• The extravagant Velaa Private Residence overlooks the sea
  • Choosing The Best Maldives Island Resort for You

    Dive into a world of sand, sea and spa!

    Pristine beaches, sparkling waters and lush greenery: the icons of a Maldivian island resort getaway

    Island resorts are a great way to earn some respite. Bask under the yellow sun, laze about in the white sand, snorkel and dive into the far-reaching sea and relax at a spa – possibilities are truly endless at an island resort.

    With its white-sand beaches, pristine waters and a broad range of island resorts to choose from, Maldives is definitely the choice travel destination for an island retreat. But how do you decide which island resort is the best for you? 

    There are many things to consider. What kind of experiences would you enjoy? Underwater dining? Marine wildlife encounters? Are you a couple looking for a place for quiet and intimacy? Or perhaps you have energetic children who love to explore?

    We’ve compiled a selection of thirteen luxury island resorts in Maldives that we think you’ll enjoy, summarised with their unique specialties and recommended activities. Read on to discover the best-suited island resort for you and your loved ones!

    Anantara Kihavah Villas Maldives

    Find yourself surrounded by the sea as you dine at Anantara Kihavah's underwater restaurant in Maldives, a unique experience for an island resort.

    An underwater dining experience in Anantara Kihavah

    Anantara Kihavah Villas Maldives offers both water villa experiences as well as beachfront stays for their guests. All stays in this island resort come with either glass-bottomed bathtubs (for water villas) and rainforest tubs (beachfront villas), beach bags and a fully-stocked wine fridge for maximum guest satisfaction. 

    Fantastic for families and couples alike, an amazing dining experience awaits under the sea. Watch as a swarm of angelfish dart about a full-glass hexagonal space submerged in the middle of the ocean as you are served contemporary European dishes with a glass of vintage wine.  

    Dive into the ocean and snorkel alongside the gentle giants of the sea: the graceful manta rays. Attracting thousands of tourists every year, these elegant creatures sweep through the ocean currents with their wide-reaching wings and awesome mouths. 

    Pamper yourself even further with some spa sessions at Anantara Kihavah’s well-known facilities, hovering above the sapphire sea. Anantara Kihavah is home to Maldives’ only Cocoon Medical Spa, a treatment that specialises in restorative facials, Vitamin IV Infusions and other detoxification therapies. 

    When evening falls, turn your gaze skywards. Sip on your cocktails by the lounge bar and watch the silver galaxies come to life at Maldives’ very first over-water observatory. Peer through the powerful telescope and examine the constellations that have captivated humans since ancient times. Children will be delighted to spot the yellow rings of Saturn and the mysterious asteroid belts surrounding Jupiter. 

    Anantara Veli Maldives

    Another Anantara establishment, Anantara Veli Maldives provides an all-inclusive Maldivian experience for guests with their water bungalows. Unlike Anantara Kihavah, Anantara Veli is one of Maldives’ few adults-only island resorts, to preserve the serenity of the island. 

    One of its exciting highlights is free-diving in the Indian Ocean. Anantara Veli is Maldives’ first PADI-certified freediving centre, making it the ideal resort for adventurers who wish to explore the reefs surrounding Male Atoll. Snorkelling is an alternative to exploring the lagoons — the resort also has its own specially-designed snorkel boat to gaze at the colourful reefs from above the water. You can even learn how to surf the waves with some beginner courses with a friendly guide by your side.

    Create an intimate evening for you and your loved ones with a private cinema screening for two under the stars. With such a broad range of experiences available for guests, Anantara Veli is our top pick for adults-only island resorts in Maldives due to its best value. 

    A couple strolls on a jetty in Anantara Veli Maldives, having some great private time together.

    Spending quality time with your loved one

    Baros Maldives Island Resort

    Exclusive to adults as well, Baros Maldives Island Resort houses spacious island homes of different types. The Baros Suites has a private pool for couples to lounge in comfort while their Water Pool Villas have ocean-facing fronts to enjoy the vermillion sky at sunset. Delight in your own personal retreat, perched above the lagoon, at one of Baros Maldives Island Resort’s water villas, or for a real luxury treat, try the signature Baros Residence, a timber haven with its own private stretch of beach for intimacy and an outdoor shower with a canopy of leaves. 

