Where to Stay in the Maldives 🇲🇻: Best Resorts & Places to Stay in Maldives

The Maldives is a paradise that has captivated travelers from around the world with its turquoise lagoons, sugar-white beaches, and luxurious overwater villas. If you’re planning a getaway to this idyllic archipelago, the hardest part might be deciding where to stay. With so many incredible resorts scattered across the islands, it can be overwhelming to choose.

Our Pick of the Best Hotels in the Maldives 🔝

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best resorts and islands in the Maldives, highlighting their unique features and amenities. We’ll share insider tips on how to make the most of your stay, from snorkeling with manta rays to indulging in traditional Maldivian cuisine.

Quick Guide to the Best Places to Stay in the Maldives 📋

1. North Malé Atoll – Best for Couples & Honeymoon 💎

🌴 Maldivian hub: North Malé Atoll, also known as Northern Kaafu, is the principal atoll of the Maldives and home to the capital city Malé and Velana International Airport.

🐬 Aqua paradise: Known for its stunning coral reefs, water sports, and luxury resorts, North Malé Atoll is the most accessible atoll, with many resorts just a short speedboat ride from the airport.

Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, family vacation, or diving adventure, the resorts in North Malé Atoll offer luxury in a tranquil setting with convenient access from the international airport.

All hotels in North Malé Atoll →

Where to Stay in North Malé Atoll? 🏩

Best hotels in North Malé Atoll

  • VARU by Atmosphere – This luxurious all-inclusive resort is simply stunning. The overwater villas are spacious and elegantly designed, with direct access to the turquoise lagoon. The food is exceptional, with multiple dining options to choose from. The staff go above and beyond to ensure a memorable stay.
  • Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa – Situated on the private Furanafushi Island, this luxurious resort boasts white sands, crystal waters, and golden sunshine. It’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy world-class amenities in a picturesque setting.
  • Kagi Maldives Resort & Spa – This brand new resort is a real gem. The villas are stylish and modern, with a focus on wellness and relaxation. The spa is incredible, with a range of treatments using natural ingredients. The staff are attentive and friendly, and the food is healthy and delicious.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Summer Island Maldives – This resort offers great value for money, with comfortable rooms and a beautiful beach. The staff are warm and welcoming, and the food is tasty and plentiful. It’s a great option for families or couples on a budget.
  • Bandos Maldives – This is a great mid-range option, with a variety of room types to suit different budgets. The beach is stunning, and there are plenty of activities on offer, from snorkeling to yoga. The food is good, with a mix of local and international dishes.
  • Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives – This resort has a laid-back, rustic charm, with simple but comfortable rooms. The beach is lovely, and the snorkeling is fantastic. The staff are friendly and attentive, and the food is fresh and tasty. It’s a great option for a relaxing, low-key holiday.

2. South Ari Atoll – Best for Beaches, Snorkeling and Diving 🤿

🛥 Marine paradise: South Ari Atoll, also known as Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, is a picturesque atoll located in the west of the Maldives. Known for its stunning white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and incredible marine life, South Ari Atoll is a popular choice for beach lovers and underwater enthusiasts seeking a luxurious and adventurous vacation.

🔝 Popular activities in South Ari Atoll include:

  • Snorkeling and scuba diving to explore the atoll’s vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life
  • Fishing trips to catch local species like tuna, wahoo, and sailfish
  • Island-hopping excursions to discover the atoll’s pristine beaches and local communities

🐳 Whale sharks: South Ari Atoll is also known for its incredible whale shark sightings, with these gentle giants often spotted year-round near the atoll’s plankton-rich waters. Visitors can embark on snorkeling or diving excursions to witness these majestic creatures up close.

All hotels in South Ari Atoll →

Where to Stay in South Ari Atoll? 🏨

Best hotels in South Ari Atoll

  • Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives – This luxurious all-inclusive resort wowed me with its stunning overwater villas, excellent restaurants, and world-class diving center. The house reef is incredible for snorkeling right off the beach. I loved the spa and the adults-only pool.
  • LUX South Ari Atoll – I was impressed by the stylish, modern overwater villas with private infinity pools at this top-notch resort. The food was amazing across the 8 restaurants and bars. Excellent water sports, diving, and activities for both couples and families.
  • Lily Beach Resort & Spa – Another fabulous luxury all-inclusive with both beach villas and overwater bungalows. I snorkeled with whale sharks and manta rays right near the resort – unforgettable! Great for families with an extensive kids club.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Endheri Sunset Dhangethi – I was pleasantly surprised by this well-run local guesthouse on the island of Dhangethi. The rooms are basic but clean and comfortable. The staff arranged great snorkeling and diving trips for me at reasonable prices.
  • Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa – A well-established 4-star resort on a picturesque island with beach villas and overwater bungalows. The resort has a house reef for snorkeling, a spa, multiple restaurants, and offers activities like diving and excursions at reasonable prices.
  • Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon – A charming 4-star resort on its own island with beach bungalows and chalets. The island has a beautiful lagoon perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The resort offers decent amenities like a pool, restaurant, and dive center at reasonable rates.

