When planning to visit here a holidaymaker is faced with a problem: which luxury resorts in the Maldives will deliver on the promise of the perfect beach vacation? But it’s a good problem to have. There are few other destinations that spoil for choice quite like this one.
We can’t claim to have the right answer for everybody, but the regular visitors to TravelPlusStyle.com should by now have the sense of what we dig. If your idea of the perfect resort involves great design, unostentatious luxury, and personalized service, if your best possible time off involves utmost exclusivity and authentic experiences—then look no further: this list is for you.
From simple island life to a sprawling luxury playground—these fifteen have one thing in common: they are all the very best luxury resorts in the Maldives.
1 Six Senses Laamu
“Laamu has all the ingredients of the perfect holiday—not least of which is the resort’s genuine barefoot luxury, presented in a pure atmosphere of carefree relaxation.”—from our review of Six Senses Laamu
Our regular readers will remember that we are huge fans of the Six Senses’ concept of rustic chic. After recently visiting Six Senses Laamu, we concluded that the chain’s Maldivian outpost is perhaps the best example yet of the philosophy that masterfully combines beautiful remote locations, eco-living, and uncompromising luxury.
We love it for: Our absolutely favorite thing about this resort was the wonderful Ocean Water Villa—spacious, with innovative features, and designed in a style perfectly aligned with the experience of a paradise destination.
Read our review: Six Senses Laamu, Maldives
Photographs (including the leading shot at the top of the article) © Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
2 One&Only Reethi Rah
After a few days at One&Only Reethi Rah we felt like we could stay here for a month and not get bored. With its fabulous style, glamorous atmosphere and sheer wealth of attractions Reethi Rah is like a cross between a spa resort, an exclusive country club, and a billionaire’s playground. It’s a beautiful world unto its own.
We love it for: The Beach Villa with Pool we stayed in. Luxurious, sleek, and offering a copious amount of space in and out. We also spent a few days in a Water Villa, which has a multi-level deck surrounded by lounging nets, spread over blue shallows. Occasionally, we’d dip into the calm waters, directly from the deck. Pure bliss!
Read our review: One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
Photographs above and below © One&Only Resorts
See our photos: Photos by T+S: One&Only Reethi Rah
3 Huvafen Fushi
During our stay here we discovered just how much Huvafen Fushi is about pure escapism: it offers a refreshing return to some true Maldivian basics. But the resort does not lack in the department of cool ideas, with their famous underwater spa or the twinkling-stars infinity pool, which is still among the most iconic in the country.
We love it for: Superb over-water bar for gazing at sunsets and our Ocean Bungalow with Pool. Its thatched rooftop looks rustic, but the interior is anything but, with a touch of a “contemporary urban loft” style and high-tech features to match.
Read our review: Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
Photographs above and below © Huvafen Fushi
See our photos: Photos by T+S: Huvafen Fushi
4 Cheval Blanc Randheli
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Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, the creative mind behind some of the world’s most stunning resorts (including the Chedi Muscat and many Aman resorts), Randheli brings to the Maldives the latest in contemporary luxury.
We love it for: Among the top 15 luxury resorts in the Maldives, the design of Cheval Blanc is perhaps the most glamorous and sleek — and its villas are simply stunning. They are absolutely massive, and their décor stands out with superb craftsmanship and detailing. Every single one of these sophisticated sanctuaries comes with a huge infinity pool.
Read more: Cheval Blanc Randheli set to become Maldives’ newest A-lister.
Photographs © LVMH
5 COMO Maalifushi
One of our recent trips to the Maldives wouldn’t be complete without a stay at the COMO resort, which we were looking forward to checking out since it launched in 2015. Our takeaway? We’ll pick the perfect combination of peaceful ambiance and pared-down looks of Maalifushi any time.