    A massage to relieve your tensions for maximum relaxation at the Serenity Spa in Baros Maldives Island Resort

    A relaxing day at the Serenity Spa

    Visit the Serenity Spa, a cocoon of tranquility offering treatments ranging from pedicure to facials and massages. Try their Nourishing Nectar Body Wrap or their Deeper than Deep Hot Stone Massage to rejuvenate your skin and relieve the tension from your body respectively. You can even sign up for yoga classes to immerse yourself into a deeper state of relaxation. 

    Discover the surrounding ocean with water sports, such as kayaking, or in a transparent canoe, where you’ll get to witness the colourful inhabitants of the crystal-clear waters up-close. See the ocean in a different light at night: fluo night diving treats you to a neon world of corals, a truly unique experience. 

    What Baros does differently from other Maldives resorts is their romantic sand-bank dining experience. Admire the beautiful Maldivian sunset on a secluded sand-bank with a personal chef and steward to serve at your beck and call. Enjoy a breakfast of fresh prawns, or perhaps picnic sushi for two, and even a savoury seafood barbeque!

    Cheval Blanc Randheli

    If you want a taste of true luxury, Cheval Blanc Randheli is your best bet. Making headlines as a “private restoration paradise” with an island-sized spa treatment facility, this island resort is the first of its kind in Maldives and also the only one to offer Guerlain spa treatments. Guests can also customise their own spa treatments, like The Sun Ritual and After-Diving Experience which take the guests’ preferences into consideration. 

    Cheval Blanc’s emphasis on personal rejuvenation cannot be overstated: aside from their body treatments, they also offer a hair spa with a beauty studio and a barber shop on the island itself. Guests will be impressed by the assortment of glamorous hair treatments and styling offered as well as the award-winning hair care products designed by Leonor Greyl. Retail therapy is not excluded from the range of spa treatments as Cheval Blanc Randheli houses a Louis Vuitton store as well.

    Amazingly, with a dedicated spa facility this big, there’s no compromise on its accommodation sizes either. Your oasis can range from large floating water villas with modern furnishings to an entire island all to yourself. Families will be delighted by the immense space available for children to run, explore and splash about. 

    In addition to the fine dining options available on the island, wine connoisseurs must visit the glass-enclosed Wine Museum and Cigar Lounge. Taste a great range of vintage wines and partake in an exclusive Cheval Blanc cigar ceremony, paired with a curated selection of cigars. 

    At Cheval Blanc Randheli, you can have a private island all to yourself in the middle of the Indian Ocean

    Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island

    COMO Maalifushi

    Situated in the south of the archipelago, COMO Maalifushi is the only resort to open in Maldives’ Thaa Atoll and thus a literal getaway from the crowds. Here, you can learn how to sail and wind-surf, swim with whale sharks, and explore reefs under the cover of darkness with UV snorkelling. Children will leap with joy at the prospect of a dolphin cruise while playing in a splash net as it speeds over the waves. While the adults are at play, kids can too at the dedicated play area, Play by COMO Space, designed for meaningful children-directed learning.

    Treat your body to a healthy dose of food with COMO's specialty Shambhala cuisine at this COMO island resort

    Try some tasty and healthy COMO Shambhala cuisine at Madi

    A definite must-do at COMO Maalifushi is tasting the COMO Shambhala cuisine, exclusive to COMO establishments and served only at its restaurant, Madi. A unique nutritional concept that incorporates organic ingredients rich in vitamins and sea minerals, the COMO Shambhala menu features raw, steamed or grilled food to ensure maximum health benefits. The chefs at COMO use tandoor, a type of Indian oven which allows fat-free cooking as well as infuses dishes with a fragrant charcoal flavor.

    In addition, COMO Shambhala spa is another unique treat for the body and soul. Relax at one of its eight spa suites overlooking the sparkling sapphire waters. This signature spa treatment also includes their therapeutic juices to enhance restoration. Choose from a selection of treatments: detoxify your body with COMO Shambhala Escape, find your inner peace with COMO Shambhala Wellness or undergo a two-hour full body exfoliating process with a COMO Shambhala Ritual. 

    Huvafen Fushi Maldives

    Nestled in the north of Male Atoll, Huvafen Fushi Maldives houses thatched-roof beach bungalows and floating ocean pavilions furnished with a modern touch. Originally open exclusively for adults, it is now welcome to children of all ages too with a special Play Center Room equipped to entertain waddling toddlers and adventurous teenagers alike. 

