At the last count, there are over 105 resorts located in the different atolls constituting the Republic of Maldives. While a hefty price tag, blue waters and tropical sun are a given at all of them, the experiences they offer can vary widely.
To maximize your vacation experience, we’ve taken a look at the resorts that are best suited to your adventure purpose.
Best for diving: OBLU by Atmosphere
The island of Helengeli, the location of OBLU by Atmosphere resort, has been a favorite for serious divers for over a decade. It is one of the few islands with natural channels on both sides, and the world-renowned house reef boasts silvertip reef sharks, turtles, rays and a dramatic lobster cave.
Away from the house reef there are at least 20 surrounding dive sites that provide some of the best channel diving in the Maldives. A PADI-certified dive school and a refurb done in late 2015 mean this is the ideal place for any diver of any experience level. Rooms start around $500 per person per night, while a 10-dive package with full equipment will set you back an additional $686.
Best for surfing: Kandooma Surf Resort
While the number of resorts accessing the incredible waves in the Maldives is vast, we are going to plump for Holiday Inn Kandooma Resort. This call is made on the basis of the world-class right-hander that lies within a 50-yard walk from each room.
A prepaid surf pass is essential to surf the wave — a move that means crowd numbers are capped to “uncrowded” and wave counts are guaranteed. The Perfect Wave Surf Experience Center has all the surfing gear you need, while longtime surf guide Peter and his partner, Claudia, will look after all your surfer and yogi needs. Seven nights start at $1,170 per person.
Best for honeymooners: COMO Cocoa Island Resort
Nothing screams “high-end honeymoon” like a water villa, and COMO Cocoa Island boasts 33 of them, each designed to resemble a traditional Maldivian fishing boat. Crucially, the romance factor is notched up with some subtle (and not-so-subtle) touches. There are no family facilities on the island, meaning kids, while not banned, don’t tend to head to COMO. That means there’s little chance of getting splashed by a 10-year-old disembarking from a slide while you are lounging with your new life partner on the pool sunbed.
This is firmly in the five-star category, and the holistic wellness treatments, South Indian-influenced cuisine, private sundeck and world-class diving don’t come cheap. However, for a once-in-a-lifetime occasion (well, fingers crossed), it’s hard to beat. Villas start around $1,350 per night, but that does include free sandals.
Best for families: Soneva Fushi
What stands Soneva Fushi apart from other great family vacation spots in the Maldives is a) it recently made a cameo appearance in the latest Star Wars film, “Rogue One,” as the planet Scarif, and b) The Den.
The Stormtrooper link might spark the kids’ interest, but The Den will blow their tiny brains. In it, children can explore a pirate ship, two swimming pools, a Lego room, a dress-up area, a cinema, a library and a music room filled with instruments. Such is the fun, it may be difficult to drag them out to enjoy the daily guided snorkeling with a marine biologist on the house reef.
As a final touch, there are even black-and-white rabbits that roam the island. Stormtroopers and bunnies: What more could a child ask for?
The super-sized family rooms that sleep four start around $4,000 per night. After this holiday, in theory, you shouldn’t hear a peep out of the littles for another 12 months.
Best all-arounder: Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi
For the ocean polymaths out there, and those who simply want to have their cake and eat it too, there are a number of resorts that tick all the boxes. A romantic surfer? No problem. A diving family man? Sure thing. The Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi, however, might hold the claim of being the Maldives’ great all-arounder.
At one tip of the 83 acres of lush tropical beach property, one of the best waves in the chain, called Lohifushi, wraps around the point in front of the beach bar. On the opposite sheltered side, a deep drop-off provides incredible diving just yards from shore. The Prestige Ocean Villas are perfect if you are looking for love and not left-handers, while the kiddie pool, sports facilities and safe snorkeling will keep the little ones out of your hair and having fun for days.
There’s even a full pitch in the middle of the island for the soccer fan! Rooms with breakfast start at around $500 per person per night, while a surf pass costs $75 a day per shredder.
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