3. Baa Atoll – Best Place to Stay in Maldives for Nature Lovers 🐋

🌴 Eco-paradise: Baa Atoll, located in the central west of the Maldives, is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve renowned for its stunning marine life, pristine coral reefs, and lush vegetation. This atoll is perfect for eco-conscious travelers and nature enthusiasts seeking a luxurious and sustainable vacation.

🦈 Marine life: Baa Atoll is also known for its incredible marine life, including manta rays, whale sharks, and diverse coral species. The atoll’s Hanifaru Bay is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving, where visitors can witness the incredible manta ray aggregations from June to November.

All hotels in Baa Atoll →

Where to Stay in Baa Atoll? 🏩

Best Hotels in Baa Atoll

  • Vakkaru Maldives – A luxurious overwater villa resort that exudes tranquility and privacy. The villas are spacious with private pools, and the resort offers excellent dining options with a focus on fresh seafood. The service is impeccable. 
  • Milaidhoo Maldives – An intimate island hideaway with stunning beach villas and overwater villas. The villas have a contemporary yet warm design, and the resort has a wonderful spa. The staff provides attentive service. 
  • Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives – A lively and vibrant resort with stylish overwater villas. The resort has a fun atmosphere with great entertainment and dining options. The beach club is a highlight with DJ parties and beach activities. 

Best Cheap/Moderate Hotels

  • Reethi Beach Resort – Situated on a lush island with a beautiful lagoon and sandy beaches, this resort provides excellent value for money without compromising on the Maldivian experience. 
  • Dhigufaru Island Resort – A charming and affordable resort with a private beach area and outdoor pool, ideal for those seeking a peaceful escape on a budget.
  • Clarks Exotica – A 4-star beachfront property with an outdoor pool, shared lounge, and terrace. The resort provides a comfortable stay at an affordable price point.

4. Dhaalu Atoll – Best for Privacy & Relaxation 🧘‍♂️

🏝️ Secluded: Dhaalu Atoll, located in the central south of the Maldives, is a secluded and pristine atoll known for its stunning natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, and luxurious resorts. This atoll is perfect for travelers seeking ultimate privacy and relaxation.

🤿 Water activities: Dhaalu Atoll is also known for its stunning coral reefs and diverse marine life, making it a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. The atoll’s Kandima Maldives resort even features the largest swimming pool in the Maldives, perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun.

All hotels in Dhaalu Atoll →

Where to Stay in Dhaalu Atoll? 🏨

Best Hotels in Dhaalu Atoll

  • Niyama Private Islands Maldives – A luxurious twin-island paradise offering an incredible range of modern villas, both on the beach and over water. The resort boasts a wonderful spa, excellent dining options, and top-notch service that left me thoroughly pampered.
  • Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort – This beautiful resort on a picturesque island has spacious over-water villas with direct lagoon access. I loved the traditional Maldivian design elements and the warm hospitality of the staff.
  • Amilla Maldives Resort & Residences – Spread across two islands, this innovative resort offers a unique blend of luxury and sustainability. The modern villas are incredibly spacious, and the resort has a wonderful house reef for snorkeling.

Best Cheap/Moderate Hotels

  • Niyama Private Islands Maldives (Beach Studios) – While the resort is luxurious, their beach studios offer a more affordable option for those seeking a taste of the Niyama experience. These cozy studios are perfect for couples on a budget.
  • Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort (Beach Villas) – The resort’s beach villas are a great value option, providing direct access to the stunning beach while still enjoying the resort’s top-notch amenities and service.
  • Amilla Maldives Resort & Residences (Beach Villas) – The beach villas here offer a more economical way to experience this innovative resort’s sustainable luxury. They are spacious and well-appointed, with easy access to the island’s facilities.

Choosing the Right Island Resort 🤔

With so many stunning options available, consider the following factors to help you choose the right resort for your needs and preferences:

💎 Luxury level: Determine your desired level of luxury, from ultra-luxurious overwater villas with private pools and butler service to more affordable beach bungalows with essential amenities.

