at Veligandu Island Resort. Like most islands in the Maldives, there’s an abundance amount of sea life, especially since Veligandu is located around a house reef. From stingrays to sharks – you’ll witness all sorts of marine life.
It’s about 2000ft long by 500ft wide, making it large enough to have your own privacy, yet small enough to walk from one side to the other.
They offer a wide variety of accommodations:
- Beach Villas
- Jacuzzi Beach Villas
- Overwater Villas
- Jacuzzi overwater villas
The Beach Villas are less expensive than the Overwater Villas.
8. The Residence Maldives
Location: Falhumaafushi, Gaafu Alifu Atoll
Distance from airport: 1hr plane ride, then 10min boat ride
Located within the widest and deepest atoll in the world, the Residence Maldives offers everything you could dream of at a Maldives resort.
The definition of seclusion – it’s located far away from any local traffic that may interrupt your stay, like other resorts. It’s an incredible place for snorkeling because of the house reef that surrounds the island.
A short 5-10min swim out to the coral reef and it’s common to see..
- Moray eel
Equipped with 94 beach and overwater villas, there are several options to pick from.
The designs are inspired by the natural beauty of the island – from the roof materials to interior fabrics. First, determine how many bedrooms you need – they offer either one or two. Then choose if you’d like to stay on the island’s beach or overwater.
Would you like a private pool attached to your villa? They’ve got you covered.
However, if you’re an ocean enthusiast, the pool probably isn’t worth it.
7. Kanuhura Resort
Location: Kanuhura, Lhaviyani Atoll
Distance from Airport: 40min plane ride
Kanuhura Resort is a combination of three islands – the main one (Kanuhura) and two that are deserted (Jehunuhura & Masleggihuraa).
There is no surrounding house reef, so it’s not the best for snorkeling.
They’re known for having a various amount of turtle nests spread between their three islands. Most nesting happens on their deserted islands, but if you’re lucky enough, you may witness hatchings on the main island. It’s recommended to go on the speedboat wildlife tour, so you can witness more marine life – from dolphins to manta rays.
Offering over 80 villas, with 11 different variations – from on the beach villas to above water villas. All villas come with a private deck that feeds out onto the beach or lagoon. From different shapes and sizes to private pools, you won’t be short of options when picking a villa at Kanuhura.
Built with naturally sustainable materials, all villas are eco-friendly – which is so important since it’s surrounded by an abundance of sea life.
6. Baros Maldives
Location: Baros, Republic of Maldives
Distance from airport: 25min boat ride
Located in the southern part of North Male Atoll – Baros Maldives was one of the first-ever resorts to open in the Maldives.
Compared to other islands in the Maldives, Baros is relatively small and offers a more intimate experience. It’s not a party environment like some of the other resorts in the Maldives. It’s not geared towards kids (must be above 7 years old) or anyone single, rather it’s for couples looking for an intimate experience.
With over 44 years of being in business, it’s safe to say they’re hospitality veterans at Baros Maldives. Like most other Maldives resorts, Baros is surrounded by a coral house reef – attracting a plethora of sea life.
They have eight different types of accommodation styles (77 total villas), ranging in size to location. You can choose between being over the water or situated among the lush palm trees on the beach. They emphasize ‘privacy, serenity & comfort’.
Whether you’re looking for a private pool or a unique style villa – they offer a vast amount of options to choose from.
5. LUX South Ari Atoll
Location: South Atoll, Dhidhoofinolhu
Distance from airport: 25min seaplane ride
LUX South Ari Atoll is equipped with a five-star dive center, with an abundance of sea life surrounding the island.
Quite possibly one of the best places to witness whale sharks – they run tours consistently to spot these beautiful creatures. One of the coolest features is the outdoor cinema they offer – watch your favorite movies under the stars, while sipping a cocktail.
Offering an astounding 193 villas to choose from – it’s one of the largest on-water resorts in the Maldives. Choose from either the beach villas which are lined along the two-mile stretch of beach or their overwater villas that are perched upon stilts.
Prefer watching the sunrise or sunset without leaving the comfort of your villa? No problem, they have both sides covered with luxurious villas.
4. Six Senses Laamu
Location: Laamu Atoll, Olhuveli Island
Distance from Airport: 35min plane ride, then 15min boat ride
Located on Olhuveli Island, this Maldives resort is another tropical oasis.
