Sometimes the best things come in small packages. With just 120 square miles of sandy shores in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is among the smallest countries in the world but one of the most desirable travel destinations.
Despite its size, it’s home to more than 150 resorts, including some of the most over-the-top and luxurious resorts on the planet.
Luxurious Maldives resorts boast overwater bungalows with private pools, palatial villas with private, secluded beaches, and amenities you need to see to believe. It’s no wonder the Maldives is one of the most popular destinations for honeymoons and budget-busting once-in-a-lifetime getaways.
The Best of The Maldives
Scattered among the nearly 1,200 islands in the Maldives, resorts offering next-level amenities have put these remote tropical islands on the map as one of the best destinations for luxury travel worldwide.
Travelers have plenty of options when looking for an unforgettable getaway in the Maldives. New resorts pop up frequently to make the most of the country’s white sand beaches, clear waters, and incredible diving in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Baa Atoll while pushing the envelope of luxury accommodations.
These three Maldive Resorts offer some of the most over-the-top, luxurious amenities and unforgettable experiences that set them apart from the resorts founds throughout the rest of the country.
1. Gili Lankanfushi
The Maldives may be famous for their overwater bungalows, but at Gili Lankanfushi, guests can look forward to more than just a bungalow. This luxurious resort is home to the world’s largest overwater villa. Spanning over 5,500 feet and featuring four bedrooms, a freshwater swimming pool, and amenities like a cinema, library, and gym, villas offer guests every imaginable amenity in unmatched privacy and seclusion.
Activities at Gili Lankanfushi
While guests will have plenty of entertainment and pampering without needing to leave their villa, it is just a small taste of the incredible amenities and experiences that await at Gili Lankanfushi. Marine biologist-led snorkeling tours, “castaway” family adventures perfect for kids and kids at heart, and surfing lessons with renowned surfing company Tropicsurf are just the start of the offerings available to make the trip one to remember.
Gili Lankafushi also offers an unmatched wellness program for guests looking to connect with themselves as they enjoy the natural paradise of this private island in the Maldives. The resort offers bespoke three-, five-, and seven-day programs year-round that marry age-old healing techniques and rituals from around the world, administered in serene overwater bungalows.
Gili Lankafushi’s Meera Spa also regularly hosts a rotating roster of world-renowned healers and practitioners and a full menu of spa treatments.
Sustainability at the Maldives Resort
While its luxury leaves guests lacking nothing, Gili Lankanfushi also succeeds in providing a sustainable experience from start to finish, allowing guests to engage in protecting the environment they’ve traveled so far to enjoy. At the resort’s marine biology center, Gili Veshi, two dedicated marine biologists oversee projects to preserve and replenish nearby reefs and maintain biodiversity.
Partnerships with international NGOs like the Manta Trust and the Olive Ridley Project further build on conservation efforts and protect at-risk species. Guests can feel good about having a positive impact during their once-in-a-lifetime vacation.
2. Soneva Jani
Part of the Soneva group, the pioneering luxury eco-resort collection in the Maldives, Soneva Jani is arguably one of the most famous luxury resorts in the Maldives.
Features and Activities for Guests of Soneva Jani
Irreverant features of the resort’s palatial overwater villas include water slides from the room dropping into the crystal-clear waters of the lagoon below and retractable roofs for evening stargazing.
Travelers can look forward to evenings at the outdoor swim-up cinema, visiting an observatory with an on-staff astronomer for guided stargazing experiences, and private beach barbeques. It’s no wonder this resort has gone viral time and time again.
Maldives Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
While Soneva Jani’s installations are second to none, it also makes the most of its enviable location in the Noonu Atoll, a gorgeous corner of the Maldives known for incredible sea life. It’s a paradise for travelers looking to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling during their vacation. It has the highest density of fish in the Maldives and incredible populations of dolphins, corals, and even sharks.
Guided snorkeling and scuba diving experiences allow guests to spot turtles, technicolor fish, unique coral species, and much more. An entire marine biology center and dive school await eager underwater explorers, serving everyone from beginners to more seasoned divers.
