20 best islands and hotels to stay in Maldives
Staying in Maldives without spending a fortune is easier than you might think.
It is true that in Maldives luxury hotels and beautiful cabins on the sea abound.
But if you have a more limited budget you can also enjoy its turquoise waters without spending a fortune.
In this post we are going to tell you about the best islands and hotels to stay in Maldives so that you can choose the one that is best for you to spend a dream vacation.
Top 20 Islands and Hotels to Stay in Maldives
Before introducing you to the best islands in Maldives, we believe it is very appropriate to put the country in context. In part, because it will cost you a little to choose just one island among the 1,200 that exist.
All of them are organized into 26 atolls (groups of islands) along the Indian Ocean.
But why do we want to contextualize the Maldives? Because most of the time we associate this country with luxury tourism and we can forget that people live there and it is essential to respect their traditions.
The Maldives is a country governed by Islamic laws and it is very important to differentiate between two types of islands: the inhabited ones and the purely tourist ones bought by luxury resorts.
The first ones are islands where locals live and recently they have created some hotels to improve the local economy and allow those not so wealthy tourists to enjoy their paradise.
But that has a price: out of respect, in some of them you will have to bathe with your clothes on, you will not be able to drink alcohol or show affection in public.
The best islands in Maldives to travel cheap
As we have said, you will find several cheaper islands to stay in Maldives.
Of course, they are inhabited and in some you will have to sacrifice some luxuries to respect their customs.
And best of all, getting to them is easy and cheap. However, our experience tells us that it is worth paying more and enjoying a private island. Is too much visible!
1. Maafushi, our choice
We believe that Maafushi is one of the best islands in Maldives if you are looking to travel cheap. We went in 2015 and now we have seen that the outlook has improved (or worsened, depending on how you look at it).
It is an inhabited island. Almost 3,000 people reside there, the majority local and faithful to Islamic laws. However, with the rise of tourism and the economic benefits it brings, they are more flexible and have opened a bikini beach for tourists.
The main advantage of Maafushi is that you can sleep for just over €50 in really nice hotels. You won’t find villas, but if you settle for a good hotel you won’t need more. You will also get to meet the locals, who are super friendly and learn more about their culture.
And especially, that you can get to the island from Malé for only $2 by public ferry. And if you want private transportation, it won’t cost you more than $30 per head and it will take a few minutes. In addition, there are many restaurants and shops, unlike others that are much more boring.
And the main disadvantage is that there is only one beach where you can swim in a bikini. Although it is pretty, it is not very big and it is usually full of people (and more and more because there are more hotels on the island). It is a good option to stay in Maldives if you want to save.
Top hotels in Maafushi:
2. Dhiffushi, another popular island where to stay in Maldives cheap
Between Maafushi and Dhiffushi there are not many differences. Both are inhabited islands and Muslim customs must be respected. Most importantly, Dhiffushi’s bikini-bathing beach is much prettier than Maafushi’s. It is also more well cared for (also because there are fewer people).
It is a much quieter island, with only 8 hotels. The prices are similar, for €50 you can sleep in a good hotel with breakfast included. Being an inhabited island, you can also get there by public ferry from Malé (every day except Friday) or by private speedboat. Without a doubt, one of the best islands in Maldives if you are looking for budget accommodation.
Top hotels in Dhiffushi:
The best islands to stay in Maldives with a luxury base near the airport
Although it may not seem like it, the Maldives is vast. They are tiny islands but some atolls are very far apart. Your international flight will arrive in Malé, the capital of the country. It’s nice to know it but we would never recommend it as your final destination to stay in Maldives. It lacks beautiful beaches and is very chaotic.
If you want to be close to the airport, it does not mean that you have to stay on an inhabited island as we have seen in the previous point. There are also highly recommended luxurious options to spend an unforgettable vacation. Next we are going to present you the best hotels to stay in Maldives near the airport.
Why do we recommend sleeping near the airport?
The Maldives is a generally expensive and exclusive destination. If you want to sleep on a remote island the price will go up even more.
The resorts reserve the exclusivity of transportation to the hotel. In other words, if you sleep in a remote place you can only get to the hotel with your seaplane and that is usually very expensive. And very important, this transport is never included in the price of the room.
Near the airport there are very cool luxury resorts that you can access by boat in just a few minutes and much cheaper. And in the end, enjoy equally or more beautiful beaches.
3. Kurumba Maldives, a very affordable luxury 10 minutes from the airport
And we start with the islands-resort. In other words, from now on we go from an island with several hotels where locals live to private islands with a single hotel. This, without a doubt, is one of the best islands in Maldives. First for its location, just 5 kilometers from Malé airport. That is, about 10 minutes by speedboat.
