The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need for Where to Stay in the Maldives

Endless paradise.

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives

If you’ve ever wanted the feeling of having an entire island to yourself, consider taking your next vacation in the stunning archipelago of the Maldives. This collection of nearly 1,200 tiny coral islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean is a paradise of powdery white sand and crystal-clear, bathtub-warm waters, where walking barefoot is the norm, and aquatic playgrounds are steps outside your front door.

Fewer than 200 of those islands are inhabited, with only one resort built per island for an exclusive feel. Choose from beachside villas or overwater bungalows, some with private infinity pools and hammocks perched above the ocean, while others feature water slides and retractable roofs for watching the stars.

The Maldivian tourism industry is relatively young, having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, but don’t mistake youth for inexperience. Whether you’re a romance-seeking honeymooner or a family bursting with energy, no destination elevates the fly-and-flop experience like the Maldives.

From culinary excellence to uniquely Maldivian experiences, these five resorts have something to offer every type of traveller:


For uniquely Maldivian hospitality: Villa Park



As one of few brands in the Maldives wholly owned, operated, and run by locals, Villa Resorts hits all the right notes of authenticity. At Villa Park, one of the brand’s crown jewels, executive chef Raminda Premaratne brings to life tastes both familiar and exotic: lemongrass smoked shrimp, impeccably spiced fresh-caught Maldivian sweetlip fish, and in an afternoon snack hut, sweet pancakes, masala tea, and fruits you’ve never heard of, like coconut embryo, reminiscent of angel food cake, only better.

More than 20,000 coconuts are harvested each month on the grounds; make sure to say hi to Kolangi, who has been cracking them open for visitors for decades. And when you make your way to the spa, don’t miss the deeply restorative Kawa bath experience. Filled with stunning flowers and fragrant herbs like lemongrass and pandan leaves, this outdoor pot tub beckons in the midst of a jungle-like setting. Kept warm by a gentle fire underneath, this healing soak will relieve even the slightest hint of ache or twinge. All that’s left for you to do? Breathe deeply and just let go.




For the wave chasers: Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives




Surfers flock here from all over the world to catch the perfect wave and enjoy direct access to the legendary Kandooma Right, one of the best surf breaks in the Maldives. Because this private beach belongs to the resort, you’ll have these crystal-clear warm waters almost all to yourself—except for the occasional manta ray, curious dolphin, or flying fish.

The resort works in partnership with Perfect Wave Travel to offer surf experiences tailored to all levels between March to November. Even if surfing isn’t your jam, you’ll find plenty of other activities to enjoy the private island experience without the hefty price tag. Holiday Inn is known for its friendliness toward both the family and the pocketbook, and this location in the Maldives is no exception.




For families and foodies: Soneva Jani




Got a sweet tooth? You might be spending a lot of time in one of Soneva Jani’s two rooms dedicated solely to chocolate and ice cream—60 flavours of it, plus countless cakes and truffles made in-house, available 24/7. Work off those calories taking the waterslide from your palatial villa into the azure blue lagoon, but if you prefer to sleep off the sugar rush, open the retractable roof so you can see the starry sky after waking up from your nap.

With the largest kids’ club in the Maldives, there’s plenty for youngsters to do here: with a swim-up mocktail bar, pirate ship, zip lines, pinball machines, and hands-on classes on everything from astronomy to marine life, they won’t have time to get bored.




For the wellness warrior: Joali Being




If you’re a wellness nut who uses words like “microbiome” and “digital detox” in everyday conversation, this ultraluxurious resort is where you belong. As the first island in the Maldives dedicated entirely to well-being, with the region’s largest fitness centre, this sister resort to Joali offers a team of naturopaths and therapists, with immersive experiences to match.

Cryotherapy chamber? Check. Transcendent sound ritual? Check. Himalayan salt cave? This way, please. Now picture this: your own personal jadugar (that’s “skilled magician” in the local Dhivehi language) at your side to help you navigate it all, whether making dinner reservations at your favourite oceanside table or booking a class at the herbology centre to make your own natural hair-care products. You’d be hard-pressed to find any better place on Earth for a spiritual, physical, and emotional reset. Formerly adults-only, this resort recently opened its doors to families.




For lovers of glamping: Fairmont Maldives, Sirrru Fen Fushi




If your previous glamping trips did not come with a telescope, private chef, or on-call mixologist, you may need to ask yourself if you ever really went glamping at all. Fairmont Maldives takes it up several notches, offering Beach Tented Villas in the midst of a lush island jungle for a safari-like feel, with every imaginable five-star amenity and a nine-kilometre-long house reef only steps away.

Along with newly launched all-inclusive dining, this luxurious resort also has the longest infinity pool in the Maldives and the country’s only coral regeneration project that doubles as an underwater art installation. Take a guided tour with the resident marine biologist, followed by an interactive workshop at a sustainability lab where you can make turtle-shaped keychains and other souvenirs from plastic waste washed ashore. Bonus: kids under 12 stay and dine for free.