For a serene, sun-kissed escape unlike anywhere else on earth, you’ll find few better destinations than the Maldives. Blissfully deserted and unspoilt islands, gorgeous underwater scenes, and pampering five-star resorts ready to cater for your every need – when it comes to pure escapism, this archipelagic state truly has it all. Sink your toes into the sand and lift your head up into the clouds at these six resorts offering an indulgent, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
A five-star icon: Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, South Malé Atoll
An icon of five-star luxury and style, nowhere does a blissful beach holiday better than this Taj property, where world-class hospitality and service are delivered from sunrise to sunset. Located on Emboodhu Finolhu island in the South Malé Atoll, it’s home to 64 suites and villas dotted across soft sands and the vibrant waters of a lagoon. Contemporary decor blends with traditional accents to create interiors that stand in harmony with the surrounding natural landscape – a treat to your senses and a guaranteed way to please any discerning, design-loving traveller.
While all is set to impress on the dining and activities fronts, with two ultra-elegant restaurants and scuba diving, snorkelling and parasailing all on hand for a unique experience, you’ll find that the accommodation is what truly steals the show: tastefully designed to offer luxury and opulence, they feature grand vistas alongside gorgeous interiors awash in pure white and natural hues. For added indulgence, some even come with their own private pool.
All-out romance and relaxation: Residence Maldives, Gaafu Alifu Atoll
With all the promise that this Falhumaafushi resort holds, you’ll easily be leaving your worries and cares at home to surrender to five-star pampering and relaxation. Nowhere does barefoot luxury quite like this award-winning resort, which beautifully blends a stunning backdrop with sleek facilities and that sought-after sense of seclusion. A wonderful option for honeymooners and romantics, it offers modern villas where thatched roofs, contemporary interiors and stunning mosaic private pools all await your enjoyment.
Refined relaxation is the name of the game here, whether you’re slow-sipping a drink on a floating Balinese bed, heading out to sea for a spot of snorkelling, deep-sea diving or dolphin-watching, or pushing the boat out with a private candlelit dinner on soft sands. Of course, no stay would be complete without a trip to the spa: make a day of it as you soak up the benefits of Clarins products drawn from natural ingredients, and while a few hours away with a massage, a yoga session out on the open deck, and a hair or beauty treatment to seal the deal.
Contemporary style and tranquillity: NAKAI Dhiggiri Resort, Vaavu Atoll
Nestled on Dhiggiri island in the Vaavu Atoll, this Maldives retreat is one for away-from-it-all escapists. Overflowing with rich contemporary style, it offers pared-back but beautifully-designed accommodation nestled across garden, beachfront and overwater landscapes – each perfect for a heavy dose of tranquillity and silence. With a stay here, you’ll soon find yourself wishing you never had to leave.
The underwater scene is certainly worth writing home about, with myriad diving spots located within easy reach by boat: explore everything from colourful corals and sea fans to hammerhead sharks and schools of vibrant fish including angelfish, parrotfish, surgeonfish and much more. The culinary options are just as attractive; of its three eateries and bars, NAKAI Dhiggiri Resort’s standout feature has to be its Over Water Restaurant, which comes alive in the evenings and wows with a simply stunning setting. Enjoy the sunset as you tuck into a delectable fusion of Maldivian and Italian flavours, sure to spark up your senses and delight your palate.
Paradise with a playful twist: The Standard, Maldives, Raa Atoll
A cool and colourful addition to the portfolio of celebrity-favoured hotel group, The Standard, this five-star pad is unparalleled for sociable travellers in need of some far-flung fun. Boasting great hospitality and vibrant decor throughout, it offers top-notch facilities and heavenly treats for nightlife-lovers come sundown. Expect beachfront barbecues with reggae-inspired music, world-class cocktails filled with flavour, moonlit soirees bursting with attitude and style, and even disco balls in each villa.
Of course, you’ll find plenty of ways to relax and unwind in the daytime, too. The Standard Spa offers high levels of service, whether you’re looking to hang out in the traditional hammam, partake in a yoga or meditation session, try out an off-beat wellness retreat, or enjoy a pampering spa ritual. If your idea of relaxation means a day out in warm waters, you’ll be pleased with the snorkelling, scuba diving and water sports on hand – waterskiing, wakeboarding, stand up paddle boarding and tubing are just some of the options.
An all-round crowd-pleaser: Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, South Malé Atoll
With award-winning water villas under its belt and plenty of grown-up elegance to its name, the five-star Adaaran Prestige Vadoo on Vaadhoo island is a no-brainer for a fail-safe getaway. It’s the little things that impress here, whether you’re bubbling away in your private Jacuzzi, gazing out at crystal-clear waters from the cooling comfort of your plunge pool, or even watching the marine life go by from your glass-bottom bathroom lounge.
A wealth of facilities and activities are on hand for a quintessential Maldives escape, making this resort quite the crowd-pleaser. Book yourself in for a day of parasailing, snorkelling, flyboarding, fishing, or perhaps even a whale submarine experience – all before an afternoon of rejuvenation with an Elemis treatment at the Mandara Spa. Foodies are well catered for here, too: four restaurants and bars provide palate-pleasing refreshments from morning until evening, with Farivalhu Restaurant dishing out fusion flavours and Kandholi Bar featuring a most striking setting over clear waters.
The ultimate destination for divers: Taj Coral Reef Resort & Spa, North Malé Atoll
If a bucket list-topping diving experience takes precedence over all else, you’ll want to make a beeline for this five-star Taj property in Hembadhu. With a range of fantastic and welcoming facilities, it offers an attentive escape that’s designed to make you feel right at home in the lap of luxury. These include plush thatched-roof accommodation along the beach and over the water, a sublime spa delivering a pristine experience through age-old traditions, an outdoor swimming pool that faces idyllic turquoise waters, and no fewer than five restaurants and bars serving up international flavours aplenty.
And we’ve not even mentioned the property’s best and biggest asset: its superb location, on a private island with its own lagoon, complete with an underwater house reef and shipwreck. At a depth of 22 metres, the latter is home to thousands of colourful fish and makes for a most incredible day of diving. You could take part in the resort’s coral regeneration initiative to do your bit for this unique ecosystem, while an on-site PADI certified dive centre is perfect for brushing up on your skills and training beginners for the experience of a lifetime.