The Maldives has plenty to keep everyone entertained, whether you’re on a loved-up holiday for two or travelling with an easily-bored family. Try scuba diving, sunset cruises or Jet Ski safaris on the glittering blue sea, or stick to dry land with art galleries, chocolate shops, cocktail-making classes and even city excursions. Watersports, fine dining, spas and white sand beaches make these Indian Ocean resorts paradise for holiday-makers; here’s our selection of the best.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi / Expedia
Everything is oversized at this lavish resort just a 30-minute yacht transfer from Malé’s Velana International Airport. From huge rooms with private infinity pools to a kids club complete with its own water park, the whole family will feel truly indulged here. No need to stick to a boring buffet either; there are 11 restaurants and bars to choose from, including the magical treetop-nestled Terra, which serves Krug champagne with perfect sunset views.
Even children are made to feel like VIPs at this Italian resort in Dhaalu Atoll. Under-12s are treated to a programme of activities including crab hunting, ice cream making and treasure hunts while mini luxury-lovers will adore junior yoga lessons, spa treatments and dedicated movie nights at the open-air beach cinema. While the little ones are occupied, you can enjoy spectacular scuba diving, champagne stargazing cruises and blissful treatments at the Baglioni Spa.
Imagine a holiday where you can enjoy anything you want, whenever you want it, without worrying about the bill at the end. The extraordinary Kudadoo in Lhaviyani Atoll redefines the all-inclusive concept, with just 15 swoon-worthy over-water villas, each with its own infinity pool. You get your own private butler to arrange whatever you desire – including unlimited watersports and spa treatments, free-flowing champagne and excursions including desert island picnics, luxury yacht trips and Jet Ski safaris.
It’s all about the finer things in life at JOALI, a chic art-focused resort with just 73 villas and private residences in Raa Atoll. Guests are treated to a whiskey and cigar lounge, art gallery, vintage Italian espresso machine in every room, ESPA wellness centre and top-notch eateries including Italian fine dining restaurant Bellinis with a bar dedicated to its peachy namesake. Families aren’t forgotten either, with a heaven-sent chocolate and ice cream shop, yoga sessions for children, bonfires with live music and snorkelling adventures with a marine biologist.
Water babies will never want to leave this hotel in South Ari Atoll, the largest resort in the Maldives. Alongside the usual diving and snorkelling, Sun Island offers every ocean adventure imaginable including canoeing, dinghy sailing, motorised surfboards, parasailing, semi submarines and even Jetblades, which propel the brave 10m (32ft) into the air. Come back to earth afterwards in one of 462 colourful guest rooms, all with ocean views so you never feel too far from the sea.
This relaxed four-star resort, in the Unesco-protected Baa Atoll is a foodie’s dream without the eye-watering final bill you can expect at other resorts. Hungry travellers can choose from five elegant restaurants including Moodhu (built on stilts over a lagoon and including a 24-hour coffee shop) and the romantic Saima Garden, where diners around just five tables eat with their toes in the sand.
A resort that always lives up to its name, Fun Island keeps guests entertained all day and night. Watersports are the focus here, with canoeing, windsurfing, dinghy sailing, bodyboarding and even parasailing on offer, though the less active may prefer to take in the sea life from the comfort of a glass-bottomed boat. Once the sun goes down, dine in style at the airy buffet restaurant, then listen to live music performances on the beach with a cocktail from the resort’s late-night bar.
There’s more to see than the powder-soft sand in the Maldives. This fantastically-located resort in South Malé Atoll is just a 20-minute boat ride from Velana International Airport, meaning guests can combine a city visit with a lazy beach break. Browse souvenirs, feast on curries in tiny local restaurants and gawp at Malé’s brightly-coloured buildings – then return to the resort’s gin-clear waters, restful spa and bungalows on the beach or over the water.
Impress someone special at this romantic resort in North Ari Atoll, aimed at lovestruck couples and honeymooners. Optional extras include a lobster dinner on the beach, couples massage in the spa, sunset cruises and even a night under the stars in an al fresco four-poster on a private island. Elsewhere, there are cocktail-making classes, a book-lending library, live music performances and even a football pitch if you’re brave enough to take on the staff team.