With nearly 200 resorts in Maldives, the competition in the luxury market is becoming fiercer by the year.
Manmade island resorts – Ritz-Carlton Maldives and Patina on the Fari Islands - for instance – offer the height of contemporary luxury but miss that coral-sand natural feel underfoot. While we have fully reviewed twenty Maldivian luxury experiences, there are so many more that deserve to be mentioned.
The BusinessClass.com guide to paradise island resorts also worth considering on a trip to Maldives:
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is the luxury hotel brand's first foray into the region. Located in the North Malé Atoll, the resort is just 10 minutes by seaplane, 45 minutes by speedboat and an hour by yacht – from Malé. There are 100 beautifully appointed 1 to 3 bedrooms villas, each with views over the ocean – either from the beach or overwater – an infinity swimming pool, sundeck, and butler or Aris Meeha. The rooms are contemporary in design – beach resort chic. The Ritz-Carlton Maldives offers a number of land and water sports including tennis, football, fishing, diving, badminton, pétanque and there is a state-of-the-art fitness centre. Opt for a private sandbank experience or celebrate love under the starry night sky with a beachfront dinner.
The property recently announced a partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society and the development of their Ambassadors of the Environment program. The Ritz-Carlton Spa Maldives has nine rooms and offers a host of relaxing and rejuvenating treatments. The Ritz Kids Club is designed for ages 4 to 12, with the island’s four pillars – land, water, environmental responsibility, and culture prominent in the activities that younger guests are offered. There are three resorts in the Fari Islands of which the Ritz-Carlton is one. Built around a Beach Club, the shared Fari Marina will offer guests numerous alternative dining experiences. The resort itself has seven restaurants and bars – the highlight being the Maldivian offshoot of Singapore’s Michelin-starred Summer Pavilion.
Patina Maldives, Fari Islands
Patina Maldives, Fari Islands is the inaugural flagship property by sophisticated lifestyle brand Patina Hotels & Resorts, the latest hospitality concept by Capella Hotel Group. Designed by Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan, there are 90 Beach and Water Pool Villas alongside 20 Fari Studios, all themed to embody a sense of sanctuary wellbeing. The Fari Studios sit on the edge of Fari Marina Village and are perfect for guests who prefer to be at the heart of things. The one-and-two-bedroomed pool villas are set into tropical greenery or look out over the calm lagoon. The unique, two-story, three-bedroom Beach House has a rooftop terrace and large private 21 metre pool set within its enormous garden which leads to the beach.
Two-Michelin starred Chef Nick Bril oversees the eateries where the best of ingredients take centre stage. Roots is a plant-based slow food option. Helios celebrates sun-ripened Mediterranean freshness. Brasa brings flame grill and Patagonian spirit. And Kōen unites Japanese precision with Scandinavian flair. Pop-up food trucks – GOGO Burger, Tum Tum and Tuk Tuk Gelato traverse the island. The Art Gallery exhibits works by local and international artists in residence, while the fashion boutiques showcase a collection of limited-edition by the tastemaker behind Mr & Mrs Rake. FLOW is the spa with its specialist Watsu and floatation treatment rooms and Hammam Suite. Sustainability and positive impact are alive in every facet of this property.
Soneva Fushi, Noonu Atoll
In 1995, Eva and Sonu Shivdasani opened Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. It was to revolutionise the concept of the luxury island resort. Using the moniker – no news, no shoes – guests were encouraged to immerse themselves in their holiday and forget any and all troubles. Footwear was discouraged, as were telephones and the internet – they still are today. Soneva promoted sustainability when that word was hardly uttered. It also lavished all its guests with the kind of service you would expect in a palace hotel. An original desert island hideaway.
There are 63 Robinson Crusoe style eco-chic villas hidden among dense tropical foliage – many built to resemble tree houses – and 8 Water Retreats. They range in size from one to nine bedrooms and are designed to offer maximum luxury, space, privacy and unforgettable views. They all open to their own private stretch of sugar-white sand and most have their own private seawater pool. Activities include a spa, private beach with water sports facilities, bikes on loan, an observatory, open-air cinema, floodlit tennis court, group yoga, tai chi classes, jogging trail, ice-cream parlour and library. The resort can organise scuba diving, motorised water sports, and local boat trips. Soneva Fushi is reachable by scenic 30-minute seaplane flight directly from Malé International Airport, or a 12-minute speedboat ride.