“Maalifushi encapsulates the spirit of an idyllic tropical life, serving the experience of barefoot luxury… and the pure escape-from-it-all” —From our review
We love it for: This island smells good, thanks to Shambhala, COMO’s own range of high-quality cosmetics, distributed in bathrooms. And the COMO Shambhala Spa was as good as we expected!
Read our review: COMO Maalifushi, Maldives
Photographs above and below © COMO Hotels & Resorts
See our photos: Photos by T+S: COMO Maalifushi
6 Soneva Fushi
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This is the first resort created by Sonu Shivdasani and his partner Eva, a hospitality industry power couple and the driving force behind the idea of back-to-nature, barefoot luxury holidays. Soneva Fushi is the original desert island hideaway in the Maldives—it practically invented the “castaway chic” fashion all on its own.
Seriously eco-friendly, its low-key, intelligent luxury turns a hotel stay into a magical experience. Plus, Soneva’s No-news No-shoes concept it’s not just on paper, as you are likely to go barefoot for the entire stay — just like we did.
We love it for: The villas, many designed in a “treehouse” style. These beautiful hideaways are well camouflaged by lush greenery. Ah, and also, Soneva Fushi has a fully-fledged night-sky observatory!
Pro tip: On the seaplane journey one thing came really handy: our noise-canceling headphones. From among all the headphones we tried, we can recommend the Sony WH1000XM3 as the best. Ad
Read our review: Soneva Fushi
Photographs © Soneva.com
7 Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
With more than 10 kilometers from the nearest inhabited island, Hadahaa is reminiscent of the untouched Maldives some fifty years ago. But there is nothing outdated about the resort. Park Hyatt wows with chic ambiance and exceptional architecture. Its reception lobby, resembling a huge upturned wooden Dhoni, is nothing short of iconic.
“Located near the Equator, and far away from artificial light sources, the island is blessed with a truly amazing night sky, glittering with myriad stars”.—From our review of Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
We love it for: Situated in Huvadhoo, the largest and deepest atoll in the Maldives, Hadahaa offers the pure Maldivian experience of blue sea, fine powdery sand beaches, and healthy, abundant house reef—with some of the best snorkelling in the country.
Read our review: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.Photographs © Hyatt Corporation
8 W Retreat & Spa Maldives
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In the luxury hotels enigmatically called “W”, the Marriott International emphasizes a confident, youthful brand—focused on fun, recreation and music. But only after visiting W Retreat Maldives we realized that what truly defines the W experience is the excellent service and attention to the smallest of details.
We love it for: W Retreat Maldives is perfect for anybody who appreciates a young vibe, good design, and fashionable music. It’s sexy, seriously indulgent and eminently luxurious.
Read our review: W Retreat & Spa Maldives, Maldives
Photographs above and below © Marriott International
See our photos: Photos by T+S: W Retreat & Spa
9 Gili Lankanfushi
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Planning a five-star holiday in Seychelles? Start here!
After a dangerously-looking fire that ravaged part of the island (including the villa we stayed at!), Gili Lankanfushi is once again accepting bookings, following an extensive renovation.
Known as one of the finest water villa resorts in the world and located on a beautiful coral island surrounded by shimmering blue ocean, Gili Lankafushi offers a truly serene experience that epitomizes a relaxed island luxury.
We love it for: The celebrated villas-on-stilts have a real wow factor: it’s the ultimate paradise living. The best ones are sprawling standalone “islands”, to which you can only get to by boat. Ah, and, underground chocolate cave, anyone?
Our photos on Instagram: Don’t miss some of the shots we took at the resort, including this above-and-under water pic of our villa, or this one from our sun deck, and this sunset! And did you hear about their bamboo bikes?
Read our review: Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives.Photographs © HPL Hotels & Resorts
10 Cocoa Island by COMO
“Inspired by the traditional Maldivian fishing boats, the Cocoa Island villas are an iconic idiosyncrasy of the hotel.”—From our review.
An older sister to the newly opened Maalifushi by COMO (see # 4), Cocoa Island offers pure island experience with its own brand of stylish, pared-down simplicity.
