Guide to A 5-Star Maldives Vacation
The Maldives used to be hard to get to, expensive and inaccessible to most of the world. With the addition of new flights and hundreds of new hotels popping up in every Atoll, the Maldives has become one of the most accessible and spectacular vacation destinations in the world. With hotels at every price point and different value propositions, travelers are guaranteed a safe and luxurious trip of a lifetime.
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Where to stay in Maldives
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Enchanting Maldives resort surrounded by nothing but turquoise lagoon which melts into sapphire blue — perfect for a romantic vacation.
A lovely boutique luxury resort on Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, complete with a private coral reef.
$50 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Pullman Maldives All-Inclusive Resort
Luxury all-inclusive jungle resort on the shores of the Laccadive Sea with sleek villas.
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Things to do in Maldives
One-Island-One-Hotel - Many of the 4 and 5 star properties in the Maldives are situated on their own, private island. Booking one of these resorts allows you to truly unwind and relax in the safety of your personal paradise.
Ocean-lover's dream! - One of the best activities in the Maldives is exploring the lagoons and reefs, whether that's by scuba diving the famous reefs or snorkeling the calm lagoons. The Maldives is famous for its whale sharks, manta rays and thousands of species of fish and coral life. There are few places as diverse in sea life as the Maldives.
Dolphin Cruises - Dolphin cruises are offered at pretty much every resort in the Maldives and offers a unique opportunity to spot pods of dolphins almost guaranteed. Riding the traditional Dhoni at sunset, you can witness beautiful bottlenose or spinner dolphins playing in the wake of the boat while sipping on champagne.
Traditional line fishing - The Maldives has strict fishing practices to protect the sea life throughout the country. One of the activities offered at many resorts is traditional line fishing, which is still a common, sustainable practice with the locals. You have the opportunity to fish off the traditional Dhoni boats with the expertise of the locals. The best part? If you catch a fish, your resort chef will happily cook it up for you for dinner!
Spa paradise - While you may be looking for adventure, there are few things as majestic as a spa in the Maldives. Some resorts feature overwater treatment rooms with viewing windows to watch the fish (and sometimes sharks!) swim by as you get your treatment
Bodu Beru - The Maldives has a rich culture and heritage that more and more resorts are leaning into. Be sure to attend a traditional Bodu Beru dance at your resort to enjoy drumming, dancing and fun. These are typically offered on the gala or beach barbecue nights at resorts.
Places to eat & drink in Maldives
Breakfast specialties: Breakfast is typically one of my favorite meals in the Maldives thanks to the delicious Maldivian cuisine. A mix of spicy curries and fantastic tuna preparation, you can almost always find traditional Maldivian breakfast foods at the buffet. Be sure to try Mas Huni, one of the most famous Maldivian breakfast items.
Many hotels offer the Instagram-sensation, floating breakfast. While often at a high cost, your breakfast is delivered on a floating tray in your private pool, and it can be a real treat! If you're feeling like an insta-moment is in the cards, be sure to indulge in the floating breakfast, usually priced between $150-300.
Meal Plans: When thinking about booking your resort in the Maldives, it is important to remember that prices can be high on the island depending on the resort. US-based brands typically feature higher prices than international brands, so it's important to review menu options before committing to a hotel as it will dramatically raise the price of your stay. You can often add on a half-board or full-board plan that will include lunch and/or dinner. For more information on meal plans, take a look at this video: Meal Plans in the Maldive
All-Inclusive: There are a lot of all-inclusive options that are popping up around the Maldives. There are two types of all-inclusives: all-inclusive meal plans and all-inclusive resorts. If you are looking at a hotel that offers an all-inclusive package, you will often find that it includes credit or access to the buffet. It's important to understand exactly what is available in your plan. All-inclusive resorts are a great option in the Maldives and offer a relaxing and stress-free experience. For example, Ozen Life Maadhoo offers guests free-flowing Moet and Pullman Maldives offers guests complimentary jet-skiing or a 1-tank scuba dive free of charge on top of unlimited drinks and food. There truly is an option for everyone.
Underwater restaurant: There are a few underwater restaurants in the Maldives that offer guests the opportunity to dine among the sea life. This is a unique and amazing experience, but be warned it can come at a cost. Niyama Private Islands and Anantara Kihavah have beautiful underwater dining that guests can book that offer multi-course experiences. Ozen Life Maadhoo includes a multi-course dining experience in the all-inclusive package.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisors Judy & Glenn Tudor's Paradise Found in the Maldives: A Tale of Two Islands.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to The Maldives.