Enjoy the tropical beaches, colourful reefs and turquoise Indian Ocean without blowing the budget at these cost-conscious hotels in the Maldives.
Think a once-in-a-lifetime holiday in the Maldives is beyond your wildest dreams? The Indian Ocean archipelago isn’t just for honeymooners, millionaires and celebrities – though there are plenty of them about. Choose your hotel carefully and it’s possible to experience the country’s bucket-list beaches, eye-popping diving and laid-back living without the exorbitant prices.
Why should honeymooners have all the fun? The Sun Island Resort in South Ari Atoll is ideal for families who want a sunny escape in paradise without blowing the budget, with large two-bedroom family villas steps from the water’s edge for swims before breakfast. All-inclusive packages include meals to suit even the fussiest eater at the expansive buffet restaurant, while fun days on the water can be spent on motorised surfboards, inflatable tubes pulled by speedboats and semi-submarines.
Enjoy all the perks of the most lavish resorts without the eye-watering price tag at this four-star resort in the UNESCO-protected Baa Atoll. Chic rooms have open-air bathrooms and private terraces while guests are entertained with a watersports centre, spa and host of sports facilities, including tennis, badminton and squash courts. There are ten bars and restaurants to choose from including the dreamy Saima Garden, with just five romantic tables hidden on the sand among the trees.
If sunbathing bores you to tears, there’s always something to do at this action-packed but affordable resort in South Malé Atoll. Splurge on a massage at the spa, try kitesurfing or parasailing, or spot sealife from a glass-bottom boat. Meals are served buffet-style in the friendly Farivalhu restaurant, while the bar hosts live music performances right on the beach as the sun goes down.
No need to stay on the sands at this laid-back resort in the South Malé Atoll. Just a 20-minute boat ride from the capital’s international airport, you’ll have kicked off your shoes on the resort’s jetty while other travellers are still waiting for their seaplane transfer. The location means more excursions to choose from too: visit island villages to see the real Maldives, or pop over to Malé to browse noisy markets, eat alongside locals and snap photos of the city’s candy-coloured buildings.
A trip to the Maldives doesn’t have to be a bucket list one-off when you stay at the Sky Inn. This delightful guesthouse on Thoddoo island allows guests to stick to a budget and explore the island too. Breakfast is included, but there’s a shared kitchen and lounge and barbeque facilities to whip up casual alfresco dinners and picnics to take to the private beach area. The owners are happy to arrange cooking classes, watersports and grocery deliveries too.
Surfers looking for laid-back, wallet-friendly accommodation in the Maldives won’t find anywhere better than Hulhangu Lodge. Just 20 minutes’ speedboat ride from capital Malé in Himmafushi, this simple six-bedroom guesthouse is moments away from top surf spots JailBreak and Sultan’s, and offers special surf packages including all meals, transfers and daily surf trips. Want to travel with friends? It’s possible to rent the whole property for the group holiday of a lifetime.
Aimed at solo travellers and couples, Sabba Summer Suite is a five-room guesthouse on the island of Fodhdhoo. With light, airy rooms, free breakfasts and an all-day restaurant on site, guests can relax and do nothing or ask the hotel to arrange trips snorkelling or dolphin spotting. Bottled water and a fruit basket are provided free, while the owners can help with grocery deliveries if you’d rather make use of the barbeque facilities at the property.
Everyone can live the tropical island dream at Holiday Cottage. A local guesthouse, just a stroll from the main tourist beach on Thoddoo Island, the property is perfectly positioned for lazy days sunbathing or wandering around beautiful Thoddoo Island, known for its sweetly-scented fruit farms and affordable local restaurants. The owners will also happily sort reasonably priced extras including candlelit beach dinners, a picnic on an uninhabited island or sunset boat trips.
Looking for hotel facilities with a guesthouse fee? Paguro Villa on Ukulhas Island is the dream property. Opened in January 2019 and just two minutes’ walk from its sister hotel, Paguro Beach Hotel, this single-storey seven-room guesthouse is the more affordable of the two. Villa guests are still welcome to use the hotel’s all-day restaurant, while all guests share the same knockout white-sand beach and colourful reef for easy snorkelling.
Budget-conscious divers can explore the kaleidoscopic underwater world of Rasdhoo Atoll from this charming guesthouse, known for its friendly owners. Just steps from a postcard-perfect beach, every room has a patio and air conditioning, and breakfast is included. The property also has a fantastic on-site restaurant to sample local Maldivian dishes – although there is a shared kitchen if you’d rather keep costs down and cook for yourself.