And second because of the resort in general. It has incredible beaches, two swimming pools, three tennis courts and a fitness center, among many other things. In addition, his restaurant is very good. If we take into account its prices (just over €200 per night) we see that it is one of the best in the whole country. Without a doubt, one of the best options to stay in Maldives.
4. COMO Cocoa Island, one of the best resorts to stay in Maldives
This private island is located just 3 kilometers from Maafushi, the economic island mentioned above. And the landscape changes completely. On this island all the beaches are private (more beautiful and well-kept).
It also has two private reefs. So if you like diving, you will find your paradise there. It is located just 30 minutes by speedboat from Malé. A charming hotel, quite quiet, perfect for relaxing and doing various activities. It honestly has nothing to do with the local islands. Although neither is the price.
5. Biyadhoo Island Resort, an unbeatable price
And this island-resort is also relatively close to the Male airport. It will barely take 40 minutes by speedboat. In fact, it is also quite close to Maafushi.
The best are their prices. For a little more than what you would pay for a hotel on an inhabited island you will have a room in this little piece of paradise. It does not stand out for being the most beautiful resort, but you will not lack for anything.
And if you like to dive, you will have no excuse. They say that in Biyadhoo you will find the best reef in Maldives. Whether true or not, we are sure that it is one of the best places to stay in Maldives.
6. Anantara Dhigu, one of the best villas to stay in Maldives
In the case of accommodation from the Anantara luxury hotel chain, it is quite difficult for it to disappoint you. If you want to stay in a villa, we think this hotel has some of the best in the country. If it is that being able to see a sunset from the bathtub is priceless… Without a doubt, an idyllic hotel for your vacations.
It is only 35 minutes by speedboat from Malé airport, making it a very comfortable option for any tourist.
7. Paradise Island Resort & Spa, overwater villas for less than €300
If what you are looking for is to sleep in a villa over the water for a more than reasonable price, we believe that this is one of the best hotels to stay in Maldives. For approximately €300 you can enjoy a spectacular villa where you only have to take four steps from the bed to enjoy the crystal clear water.
The complex is spectacular. It has 4 swimming pools, tennis courts, a gym and many restaurants. Without a doubt, one of the best islands in Maldives if we take into account the value for money of its hotel.
And best of all, it ‘s only 20 minutes by boat from the airport.
8. Baros Maldives, perfect for snorkeling
This is another of the resorts that we most recommend for visiting the Maldives. It is a very classy accommodation, without high pretensions and very close to Malé. Specifically, only 25 minutes by speedboat from the capital.
If you want to stay in a villa, this hotel is one of the best places to stay in Maldives. In addition, the resort has everything you need to enjoy your vacation. Even with a diving school! It also has several restaurants and a beautiful infinity pool.
9. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, one of the most beautiful places to stay in Maldives near Male
This luxury resort is one of our favorite hotels. It is one of the most spectacular places to stay in Maldives. Its pool suites will leave you speechless. You will find rooms from €300.
We think it’s a great option if you’re traveling as a couple. You can not be calmer!
10. Gili Lankanfushi, a very cool option to stay in Maldives
The overwater villas are special because you can go from your bed to the water just by going down a few stairs. But can you imagine being able to do it by going down a slide? Well, it’s not a dream! In this hotel you can do it.
This resort is located on the private island of Lankanfushi, a 20-minute speedboat ride from Male Airport. Without a doubt, one of the best islands in Maldives if you want to have a great time. Of course, the cheapest room is close to €1000. But surely the occasion deserves it 🙂
11. Meeru Island Resort & Spa, one of the cheapest resorts
And to finish with the resorts near Malé we do not want to forget the Meeru Island Resort & Spa. It is one of the most famous and visited. Because? For its adjusted prices.
This private island is located near Dhiffushi and is one of the best islands in Maldives if you are looking for budget accommodation. The rooms are not the most beautiful in the world but we think they are very good for the price they have.
The best Maldives islands and hotels to enjoy special stays
As we have said before, being able to sleep near the airport does not mean having less peace of mind. On any of the private islands mentioned in the paragraphs above, you will be very calm and you will save a lot of money on transportation.
However, there are hotels that are quite far away and are much more than interesting. Spectacular! So here we present some of the best hotels to stay in Maldives. Of course, keep in mind that getting there will cost you a lot of money because you can only get there with the resort’s own seaplane. Generally, the price of the roundtrip transfer is between 400 and 700 US dollars per person, depending on the distance from Male and the category of the hotel.