    Huvafen Fushi boasts an atypical spa facility: an underwater spa, the first of its kind in Maldives and in the entire world. Enjoy spa treatments eight feet beneath the waves as you watch anemone dance and fish drift by, aided by the ebbing currents. Enter a dream-like state with Underwater Dream, a treatment exclusively designed by expert Beata Aleksandrowicz, where you are lulled into a peaceful sleep to restore your body’s hormonal balance. Or take an Underwater Rendezvous instead to ease the tension stored in your body with a detailed top-to-toe treatment.

    Then set sail on Huvafen Fushi’s Dream Dhoni. This 65-feet long traditional dhoni upgrades the Huvafen Fushi experience, allowing guests to explore the surrounding waters with their own captain and crew. Wake at sunrise for a breakfast cruise, admire spectacular sunset views while dining on deck, or even go stargazing aboard the dhoni – truly a dream come alive. 

    Enjoy a spa for two underwater in Huvafen Fushi, its signature experience for guests in Maldives

    A special underwater treatment room for two

    Niyama Private Islands

    Ideal for budding adventurers, Niyama Private Islands consists of two separate islands, aptly named Play and Chill. 

    Surf's up at Niyama Island's surf points, with waves that cater to surfers of different experiences and background

    Surf’s up at Niyama Island

    At the island of Play, you can enjoy uncrowded waves that are off the beaten path. Surfers can look forward to playtime at several surf points like Niyama Corner and Kudahuvadhoo Corner. Meet the waves of Niyama: Vodi, a powerful and sometimes hollow left-hander, as well as Kasabu, a rippable and hollow right-hander. Niyama’s surfing experts will provide guests with surfing recommendations according to their surfing experience and comfort at sea. 

    After an intense surfing workout, rest at Chill with a much-needed spa session at Niyama’s signature Drift Spa. Take a post-surf back massage to knead out the knots in your muscles and relax with a cool aloe vera body wrap. For an immersive experience, choose the Niyama Signature treatment for a two-hour long session: a coconut body wrap and an oil massage infused with tropical fragrances, coupled with Thai techniques, as well as an eye massage. Children are also welcome to join their parents for a spa session in a private sanctuary. Family Incredible lets Mum and Dad have a great unwinding session with a coconut body scrub and a tension-relieving massage while Junior enjoys the full works: a coconut scrub, wrap, aloe vera massage and a mani-pedi. 

    The little ones get their own dose of excitement too at this island resort. Set in the heart of Play, the amazing Explorer Kids Club immerses children in the surrounding nature and culture of the islands with full-day excursions. These little VIPs embark on curated activities tailored to their ages: snorkelling safaris, scout for dolphins, attend MasterChef classes and hunt for treasure. The best part? Children aged 3 to 12 play for free!

    Niyama also hosts its own underwater dining experience. Jump on a speedboat and head over to Subsix. Descend an impressive three-tier staircase and let the waiter usher you to your seat. Here, guests indulge in a wide range of tantalising Italian specialities (champagne breakfasts, subaquatic lunches and gourmet dinners) while watching Hawksbill turtles, moray eels and colourful parrot fish swim past the full-glass panels. 

    One&Only Reethi Rah

    One&Only Reethi Rah is an island resort home to not one, but twelve beaches. This means that privacy is guaranteed: you can have a beach all to yourself for some much-needed personal time. It also means that you can enjoy different perspectives of the Indian Ocean, and catch the sun rise and set over the sapphire horizon.

    At this island resort, you can enjoy once-in-a-lifetime marine encounters with a professional guide by your side. Observe the reef sharks that glide around Reethi Rah’s extensive clearwater coastline from the safety of your vessel. Then jump at the rare opportunity to swim alongside the great leviathan of the sea: the whale shark. Head back to the resort for an up-close encounter with the endangered Hawksbill turtle, spotted with patterns of brown, yellow and amber. Watch as they soar above the colourful corals, on the constant look-out for sea sponges and anemones to feast on.

    You can even obtain a scuba-diving accreditation right here in Reethi Rah. With the aid of professional PADI instructors, Maldives is a perfect place to perfect your techniques in the open sea with fantastic marine views to boot. Reethi Rah’s dive centre is also a proud member of 100% Project Aware, as part of their efforts in local marine conservation.

    With a tiring day out at sea, spa sessions are great for replenishing your body’s energy. One&Only Reethi Rah’s Spa and Fitness Center offers a wide variety of customisable treatment that caters to different bodily needs. The expert therapists will be glad to personalise your care routine with modern technology and natural essences to achieve your inner glow. 

