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The Most Luxurious Resorts In The Maldives

Amber Gibson

Contributor

A chain of 26 atolls and more than a thousand coral islands in the Indian Ocean comprise the Maldives. This tropical archipelago is the smallest country in Asia and known for its crystal clear waters, soft white sand beaches and overwater bungalows at self-contained luxury resorts. Over the past 50 years, tourism has skyrocketed to become the largest industry in the country. With dozens of five-star luxury hotels to choose from, nearly all on private islands, it can be hard to decide which paradise to book. Here are five of the top resorts in the Maldives, from a romantic adults-only escape to more adventurous family-friendly resorts for animal lovers.

FOR NEWLYWEDS

Adults-only Hurawalhi is the perfect place to get lost in a world with just you and your lover. Relax with couples' spa treatments and enjoy a glass of champagne at the champagne pavilion one evening and a sunset dolphin cruise the next. Your most difficult decision will be whether you'd like a beachfront bungalow or overwater villa, although both options are equally romantic and private.

From the overwater villas, you can slip out of bed and go snorkelling directly from your deck. Perhaps the most romantic, certainly the most magical, dining experience in the Maldives is 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, the largest all-glass underwater restaurant in the world located 5.8 metres below sea level. A kaleidoscope of reef fish keep you company as you feast on an elaborate tasting menu within a mind-boggling aquarium. Choose from equally delectable seafood and vegan menus with highlights like sweet pea tartare on caramelized quinoa and red mullet with lobster bisque foam. 

Hurawalhi Underwater Restaurant

FOR FAMILIES

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa caters to all ages, with an excellent kids club and dozens of daily activities like shark feeding and crab races that are fun for the whole family. The thatched roof Maldivian village consists of 58 beach villas along with 38 more recently renovated overwater villas that each have a private infinity pool, overwater hammocks and spacious decks. Snorkelling and diving expeditions are offered daily for all abilities and the surfing here is the best in the Maldives. 

The Kuda Mas “small fish” club entertains children from four to 12 years old so mom and dad can have some time to themselves. When the little ones are building sandcastles and taking cooking classes, adults can take a boat to the recently renovated island spa for a marine brightening treatment with organic seaweed or a strong Balinese massage. 

Kuda Huraa, Maldives

FOR ANIMAL LOVERS

Spread across three times the landmass of Kuda Huraa, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru is located in a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve with one of the premier marine research centres in the Maldives. Guests can help marine biologists rebuild coral reefs, rehabilitate sea turtles and identify manta rays. 

Hanifaru Bay, home to the greatest concentration of manta rays in the world, is just a short speed boat ride away and the Four Seasons will call guests on their manta phone whenever there are sightings. Guests can help researchers identify manta rays by taking photos of the unique spot pattern on each manta's belly. 

Beach villas on the south side of the island have direct access to coral reefs for snorkelling and guests are given bikes to easily navigate the island. The entire collection of over-water villas was just renovated too. You can even book the Super Falcon 3S submarine for two guests to cruise over reefs and alongside dolphins.

Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives

FOR CONSERVATIONISTS

Designed as a lush treehouse wonderland, Soneva Fushi encourages playful curiosity and barefoot exploration. The Maldivian pioneer of eco-luxury just celebrated 25 years and the jungle property is great for multi-generational travel and larger groups, with 63 beach villas, ranging from one- to nine-bedrooms, rimming the exterior of the island.

All detergent and bath amenities are biodegradable and organic, with ceramic dispensers, glass water bottles and bamboo toothbrushes to eliminate plastic. There are entire rooms dedicated to both chocolate (So Guilty) and ice cream (So Cool) open around the clock but you can also snip your own garden greens to make a DIY breakfast salad.

Plant-based options are encouraged (and incredibly delicious) to minimise the resort's carbon footprint and all the herbs and a third of the salad greens served are grown on the island.

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

FOR AN ALL-INCLUSIVE SPLURGE

With just 15 overwater villas and a $3,800 a night price tag, Kudadoo is the first ultra-all-inclusive resort of its kind in the Maldives. Unlimited spa treatments, private dining and private excursions are all included, artfully orchestrated by your personal butler. 

The service motto here is "anything, anytime, anywhere”, an apt description. You'll want to book spa treatments in advance, but everything else can be arranged on a whim. Wake up to a floating breakfast in your sprawling infinity pool and ponder the program for the day. The best European cheese, charcuterie and wine are stored impeccably in a dedicated cellar, along with endless luxury ingredients like caviar and wagyu beef.

Money can't buy everything, but the peace and freedom you'll find at Kudadoo are priceless.

Kudadoo Private Island

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