Soneva Jani, Noona Atoll
Following on the success of Soneva Fushi, Eva and Sonu Shivdasani opened the ultra-romantic Soneva Jani in the Noona Atoll in 2016. Much was expected – and has been delivered in abundance. The intimate Soneva Jani resort is made up of five islands and has just 24 water retreats and 27 new water reserves. There are private beaches, lagoons, cinema screenings, cruises and a private wine tasting room, yet Soneva Jani is as much for families as it is for escapist couples. Nearly all the villas feature their own water slides – great fun for younger and indeed older guests. The villas offer the best of everything, some even have a retractable roof.
There is a four-room spa, a kid’s centre, gym, dive centre, water sports club and one of the finest observatories in the Indian Ocean. The resort has its own astronomer who is on hand to introduce you to the stars. The Gathering is the main breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant offering but there are a plethora of other dining locations including on any one of the beaches, the resort yacht, in-room and the Crab Shack. Located on the island of Medhufaru in the northern Atoll of Noonu, it takes around 45 minutes to fly by seaplane from Malé to Medhufaru – the main island that Soneva Jani sits atop.
When Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton announced that it was opening a resort under its Cheval Blanc brand on the Noonu Atoll in the Maldives, fashionistas and oenophiles around the world rejoiced. Their adulation was fully vindicated as LVMH has produced one of the Indian Ocean’s most stunning properties. With no expense spared, the 45 one and two-bedroom villa property experience begins on arrival when guests are transferred to Randheli island in a beautifully appointed Cheval Blanc Private Airways DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplane. On arriving on Randheli, they are introduced to their majordomo (butler) and the ultimate luxury beach Indian Ocean resort experience takes hold. The Cheval Blanc Randheli was designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, a Belgian who specialises in creating extremely special hotels and resorts. He has worked with brands including Aman, Mandarin Oriental and One&Only.
The villas are superb – complete with high ceilings, plush and comforting furnishings, hammocks, daybeds, and loungers. Guests walk or bicycle around the resort. Facilities include tennis, yoga, fitness boot camps, a golf simulator, and the only Guerlain Spa in the Indian Ocean. There are a plethora of water sports on offer – including diving and snorkelling. Pods of spinner dolphins and turtles can be seen in the waters surrounding the resort. The cuisine served is sensational. Enjoy Japanese and Asian-inspired dishes at Diptyque, curries at The White, pizza at Deelani and haute cuisine at 3 Michelin-starred winning chef Yannick Alléno’s 1947. The Owner’s Villa is one of the finest suites in the Indian Ocean. It sits on its own 2-acre island, has 4 bedrooms, a 25-metre swimming pool and is only accessible by dhoni. Superb.
A one-hour flight due south from Malé to Kadhdhoo Airport, the gateway to the Laamu Atoll, and a short speedboat journey get you to the Six Senses Laamu where a warm welcome awaits – followed by a holiday of superlatives. The resort features 97 water and beach villas – all constructed from sustainable materials. The island on which the resort sits – Olhuveli – is close to some of the best surfing in the Indian Ocean and the property is popular for lovers of water sports – especially between May and September. The Six Senses is renowned for its spa offerings and the spa at Laamu is the reason why – with nine nests and many treatments from some of the most highly trained aestheticians in the world.
There are two main restaurants at the Six Senses Laamu including LEAF which serves incredible organic dishes with ingredients from local fishermen and growers. Zen is a laid-back live kitchen that offers Japanese fusion food and Sip provides guests cocktails and casual dining – pizza and burgers. Deck-A-Dence has 6 glass-bottomed tables where guests can enjoy a meal over the ocean. Chill Bar serves Vietnamese cuisine, stiff cocktails, and a resident DJ spins tunes to suit the mood. Along with an outdoor cinema, ice cream outlet, daily yoga classes and endless walks on – often deserted – beaches, the resort really does tickle the Six Senses.
Amilla Maldives Resort & Residences
The Baa Atoll in which Amilla Maldives Resort & Residences sits is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Amilla boasts a number of room categories from treetop villas to estate houses and even a glamping bubble tent with a total of 68 units on offer. The resort is sleek, cool, minimal, and modern. Of the 26 atolls in the Maldives, Baa is arguably the best for diving and the resort is close to Hanifaru Bay where from May to November, manta rays and whale sharks congregate in vast numbers. The H.U.B. – Home of Underwater Biosphere – is the resort’s cathedral to all things water-based – from diving lessons to booking out a kayak. The Javvu Spa offers ten treatment pods and every treatment imaginable is available. There is also a nail bar and hairdresser/barber.
