5-Star Hotel Guide


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


5-star guide to 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 resort is the 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 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?


To find out we revisited The Maldives this March, staying at four 5-star resorts and discovered that each one possessed a unique personality, ethos and defining philosophy. While they are all exceptionally special, we concluded that the greatest luxury was the setting and therefore the resort experience needed to enhance, rather than detract from, Nature’s spectacular canvas. For us, putting nature first meant that the resorts that keep the experience as natural, organic and homespun 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 both 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 just last year, 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 this time 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.

Our most recently visited resort is Vakkaru, where we spent two blissful weeks split between an overwater villa and a two-bedroom beach villa. The experience was as we'd been transported to paradise!

Whichever 5-star luxury resort you choose 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 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 and contact our concierge to help plan the trip of a lifetime.