5 of the best Maldives resorts for 2019
When it comes to a beautiful destination like the Maldives, finding the right resort to suit your needs can be overwhelming. From romantic couples retreats to family-friendly resorts, here’s the definitive guide on where to find the perfect wave to surf on, the clearest waters to snorkel in and the most luxurious villas in the Maldives, promising something for every traveller…
BEST FOR… CONSERVATION
Formally a coconut plantation, Baros Maldives was one of the first resorts to open to the public in 1973 and is surrounded by tropical greenery and an exquisite house reef, just 15 meters from the shore. The locally-owned resort is also known as one of the best diving locations in the Indian Ocean and its Dive Centre was the first to open in the archipelago.
Since opening in the early 70s, the resort has been a pioneer of Indian Ocean coral reef conservation and education. Today, the resort continues to develop efforts to improve the condition and diversity of the surrounding reefs, by announcing new initiatives. The resort’s ongoing Coral Rehabilitation Programme gets guests involved in a ‘think global, act local’ initiative and helps grow new coral around the island.
The programme allows guests to sponsor a coral frame with their names engraved on it, which they plant themselves and they will receive updates twice yearly on the growth of their adopted corals. The natural sea movement and actions of fish can cause pieces of coral to break off, where they end up on the seabed where they have little chance of survival.
Thanks to the programme, guests can contribute to the reef enhancement project by collecting the broken coral fragments and working with the team to re-attach them to the cleverly-designed frame, which providing a stable substrate elevated from the seabed, where the coral can regrow and multiply. This year-round activity teaches guests about the impact of our actions on the environment and allows guests to come back year-on-year to watch their coral tray grow and flourish.
In November 2018, Baros re-launched in its 45th year, after a two-year renovation period. The resort unveiled its newly renovated villas, bar and restaurants as well as enhanced guest experiences. Baros has also added a new category of villa accommodation – the Baros Suites, stand alone villas providing guests with a modern, luxurious living space with a large private swimming pool, hot and cold water Jacuzzis and spectacular views of the ocean.
Baros Maldives is situated in the central southern part of North Male’ Atoll, just 25 minutes by speedboat from Maldives International Airport.
Rates at Baros Maldives start from $675 (approx. £464) per night in a Deluxe Villa on a B&B basis, excluding taxes.
For more information please visit baros.com
MILAIDHOO ISLAND MALDIVES
BEST FOR… HONEYMOONERS
Milaidhoo Island Maldives is set over 13 acres atop the Baa Atoll’s beautiful UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and is the ultimate romantic Maldivian escape for stylish couples. All villas are just a short, barefoot stroll away from incredible watersports, fitness, spa, yoga, world-class diving and three world-class restaurants, one of which – Ba’theli – is the only Maldivian restaurant in the country.
Milaidhoo recently launched new, spectacular Ocean Residence and Beach Residences – making them some of the most sought after accommodation in the Maldives. Water babies can opt for the breath taking 380sqm Ocean Residence – an incredibly spacious and elegantly but authentically designed, thatched-roof villa, on stilts with unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean.
There is even a ‘secret’ loft deck hidden inside the roof of the villa, which is the perfect place for guests to chill out with a glass of wine, taking in the views at the end of the over-water jetty. The completely private sundeck comes complete with swing chair, sun loungers, huge freshwater and infinity swimming pool, with steps straight into the sea, allowing guests to explore Milaidhoo’s spectacular house-reef direct from their villa.
Those who prefer dry land can choose one of Milaidhoo’s two 380sqm Beach Residences, created to showcase luxurious, informal, outdoor island living. The Beach Residences comfortable, circular living rooms offer an adjoining kitchenette and views of the beach and ocean beyond. Their huge bathrooms have indoor and outdoor rain showers and separate deep bathtub.
Guests of the Milaidhoo Residences receive a number of benefits during their stay, including a dedicated, 24-hour butler, Champagne on arrival, a dedicated chef to personalise all meals according to preference, a pop-up cinema experience on the deck of their villa, one private, half-day boat excursion during their stay and lots more.
Additionally, couples looking for the ultimate seclusion can opt to spend the night as castaways under the stars on their very own private sandbank, transformed with all the luxury facilities of a Milaidhoo Villa. The castaway experience includes a sunset dolphin cruise, a private four-course dinner followed by a night under the stars in a four-poster bed.
The starting price for a Beach Residence is US $3,710 per night and $4,693 per night for an Ocean Residence, on a half board basis and including and taxes.
