5-Star Hotel Guide


A peaceful paradise brimming with luxurious, romantic 5-star beach and over-water resorts


Guide to the best 5-star resorts in the Maldives

The Maldives is visually one of the most spectacular countries in the world and conjures up images of the perfect island holiday. The reality delivers and even exceeds expectations, so the difficult question is: which 5-star luxury resort is the best one for you?

We think the best approach is to look beyond the physical beauty and into the soul of the individual resort, in order to figure out which one's rhythm is in tune with yours. Of course you, like us, can combine two or more in one trip if you can’t decide…

The Maldives’ extraordinary and exquisite topography, consisting of two rows of atolls dotted deep in the Indian Ocean just north of the equator, has created a mecca for castaway resorts and 5-star luxury hotels. Each atoll comprises a string of islands surrounded by a reef, enclosing an intensely turquoise lagoon that laps onto a butter-soft beach. The reefs and lagoons are teeming with tropical marine life, making it a snorkeler’s paradise and a treat for divers, experienced and novice alike. Alas, warming oceans have bleached the coral in recent years, like almost everywhere else in the world, but the coral is still alive and their diminished palette has not put off the tropical sealife.

Above sea, hammocks are hitched between soaring palms and even amidst lagoons, while the sky delivers some of the most spectacular shows the world-over. What’s more, each hotel or resort has an island to itself, making each one feel extremely exclusive, with their own takes on what makes a tropical paradise. So, how then do you decide which island is for you?


We've visited and revisited the Maldives to bring you only the best of the best 5-star resorts and selected those that possess a unique personality, ethos and defining philosophy. While they are all exceptionally special, we concluded that the greatest luxury is the setting and therefore believe the resort experience must enhance, rather than detract from nature’s spectacular canvas. For us, putting nature first means that those resorts that keep the experience as natural, organic and thoughtful as possible - from castaway villa to outstanding cuisine made from island-grown produce – are best at unlocking the magic of the Maldives.

We have handpicked six luxury Maldives resorts that offer outstanding desert island castaway or over-water experiences.

When Soneva Fushi opened 25 years ago there was little choice for a luxury sand-between-your-toes experience and we are happy to report it is still up there with the very best. Read our travel editor, Sophie Marchant's, recent review to find out why, for many, there is still nowhere better to kick off your shoes.

Opened for the 2017 esasonn, Soneva Fushi’s sibling Soneva Jani is jaw droppingly incredible, with overwater villas that must be amongst the most spacious and audacious ever. It’s a James Bond-castaway experience which, if you can afford it, will leave you gasping with amazement.

Six Senses Laamu shares some Soneva DNA, having been created by the same team, but it has a younger vibe with a choice of island or overwater villas in a truly spectacular setting and a huge range of pampering and sporting activities.

Like Soneva, COMO has two luxury resorts in The Maldives. We visited lovely Cocoa Island a few years back, but more recently we spend a few days at COMO Maalifushi and found its overwater villa experience sensational. The whole resort is very polished with a distinctive Asian Shambhala vibe.

Pre-lockdown we visited Vakkaru, where we spent two blissful weeks split between an overwater villa and a two-bedroom beach villa. The experience was as if we'd been transported to paradise!

Whichever 5-star luxury resort you pick to unlock your Maldivian spirit, and for whatever reason you go - honeymoon, romance, watersports or a family adventure - you will return invigorated, renewed and much more connected to your planet. With global warming, coral bleaching and rising sea-levels, you'll want to help protect this unique environment.

For expert advice on visiting the Maldives and planning either an island escape or a multi-island adventure, read each of our 5-star reviews, watch our video reviews and then. contact our concierge to help plan the trip of a lifetime.