Our guide to the most opulent resorts in this South Asian archipelago

by Pallavi Mehra

March, 2021

Maldives is truly a paradisiacal setting for a holiday. Pictured here is One&Only Reethi Rah

Home to some of Asia’s most scenic locations and unforgettable experiences, the Republic of Maldives is truly a paradisiacal setting for a holiday. Imagine a serene beach, a magnificent sunset, crashing crystal-clear turquoise waves and soft ocean breeze all coming together as a picture-perfect backdrop for your vacation. With a number of luxury resorts dotted along the shores, a trip to this small archipelagic state in South Asia offers guests a remarkably unique experience. Here, are our five favourite high-end hotels in the Maldives that not only exhibit breathtaking views and exquisite interiors, but also offer unmatched service.

Soneva Fushi features eight spectacular over-water retreats



When it comes to astounding, dreamlike beauty, it’s difficult to come close to that of Soneva Fushi. Situated within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this property offers a striking backdrop, exceptional hospitality, an expert culinary team and a personalised touch. The hotel features 63 spacious beachfront villas and eight over-water retreats, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms. Soneva Fushi’s beachfront and over-water villas showcase nautical-themed interiors comprising luxury furniture pieces and awe-inspiring views. Moreover, this hotel is environmentally sustainable. It composts its food waste and uses styrofoam to construct structures and insulate the villas.

Soneva Fushi’s villas have nautical-themed interiors



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In addition to Soneva Fushi’s mind-blowing setting and impeccable hospitality, the property is also renowned for its spectacular signature experiences. These experiences include glass blowing classes, spa therapies, movies under the stars, wine tasting sessions with sommeliers, snorkeling with the Manta Rays, sunset dolphin cruises and delectable meals at its multiple dining venues. Soneva Fushi is also a celebrity-favourite and is frequented by Bollywood celebrities such as Katrina Kaif and Varun Dhawan.


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If you’re looking for sumptuous luxury, Six Senses Laamu is the place for you!


Maldives’ magnificent coastline, expanses of golden sand, palm-fringed lawns, and the sparkling Indian Ocean form an idyllic backdrop for Six Senses Laamu. Guests can reach this tranquil retreat by a 35-minute, inter-island plane trip from the Maldives International Airport of Malé, followed by a 20-minute speedboat ride. If you’re looking for utmost privacy and seclusion, Six Senses Laamu is the place for you. Weathered timber jetties lead to the private over-water havens and lush greenery surrounds the chic beach villas. Their well-appointed villas have one or two bedrooms, and private leisure and dining decks. This award-winning resort is the only hotel in Maldives’ southern Laamu Atoll.

Six Senses Laamu offers excursions such as deep-sea diving


Six Senses Laamu is popular for its diverse dining venues featuring luxury interior design. LEAF offers a picturesque dining experience perched above an organic garden, while Zen is a Japanese cuisine eatery with a relaxed ambiance. Additionally, Longitude is an over-water restaurant that serves global cuisine and Sip Sip is the casual poolside eatery. We love that these restaurants serve the freshest local produce in a fabulous setting! Moreover, the hotel’s excursions include island hopping, sandbank barbecues, deep-sea diving, private picnics on a deserted island and visiting the nearby island, Hithadhoo.

Taj Exotica Resort and Spa curates personalised experiences such as private dinners



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This 5-star hotel is sprawled across the Emboodhu Finolhu Island amidst one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives. This island is well known for its diverse flora and fauna and stunning coral reefs. The Taj Exotica Resort and Spa is only a 15-minute speedboat ride from the Malé airport. Thus, this resort is a great option if you’re short on time. This sumptuous oasis offers 64 sea-view villas that create a sense of awe. At Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, with a choice between over-water or on-the-beach villas, you can soak in the views on your private sundeck or while taking a dip in your personal pool. A few months ago, Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu was seen holidaying at the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa.

The Taj Exotica Resort and Spa’s Rehendi Presidential Suite



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Here, book the award-winning Rehendi Presidential Suite, which features a glass-walled bathroom, a sand-deck and a private infinity pool. Along with its convenient location and luxurious accommodations, the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa also offers customised experiences such as wildlife-spotting walks, cooking lessons and private dinners on a secluded beach. Moreover, at this resort, guests can indulge in fresh seafood at Deep End, choose from the extensive, carefully crafted menu at the Teppanyaki restaurant—24 Degrees and sip on cocktails at Equator Bar, while taking in the enchanting views of the Indian Ocean.

The LUX* North Malé Atoll is a stylish resort in the Maldives



The LUX* North Malé Atoll makes it to our list for defying all norms and stereotypes. At this stylish resort, instead of the usual thatched-roof water villas, you’ll check-in to modern, double-storey villas. Each luxurious villa is decked with a private rooftop and an iconic pale-blue swimming pool with a hot pink rim, which seems to extend all the way to the horizon. This one-of-a-kind retreat is perfect if you’re looking to visit the Maldives with your family. It features 67 two-story villas with private pools, an over-water spa, tennis and beach volleyball courts, and four restaurants.

You can’t miss LUX* North Malé Atoll’s Insta-worthy floating breakfast in your private pool!


The villas at LUX* North Malé Atoll are remarkable white buildings that showcase modern architecture and are evocative of the curved design of yachts with pastel-hued interiors. In addition, the property offers a plethora of activities such as paddle boarding, yachting, art classes, fly boarding, wide-ocean parasailing, mono-skiing, photography lessons, beach volleyball and snorkeling among others. The resort’s restaurants have extensive menus comprising dishes that are healthy and are made of fresh, local ingredients. Moreover, you can’t miss LUX* North Malé Atoll’s Insta-worthy floating breakfast, which is delivered directly to your private pool.

One&Only Reethi Rah offers utmost privacy in the lap of nature!



This chic and glamorous resort is set amidst 12 separate private beaches. Guests can take a seaplane or a speedboat from the Malé airport to One&Only Reethi Rah. This hotel’s 122 villas range from spacious beachside properties with a private strip of a beach to large over-water villas with infinity pools and cabana beds for two. The villas’ interior decor is elegant with clean lines, a perfect foil for the tropical wood and thatch exteriors. If you’re looking to indulge, stay at their Grand Sunset Residence, which comes with a private beach, three bedrooms, an outdoor cinema, multiple pools and 24-hour butler service. This exclusive villa has hosted celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Gordon Ramsay

One&Only Reethi Rah’s luxurious spa


One&Only Reethi Rah is popular amongst families for its on-site amenities such as its luxurious spa, which offers panoramic views of the Arabian Sea. The resort’s KidsOnly children’s club features a tiny pool with scaled-down sun loungers, small sun umbrellas and even a mini restaurant for kids aged between 4 and 11. The hotel’s ClubOne Beach Club serves scrumptious Latin American fare with incredible lagoon views. Fanditha is One&Only Reethi Rah’s Middle Eastern eatery and Tapasake is their over-water restaurant focusing on contemporary, Japanese-Peruvian fusion dishes.