January 8, 2020
We've curated a selection of extraordinary boutique hotels in the Maldives — chosen by our experts and rated by our guests after verified stays. Tablet Hotels is your source for discovering the world's most interesting boutique hotels (we've been doing this for 20 years and now we're part of the Michelin family) — places where you'll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. Here's our top 5 Maldives boutique hotels:
Wherever it is, whether in Mexico or Mauritius or the Maldives, the One&Only experience is sure to be completely over the top. The newest installment, the Reethi Rah on North Male Atoll, is no different. Its location, of course, is blindingly beautiful in itself, impossible white sand beaches and seas and skies in tones of blue that haven't been named yet.
To arrive via private yacht transfer from the airport, though, and to be dropped at your Water Villa, a sprawling suite on stilts over the waters of the lagoon — this is the sort of thing that takes the experience to another level. Not one or two but twelve picture-perfect beaches await, and along the shore are the Beach Villas, lacking perhaps the drama of the Water Villas but adding an extra measure of seclusion, set amidst dense tropical vegetation, at least twenty yards from the nearest neighbor.
The Maldives seem a bit like an over-the-top parody of an island holiday destination — not an island or an archipelago, but an atoll of a thousand Robinson Crusoe–sized islands, in the shallow water of a coral reef in the Indian Ocean. COMO Cocoa Island is one of these, just a ten-minute walk from end to end (and two minutes across), with absolutely nothing on it but the hotel.
All of Cocoa Island's suites and villas are over the water in the form of a dhoni, a traditional fishing boat, with a short staircase out the back door, leading from a tiny balcony straight down into the ocean's shallow waters. The "boats" are firmly moored to the sea floor, as you can see at low tide, but at high tide the gentle waters lap against the edges of the balcony. The view from the bed, through large French windows, is nothing but calm and unbroken Indian Ocean as far as the eye can see.
How many perfect places can there be? And isn't it a bit suspicious that so many of them seem to bear the COMO name? At this high level there's very little to separate one purveyor of high-end perfection from another, save a personal preference for one brand's aesthetic over another. At COMO Maalifushi, on yet another speck of an island in the Maldives, you're made to feel as if bodily wellness and spiritual relaxation are the most fashionable things on the planet — and come to think of it, maybe they are.
The dry-land offerings are diverse, all of them mixing high polish and hand-made rough edges in perfect measure; the simple Garden Rooms are, let's face it, quite luxe enough for most mortal couples. To upgrade to one of the Beach Suites or Villas, to say nothing of the Beach House, is to vastly increase one's living space, and the COMO Residence, a two-story, four-bedroom affair, is practically a resort unto itself.
The Maldives are already pretty close to the Platonic ideal of the island escape. Thousands of tiny semi-private islands, ringed by soft sand beaches, surrounded by the crystal-clear Indian Ocean — by now you know the sales pitch by heart. It's no wonder, then, that this place seems to lend itself to the highest of high luxury — a hotel like Naladhu just wouldn't be quite the same anywhere else.
In typical Maldives style it's set in a perfect island idyll, all blue seas, beaches and thick stands of coconut palms. There's no overwater gimmickry here, just 19 freestanding houses — the views may be less spectacular, but only marginally so, and what you lose in instant water access you more than gain in privacy and square footage.
The Six Senses eco-resorts are consistently ranked among the very best in southeast Asia, and Six Senses Laamu is the undisputed champion of its particular location. Sure, it happens to be the only five-star resort on the Laamu atoll — an extremely secluded and unspoiled place, even by Maldivian standards — but that doesn't means it triumphs solely through lack of competition. When it comes to bringing impossibly high-end hospitality experiences to the white sands and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, the Six Senses group isn't known for doing things halfway.
Laamu is about as far from the rat race as you can get, and if you're seeking total solitude, it's perfectly acceptable to hole up in your spacious bungalow, where modern conveniences never overshadow the classic blond wood and thatched-roof aesthetic. Larger two-bedroom villas feature a private pool and outdoor shower, and each villa is encircled by enough greenery to blot out the presence of your fellow guests without obstructing your view of the ocean. And in the picture-perfect overwater bungalows, bamboo enclosures protect your privacy while the rooftop decks offer 360-degree panoramic views.
View our entire selection of Maldives Boutique Hotels