Extra Luxury from Soneva Jani
Looking to take this over-the-top experience to the next level? The Soneva brand now boasts Soneva in Aqua, a luxury two-cabin yacht ready to whisk guests away on day excursions around the islands or complete live-abroad adventures to some of the most picturesque and remote destinations in the Maldives.
With incredible features like a glass-bottomed spa tub in the primary bedroom cabin, the yacht easily exceeds expectations for travelers looking for a unique way to experience the Maldives.
Look forward to the same service you’ll find at Soneva’s resorts on land, with an entire staff including a captain, chef, butler, massage therapist, and even a dive master and astronomer available for unique add-on experiences aboard.
3. Velaa Private Island
If you’re looking for even more privacy, consider a stay at Velaa Private Island. One of the most luxurious resorts in the world, Velaa Private Island offers guests the opportunity to buy out the island for $1 million per night. Have your pick from plush villas, bungalows, and unending dining and activity options as you relax and unwind with friends and family on your own paradise island.
If buying out the entire island is over your price point, don’t worry; much of the year, Velaa functions as a resort welcoming discerning guests from all over the world. However, there’s nothing ordinary about the over-the-top luxury that awaits here.
With just 47 luxurious villas in a secluded northern atoll, the resort offers second-to-none privacy for every guest. It even boasts a Romantic Residence, a one-bedroom overwater villa accessible only by boat for next-level seclusion, perfect for honeymooners.
Experiences at Velaa Private Island
Velaa Private Island has multiple restaurants, bars, and a dedicated wine cellar. It boasts the best restaurant in the country, Aragu, the only restaurant in the Maldives to appear on the list of Asia’s 50 best restaurants. Its spa is second-to-none, offering unique treatments by expert practitioners from around the world. They even offer Could9 Sleep Pods and the only Snow Room in the Maldives.
While every luxurious Maldives resort offers incredible activities on land and under the sea for discerning travelers, it is hard to beat the offerings at Velaa Private Island. The resort is home to a Golf Academy and a nine-hole golf course, complete with one-on-one tuition with PGA professionals, perfect for taking your game to the next level. Other on-land activities include private yoga sessions in the Yoga Pavillion with sweeping views, beach volleyball, tennis, squash and badminton courts, and even a rock climbing wall.
Under the sea, the resort is home to the largest coral restoration program in the Maldives. Guests can snorkel or scuba dive with the resident marine biologist to share details of the effort while introducing guests to the incredible world that awaits below the waves. Commemorate your stay by adopting an individual coral line, and receive individualized updates on the project for years to come.
Best Time to Visit The Maldives
While the Maldives is a dreamy destination year-round, the best time to visit the Maldives is during the sunny, dry season from mid-December through April. Expect the sunny skies and clear water you dream of for your tropical vacation.
From May to early December, the Maldives experiences a rainy season that might keep you inside for part of your trip. Though with plenty of luxury amenities to enjoy at these world-class resorts, you won’t mind it. An often-overlooked benefit of traveling during the rainy season is that you’ll have a much better chance of seeing whale sharks and manta rays that populate these waters from June to November.
Save Money in The Maldives
The downside of traveling to the Maldives during the dry season? Expect the cost of a trip to the Maldives to increase by as much as 50% during the high season as resorts fill with travelers hoping to experience clear skies in one of the world’s most popular bucket list destinations.
If you’re looking for a trip to the Maldives on a budget, you’ll save thousands by traveling during the off-season. Everything from the price of resorts to seaplanes and popular excursions is much more affordable from May through early December. Planning an off-season trip can be a great way to save money or spring for an unforgettable stay at a luxurious resort that might otherwise be out of your budget.
Traveling in The Maldives
One-of-a-kind luxuries, unmatched service, and a next-level experience await in the Maldives. Whether your trip to the Maldives takes you to one of these incredible resorts or one of the country’s most distant atolls, you can look forward to an amazing experience in one of the most unique and beautiful corners of the world.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Carley Rojas Avila is an avid traveler and the creator behind travel websites Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Having visited twenty-five countries and spent years living abroad, she shares destination guides and travel tips to help travelers and digital nomads feel at home when traveling off the beaten path to Havana or beyond.