Maldives, an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands and 26 atolls, is the ultimate coastal paradise, a postcard destination and an epitome of leisure, nature and luxury all rolled in one. While it might be easy to visualise little blue islands floating over the dreamy lagoon, just imagine this set up with tons of luxury properties that bring this place to life. Marked by natures best, complemented by luxury and an overall experience that helps revitalize you, Maldives is definitely a deserving travel location for every human alive. There are a thousand reasons why this island should be your obvious choice for the next holiday, but here are the ones that top my list:
1. Perfect for Nature Enthusiasts
If you consider yourself a beach bum and a dire lover of raw nature, there’s no place better than Maldives. With pristine blue waters kissing the white sand beaches, the destination serenades you with the incomparable charisma unique to this island nation. This drool worthy panorama is complemented by the most magical sunsets that can make you dream endlessly. From the time you set foot into Maldives you will be blown away by everything you see around. It is home to the best beaches in the world and it’s almost impossible to not fall in love with them. That alone is a big reason for any traveller to set eyes on this island.
The clear blue skies, the lush vegetation and that ideal beach vibe helps you get closer to nature and render emotions that touch your soul. It’s a destination that is seemingly the sunshine in an otherwise seasonal world. To add to this surrealism, its extensive marine life and the charming emerald lagoons make it the perfect holiday destination for a couple, a family as well as a group of friends looking to unwind. In the day you can sink your toes into the soft sand while the salty breeze serenades you gently, you can gaze at the endless blues and bright greens surrounding you, once the sun starts to set watch the ocean kiss the horizon and enjoy nature’s most magical display of colours, gaze at the sky while it’s on fire, sip on a cocktail and as the night folds in lie down under a blanket of stars with the sound of the waves lashing away like a sweet little lullaby. Maybe this is the ultimate definition of paradise!
2. Experience Unparalleled Luxury
From the moment your plane lands on this island you will taste and experience luxury in every single way possible. Apart from that what makes this one different and unique from the rest of the world is the glorious and heartwarming hospitality. Given the plethora of luxury resorts on the island, you will be spoilt for choice. Lavish sea-facing beach villas, beautifully designed overwater villas, personal butlers, in room spas, private infinity pools, an extensive pillow menu, Michelin star food quality, hand picked experiences by a professional team – all of this is just a glimpse of what you can actually expect on this island. Maldives is a feast for all your senses!
3. The Extensive Marine Life
Maldives is marked beautifully by crystal clear water and dreamy atolls and that more or less, signifies the island. However, its vast marine life certainly deserves acknowledgement and applause. It is a treasure box for travelers who hold a special interest in all things water. The island offers the most insightful and intriguing experiences for every tourist. One can kayak around sea turtles, sail around the dolphins, go scuba diving, snorkel with reef fishes around age old corals and explore the vastness of the sea and live its impactful magic. Maldives is also home to beautiful diving sites that will let you enjoy simple yet surreal pleasures of marine life. From manta rays, sharks, turtles to dolphins and schools of little fishes, you will find everything in those deep blue waters. This world class diving destination offers experiences of a lifetime.
4. The Best Romantic Getaway
Imagine waking up on a remote island with your loved one, watching the intriguing marine life, sipping on cocktails and walking on white sand beaches hand in hand. This sounds like an ultimate getaway with your significant other, doesn’t it? Maldives is the ideal location to revive or begin your relationship which is why it makes for one of the most preferred honeymoon spots. The island offers more than thousands of features that render a raw romantic vibe. It offers opportunities and romantic set ups that one probably can’t have in an otherwise urban and regular life back home. There are nights that one can dine under a sky full of stars and evenings that render you and your partner speechless with the iconic sunsets. Couples have the chance to go on a dolphin cruise, watch a movie under the stars and dine in a rainforest or a private beach with the best chefs attending to all their culinary requests. They can have date nights at underwater restaurants and stay in underwater rooms. With overwater villas, romantic settings and a wide range of activities, the island offers a very dreamy and intimate romantic atmosphere. You can stay there for twenty days with your partner and still have something new to do and a different dining set up every single day. If you’re looking at making memories, hire a photographer and capture the best images with the most beautiful backdrops.
