How to choose the perfect resort in the Maldives

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The Maldives is a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean that covers an area almost three times the size of Texas, USA. The place attracts visitors who are celebrating something special, whether a honeymoon, a wedding anniversary, or just life. What everyone has in common is the wish that their days in paradise are perfect and, for this to happen, it is important to carefully choose what can directly impact the quality of the trip: the resort. Find out in this post some tips for choosing the perfect resort in the Maldives.

In the Maldives, the options vary, but you’ll basically find one resort per island, and you’ll be 100% dependent on what it can offer throughout your stay (unless you plan to stay in two different hotels, to have two distinct experiences, or stay in some hotel chain that shares infrastructure with another hotel). To help you find out your ideal resort, here are some things to consider.

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Tips for choosing a resort in the Maldives – Transportation

Your gateway to the Maldives will be the international airport located in Malé, the capital of the country. After your arrival, you will need to travel to your chosen resort. Choosing a resort close to Malé means you’ll probably use water transport, which will allow you to arrive at your own paradise faster, something to be considered after the long flight.

Resorts further away from the airport are reached by air transport, either with hydroplane or commercial plane, depending on the island where it is located. If you have ever dreamt about flying over the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, watching the coral formations from above, then this is your best mode of transport to your resort. Please note that commercial flights have fixed schedules and may stop on more than one island.

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Tips for choosing a resort in the Maldives – Accommodation

There are many types of accommodations in the Maldives: overwater bungalow or beach villa; with or without private pool; with sunrise or sunset view; etc.

If you are thinking about a villa on the beach, be sure to check the level of privacy that the hotel offers. Why? Because in some resorts the villas are in areas of the island that other guests have access to, you will want to make sure there is at least one tree at the entrance of your villa to give you more privacy.

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Now if you prefer an overwater bungalow, you might want to check how deep in the ocean it is. Some bungalows can be placed in the shallow areas, close to the beach, and others in deep waters further out in the ocean. You may find some resorts that give different names for their bungalows with different levels of depth, but others don’t. So, if your plan is to jump in the water as soon as you arrive in the Maldives (or as soon as you wake up), you should try to confirm the location of the bungalow, if possible.

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In addition, overwater bungalows tend to be more expensive, and the price can increase more if it has a private pool. Also, something that should be free, like watching the sunrise or sunset, can also end up costing you more, since some resorts can charge more for the option of watching nature’s show directly from the bungalow, villa, or room.

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Tips for choosing a resort in the Maldives – Restaurants

As each resort is on its own exclusive island in the Maldives, it is impracticable to dine somewhere other than in your resort – unless the resort shares infrastructure with others, as is the case with the Anantara chain. For this reason, check in advance the number of restaurants the resort offers – the more days you’re staying, the greater should be the offer of restaurants, to prevent you from getting bored with the limited menu variety.

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Additionally, some resorts offer options of all-inclusive or half-board to choose from. If you’re going for one of these options, it is worth confirming with them which of the resort’s restaurants you can choose from, the types of menus, and how often they vary the menu so that you know which options you’ll find and whether they please you.

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Tips for choosing a resort in the Maldives – Activities

If you’re a scuba diver or a lover of all things sea life, and you want to see some particular species, you won’t want to arrive in the Maldives and see nothing, right? Then, be sure to do your research in advance to discover what can be found on the island where the resort is located.

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If you are a fan of snorkeling, it is important to see if the island has nice corals nearby or if you will need to travel by boat to find a good spot. If you need to travel by boat, note that some hotels may charge extra for this. Another question to be asked is whether the hotel offers snorkeling equipment and if it is included in the daily rate.

For other water sports, be sure to confirm in advance with the resort what they offer and their value – usually stand-up paddle and kayaking are free, even if only for a few hours.

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Tips for choosing a resort in the Maldives – Others

Outdoor dinners, boat trips, cinema under the stars, and lectures are other options offered by many resorts in the Maldives, and they can vary greatly from hotel to hotel. If you are set on having a specific experience, don’t assume the resort offers it, but ask when selecting.

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If you want to take a chance and visit the Maldives during the rainy season, you can benefit from the reduced prices and promotions the resorts offer. Now, if you prefer going during the dry season, it’s worth remembering that prices can increase significantly and impact the length of your stay.

In addition, it’s necessary to emphasize that, apart from the daily rates (and what is included in those rates), all other expenses will be added to the final invoice, with prices that reflect a location where practically everything is imported.

