.The most romantic hotels in the Maldives including the best for over water villas, private plunge pools, open-air cinemas, Michelin-starred restaurants, beachfront dining and spectacular diving facilities. ——Soneva Fushi hotel, Maldives ——The motto here is “no news, no shoes” and, true to their word, guests’ footwear is confiscated on the traditional dhoni boat transfer from Malé. The 65 villas made from natural materials are sandwiched between jungle and beach. Fun extras include an open-air cinema on the beach, planetarium, treetop yoga, a Mr or Mrs Friday (aka personal butler) assigned to each villa. There’s an excellent choice of dining options, including Mihiree Mitha, which serves wonderfully fresh sushi, and By The Beach, for Korean-inspired cuisine by candlelight, both supplied by the island’s vegetable and herb gardens.
Cocoa Island by COMO Maafushi Maldives
This little slice of tropical heaven offers a total escape from everyday life. One of the smallest, most stylish resorts in the Indian Ocean has just 33 thatched villas inspired by dhonis with large, secluded decks for lounging on or slipping into the lagoon. Holistic, Asian-inspired treatments are offered in the COMO Shambhala Retreat, which has an open-air yoga pavilion and four treatments rooms, including one for couples. There’s a main restaurant, Ufaa, but guests tend to hide away in their villa or opt for private dining on the beach.
Cheval Blanc Randheli hotel, Noonu Maldives
Cheval Blanc Randheli is a 40-minute ride from Malé on the resort’s private seaplane and has a touch of old-school glamour about it. There are 45 villas, some on a private man-made island, some overwater with a private jetty and infinity pool and lots of sumptuous extras including complimentary massages to relieve jet-lag, toiletries created exclusively for the resort by Dior, and four restaurants overseen by Yannick Alléno, three-Michelin-starred chef. A Guerlain spa on its own island got the Royal seal of approval – the resort is where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose to check in on their first holiday sans George.
The Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru Maldives
The more remote of the Four Seasons’ two Maldives properties lies in the Baa Atoll and has 102 thatched sunrise or sunset beach and water villas edging the large lagoon. Known for its fantastic service, treats here include castaway picnics on deserted islands, tantric massages for two to awaken “kundalini energy” and dining on a private platform in the middle of a lagoon. There’s also the chance to visit virgin dive sites and uninhabited islands aboard luxury liveaboard The Four Seasons Explorer, a sleek three-deck catamaran. The land-based villas feel the most authentic and private.
Mirihi Island Resort Mandhoo Maldives
An island retreat without the bravado associated with many of the extravagant new Maldivian resorts, Mirihi maintains a focus on its beautiful surroundings and prides itself on having one of the most fascinating house reefs in the Maldives – expect to see reef sharks, manta rays and green turtles. Opt for a water villa and the positioning is impressive. The shower room has full slide-away doors, opening up views to a vast expanse of Indian Ocean, and a private outdoor deck with direct access to the sea. here are four restaurants; each embodies a different ambience, yet taste and presentation prevail thanks to zealous head-chef, Felix.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Maldives
Despite being situated 30 minute sea plane ride from Male, the resort feels wonderfully remote. There are long stretches of sandy beach where, even in high season, you might not glimpse anybody else. For diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, large coral reefs full of glittering fish are just a short boat ride away. Each villa has been carefully designed for maximum privacy, with thoughtful touches such as candles in the bathroom. There is a wide range of activities on offer, from pedalo excursions to honeymooners’ favorite ‘The Sandbar Picnic’ – a day-trip on a yacht, with a drop-off on a deserted island where you can enjoy a romantic meal on the beach.
Jumeirah Vittaveli, Maldives
Vittaveli is a 20-minute motorized catamaran ride from Male’s airport island. There is an eclectic mix of architectural styles throughout the resort – most striking is the modernist Samsara restaurant with its dramatically angled roof and glass walls. The standard beach villas are spacious, with a generous bathroom area that extends to an open-air shower, l-shaped swimming pool and a small private garden with day bed and swing. Romantics can retreat to one of the seven humongous ocean suites that are accessible only by boat. Facilities on the island include an Asian-inspired spa, yoga classes, a gym, and an excellent water-sports center that makes good use of a thriving house reef.