👨‍💼 All-inclusive vs. à la carte: Decide whether an all-inclusive package with meals, drinks, and activities included is more convenient, or if you prefer the flexibility of an à la carte option to customize your dining and experiences.

🏩 Overwater villas vs. beach villas: Choose between the iconic overwater villas with direct lagoon access and stunning ocean views, or the more spacious and private beach villas with lush gardens and sandy shores.

💆‍♀️ Spa and wellness facilities: For the ultimate relaxation, look for resorts with luxurious spas offering a range of treatments, yoga classes, meditation sessions, and wellness programs.

🏄‍♀️ Water sports and activities: If you’re seeking adventure, check the resort’s offerings for snorkeling, scuba diving, water sports, fishing trips, island excursions, and cultural experiences.

🛫 Location and accessibility: Consider the resort’s location within the Maldives and its proximity to the international airport, as well as the transfer options available, such as seaplane, speedboat, or domestic flight.

By carefully considering these factors and your personal preferences, you’ll be able to select the perfect resort for your Maldives honeymoon, family vacation, or luxury getaway.

Tips for Planning Your Maldives Vacation 📃

To ensure a seamless and unforgettable Maldives vacation, consider the following tips when planning your trip to this tropical paradise.

Best time to visit 🌞

The Maldives experiences a tropical monsoon climate with two distinct seasons. The dry season (December to April) offers sunny skies, low humidity, and calm waters, making it the peak tourist season.

The wet season (May to November) brings occasional rainfall and slightly lower prices, but still offers plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures.

Getting around the islands 🚤

The Maldives consists of 26 atolls with over 1,000 coral islands. The main modes of transportation between islands and resorts include:

  • Seaplane transfers – A scenic and convenient way to reach resorts located farther from the main airport.
  • Speedboat transfers – A quick and affordable option for reaching resorts close to the main airport.
  • Domestic flights – Necessary for reaching resorts located in more distant atolls, followed by a short speedboat ride.

Budgeting and packages 🧳

Consider your budget and look for special offers, early bird discounts, and packages that include flights, transfers, meals, and activities to save money on your Maldives vacation.

Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, swimwear, lightweight clothing, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, and any necessary medications. If you plan on snorkeling or diving, consider bringing your own gear for a perfect fit and comfort.

Best Maldives Atolls & Resorts on a Map 🗺

FAQs about Visiting Maldives ❔

Which part of Maldives is the best to stay?

There’s no definitive «best» part of the Maldives since every atoll and island offers a unique experience. However, many visitors prefer the atolls closer to Male, the capital, for their excellent resorts and easy access. The Atolls of Kaafu, Ari, Lhaviyani, and Baa are popular choices renowned for their pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, and world-class resorts. These atolls strike a great balance between convenience and that secluded, tropical paradise feel.

How many days is enough for Maldives?

While there’s no perfect answer, I’d recommend spending at least 5-7 days in the Maldives to truly experience its magic. This gives you enough time to settle into the relaxed island vibe, explore your resort’s amenities, take a day trip or two, and soak up the breathtaking natural beauty. That said, many visitors wish they could stay longer – a 10-14 day trip allows you to island hop and fully immerse yourself in the Maldivian lifestyle.

Which part of Maldives is most beautiful?

With its multitude of picturesque islands and vibrant underwater scenery, the entire Maldives archipelago is stunningly beautiful. However, the Baa Atoll stands out for its unparalleled natural splendor. It’s home to timeless islands like Kunfunadu, with its jungle interior and soft white sandbanks. The Baa Atoll is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, protecting its rich biodiversity including colourful coral reefs, mangrove forests, and incredible marine life from manta rays to whale sharks.

Where to stay in Maldives on a budget?

While the Maldives is renowned as a luxury destination, budget-conscious travelers can still find affordable accommodation. Your best bets are guest houses and small inns on islands like Maafushi, Thoddoo, and Dharavandhoo in the Atolls near Male. These local islands offer basic but comfortable stays from around $50-150 per night. You’ll sacrifice some amenities but gain an authentic Maldivian cultural experience. Couchsurfing is also an option to cut costs further.

Can i live in Maldives?

Living full-time in the Maldives as a foreigner is quite difficult unless you secure employment with a Maldivian company or resort. The islands have very limited infrastructure and residential options for expats. However, the government does offer a Reverie Residence Permit that allows wealthy individuals to reside in the Maldives if they invest over $500,000 in a residential property. The permit is renewable annually with additional fees.