Our resort experience in the Maldives – Six Senses Laamu

Choosing a resort in the Maldives may seem like an easy task, but there are so many options to choose from and so many options to consider that the task turns out to be tiring and time-consuming. After a lot of research, our choice was Six Senses Laamu.

After arriving at Malé airport, we continued traveling via a commercial flight to a nearby island followed by a speedboat trip to the resort. Upon arrival, we were greeted with lemonade, fresh coconut, and a bag in which to place our shoes. Six Senses Laamu has a culture of bare feet (even some of the staff!), and guests are free to choose whether or not to join in.

Our arrival at the Six Senses Laamu began with a welcome reception from the staff and a presentation of the GEM (guest experience maker), the person assigned to each guest who assists you throughout your stay by booking tours, dinners, and clarifying any questions you might have.

We chose an overwater bungalow with a private pool and sunrise view, which was a dreamy place; a wooden bungalow where the bathroom had a glass floor to see the fishes and the bathtub was also clear with an ocean view. On the exterior area, there were sofas, sun loungers, and a dining table with a glass floor to see the sea life while eating (because in the Maldives the show really happens underwater!). This room option included some amenities, such as a bottle of prosecco on arrival, breakfast in the bungalow, and bicycles with personalized name tags.

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Six Senses Laamu has 5 restaurants that are open at different times of the day. There is also an ice cream bar with 42 flavors to choose from – a perfect place to hit after each meal.

For water sports, stand-up paddle and kayaking were free, while activities such as windsurfing and wakeboarding were charged separately. Six Senses Laamu also offered lectures on marine life, a cinema under the stars, and a variety of breakfast options and special dinners, not included in the daily rate – all of which make the whole experience in the Maldives even more unforgettable.

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Other best resorts in the Maldives

  • Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru: one of the best hotels in the Maldives located in a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. Getting here requires a 30-minute flight from Malé airport, and accommodation options include beach villas and dream bungalows – all with a private pool.
  • One & Only: one of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives that is accessible via a 75-minute journey on a luxury yacht or via a 45-minute speedboat ride from Malé International Airport. The villas are elegantly decorated and there are also a variety of restaurants to choose from.
  • Soneva Fushi: an eco-friendly resort, ideal for a family trip. It is one of the best luxury hotels in the Maldives, good for those who want to have comfort while still being in touch with nature in an atoll that combines jungle and beach. Here, whale sharks and manta rays accompany you on the dive.
  • Velassaru: for a hotel in the Maldives, Velassaru is relatively affordable. Accommodations are a little simpler compared to other resorts, but one of the main attractions of this hotel is its proximity to the capital – getting here is super easy and requires just a 25-minute boat trip from Male.
  • Niyama Maldives: located 50-minute by seaplane from Male. On the island, you will have access to a private beach, exclusive for guests, with perfect waves for surfing. Another highlight is one of the most unique experiences found in hotels in the Maldives – an underwater restaurant, Subsix, where you have lunch admiring the ocean. The hotel has great beach villas and overwater bungalows with good prices in the Maldives.
  • Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas: without a doubt one of the best hotels in the Maldives. Here, get ready to have one of the best experiences of your life, with everything you expect from the place. You will also have access to SEA, an underwater restaurant that offers a unique Maldives experience.

Practical information for visiting the Maldives

  • Visa: To enter the Maldives, no pre-arrival visa is required. A thirty-day free visa is issued on arrival for all Nationalities. If you are coming from an infected area, you must present the international vaccination certificate for yellow fever.
  • Currency: Maldives rupee (MVR), but the currency most used by tourists is the US dollar.
  • Language: Divehi, but you will really use English in the resorts.
  • Best time to visit the Maldives: I wouldn’t recommend traveling such a long distance and ending up having rainy days, so I’d recommend going in the high season, which runs from November to April.
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My final tips for visiting the Maldives are: make sure to see not only photos but also videos of different resorts. Seek out and talk with people who have been to them and read reviews from different sources. Also, do not hesitate to ask questions about matters related to the stay with the hotel itself and, above all, do not be in a hurry when deciding. By doing all this, it is easier to ensure that your trip will be a memorable one.

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I am Elen, and I help 9-5ers plan their next getaway. I curate travel experiences, from places to sip a coffee to stays in boutique hotels, so you can save time when planning your next vacation. Here you will find travel guides, tips, and the best itineraries for your next trip.

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