5. A Breather from your Busy Life
From the moment you land, you will instantly notice and feel the tranquility and serenity in the air and disconnect from your world only to connect with nature. It will reel you in from that very moment, already working on reigniting every sense of yours. The simple life that the islands urge you to live helps accentuate your calm sensations there. The barefoot concept introduced by most resorts only enhances to the experience and further puts you in touch with its surroundings and nature completely. Trust me, it feels empowering and so fulfilling. This meditative vibe is only elevated by the spa facilities in all hotels where they offer these services that allow you to enjoy the visual pleasure of its turquoise water and more. There is no other destination that would be able to pull you away from the same old life, very gently and send you back home with a revived sense of yourself and the world.
6. A Great Spot for some Family Bonding!
Although Maldives is often marketed as a coveted couples’ destination, it is great for a getaway for families as well. The natural wonders dipped in impeccable beauty are a surefire way to create a calming and positive environment. This makes for a perfect ambience for families to spend some peaceful time together and bond at a stellar location. The resorts in Maldives offer a bunch of activities, water sports, games and dining experiences that you can indulge in as a family. Moreover, the destination is steeped in features that are favourable for anyone and everyone. Most of the resorts have a kids club and a kids entertainment zone which makes it so much easier for the parents to relax. I would definitely go back here with my parents.
7. Privacy, Seclusion and Safety
Today, in this new normal world where things are no longer the same as before, Maldives is now open to tourists and so with all safety and social isolation measures. If there is something else that the destination can guarantee besides a seamless proximity with the best of nature and luxury, it is safety. Maldives houses over 110 islands and each island is a hotel which eliminates the risk of being in overcrowded places. It’s the one island one resort destination. As for privacy, the location is awash with vibes of solace, relaxation and a complete state of contentment. This means that every individual is simply lost in the beauty there and interested in soaking in the charm that everyone is regarded with their own privacy and space. These luxury resorts there can be your private oasis during the course of your stay where you can simply bask under the sun on a hammock or just dive into the mysterious blues from your over water villas.
8. Seaplane Rides
The beauty of this island is not only the accommodation but also the mode of transport that plays a huge roll in enhancing one’s experience. If you are travelling to the Maldives you must experience a seaplane ride. These planes can accommodate upto 8 people including luggage, they are quite tiny but the thrill of taking off and landing in water is inexplicable. Most of the resorts require you to choose this transport which definitely is my favourite.
9. The Resort Experience
As spoken about before, one attribute that makes Maldives such an ideal getaway for everyone is its variety in accommodation- all steeped in luxurious hospitality. Your experience at each resort in the Maldives will be completely different and absolutely refreshing. From private butlers and designer villas to spotting sharks from your room, you can experience life at its finest here. Moreover, there is a resort for every preference, budget, and quality of holiday that one is looking for. However, the over-water villas have the capacity to easily transport you in a world of dreams with its cruise like ambience and refined experience. Nevertheless, every space you choose will be certainly gorgeous! You can pick from a range of sea-facing or underwater villas that speak of luxury and the Maldivian charm. Since you spend all your time on one island, it’s the resort experience that matters in the end.
10. Activities and Food
Lastly, what makes every vacation truly complete and fulfilling is the food and your local indulgences. One definitely can’t leave Maldives without sampling the delicious Maldivian crabs, fresh seafood and the international cuisine served by every single hotel. The local culinary experience is a must and only adds to the whole vacations charm. Ironically, as you relish these delicacies, you also have the chance to shed any added carbs by participating in the many activities the resorts offer you. Running around the island, cycling (most villas have cycles outside), scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, indoor games, tennis, and gyms are just some of the things you can be occupied with. If this doesn’t interest you then you can laze and master the art of doing nothing..
I’m hoping these reasons are enough to convince you that Maldives is worth breaking your bank. It’s a piece of paradise like no other and even after visiting this island nation thrice, my experience has been different every single time and I would happily jump on the next seaplane again if I could. Trust me, Maldives is a vibe!
Where to stay in Maldives:
I think the best thing about Maldives is the variety of resorts that you could choose from depending on your budget and mood. From super luxury to a bit pocket friendly, from cool beach villas to romantic over water villas, Maldives has it all. During my recent trip I got a chance to experience three different resorts and here’s a short review:
1. Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa;
A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, this deluxe all inclusive resort was an absolute dream to experience. Located on the Raa Atoll, this is about 45 mins away by seaplane. On landing we were greeted by some lovely smiling faces and then escorted to our fancy over water villa. The Maldivian style thatched roof is what caught my eye. My over water villa featured a gorgeous bedroom and a huge white marble bathroom both looking right into the ocean, L’Occitane toiletries, a walk in closet and a dreamy patio that overlooks the ocean. So the moment I would wake up, I could look straight into that gleaming blue ocean and the sun lounge chairs, a sight I’ll never forget. Make sure you enjoy the all inclusive mini bar too- full of chips, chocolate, beverages and wines, which by the way are replenished daily. All the villas are tastefully decorated with pictures and colours of the marine life making it the perfect blend of tropical and modern.
