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17 most luxurious experiences in the Maldives

From underwater dining to swimming with manta rays to sleeping in a bubble tent… here are the top 17 most luxurious experiences to enjoy in the Maldives. 

A necklace of 1,200 coral islets strung across the Indian Ocean, the Maldives may well be the ultimate destination for those looking for a little (or perhaps a lot) of luxury.

There are overwater villas where you can glimpse sea turtles through glass-panelled floors. Restaurants helmed by the world’s top chefs. Underground cellars stocked with fine wines and champagnes. And even subaquatic restaurants and spas.

Here’s our guide to making the most of the indulgences at your disposal on your next Maldivian getaway. 

Next-level beach dining

Dusit Thani Maldives the Maldives
Dusit Thani Maldives sets up a romantic beach dinner.

Set on Mudhdhoo Island, Dusit Thani Maldives makes the most of its dreamy natural assets. The resort’s ‘Borderless Dining’ concept is just that – it allows you to pick any romantic perch that takes your fancy, and have staff craft a memorable meal for you. The Beach Pit Dining experience sees your low-slung table surrounded by tiki torches, a parade of palatial dishes delivered to your table by the sea.  

Sail away

Baros Maldives' sailing boat
Sail away to a remote island aboard Baros Maldives' beautifully handcrafted sailing boat.

No trip to the Maldives would be complete without a dhoni ride to a tiny remote island or sandbar, these traditional Maldivian boats the stuff that postcards are made of. Baros Maldives has a beautifully handcrafted sailing boat at its jetty, waiting to whisk you out to explore the archipelago, perhaps with a snorkelling expedition and romantic candlelit dinner thrown in for good measure.  

That’s deep

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
Book a table at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

There are too many incredible Maldivian dining experiences to mention. But if want one that gets deep – five metres deep, in fact – book a table at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. This all-glass, subaquatic restaurant is not only a feast for the eyes (you’re dining beside turtles, rays and all manner of fish) but also the palate, serving up fusion dishes and fine wines in set lunch and dinner menus – you can also drop in for mid-morning cocktails. 

Underwater love

Also taking you below the waves is Huvafen Spa at applauded Huvafen Fushi. The only subaquatic spa in the world, this wellness cocoon’s eight-metre-below underwater treatment room is like a secret world, your mood when you arrive instantly slowing to match pace with the ebb and flow of the sea around you. Try a coconut hair repair or skin glow treatment. 

Ray of sunshine

Manta Ray
Spot nearby Manta Rays at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru.

The Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is perched within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and is one of the closest resorts to the Maldives’ largest congregations of manta rays. The resort’s ‘Manta on Call’ service allows you to be whisked away in a speedboat when rays are spotted nearby, so you can jump in the water and snorkel with these majestic creatures as they glide around the archipelago’s gin-clear lagoons. 

A meal to remember

If a private dinner under the stars – candles the only other light – sounds like a dream, it becomes a reality when you stay at Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa. Your dining table is set up beside the water on a remote part of the island, the only sound the lapping waves. Take your pick of menus, and let romance take over. 

Sleep under the stars

Finolhu Baa Atoll the Maldives
Sleep under the stars in a bubble tent at Finolhu Baa Atoll.

If you thought overwater bungalows were the epitome of luxury in the Maldives, think again. At Finolhu Baa Atoll, you can sleep under the stars on a sandbank. Creature comforts are laid out within a transparent bubble tent, replete with an ensuite bathroom, wooden floor and double bed fitted with fine linens. After a private beach barbecue, let the bedazzlement of stars overhead lull you to sleep.  

Float this way

Amilla Fushi floating breakfast
Swim and sample. When you order a floating breakfast at Amilla Fushi.

Your private pool at Amilla Fushi is difficult to leave, even when mealtime beckons. Thankfully you don’t have to go anywhere . Your butler is on call to set up breakfast on a floating tray for you. Order the ‘Floating Continental’ of ‘Floating Amilla’, the latter laden with everything from pretty acai bowls to eggs and bacon. 

