Although it’s a dream destination, you don’t have to be a Hollywood star or a hedge fund manager to afford the Maldives.
Its sumptuous resorts beside beautiful white sand beaches with reef snorkelling and diving can cost an arm and a leg, but more modest deals are around.
Here’s our price guide to the remote Indian Ocean nation from the cheapest . . . to the not so cheap at all.
Onboard with luxury: The Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu resort
Hideaway near the capital
It’s a short airport transfer by seaplane to Kuredu Resort & Spa, a tropical island resort with five restaurants. Take your pick from honeymoon suites, water villas and beach bungalows at this pleasant, quiet getaway.
Details: Seven nights full-board from £1,119pp including flights and transfers (dealchecker.co.uk, 01306 747745).
Tennis and diving
Kurumba is a lovely little island resort near the capital. It comes with tennis courts, a gym, snorkelling and a dive centre.
The restaurants serve Japanese, Thai, Italian and Middle Eastern dishes.
Details: Seven nights half-board from £1,299pp if booked by May 31 (trailfinders.com, 020 7368 1200).
Best for families and foodies
Pick up Maldivian cooking tips at the open-air grill at Reethi Faru Resort on Raa Atoll. The resort opened last November and comprises a series of smart villas, a spa, a games room and a watersports centre.
Details: Seven nights B&B from £1,389pp with flights and transfers. Call to book (hayesandjarvis.co.uk, 01293 831108).
Elle Macpherson is a fan of the Maldives
Tucked away on Baa Atoll, Reethi Beach Resort has a PADI-registered dive centre, watersports centre, floodlit tennis courts, squash courts, badminton courts and a gym. So it suits the sporty. You stay in secluded villas. Supermodel Cara Delevingne spent a week on the island in 2016 with dozens of her friends and family.
Details: Seven nights B&B from £1,499pp including flights and transfers (trailfinders.com, 020 7368 1200).
Try deep-sea fishing and enjoy meals at local homes while staying on small islands on a guided island-hopping trip (maximum group size: 16). The journey covers five islands in Male Atoll, staying in simple hotels and catching ferries. A tour of Male is included.
Romance on tap
A highlight at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu resort on Baa Atoll is the chance to sample a candlelit Maldivian meal in the resort’s kitchen-garden. Spicy dishes are served amid basil and rosemary plants. Afterwards, enjoy a cocktail on the beach before retiring to your thatched villa.
Details: Seven nights half-board with flights and transfers is from £2,045pp (flightcentre.co.uk, 0808 223 0165).
Night fishing with locals
As well as trying watersurfing and sailing, guests at Makunudu Island on North Male Atoll can have a go at night fishing with local fishermen — catches cooked on return. This little resort has 36 comfortable thatched bungalows.
Details: Seven nights full-board including flights and transfers from £1,725pp (tropicbreeze.co.uk, 01752 880880).
Hip new resorts with DJs
Dance the night away at the Beach Club bar and enjoy late-night cocktails in cabanas while listening to DJs spinning ‘party tunes’ at Kandima on Dhaalu Atoll. This lively new resort has 266 colourful studios and villas. It may sound like Ibiza in the Indian Ocean, but it suits families as well.
Details: Seven nights B&B from £1,799pp including return flights and transfers (ba.com/maldives, 0344 4930778).
Paradise: You & Me by Cocoon is a new adults-only island resort on Raa Atoll
Watch fish swim by while dining at the underwater restaurant at You & Me by Cocoon, a new adults-only island resort on Raa Atoll. Drink champagne at the Veuve Clicquot bar and try a treatment at the Elizabeth Arden spa. Rooms have a ‘rustic chic’ look.
Golf by the equator
There is only one complete golf course — a nine-holer — in the Maldives and it is to be found at Shangri La Villingili on Addu Atoll in the far south. You stay at swish villas and there’s also a spa with high-quality restaurants. Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson spent a week at the hotel in 2016 with her two sons and posted various pictures of herself diving and doing yoga.
Details: Seven nights full-board from £2,475pp including flights and transfers (lwcholidays.com, 0333 4551547).
Faarufushi Maldives on Raa Atoll is a brand new resort that’s already a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World Group (shl.com). Infinity pools lead to ‘relaxation pavilions’ and a spa with a hydro pool.
Details: Seven nights half-board from £3,199pp including flights and transfers (kuoni.co.uk, 0800 140 4755).
The rings of Saturn
Fishy: Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas is known for its underwater restaurant
See the stars of both the northern and southern hemispheres — as well as the rings of Saturn — from the observatory at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas on Baa Atoll. The resort’s plush villas come with plunge pools.
Details: Seven nights B&B with flights and transfers is from £3,980pp (abercrombiekent.co.uk, 01242 386 500).
Turtles and tranquility
Wild turtles lay eggs on the beaches at One&Only Reethi Rah, and their nests are carefully protected by marine biologists. Tennis, snorkelling and wakeboarding are available. Villas are elegantly furnished. It’s popular among celebrities, including David and Victoria Beckham, Gordon Ramsay and Tom Cruise.
Details: Seven nights half-board from £5,399pp including flights and transfers (destinology.co.uk, 01204 874 399).
Money no object
In the north of the Maldives on Noonu Atoll, Velaa Private Island is one of the country’s most exclusive resorts. Villas have mahogany panel walls, teak furniture, pillars, high ceilings, private pools in secluded gardens, and dedicated butlers.
Details: Seven nights B&B is from £9,100pp including flights and transfers (scottdunn.com, 0203 811 4487).
Your very own pool
Each of the 46 villas at Cheval Blanc Randheli resort, also on Noonu Atoll, is kitted out with a 12.5m infinity pool. Private butlers, a spa and a Tennis Island are also provided. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent a week at the hotel in 2014 for their ‘second honeymoon’.
Details: Seven nights B&B for a family of four from £19,859 including flights and transfers; for a couple the price is from £10,550 plus £720 for flights (inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk, 01244 435077).
- Tom Chesshyre is the author of Gatecrashing Paradise: Misadventures In The Real Maldives (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, £10.99).