There may be no underwater restaurant or other fancy features, but COMO Shambhala spa is superb, diving and snorkeling is great, the beach just perfect—while the villas, styled as local dhoni fishing boats, seduce with a romantic design.
We love it for: Cocoa has an atmosphere of a tiny uninhabited island. All you need to remember is to pack the swimsuit… and maybe a couple of good beach reads.
Read our review: Cocoa Island, Maldives.Photographs © COMO Hotels and Resorts
11 Four Seasons Landaa Giravaaru
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Romantic and family-friendly in equal measure, this remote resort offers spacious luxury villas spread across a tropical island wilderness. Visitors can expect five-star facilities, world-class cuisine, pristine beaches and above all, the famous, impeccable service.
We love it for: You get not one resort, but two, and quite honestly both could be listed among the top luxury resorts in the Maldives. The five-star sister property of Four Seasons Landaa Giravaaru, Kuda Huraa, is a private island to the south, linked by the luxury catamaran Four Seasons Explorer, which cruises between the two places. Along the way, it drops anchor at exceptional dive sites, tiny uninhabited beaches, and remote island communities.
Photographs © Four Seasons Hotels Limited.
12 Shangri-La Villingili
“The visitors to the Maldives can do as much or as little as they like, with a strong emphasis on little” — TravelPlusStyle
This is not just another resort in the Maldives, but a whole destination waiting to be discovered.
The unique island of Villingili is covered by dense tropical jungle and has more than six kilometers of a picturesque beach. Shangri-La is the first five-star resort in the country located south of the equator.
We love it for: To avoid cutting trees down when constructing the resort many villas were built around the trunks. Some are actually built as “treehouses” — a first in the Maldives.
Read our review: Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives.Photographs © Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
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13 Velaa Private Island
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This 45-villa resort is the latest in ultra-luxury. Built for over $200 million, it is designed to attract the world’s 1%, and by that we mean the kind of people for whom spending thousands per night is a matter of course. And from among all the Top 15 Luxury Resorts in the Maldives, it is one of the most expensive ones.
We love it for: This place is all about realizing extravagant fantasies. Velaa offers a walk-in snow room (literally) in the spa, a three-person submarine, a stunning purpose-built yacht, the largest collection of wines in the Maldives, a roofed tennis court… we could go on.
Photographs © Velaa Private Island
14 Anantara Kihavah Villas
This resort seems to have it all: something on the water (spa), something underwater (the Sea restaurant and wine cellar), and something bigger and better from what its competitors in the Maldives could offer (the longest swimming pool).
We love it for: The huge Over-Water Residences, which come with massage pavilions and stunning views of the ocean.
Read our review: Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives.Photographs © Anantara Hotels
15 Niyama Private Islands
“For the ultimate treat, go for one of the two Ocean Pavilions with Private Pool, packed with the best the top luxury can offer” — From our review of Niyama
Not one, but two idyllic islands, Embudhufushi and Olhuveli are home to NIYAMA. This top luxury resort in the Maldives embraces elegance and tranquillity, balancing it with stimulation and fun, with cutting-edge design and plenty of quirky ideas.
We love it for: A range of fun activities include a 24/7 spa, an underwater nightclub, an interactive hub of remote control helicopters and buggies, weekly movie nights, and more.
Read our review: Niyama Private IslandsPhotographs (including the closing shot at the bottom of the article) © Niyama Private Islands
& Looking to the future
Our ideas as to which hotels deserve to be included in a list such as the Top 15 Luxury Resorts in the Maldives will be evolving. After all, new properties here are being launched constantly, and we have since visited the incredible Soneva Jani (don’t miss our review to check why it is one of our all-time favorite luxury resort in the Maldives) and St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort (we were in awe about its astonishing contemporary design).
Bookmark us for more hotel reviews, as well as “the best” lists—and in the meantime, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and join us on Facebook too, for a daily dose of travel inspiration. See you there!