The resort features 120 villas that have been crafted beautifully with bamboo, natural stones and the Langhi Laanghi leaves, a decor that I absolutely loved. I was a huge fan of the unique all inclusive concept where your entire stay is included in the price you’ve paid for (all meals + room), yes all you can eat and drink! The resort has five restaurants – Aqua, The Beach Club Grill (Mediterranean – All day dining), Amazònico Restaurant (Latin American- dinner), Le Asiatique (Asian- dinner), Sunset pool cafe, sunrise cafe. The resort boasts the Emerald Spa, a stunning long pool area, Dolphin Kids Club, Gym, Sports Center, Diving and water sports Center. I got a chance to try one of their signature massages and I can definitely say their entire spa experience was pure bliss. They have beautiful cottages, a lounge area with an open jacuzzi, literally an oasis in the middle of nowhere. We also took some time out to kayak in the lovely water and it was one of the most relaxing and calming experiences. Apart from providing great quality of food and beverages, the all inclusive concept also lends a sense of ease during your entire stay. The Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa will provide you the quintessential Maldivian experience- luxury, comfort and the most gorgeous panorama.
Distance from Male Airport: 45 mins by seaplane from Male Airport
What I loved: The all inclusive idea, the spa set up, the cycles outside every villa, the size and decor of my overwater villa, the size of the property and the activity options, the happy staff and service.
2. Grand Park Kodhipparu:
Contemporary, rustic and sophisticated is how I would like to describe the beautiful Grand Park Kodhipparu. Located in North Male Atoll, this resort is a great pick for couples that are looking at relaxing and disconnecting. The property boasts a beach club, gym, yoga deck, game lounge, an infinity pool, dive and water sports center and a 24 hour lifestyle host that helps you with everything you need throughout the stay. On arriving we were greeted by drums and we experienced a great stay in their Ocean Water Villa- an 80 sq mt cozy bohemian room featuring a massive terrace with a sun lounger, a hammock to lie down and enjoy the view along with stairs that take you straight into the ocean. Also loved the glass bottom right below the bed, a great spot to sip your coffee and enjoy the sight of fishes that swim by.
The food here definitely left a mark, especially their Nutella waffles at the breakfast buffet. They had great dining options to choose from- The Breeze Poolside Dining Bar, The Edge for buffet spreads and Firedoor for grills and matching grapes. We also had a lovely private dinner on the beach under the stars. The Over Water Spa section features 7 rooms that overlook the ocean along with a salon and a relaxation room, it’s literally a peaceful sanctuary. The island is also known for its nearby dive and wreck sites. Grand Park Kodhipparu is an ideal pick if you’re looking for five star activities with a refined budget and proximity to the airport
Distance from Male Airport: 20 mins by Speedboat
What I loved: The bohemian decor of the overwater villa, the infinity pool and the cabanas, the idea of a personal lifestyle host to look after you, the delicious meals and the pocket friendly price.
3. The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort
Situated on the Unesco Biosphere in Baa Atoll, the Westin boasts 70 villas all inspired by the marine life, they are modern and luxurious. Keeping wellness in mind, you will find everything on this property that help you move, eat, sleep and feel better including the mattress in your room which is specially designed to help you sleep better. It’s the food that steals the show here, with three restaurants on board- The Pearl, The Island Kitchen, Hawker and the Sunset Bar, you will love the options offered. I’m still thinking of the delicious Black Cod and vegetarian Maki Rolls I had at The Pearl. The breakfast spread is also quite impressive with a huge variety of dishes that are gluten free, dairy free, vegan and healthy.
Our Deluxe beach villa was fancy, modern and spelt luxury in every way. The heavenly bed overlooked into a lounge area followed by a small plunge pool and a path that further leads you to the beach. The bath area had a rainforest shower and a huge tub. The highlight for me was the orange juice machine in the room, you can simply wake up, slice the oranges and make yourself a glass of juice first thing in the morning.
