Luxury comes in many forms in the Maldives. In this special section on the archipelago, we shine a light on the popular island resorts that can be your portals to safe, relaxed, and inspiring holidays. By Rashima Nagpal & Shrimayee Thakur
Island Resorts In The Maldives
Located in the pristine Raa Atoll, the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort is a fine mix of luxury and natural beauty. Stay in one of the overwater villas to make the most of the gorgeous lagoon and its marine life. The resort has partnered with the Manta Trust for the conservation of the species, and as a guest, you can choose to name and adopt a manta ray through the resort. For kids, the Planet Trekkers Kids Club offers a wide range of games, arts and crafts, and mini expeditions. The adults can head to one of six overwater treatment villas in the award-winning AVI Spa, where you can enjoy a spectrum of treatments, including mani-pedi with Margaret Dabbs London. The resort offers six restaurants and bars: Fish Market is a unique, interactive, sea-to-table kitchen concept where you can choose your own seafood, and Lighthouse whips up refreshing meals with 360° views. In the evenings, head to the aptly-named Sunset Bar to enjoy refreshing cocktails and delectable canapes. From INR 41,279.
Only 20 minutes away from Malé by speedboat, the Grand Park Kodhipparu has a collection of 120 beachfront and overwater villas. The resort also boasts a rich coral reef nearby, with myriad marine creatures weaving through the azure water. Begin your day with breakfast on the sandbank near the resort, then head to Malé to immerse yourself in Maldivian culture at the National Museum, which has a huge collection of antiquities—some even dating back to the Buddhist era. Visit the Malé Fish Market, the epicentre of commercial activities for the country, and the adjoining local market that sells fresh tropical fruits and spices. Head back to the resort and indulge in one of the signature treatments at The Spa, where treatment rooms overlook the sea. Stop by for dinner at Firedoor, which has a Josper Grill and an open space at its heart where you can see the marine life of the lagoon. From INR 34,863.
Spread across three islands, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers a vast selection of plush rooms and suites, ranging from beach villas with pools and overwater villas to the Ithaafushi private island, which has nine bedrooms, five pools, and an entertainment clubhouse. If the decadent accommodation wasn’t enough, the resort also offers 11 dining venues. Visit The Ledge by Dave Pynt from Burnt Ends, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Singapore, to taste Australian barbeque-style food. For a meal with a view, head to one of Terra’s seven bamboo nests perched on treetops, where you can sip on the resort’s signature Krug Champagne handpicked by the first Maldives’ Krug Ambassador. Beat the summer heat at one of the cabanas near the Lagoon and Mirror pools, with cocktails and live music. Or hold exclusive wine dinners around a 200-year-old Jarrah wood table in a cave-like dining room at The Rock. From INR 1,78,788.
Located on the southernmost reaches of the island nation, the Raffles Maldives Meradhoo sits in the remote Gaafu Alifu Atoll. The resort combines luxury with seclusion and tranquillity. Apart from activities like snorkelling, jet-skiing, and dolphin watching, you can also take a glass kayak out into the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean to witness schools of colourful fish or just relax in complete solitude. Beat the summer heat by heading to the Long Bar, a recreation of the famous Raffles Singapore Long Bar where the iconic Singapore Sling was invented. The bar has a Maldivian rendition of the popular drink called Maldivian Sling, made with gin, cinnamon, clove, and coconut. In the night, head to The Firepit to stargaze while your dinner is cooked over a charcoal fire. From INR 1,14,722.
Located on the Huruelhi Island in the Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, the Radisson Blu Resort Maldives is the perfect base for exploring the Indian Ocean by means of diving, snorkelling, or even whale shark cruises. You can also spend your time playing explorer on the islands around it. Nine kilometres from the hotel is Fenfushi Island, which is home to the 400-year-old Fenfushi Friday Mosque, one of Maldives’ six World Heritage coral stone mosques. Head to islands like Dhigurah, Mahibadhoo, Maamigili, and Dhangethi to get in touch with the local community. If lounging by the poolside and sipping on cool drinks is more your style, head to Eats & Beats, the poolside bar. If you’re a fan of the classics, Crusoe’s, an adult-only bar themed after the novel Robinson Crusoe, is the place to be. From INR 47,974.
Comprising as many as five islets, Soneva Jani enjoys exclusive access to the Medhufaru lagoon in Noonu Atoll. This year, the resort has introduced a lavish new wing. Referred to as Soneva Jani Chapter Two, it features a new collection of Water and Island Reserves, three new dining concepts, and a new Soneva Wellness Centre. Nevertheless, it’s the sum of the indulgent experiences here that make your holiday exceptional. Imagine a four-hour Astronomy Cruise on the ocean, complete with dinner and wine on board; a private beach breakfast at the crack of dawn; a conservation expedition with a marine biologist; and an open-aired movie screening at the overwater Cinema Paradiso. The new Soneva Unlimited offering packages every aspect of the destination into the villa price. One-Bedroom Water Retreat from INR 1,37,720.
The Gili way of life awaits you on Lankanfushi island. Located a stone’s throw away from Malé (20 minutes via speedboat), Gili Lankanfushi takes pride in being one of the first overwater resorts in the archipelago. It is only fitting that you book The Private Reserve as your home for a few days. Standing in the middle of a turquoise lagoon 500 metres from the main resort, like a mini fort in the ocean, the multi-tier 1,700-square-metre reserve comes with two en suite bedrooms, two guest rooms, an infinity pool, a couple’s spa pavilion complete with a sauna and steam room, an air-conditioned gymnasium, a huge central living area with direct access to a natural coral pool, a private bar, a cinema deck, a water slide… All this and more with a private boat at your disposal. There are nine other categories of accommodation at the resort. From INR 95,104.
Spread over the Emboodhu Finolhu island, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa lives up to its brand name. A 15-minute speedboat ride from Malé gets you to the island, also known as the Three Coconut Isle. Featuring 64 sea-view suites and villas, including a Presidential Suite, the island resort is fit for a plush escape in a naturally relaxing setting. Float in your private pool, snorkel in the surrounding lagoon, or sway in a hammock—the slow life takes over shortly after you arrive at the property. Make the most of your summer getaway by indulging in a lavish treatment or two at the brand’s signature spa. From quick-fix massages to elaborate therapies that last as long as six hours, Jiva Spa has something for everybody. From INR 78,590.
Perched on a pristine island in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll, The Residence Maldives at Falhumaafushi offers the full spectrum of island experiences. Whether you prefer anytime access to the beach or the otherworldliness of overwater stay, the resort’s 94 accommodation options come through. You will never run out of experiences: a Maldivian cooking class, snorkelling safaris, fishing on a local dhoni, and more. You can even reserve the whole island for four nights; the resort can accommodate up to 198 guests. Its gastronomic destinations include beachfront and overwater restaurants and The Library Bar, where you can lounge around with a good book and a cocktail. From INR 30,040.
A tastefully designed address in the heart of Baa Atoll, Vakkaru Maldives embodies tropical luxury in style. Thanks to its proximity to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the resort is perfect for an immersive marine holiday. Splash, the dedicated water-sports centre at the property, offers myriad activities ranging from manta snorkelling trips to sailing courses to scuba diving. Besides having a thriving house reef and a unique ‘blue hole’ within its lagoon, the resort is close to the popular Hanifaru Bay, which is home to whale sharks and manta rays. To up the luxury quotient, rent a private boat at the resort and make your excursions truly personalised. From INR 56,000.
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