The resort has two tennis courts, a football pitch and two swimming pools. The Emperor Beach Club is the heart of the Amilla Maldives Resort & Residences. From here guests can eat, drink, choose excursions or just rest and relax. The Sultan’s Village Kid’s Club keeps the younger guests amused. There is a photographic studio on-site and there are outdoor cinema nights. Amilla Fushi fulfils every culinary need - from Feeling Koi – formal Japanese izakaya – to a traditional British Fish & Chips shop, Joe’s Pizza, and the Wine Cellar – which is a wine enthusiast's dream. Amilla Maldives Resort & Residences is a 30-minute seaplane flight from the Maldives capital, Malé in a northerly direction. Alternatively, it is a 10-minute boat ride from the nearest regional airport at Dharavandhoo.
The Nautilus experience begins as soon as your flight lands and you’re met and driven by limousine to a private VIP lounge for immigration, before being ushered onto a seaplane for a seamless transfer to their corner of the Baa Atoll. Elusive and totally total privacy, The Nautilus has only 26 Beach and Ocean Houses lining the shores. Each is a secluded haven with separate living rooms, a freshwater swimming pool and its own private butler. A furnished sundeck and out-of-this-world ocean views. Places to sink in, unwind and enjoy life’s greatest gifts. The glass-bottomed living rooms in the Ocean Houses are a triumph! For a once-in-a-lifetime stay, it has to be the scene-stealing Nautilus Mansion, a literal sandcastle that was personally designed by the resort’s Maldivian owner as his ideal of a beach house.
Indulge in activities that range from the beach, house reef, flotilla of boats, dive centre, yacht, spa, steam room, yoga pavilion with daily yoga, meditation and fitness classes, 24-hour gym, free water sports gear and a kids' club. There’s also a family-friendly pool on the beach at the island’s edge dotted with cosy cabanas and sun lounges – plus, you’re perfectly placed to take advantage of the gourmet canapés served all day at Naiboli pool bar. The Solasta spa is made up of three overwater treatment huts with glass bottoms so you can watch the tropical fish swimming around from your massage chair. Talk about a fully immersive and rejuvenating ocean experience!
Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort
Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort in the South Malé Atoll is surrounded by silky white sandy beach. Just a 35 minutes speedboat journey from the international airport, it is ideal for a family holidays and speaks to the vision of the true island getaway. The 110 stylishly designed villas and over water suites are positioned to catch the sunrise or sunset, some have their own private plunge pool. The food at Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort is relaxed and informal with an array of seafood and meat grills at the aptly named SEA.FIRE.SALT. Lighter meals are available poolside. Anantara Veli serves Teppanyaki and authentic Thai dining overlooking the lagoon.
Take time in your garden courtyard, soak in the outdoor bath or lounge on your private sun deck. Guests can head to the over water spa for a day of wellness and pampering or enjoy activities such as scuba diving and surfing. Take a short pontoon ride to the island of Gulifushi for a picnic on the deserted beach. Salute the sun at Yoga with the fitness coach and meditate before the Indian ocean. Or simply step into the surf from your beach pool villa, or dive into the lagoon from your over water suite. You may be lucky enough to see dolphins, whale and reef sharks, and manta rays, with the excellent visibility and breath-taking reefs. For the more adventurous, there are many other thrilling water activities such as jet skiing, kayaking, banana boating, parasailing and flyboarding. Either way, Anantara Dhigu Maldives invites you to write your own chapter of world class adventure.
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Cora Cora Maldives
Amongst the turquoise waters of Raa Atoll, the recently opened Cora Cora Maldives has an idyllic location. Only 45 minutes by seaplane from Velana International Airport, this striking new 5-star resort is further enhancing the dream destination. The 100 guest rooms are a mix of iconic Maldivian overwater villas and airy beach suites set amid lush vegetation. All have uninterrupted ocean views and easy access to the beach. They feature work by local artists and are finished with splashes of the resort’s signature colours. During your stay take a culinary journey through the range of restaurants. The Italian restaurant Aquapazza overlooks the beachfront pool and is dotted with daybeds perfect for lounging – and ordering cocktails. Tazäa is a buffet-style restaurant inspired by the spice route; Ginger Moon, which is an all-female staff is Thai; and Japanese restaurant Tien serves fresh sushi and sake.
Visit the Cora Cora Maldives Museum which provides fascinating insight into the island state's original culture with more than 400 historical artifacts and works of art. A tour will take you to an old traditional furnished wooden house and partially excavated 900-year-old pre-Islamic sunken bath. At the hotel’s MOKSHA spa, relax in one of the seven individual treatment rooms - four overwater and three on the island. There is a gym, yoga pavilion, open-air cinema and kids club. Take a sunset cruise, or visit one of the local islands. You can swim to your heart’s content, grab a board or kayak. Pop on a mask and some flippers, and plunge into the extraordinary underwater world where bright coloured fish flit by as you float above the vibrant corals in the surrounding reefs.
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