Distance from Male Airport: 20 mins domestic flight +20 mins by Speedboat or 30 mins by seaplane
What I loved: The specially designed ‘Heavenly bed’, the Wellness theme, the delicious Japanese meal.
I didn’t get a chance yet but if you do please visit the Vadhoo island in Raa Atoll to witness Bioluminescence, a natural phenomena where the plankton creates a sea of stars that get washed up on the beach. This is completely unpredictable but they say it happens between July to February and preferably pick a new moon night as the moonlight dims the glow.
Located in the southwest of Sri Lanka is the island of Maldives which has more than 1100 coral islands forming 26 major atolls. There are four international and six domestic airports with Malé International Airport being the main one.
How to get to Malé, Maldives
If you’re flying from Abu Dhabi opt for Etihad Airways. They have a direct 4 hour flight, extremely comfortable and quick!
Also got a chance to experience their 24 hour Business Class Lounge which features multiple facilities like an international buffet, smokers centre, spa and a business center.
If you’re flying from Dubai then you could book a direct flight with Emirates (4 hours)
Getting around Maldives:
This maybe one of the places in the world where the hotel transfer is an experience by itself.
Travelling within the Maldives can be quite fun considering the amount of options available but it also depends on the location of your property. Some resorts can be accessible only by boat (Grand Park Kodhipparu), some only by a seaplane (Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa), some by a local airline and followed a boat ride (Westin). Make sure you double check all the details well in advance so you can plan your arrival time and journey. Do keep the waiting time into consideration.
– If you plan on changing resorts then keep in mind that you have to keep Malé as the base and then switch properties. You can’t go from one property to another one directly, you first have to go back to Malé Airport and then switch your mode of transport according to the location of your next resort.
– Maldives will be relatively safer (Covid wise) than most of the other travel destinations since each hotel is on a single island and it’s easy to be isolated as all the properties are massive.
– Since Maldives follows Islam, bringing in alcohol is absolutely illegal. Even if you have bought it from the duty free of the departing country, these items will be confiscated/ bonded by the customs upon arrival. Of course, you can drink legally in your resort premises.
-The luggage restriction for the seaplane is 25kg check in and 5kgs for hand. They are quite strict about this so avoid overpacking.
The official currency of the Maldives is Rufiyaa. You can check the conversion rates on www.xe.com
But all hotels and airports widely accept US dollars.
When to visit the Maldives:
Due to it’s proximity to the equator, Maldives experiences hot weather all year round. But just like the other spots around the Indian Ocean it also gets a bit of the monsoon around June, July, August. Since this is not the peak season you can might get lucky with good offers. But if you’re going there to enjoy the sun and the activities then definitely recommend the dry season from October to April.
Things not to miss in the Maldives:
– Snorkeling in the house reef or scuba diving in the deep blue ocean
– Trying the local Maldivian lobster
– Eating the spicy Maldivian curries
– A visit to the Spa
– Feeding the sharks
– A sunset dolphin cruise
– Hopping on a seaplane
– Lazing around on the white sand beaches
– Enjoying the sunset
What to pack for Maldives:
The first thing you need to knock off your list is a pair of heels/formal shoes, you just won’t need that. All you need is a pair of flip flops, which by the way won’t be used most of the time. The island is best enjoyed bare foot. While packing your outfits add the following to your list- Swimsuits and bikinis (lots of them), cover ups for the pool and beach, day dresses, evening flowy gowns in bright colours, fun floral tops and some shorts. Accessorise this with your cane or rattan beach bags, hats and sunglasses. Forget your fancy jewellery and pack tons of shell necklaces, fringe earrings and gold hoops.
Language: Dhivehi. English is widely spoken
Visa for Maldives:
Tourist visa is granted for all nationalities on arrival to Maldives. As such, a foreigner travelling to Maldives as a tourist does not require pre-approval for the visa. However, the person must satisfy the basic entry requirements to get immigration clearance upon arrival. The maximum number of days granted on arrival would be 30 days. Click here for more details: Maldives Tourism
Covid 19 update:
Maldives has re-opened its borders for international tourists on 15th July 2020. Resorts, Liveaboards and hotels located at uninhabited islands will be open from 15th July 2020. Guest Houses and hotels located at inhabited islands will be open from 1st August 2020. Tourists are not required to pay an additional fee, produce a certificate or test result indicative of negative status for COVID-19 prior to entry into Maldives. For tourists without symptoms, there is no requirement for quarantine either. For more details log on to: https://www.tourism.gov.mv/