Best for Art Lovers: Joali
Joali turned its back on the ubiquitous trend for rustic-luxe in the Maldives, and instead focused on high-quality and luxurious comfort, smart marble interiors and really good service. Add to the list that Joali is also the first art immersive hotel in the Maldives.
Sprinkled around the verdant interior of the island are sculptures and artworks created by artists from Cape Town to South Korea in addition to local artisans, making an interactive art trail around the tropical island. The art studio and gallery hosts visiting artists and here guests can create their own nature-inspired work.
If you like your paradise with a side-serving of culture, then Joali may well be for you. If you’re planning on travelling with kids – even better. Joali’s kids’ club is truly imaginative where children can go on treasure hunts around the island, combing the beach to create unique crafts.
BEST FOR BAREFOOT INFORMALITY: Milaidhoo Island
We’ve come to associate the Maldives with barefoot luxury, but in recent years, the variety and diversification of the hotels that top these perfect atolls of sand, palm trees and aquamarine water means that some hotels have pulled away in a different direction.
Not so here. Milaidhoo is rightly proud of its jaw-droppingly beautiful location, the UNESCO biosphere reserve Hanifaru Bay, which is cradled by a teeming coral reef and lapped by the warm Indian Ocean. With no need to embellish its sheer natural beauty, this luxe resort instead focuses on a totally relaxed, stress-free and easy-going ambience. Firstly, the décor is vibrant and fun, with accents of nautical blues lending a cheery note and service always comes with a big smile. Another ace in the deck is the encircling coral reef – claimed to be the world’s largest manta ray feeding station. Visit during June – November when the world’s largest grouping of manta rays convene, and you may even have the unforgettable opportunity to snorkel around graceful whale sharks.
BEST FOR ECO WARRIORS: Soneva Fushi
You know you’ll have a relaxing holiday when you come to the Maldives, but to give your conscience a break too, come to Soneva Fushi, where everything has been designed with the environment in mind. Eco innovators and hotel gurus Sonu and Eva Shivdasani created this eco idyll that focuses on ‘intelligent luxury’ with huge success; and many hotels are now follow their environment-saving blueprint.
The sprawling hotel has bleached wooden suites set within the verdant jungle and the vibe here is very much shoes-off, do-as-you-please with your own butler to facilitate every whim.
Those interested in marine conservation should join a snorkelling trip with Soneva’s team of marine biologists. On these trips, you will assist in collecting data – from sea grass to any endangered species you may spot.
Big and little kids will love the waterslides that shoot out from the overwater villas – the most exhilarating way to enter the Indian Ocean imaginable.
BEST FOR BIG GROUPS: Amilla Fushi
Planning a big get together or special family gathering takes careful planning to get it just right. At chic retreat Amilla, family holidays come with a side serving of awesomeness, where every member of the family will leave with wide grins. Firstly, the roomy villas give everyone their own space, and some are large enough to sleep up to 16, in 8 bedrooms.
Secondly, Amilla makes everything so fabulously easy and fun. Kids will love the chocolate room, treasure hunts and the biggest infinity pool in the Maldives. Older holidaymakers will appreciate the stylish vibe, jaw-dropping natural beauty, to-die-for cocktails and a pampering spa.
Amilla is a foodies paradise and caters to everyone’s tastes with a selection of ‘street-style’ eateries dotted around the grounds including Asian wok food, fish and chips and pizza. For fine dining, head to the Japanese over-water restaurant for the freshest sushi imaginable.
Make the most of underwater adventures at Amilla. Get equipped at the well-stocked dive centre before snorkelling the fish-flitting house reef or venture further afield to Hanifaru Bay which is home to the world’s largest populations of manta rays.
Best for Good Value: Coco Palm Dhuni Kohli
Putting a price on paradise often means you’re looking at a sky-high bill, admittedly cloud-free and framed by coconut trees. However, we have found a way for you to get your tropical luxe fix, but without an eye-watering price tag.
Introducing Coco Palm, a gorgeous island encircled by white sand and natural vegetation, located on Dhuni Kohli which lies in one of the Maldives’ most beautiful areas – the turquoise rimmed islets of the Baa Atoll. Just 30 minutes by seaplane from Malé International airport, Coco Palm is a welcoming resort that blends natural materials, local craft and contemporary living.
Beach lovers can luxuriate in the thatched villas spread along the sandy shore, with its airy, high-ceilinged rooms coming with the familiar trappings of castaway life including open-air bathrooms and plunge pools. If overwater villas are more your thing, then Coco Palm can deliver – the Lagoon and Sunset villas hover over unfeasibly blue water and inside natural décor comes in the form of wood latticework, stone walls, thatched roofs and carved furniture.
Which Maldives Are You?
All of our recommended Maldives hotels are beautifully exotic and exceptionally designed. Every single one benefits from the wonder of nature: castaway islands come peppered with coconut trees; and jungly interiors reveal sugary white sand beaches that gently shelve into iridescent blue waters. But there are definitely a few hotels that are better suited to some than others.
You might like...
A place to soak up the sunRead more
Hop the Islands
Of the SeychellesRead more
Maldives CastawaysRead more
Of the Indian OceanRead more