For more information please visit milaidhoo.com
SIX SENSES LAAMU
Dolphins swim along the seashell-dappled shores of Six Senses Laamu, the only resort on the Laamu Atoll and just 5˚ degrees north of the Equator. Just a short inter-island plane trip and speedy boat ride away from the main island of Malé, the resort welcomes guests to a palm-fringed paradise with 96 sustainable villa accommodations set over the lagoon and on the island.
Six Senses Laamu has taken advantage of its proximity to the best Maldives surf breaks and already thriving surf culture by partnering with globally acclaimed Tropicsurf – the renowned Australian masters of luxury surfing. Tropicsurf ensures that everybody can enjoy the ultimate thrills of surfing in safety, comfort and style.
Over the course of 30 years, Tropicsurf has combed the planet to present surfers with an intimate selection of the world’s leading surfing resorts, each selected because of its proximity to quality breaks that cater to a broad range of abilities.
Unique to Six Senses Laamu, the resort offers keen surfers the opportunity to tackle the mighty Yin Yang wave – one of the most famous surfing waves that breaks just offshore on the outer reef of the island of Hithadhoo.
With the biggest swells from April to October, experienced surfers will jump at the opportunity to surf the Yin Yang, considered the ultimate ‘dream wave’ by those in the know. Following a challenging day tackling the Yin Yang, visitors can take a leisurely snorkel in Laamu’s coral rich house reef, among Oriental Sweetlips, Parrotfish, and even green turtles.
Rates at Six Senses Laamu start from $827 (currently approx. £635) per night in a Lagoon Water Villa on a B&B basis
For more information please visit sixsenses.com
TAJ EXOTICA RESORT & SPA
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives is spread across Emboodhu Finolhu Island, set in the middle of one of the largest lagoons in Maldives. Renowned for its rich flora and fauna, this tropical isle, also known as the Three Coconut Isle, is situated amidst the coral reefs and is a seamless 15-minute speedboat ride from the airport. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa is one of the only resorts in the Maldives to welcome family members of all ages including small children, creating a fun and family-friendly environment.
Families can choose from 64 lavish sea-view villas and suites, opulent in design, whilst maintaining a fine balance with nature. Parents can lounge by the infinity pool with children easily in sight, or on their own private beach. Days at Taj Exotica include lazing in a hammock over the crystal-clear waters, gazing at the stars at night, indulging at the Jiva Spa or going on a wildlife-spotting walk.
The lagoon that surrounds Taj Exotica is abundant with sea life to observe from the safety of the villa decks and beaches, or to explore underwater on an exciting snorkeling trip. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa arrange multiple activities for children throughout the week including the ‘Crab Race’, a mocktail making class, a treasure hunt, colouring classes, bowling and sand castle competitions, all taking place at the Equator Beach Bar.
Additionally there is baking classes, leaf weaving classes, kayaking races, face painting and a daily afternoon cinema club. Foodie families will savor some of the finest culinary delights during their stay, including the freshest of seafood at Deep End or Teppanyaki at 24 Degrees, where families can experience live cooking via a theatrical kitchen.
Rates at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives start from $850 (approx. £632) per night.
For more information please visit tajhotels.com
VIVANTA BY TAJ CORAL REEF
BEST FOR… LUXURY ON A BUDGET
Just an hour’s speedboat ride from Male airport, Taj Coral Reef Resort & Spa is a contemporary paradise, complete with 62 luxurious thatched-roof villas dotting the scenic Hembadhu Island. Here, guests are assured of breath-taking turquoise views, dramatic sunsets and a sophisticated spin on laidback tropical travel.
World-class diving and snorkelling sites and spectacular cuisine are at the heart of the beach resort’s allure. From tech-powered Water Villas with private sun-decks to the resort’s own reef for exploring marine wonders, every aspect is designed to delight connoisseurs of the fine life.
After a champagne breakfast at a secluded lagoon, adrenaline-seeking guests can opt for game fishing expeditions or submarine trips. A big draw for children and adults alike, the stingray feeding sessions present guests with an opportunity to participate in a unique Maldivian tradition that honours the ‘Guardians of the Island’.
Closely guided by the resort’s experienced staff, guests can feed the stingrays before they turn back and disappear with the setting sun. Whether its lounging by the infinity pool, enjoying an Ayuvedic massage at the Jiva Spa, feeding stingrays by the beach or discovering the magical underwater landscape; the charisma of this modish island retreat is irresistible.
Rates at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef, Maldives start from $445 (approx. £338) per night.
For more information, visit tajhotels.com.