Condé Nast Traveller has picked the cream of Maldives resorts with a deep dive into high-end properties.
After a three-month border closure early in the pandemic, the Maldives reopened with “a clutch of shiny new hotels and revamped classics,” the market-leading luxury travel magazine observed.
Here are the seven best resorts according to Condé Nast.
Built on the Fari Islands reclaimed from a lagoon in North Malé Atoll, Patina opened this year with pool villas featuring glass walls that retract on three sides. Condé Nast praised the work of Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan: “The long, linear wooden structures are open to the elements and cooled by swirling fans and perforated screens, creating a chiaroscuro dance of light and shadow.”
JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa
Located in the northern atoll of Shaviyani and accessible by seaplane, JW Marriott boasts 60 pool villas, two main swimming pools, five restaurants, three bars and a glass-encased spa surrounded by “a large house reef where you can see large white-tip reef sharks, moray eels, and clouds of shoaling fish.”
Now in its second decade, the renowned resort in North Malé Atoll with only overwater villas “is still set in one of the most achingly beautiful lagoons in the country, a vision of broad white beaches, shape-shifting sandbanks, and waters that dance from peacock green to sapphire blue.”
COMO Cocoa Island
Condé Nast attributed Cocoa Island’s success over the past 20 years to “its gimmick-free simplicity” and “less-is-more attitude” epitomised by its single restaurant and elegant overwater villas. There’s also a new Pilates studio and a free hydrotherapy pool.
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Opened in 2011 in the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Baa atoll, the fourth Anantara property in the country drew attention with its glass-bottomed bathtubs and underwater restaurant as well as the country’s longest swimming pool and only observatory with a research-grade telescope.
Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives
Also situated in Baa atoll in proximity to exceptional dive sites, the comet-shaped island of Finolhu has an unusually long 1.2-mile sandbank at its tail. Finolhu’s Rock Star Villas come with a giant disco ball and cocktail bar. Condé Nast’s verdict: “Many hotels have tried to bring the party to the Maldives, but Finolhu hits the sweet spot between indulgent fun and carefree affordability.”
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives
The Ritz-Cartlon was also built on the manmade Fari Islands with 100 contemporary circular villas opening out to half-moon decks and teardrop-shaped plunge pools. The new resort is home to Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment programme, “the only one in the Maldives, staffed by marine biologists who monitor sea life with underwater robots and airborne drones, in addition to guiding guests.”
Check out the full Condé Nast feature for more details.