    A gigantic whale shark swims languidly in the waters surrounding Maldives

    Get an up-close-and-personal encounter with a whale shark

    Six Senses Laamu

    A baby green turtle makes it way across the white sandy beach of Maldives

    Watch a baby green turtle make its way to the sea

    At Six Senses Laamu, this Maldives island resort aspires to engage guests in a holistic Maldivian experience. Pick your villa – at the peak of the island in the midst of bright greenery, facing the ocean and its white-sand beach, or floating above the waves with a full-glass pool. 

    Excite kids with a Finding Nemo Snorkelling Trip: hop on a dhoni and sail over to the reefs of the Laamu Atoll. There, your snorkel guides and a resident marine biologist will take you on a guided adventure of these snorkelling sites, where you’ll find the unmistakable bright orange clownfish darting between the tentacles of the anemone. 

    If you time your visit to Maldives right, you can sign up for a rare glimpse of green turtle hatchlings. From March to July, green turtles arrive on Laamu’s beaches to lay their eggs, and about two months later in May and August, you’ll be able to witness the sand give way to tiny green turtles. Watch them from a distance as they flap across the sand, anxious to dive into the sea to start their lives as green turtles. 

    What’s a Six Senses experience without a visit to their spa? Pamper yourself with a Laamu Kaashi Theyo at the Six Senses Spa Kunfunadhoo, either in a nest on the beach or surrounded by lush greenery. Let your skin rehydrate itself with coconut essence, a tension-relieving body scrub together with a relaxing massage. 

    What’ll truly delight adults and children alike, however, is Six Senses Laamu’s very own chocolate and ice-cream studio. An al fresco and sorbet parlour with over forty different flavours, your tastebuds will be spoilt for choice. Try their freshly-made chocolate truffles, paired with unique flavourings such as mint mojito, cinnamon and lavender!

    Soneva Fushi

    Soneva Fushi is Maldives’ first “Robinson Crusoe” style island resort.  The castaway exterior of the villas comes with slides to descend into the lagoon or pool below. Some of these villas are the majestic Private Reserve, the floating Water Retreats and Villa 15. Kids will have fun waking up to take a good morning splash!

    Learn how to dive at the Soleni Dive Centre, the first diving school to operate in the Baa Atoll. Diving groups are kept small so that attention can be divided equally among divers, regardless of experiences, ensuring an optimal diving adventure for all. For a broader exploration of the Indian Ocean, embark on a dive safari, where you can discover more of the Maldivian archipelagos. For the adventurous, freediving is an alternative – explore the marine wildlife in a single breath as you learn some finning techniques from the freediving experts at Soneva Fushi.

    If you prefer something a little more relaxing, you can opt to snorkel with manta rays that glide around the bountiful Hanifaru Bay during the months of June to November. Or take SEABOB with you instead, an environmentally-friendly, silent sea-propelling device that helps you explore the reef cities with complete freedom. 


    An eye-catching red slide accompanies your island villa in Maldives when you stay at Soneva Fushi island resort.

    Stay at a villa with a slide!

    Aside from diving and snorkelling, Soneva Fushi has its very own Soneva Glass Studio, where guests can create their own glass masterpiece to take home with a glass specialist at their side. What’s remarkable is that these pieces are created from recycled bottles from Soneva Fushi and nearby island resorts, as part of the resort’s sustainability efforts. 

    You’ll be glad to know that Soneva Fushi shares Six Senses’ spa, so you’ll be able to enjoy the best of both worlds – a Sonevian experience with a Six Senses philosophy. 

    Soneva Jani

    In the middle of the sparkling Noonu Atoll lies Soneva Jani, an island resort that’s easily identifiable by its interconnected city of water villas perched above the crystal-clear waves. Just like Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani also offers villas with slides, such as the Water Reserves and Water Retreats. 

    Explore Noonu Atoll with a snorkelling expedition. A trusty guide will lead you on this two-hour long exploration of the fragile coral systems as you watch the native turtles, manta rays and coral fish glide past you. Diving activities are also hosted by Soleni Dive Centre so the high-quality diving experience is definitely guaranteed across Soneva’s resorts. 

