With more than 130 picture-perfect resorts with their brilliant white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, swaying palms and coral reefs – choosing where to stay on a magical Maldives getaway can be tricky.
While each of the Maldives’ 1000+ islands look equally alluring, it pays to narrow down your search depending whether you’re looking for a romantic escape, a ‘flop and drop’ break, a family vacation or an action-packed adventure exploring the island’s marine life, surf breaks and local culture.
When to go Maldives
Despite the water and weather being warm in the Maldives all year round, November to April is peak season when it is dry and calm. The humidity is higher from June until August, and rain is more likely in September and October.
How to get to the Maldives
While there are numerous direct flights to the capital Malé from Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Middle East and more, the location of your resort will determine whether the next leg of your journey is via speedboat, seaplane, domestic flight – or a combination. AirAsia offer affordable fares so when you save on the flights, you can splurge on the accommodation.
For those just wanting to slip into their swimmers and make the most of every minute, there are a number of resorts within a short boat ride from Malé. On the other hand, those seeking more secluded spots can travel 90-minutes from Malé via seaplane and speedboat to reach their accommodation (but it’ll be worth it!).
Where to stay in the Maldives
The Maldives offers four different types of accommodation:
Resorts: One of the only places in the world that can host one resort per island. These luxurious retreats offer relaxation, adventure, private beaches and incredible cuisine all in one spot. The Maldives has 140 resorts to choose from – with new properties opening each year. Check out the Raffles Maldives Meradhoo or Pullman Maamutaa Resort Maldives.
Hotels: On the more affordable side are the 12 hotels on offer, which cater to business travellers and those wanting to have easy access to different parts of the Maldives.
Liveaboards: For the seafarers and thrill seekers, there are over a 150 liveaboards to sail away on. Guests can learn how to dive and surf – as well as be wined and dined – all from the comfort of their own private or semi-private vessel.
Guest houses: Nested amongst the Maldives’ most welcoming of local communities lies over 500 guest houses, where travellers can experience traditional Maldivian culture and cuisine.
Top things to do in the Maldives
Take a moment in Malé
Often overlooked by travellers rushing to get to their final island destination, capital city Malé is worth exploring for an insight into the Maldivian way of life. From the 13th century mosques, to lively fish markets and myriad of eateries dishing up fresh seafood, spicy curries and traditional roshi bread, Malé offers an alternative view of life in the Maldives. And, since seaplanes only fly during daylight hours, you might need to stay in Malé pre or post-international flight – depending on your schedule.
It pays to do your research if you fancy combining your R&R with an appetite for activity and adventure. Consider whether you want a resort with a gym, tennis courts, evening entertainment, water sports or a choice of restaurants and bars – or whether a bed, a beach and a book are all you need.
Dive under the ocean
Whilst every Maldives resort will have access to magical marine life via its own lagoon and/or reef, there are a few standout regions when it comes to proximity to shipwreck dive sites, manta rays, or swimming with whale sharks. Ari Atoll and Vaavu Atoll (especially Alimatha Island) are popular with divers, Banana Reef is terrific for snorkelling, and the South Ari Atoll (try Mirihi Island Resort) is the prime spot to snorkel with whale sharks all year round. To meet the Maldives’ famous manta rays, head to the UNESCO-protected Hanifaru Bay – Milaidhoo Island Maldives is just 10-minutes away, making it the ideal place to stay.
Surf the waves
Famous for its spectacular surfing, there’s a break for the bold throughout most of the year in the Maldives. From March to October the action is on the Malè Atolls; between May and August there’s sublime surfing on the Central Atolls; while the Outer Atolls boast two separate surf seasons, from February to April, and again from August to October.
Party in paradise
In the Maldives, you can actually find a vibe that’s more ‘Mykonos meets the Maldives’ than ‘Castaway’ – think international DJs, pool parties, underwater nightclubs, sports simulators, 3D outdoor cinemas, waterfront discos and a glam, festive vibe. So grab those cocktails and hit the dance floor to party the night away in paradise.
Explore the local life
A number of the Maldives’ inhabited islands have begun opening guest houses and Airbnb accommodation for travellers looking for an alternative to the typical ‘one island, one resort’ experience. Browse markets for handicrafts, play chess with locals in the street or take a dip at a local beach – just remember to do so in clothing not swimmers, just like the locals do. Alternatively, take a day trip to a local island, either from Malè or from select island resorts. Maafushi is just half an hour from the airport and home to a population of 4000, while Thulaadhoo is renowned for its lacquered wooden handicrafts, and is accessible by speedboat or the local ferry from Male.
The Maldives’ resorts epitomise laidback luxe. From overwater bungalows with glass floors to underwater restaurants, personal butlers, decadent spa treatments and private dining, there’s plenty of ways to indulge yourself – and the one you love. Ravishing resorts acclaimed for their exclusivity, ultra-attentive service, five-star cuisine, spacious suites and spectacular style can be found scattered across the Maldives, just like the Raffles Maldives.