Top luxury resorts in the Maldives

Crystal waters, tropical sunshine, luxurious resorts and breathtaking beauty – the Maldives have to be the most perfect islands on earth.

Some of my most magical memories were made in the Maldives; a pod of dolphins leaping from the turquoise sea as we sailed away from the island, snorkelling with giant turtles and wading through shallow waters with blacktip reef sharks at my toes. There is nothing subtle about the beauty of the Maldives as it lavishes you with an abundance of dazzling colours and scents that stay with you forever.

From the second I stepped off the sea plane and kicked off my flip flops, I fell madly in love with the islands, and for me, the Maldives take some beating.

 

Best time of year to go

November to April is fairly dry; May to October occasionally brings brief rain showers followed by sunshine.

Temperatures range between 77 to 95°F all year.

Have you been thinking about a luxury trip to the Maldives and just can’t make up your mind which resort to choose?  Well, here are my top picks for ultimate indulgence.

Baros

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Beautiful Baros. Photograph: Baros Maldives

With its vibrant house reef, Baros is a picture-perfect resort and the ultimate tropical escape. A ten-minute wander around this stunning island takes you right back to where you started, but fantastic things come in small packages and at Baros it’s all about tranquillity, understated luxury and equisite service.

Classic cuisine with a tropical twist is the speciality of The Lighthouse, while grilled seafood, fine meats and Asian tapas are available at The Cayenne Grill. If eating out doesn’t take your fancy, guests can enjoy an in-villa meal at any time of day or for a more intimate affair, how does a romantic dinner for two on an isolated sandbank sound?

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A romantic, candlelit dinner on an isolated sandbank? Yes please. Photo: Baros Maldives

The Spa at Baros Maldives is hidden at the centre of the resort amongst lush foliage. Here, therapists create bespoke treatments with a choice of wonderfully relaxing massages, cleansing scrubs, nourishing wraps, rejuvenating facials, manicures and pedicures.

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Spa Bath. Photograph: Baros Maldives

Accommodation

Villas

Each Villa has a king-size bed, a daybed to chill out, an espresso machine and an individual wine chiller with sommelier-selected bottles, as well as a well-stocked mini bar, an entertainment centre and complimentary WiFi.

Some Villas have partially open-air bathrooms, while others feature contemporary bathrooms with rainfall showers. Water Villas have exquisite bathrooms with steps from the deck direct into the lagoon. All Villas benefit from the personal attention of a dedicated Villa Host on call 24 hours a day.

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Pool villa with deck. Photograph: Baros Maldives
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Water pool villas with steps into the lagoon. Photograph: Baros Maldives

The Baros Residence

The most exclusive and luxurious Villa at this bijou boutique resort features a private swimming pool and personal butler on call 24 hours a day. The Baros Residence provides the quintessential harmonious and secluded romantic hideaway.

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The Baros Residence Pool. Photograph: Baros Maldives

Getting there

Baros is just a 45minute luxury boat transfer from Malé International Airport.

One&Only Reethi Rah

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What better place to reflect on life than on the swinging chair at the Beach Club? Photograph: One&Only

With twelve beaches and six kilometres of coastline, One&Only Reethi Rah is the largest, all-villa resort in the North Malé Atoll. Each villa has direct access to the lagoon and is discreetly placed along the shoreline offering stunning ocean views.

This sophisticated resort features three swimming pools including one children’s pool, a state-of-art fitness centre with outdoor training area, FIFA-approved size football field, tennis and outdoor wall climbing and watersports. There is also an artist studio where guests can unwind and take part in painting classes lead by the artist in residence.

After all that activity, guests can rejuvenate in the award-winning spa complete with vitality pools, outdoor steam and sauna, crystal steam rooms, saunas and stimulating ice fountains.

Seven restaurants offer a range of dining options, all prepared daily by international, creative chefs. Dishes range from organic, garden-to-fork cuisine, luxury French brasserie, Asian, Italian, modern Japanese cuisine, fresh seafood and a Middle Eastern influenced menu served beachside.

Not only is One&Only Reethi Rah perfect for both couples and honeymooners, it’s fantastic for families too and there’s plenty for children to do in the two kids’ clubs; KidsOnly for younger children and One Tribe for older children. Both clubs offer activities such as snorkelling, chocolate making classes, pirates’ cruise and many more for children aged four to eleven years old.

Accommodation

Beach Villas

Occupying their own stretch of sandy shore, these villas afford direct views of the ocean and access to a private beach. Décor is sleek with clean lines, a perfect balance for the tropical wood and thatch exteriors.

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Stylish interior of the Grand Beach Villa. Photograph: One&Only

Water Villas

Sitting on the water with wraparound hammocks, these villas are just the spot for sunbathing and stargazing.

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Dreamy Water Villa with Pool. Photograph: One&Only

Grand Sunset Residence

An extravagant space with exquisite touches of luxury that create the ambience of a private home, with three en-suite bedrooms, lavish living and dining areas, and a private, 50m² swimming pool surrounded by an elaborate terrace with inviting social spaces.

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The aptly named, Grand Sunset Residence. Photograph: One&Only

 

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A view to wake up to. Photograph: One&Only

 

Soneva Fushi

This award-winning resort offers the ultimate, barefoot desert island experience. Soneva’s philosophy is simple: No news, no shoes. No pretensions either.

Located in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi pairs Robinson Crusoe fantasy with intelligent luxury.

Fifty-seven private villas with their own stretch of beach are hidden among dense foliage within touching distance of a pristine coral reef. Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers.

Highlights include an open-air Cinema, counting Saturn’s rings in the high-tech Observatory, the home-made chocolate and ice cream rooms, five hundred wines to choose from, six different restaurants featuring gourmet menus using only quality organic ingredients. Guests who desire a bit of adventure can enjoy the castaway dining experiences around the island.

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Dine above the banana trees and the resort’s organic gardens at Fresh in the Garden. Photograph: Moritz Krebs
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Charming candlelit tables on the beach where guests can enjoy Japanese-inspired cuisine. Photograph: Richard Waite

In November 2015, Soneva launched a floating villa concept, Soneva in Aqua, a treasure trove children’s Den and a multi-purpose facility encompassing a glass gallery, boutique and studio where guests can learn the art of glass blowing

Accommodation

The resort features 57 private villas with their own stretch of pristine beach. Designed to provide ultimate privacy and a pure connection with nature, each retreat features open-air bathrooms that extend into a private garden.

Every villa features a living room, dining room, daybeds and sun loungers, air conditioning, television, Bose sound system, espresso machine, bicycles and WiFi.

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Villa 14 Exterior. Photograph: Richard Waite
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Sunken dining at Villa 11. Photograph: Bruno Aveillan

Getting there

The resort can be reached by a scenic 30 minute seaplane fight direct from Malé International Airport or a 12 minute speedboat ride for guests scheduled on domestic flights at the nearby Dharavandhoo Airport.

 

Have you been to the Maldives or any of these stunning resorts?  If so, I’d love to hear what you thought. Please leave a comment below.

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