White-sand beaches, divine fine dining and dreamy over-water villas come with ground-floor rooms, easy transfers and helpful staff at these accessible Indian Ocean hotels in the Maldives.
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. Choose one of these hotels instead for ground-floor villas, short speedboat transfers and wheelchair accessible spaces, so everyone can enjoy this sun-soaked archipelago.
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, stuffed mini-bar and access to the hotel’s private luxury yacht.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For the intimate ease (and appealing price tag) of a guesthouse but with hotel facilities on hand, Paguro Villa on Ukulhas island is a great option. Opened in 2019, the villa comprises seven clean, modern rooms – all with tea- and coffee-making facilities, complimentary drinking water and beach towels. Villa guests are also welcome to use the all-day restaurant at the Villa’s sister property, Paguro Beach Hotel, just two minutes away.
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.