Twinkle, twinkle

Sleeping out under the stars can be an amazing way to spend a vacation. Falling asleep under the stars over the ocean, however, can be downright magical. The Grand Park Kodhipparu’s villas come with special nets – like a big, flat hammock – that are suspended over the ocean. And yes, you can sleep on them. On your back, your view is the Milky Way; on your stomach, it’s passing turtles and fish. 

Remote and ravishing

Gili Lankanfushi the Maldives
Gili Lankanfushi's massive overwater villas give exclusive privacy.

The only way to reach the seven Crusoe Residences at Gili Lankanfushi is by boat. These enormous over-water villas are for people who want peace and privacy. They’re totally disconnected from the island, and come with everything you need to hide away for a couple of days. Like a private rooftop terrace with daybeds, and your very own hammock, strung over the azure lagoon.

Relax, reset, repeat

the Maldives Bath Ritual
Ask your butler at One&Only Reethi Rah to organise the ‘Bath Ritual’ for two.

Even in the luxury-on-steroids world that is the Maldives, One&Only Reethi Rah stands out as a money-is-no-object pleasure-dome. The most ostentatious accommodation options are the beach villas, replete with indoor and outdoor showers, and a terrazzo stone bathtub. Ask your butler to organise the ‘Bath Ritual’ for two. The ritual involves a tub scented with essential oils of palmerosa and myrth, a bottle of Moët and Chandon Vintage Rosé 1998 on ice and a plate of petits fours.

Movie night

Beanbags, check! Buttery popcorn, check! Cocktail, check! There’s nothing quite like movie night, and at LUX South Ari Atoll you’re watching your film of choice with your feet in the sand, and the stars overhead. The alfresco Cinema Paradiso is the ultimate way to get cosy with the one you love in paradise. 

Water world

OZEN The Maldives
OZEN Reserve Bolifushi features a water slide stretching from the upstairs balcony down into the lagoon.

OZEN Reserve Bolifushi is ringed with expansive white beaches and turquoise waters fading into a reef teeming with marine life. The pick of the accommodation bunch are the Ocean Pool Suites. They come with plenty of trimmings: overwater hammocks, sunken deck seating… and a water slide. Stretching from the upstairs balcony down into the crystal-clear lagoon, this is a fun way to get wet – when you’re not in your private pool or sunken tub, that is.  

Sunset indulgence

Step aboard your private luxury yacht and explore the archipelago, whether looking for dolphins dancing the waves, watching the last of the day disappear on a sunset cruise, or heading out in the dark of night to gaze at the stars, flute of champagne in hand. This is what awaits when you check in to the Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru, the resort’s yacht ready to whisk you off for an ocean adventure. 

Remote rendezvous

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru’s ‘Sandbank Dining
Dine on your very own island beach.

Yes, you can dine on your island’s beach. Or get away from it all with a picnic enjoyed on a far-flung sandbank, accessed by boat. The Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru’s ‘Sandbank Dining’ offering sees your pick of delicious bites prepared and arranged on a slip of sand, surrounded by endless sea. Champagne corks pop, silver cutlery clinks, your worries dissolve… this is a special way to forget about the rest of the world. 

Under the moon

the Maldives
Join a soul-nourishing yoga session at the secluded Cheval Blanc Spa Island.

Spirituality blooms with the full moon. Make the most of it at Cheval Blanc Randheli, where you can join a soul-nourishing yoga session at the secluded Cheval Blanc Spa Island, your only light gleaming in the cosmos overhead. After a gentle dhoni journey across the shimmering waters of the Noonu Atoll, a warm welcome awaits by the maison’s yoga master; the gentle whispers of the water and the cool air against the skin opens your mind to complete serenity. 

Sip and savour

There are cocktail bars, and then there’s the Sky Bar at Heritance Aarah. This alfresco affair sees plush sofas set up for optimal sunset gazing. And when the last of the day disappears, the Milky Way spreads a bedazzlement of stars overhead. Order a cocktail – the molecular concoctions steal the scene – and enjoy the night sky. 

This article on the most luxurious experiences in the Maldives was produced in partnership with Visit Maldives.

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