    An array of sweet treats can be found in Soneva Jani's Chocolate Room - a sweet addition to an island resort experience

    Sweet treats await in the Chocolate Room

    Unlike Soneva Fushi, however, Soneva Jani has its own spa: the Soneva Jani Spa. Spa Ritual specialises in sustainable products that are vegan, organic and animal cruelty-free. Here you can engage in manicure and pedicure services as well as body waxing for some beauty sessions. Undergo their signature Intuitive Therapy, where an expert will work with you to find out what your body really needs. They’ll proceed to administer massages at the essential areas, giving reflexology and energy work that’ll be beneficial for your holistic wellbeing. Kids are not excluded from some therapy sessions. Let your little princesses and princes enjoy 30-minutes full body massages, fresh coconut scrubs or mani-pedi as well!

    Pamper your sweet tooth as well by indulging in Soneva Jani’s Ice Cream and Chocolate Rooms. This sweet treat is served with compliments so feel free to indulge in a unique blend of flavorful ice cream as well as a decadent selection of bite-sized chocolates and candies. 

    Soneva in Aqua

    Soneva in Aqua is a pioneer in experiential luxury. It’s very much different from the previous Soneva island resorts: it’s a luxury 23-metre yacht with two spacious bedrooms, ensuite shower rooms and a glass-bottomed bath tub to glimpse the marine life beneath your feet. Soneva in Aqua provides you with a different perspective of exploring the Indian Ocean – a true-blue “living in a bubble” experience. 

    With its unique accommodation format, Soneva in Aqua presents a fully-customisable travel menu with its captain and crew at your beck and call. Your itinerary can be hours long or perhaps three days, or fifteen. You could be touring the atolls in a single day, visiting the unique Christmas Tree Rock and snorkelling among the fish in the Noonu Atoll. Or you could wake up to breakfast at the sun deck, keeping a look-out for the leaping dolphins, sea turtles and manta rays. You could go on a “surfari”, enjoying the surf points at the Baa and Noonu Atolls, or dive freely in the deep ocean. 

    It’s good to note that diving comes at a premium as you are basically unrestricted by your location. You have the lion’s share of dive sites: spot manta rays and eagle rays gliding at Baa Atoll, witness schools of snappers at Raa Atoll, explore Lhaviyani Atoll’s impressive shipwrecks and visit the must-see sandy plateau of Orimas Tila at Noonu Atoll. 


    A woman watches fish swim beneath her feet in her glass-bottomed tub aboard her luxury yacht, Soneva in Aqua!

    The sea beneath a glass-bottomed tub aboard Soneva in Aqua

    Velaa Private Island

    A luxurious living room, furnished with a modern design, overlooks a startling blue horizon at this island resort on Velaa Island

    The extravagant Velaa Private Residence overlooks the pristine sea

    Velaa Private Island prides itself as an island paradise, a place of seclusion infused with the Maldivian way of life. Its private residences are artfully designed for comfort, with stunning chandeliers and tasteful art decor on every wall. 

    Golf enthusiasts will be thrilled by Velaa’s sprawling golf course. The Velaa Golf Academy is designed by José María Olazábal, who is renowned for his short game prowess. This golf studio offers one-on-one coaching sessions with PGA professionals aided by the latest swing analysis technology and equipped with a Trackman simulator.

    Velaa Private Island neighbours Noonu Atoll as well – the underwater home to multitudinous scenic dive sites teeming with marine life. Go on an immersive tour of the coral gardens, as part of the island resort’s coral restoration programme, and discover the importance of the corals in sustaining marine biodiversity. 

    Enter Maldives’ first ever snow room, a cold sauna that helps to boost your immune systems and enhance your bodily awareness. If chills are not for you, there’s a traditional steam sauna room available to help purge your body of harmful toxins. These sauna rooms have splendid turquoise views of the ocean for maximum relaxation. Velaa Spa has also partnered with Dr. Burgener Switzerland, a world-leading expert in beauty and rejuvenation, to design personalised facial care treatments that include complimentary skin analysis. Give your face a regenerative boost with a Signature Luxury Green Caviar Facial or undergo an ultrasound Intense Glow Facial to purify and tone your skin.

    Not forgetting the children, Velaa has its own Kids Club, proudly made by kids for kids. Inspired by the owner’s daughter, children can slide down into a water park, climb up thrilling ropeways or watch Santa Claus touch down on the beach in his own private seaplane!

    Can’t wait to travel? Put yourself in the mood for Hong Kong to find out how you can kickstart your Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble experience!

    Looking for other island resort getaways? Why not check out our Fiji article?


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