The Most Accessible Hotels to Book in the Maldives

With wheelchair-accessible rooms, One & Only Reethi Rah does not compromise style for accessibility
With wheelchair-accessible rooms, One & Only Reethi Rah does not compromise style for accessibility | Courtesy of One and Only Reethi Rah /
Siobhan Grogan

A holiday fantasy for many, the Maldives is more of a nightmare for travellers with additional needs. Difficult island transfers, sandy paths and villas built for ocean views rather than practical considerations mean many resorts are off-limits for those looking for accessible options in paradise. Book one of these hotels instead for ground-floor villas, short speedboat transfers and wheelchair accessible spaces, so everyone can enjoy this sun-soaked archipelago.

1. Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, for a magical stay

Resort, Hotel

Aerial view of private villa with pool surrounded by green vegetation at Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru /

Locations simply don’t get any more magical than this. Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru sits on one of the world’s most beautiful islands – a natural Unesco Biosphere Reserve. Start your day by snorkelling with mantas in azure waters, help rehabilitate sea turtles in the Marine Discovery Centre and then take time for yourself at the AyurMa spa and Michelin-starred Blu Beach Club restaurant.

2. Kanuhura Maldives, for unadulterated luxury on Kanuhura Island


White-washed private villa on the beach with a small splash pool, an outdoor deck and four sun loungers at Kanuhura Maldives
Courtesy of Kanuhura Maldives /

Want to know how celebrities and billionaires unwind? Kanuhura Maldives stretches over not one private island, but three – Kanuhara Island itself and two neighbouring, deserted ones. As you might imagine, the accommodation at the resort is ridiculously lush – bungalows have direct access to the beach and a shimmering lagoon. And getting to this Maldives beach hotel is a breeze. Just jump on a seaplane and transfer to a private vehicle.

3. Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa, for exotic family holidays

Resort, Chain Hotel, Luxury

Villa on the water with a private deck, a private pool and never-ending ocean views at Four Seasons Maldives At Kuda Huraa
Courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives At Kuda Huraa /

A lagoon, flower gardens, a private spa island and a new Beach Pavilion all go into the mix at this Four Seasons. To really push out the boat on your holiday, book into one of the sublime Sunset Water Suites. Ideal for families or a small group of friends, they come with an extended deck and private pool that gives you a front-row seat to unforgettable Maldives sunsets.

4. Kudadoo Maldives Private Island, for personalized amenities


Water villas in a circle at Kudadoo Maldives Private Island
Courtesy of Kudadoo Maldives Private Island /

Leave your worries behind when checking in at Lhaviyani Atoll’s Kudadoo, home to just 15 exquisite over-water villas. Villas are accessible and step-free, and all come with an infinity pool and personal butler who will take care of everything you need while on the island. Don’t worry about the final bill either: the all-inclusive package includes unlimited spa treatments, a heavenly cheese and wine cellar, a stuffed mini-bar and access to the hotel’s private luxury yacht.

5. Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, for the wow factor 30 minutes from Malé


Traditional yet spectacular wooden villas stand on stilts over the water at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi / Expedia

Paradise is accessible to all at this spectacular hotel, just a 30-minute transfer from capital Malé on the hotel’s private yacht. Step-free accessible rooms include wider bedroom and bathroom doors, lowered light and temperature controls and grab bars – and have plenty of wow factor, with huge private infinity pools and oversized bathtubs with ocean views. Restaurants and bars include an elegant champagne bar, garden-to-table eaterie Glow and a beach club with live DJs.

6. Holiday Cottage, for accessible luxury on Thoddoo Island


White exterior of villa-like rooms at Holiday Cottage
Courtesy of Holiday Cottage /

This single-storey guesthouse on Thoddoo Island – ideally located for those who want to experience island life beyond a hotel – is entirely accessible by wheelchair users. Close to the main tourist beach, guests can easily sample delicious Maldivian cuisine at affordable restaurants, while owners are always on hand to arrange unforgettable extras including candlelit beach dinners and tours of the island’s watermelon fields.

7. COMO Cocoa Island, for over-water living on South Malé Atoll


White couch and brown coffee table overlooking a private deck and the ocean at COMO Cocoa Island
Courtesy of COMO Cocoa Island /

No need to deal with awkward seaplanes at this resort in South Malé Atoll. The property is just a 40-minute speedboat ride from the capital’s airport, so you won’t waste a moment of your holiday. Instead, check into one of 34 over-water villas inspired by local dhoni boats with bleached wood and crisp, white cotton. Elsewhere, there’s a 25m (82ft) infinity pool, lending library, two private house reefs, an excellent spa and divine dining including at Ufaa, which focuses on locally caught seafood and organic vegetables.

8. Mirihi Island Resort, for an intimate stay on South Ari Atoll


Aerial view of a dining area in a villa on stilts over the water at Mirihi Island Resort
Courtesy of Mirihi Island Resort /

Relaxation is king at this tiny resort in South Ari Atoll. Just 350m (1,148ft) long and with 39 villas, it is one of the smallest island resorts in the Maldives but means guests are guaranteed a personal touch. There are accessible rooms, two delightful restaurants and a small spa but no televisions, motorised watersports or nightclub for undisturbed peace and quiet.

9. One & Only Reethi Rah, for celebrity cool


Speed boat docked at One&Only Reethi Rah
Courtesy of One and Only Reethi Rah /

An easy 40-minute speedboat transfer will whizz you to this chic resort, previously visited by the likes of the Beckhams and Tom Cruise. Check into a wheelchair-accessible room, then relax – the resort’s friendly staff are always near to help. Visit one of 12 idyllic beaches, try pottery at the art studio, book ESPA treatments at the spa or bag a private open-air teppanyaki pavilion at Tapasake restaurant for live cooking and sake sundowners.

10. Quicksand Rasdhoo, for friendly service


Two double beds, a grey couch and an outdoor patio at Quicksand Rasdhoo
Courtesy of Quicksand Rasdhoo /

This small guesthouse in Rasdhoo Atoll is known for its friendly owners, who will do all they can to guarantee a holiday to remember. Ground-floor rooms are wheelchair accessible and all have air-conditioning, along with their own patio to sit out under the stars on warm evenings. A postcard-perfect beach is just yards away, while the hotel has its own excellent restaurant so guests can easily sample Maldivian dishes without needing to venture further afield.

Want to see where else you can stay in the Maldives? Discover our guide to the best luxury hotels in the country and book now on Culture Trip.

Pierre de Villiers contributed additional reporting to this article.

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