It’s common to witness pods of dolphin swimming just offshore Six Senses. If you enjoy snorkeling, this is a perfect place for it, with a house reef located nearby. They even host a weekly night dive, which can be exciting to some but a nightmare to others (lol).
One of the best surf breaks in the Maldives is located just offshore (Yin Yang), so if you’re an avid surfer – this is a great resort to visit.
Six Senses Laamu offers a variety of accommodation options, from their well renowned overwater villas to their beach villas. With over 12 options to choose from, it can get a little overwhelming.
Do you want your own private pool with your villa or is that not a big deal? What about an ocean view? Is that something that’s a must for your accommodation?
It’s obviously going to depend on what your budget is, so we’d recommend reaching out to Six Senses Laamu to see what they recommend for you.
3. Gili Lankanfushi
*Important* Gili Lankanfushi recently had a fire that temporarily put them out of operation. They’re currently rebuilding & will reopen in December 2019
Location: Lankanfushi Island, North Malé Atoll
Distance from Airport: 25min boat ride
Ahhh, yet another gorgeous resort located in the Maldives that will leave you speechless.
It’s noteworthy to say that because it’s only a short boat ride away, it does often have boat traffic that passes by. It’s not as secluded as Six Senses Laamu.
Gili Lankanfushi is known as the ‘barefoot luxury’ resort, with the phrase “no shoes, no news.” If you’re looking for a Maldives resort on the water that’s more eco-driven, yet still offers luxury – this is a great one to add to your research.
At Lankanfushi, all of their villas are located just off the island, hovering above the water. With an astounding 45 water villas, this resort is the definition of a Maldives resort that’s on water.
Most of the water villas are attached to the island by wooden jetties and others are stand-alone, only accessible by boat.
Again, it all depends on what type of seclusion you’re looking for, some villas are going to be more secluded than others. As stated above, Lankanfushi is an eco-driven resort, which is why all of their villas are constructed with eco-friendly, sustainable materials.
2. Conrad Maldives
Location: Rangali Island, South Ari Atoll
Distance from airport: 30min seaplane ride
Conrad Maldives is a barefoot luxury resort that’s spread across two tropical islands.
They’re the masters of underwater experiences that keep you dry. What exactly do I mean by that?
Speaking of being underwater, they have a thriving amount of sea life that you can witness by snorkeling around the islands.
- Whale sharks
- Manta rays
There’s a good chance you’ll several of them.
Even though they do allow kids at the resort, they have a ‘quiet zone’ which doesn’t allow kids to enter. You’ll be able to find your own, peaceful slice of paradise at any given time.
When it comes to accommodations – you can choose between their 10 different styles of villas. Like most Maldives resorts, they’re not just limited to one location.
First, pick between a beach villa or an overwater bungalow. Every villa comes with free wifi, an HDTV, Nespresso machine & two water bottles daily.
1. Soneva Jani
Location: Baa Atoll, Maldives
Distance from airport: 40min seaplane ride
An outdoor cinema, built-in waterslide, barefoot luxury – these are all things that describe what your luxurious stay at Soneva Jani would be like.
It was started by Sonu Shivdasani & Eva Malmström. They fell in love with the Maldives at first sight & leased their own island in 1990. Fast forward five years and Soneva Fushi was born in 1995, becoming one of the very first luxury resorts in the Maldives. They’re even the founders of the Six Senses Resorts, however, sold it in 2012. It’s safe to say, they’re at the forefront of luxury hospitality.
With 23 types of villas to choose from, there’s no shortage of accommodations. Ranging from single bedrooms to nine bedrooms within a single villa – they can accommodate just about any size party.
One of their most popular attractions is their waterslides that are attached to some of their villas and either feed into a private pool or ocean. You’ve might’ve seen pictures & videos of these on your Instagram feed.
It’s important that if you’re looking for more privacy to request the sunrise side of the island. However, if you’d rather prioritize better snorkeling for some privacy, then choose the sunset side.
If you visit Soneva and can’t get enough, they even offer ownership for some of their villas. Yup, you read that correctly – you can actually buy one of their villas, so you can return anytime you’d like. It’s not cheap, but buying a slice of paradise is priceless.
And that about covers the best Maldives resorts you should consider adding to your bucket list. It really is all going to depend on your budget and what you’re looking for. Are you a family with kids or newly-wed honeymooners looking for privacy?
Whatever resort you choose, you’ll be left in amazement by the tropical beauty of the Maldives. It’s unlike any other place in this world.