12. Diamonds Athuruga, the most elegant villas in Maldives
The most famous type of accommodation on a trip of this type is the villa on the sea. According to experts, the villas at the Diamonds Athuruga resort are the most elegant in the country. The decoration, the facilities, the water… They even clean your room twice a day!
It is also rated as one of the best all-inclusive accommodations in Maldives. For lovers of diving and snorkeling you will only receive good news. The hotel has its own reef and they make two trips a day to explore it.
The only drawback is that to get there you will have to go by seaplane. Of course, it will only take 20 minutes from Malé. Without a doubt, one of the best resorts to stay in Maldives.
13. Six Senses Laamu, the best sustainable hotel to stay in Maldives
This is a different accommodation from the others. It is built entirely with sustainable materials to reduce its impact on the environment. They produce everything they can, from energy to water. They also do not allow plastic and they make you see how lucky you are to enjoy this environment and that you have to take care of it. Its main objective is that you feel the maximum contact with nature and feel integrated into the environment.
However, the hardest part is getting there. You have to take a domestic flight from Malé to Kadhahoo and from there in 30 minutes by speedboat you will be at the hotel.
14. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, if you want to sleep under the sea
This hotel occupies not just one island, but two! And both are connected by a bridge. There is a wide variety of restaurants, although they are quite expensive. However, the hotel has all kinds of luxuries and the beaches are impressive. Even with an underwater restaurant! But if we have already warned you that restaurants are expensive, imagine this one.
But if it’s famous for one thing, it’s because they’re building the first underwater suite. That’s right, you can sleep underwater! As long as you are willing to pay around €40,000 per night.
The hotel is located on one of the best islands in Maldives. You will get tired of seeing fish and other marine animals! In short, one of the best hotels to stay in Maldives. The resort is located 30 minutes by seaplane from the capital.
15. Niyama Private Islands Maldives, for the most partiers
If the party is going for you, you will surely want to enjoy the first underwater disco. Yes, you read it right. In this hotel you can dance with fish, sharks and all kinds of marine animals 🙂 And also enjoy its beautiful crystal clear waters.
It also has a restaurant on the water that you can only access by boat. Without a doubt, one of the best hotels to stay in Maldives. It is about 40 minutes by plane from Malé.
16. Kuramathi, a great option to stay in Maldives
If we base ourselves on the value for money of the hotels, this is one of the best. It is located about 20 minutes by seaplane from the capital on a fairly large island.
They organize several activities so you don’t get bored in paradise. The beaches are beautiful and calm, perfect to enjoy a unique vacation. It is also very focused on families, with activities for children and everything you need. The Paradise!
17. LUX* South Ari Atoll
We love the aesthetic of this resort. It has modern rooms, with projectors in front of the bed and private pools overlooking the ocean. Couldn’t miss a spa of those that relax just by looking at the photos? This impressive resort is just half an hour by seaplane from Male Airport. The cheapest rooms cost around €700.
It is one of the best islands in Maldives for night-loving couples. They throw parties with international DJs in their beach bar. Who said that the Maldives are pure tranquility? They even organize night diving trips to observe the fluorescent colors of the species that live among the coral, a spectacle! In addition, it is one of the best islands in Maldives to find a whale shark.
18. Veligandu Island Resort & Spa
Very close to Rasdhoo, another inhabited island in Maldives, you will find another paradisiacal resort. The rooms have a more classic style, but equally elegant to celebrate any special occasion. The great advantage is that it is somewhat cheaper than other similar ones. An all-inclusive overwater villa with jacuzzi costs around €800 per night. In other resorts, for that price you don’t even get the simplest room.
The Veligandu island-resort is one of the best islands to stay in Maldives if you are looking for luxury at a slightly more affordable price. The treatment of the staff is excellent as in all hotels in the country and they also organize a lot of special activities for couples. It takes 20 minutes by seaplane to get there from the international airport.
19. Soneva Jani, one of the most peculiar hotels to stay in Maldives
And prettier. The architecture and design of the hotel is amazing. A very fine and elegant resort, perfect to relax on your vacation, very responsible with the ecosystem. But it also has that modern and fun touch with its slides. So from the room you can slide down to the water.
However, it is one of the hotels that falls furthest from Malé. Specifically, it is 45 minutes by seaplane from the airport. It is true that there are good hotels closer, but we would love to visit this hotel one day. Of course, you have to save a lot since its most basic room costs more than €1,500.
20. Velaa Private Island, one of the best islands in Maldives
And to finish this list of the best hotels to stay in Maldives, we couldn’t leave out one of the most famous (and expensive). One night in their simplest room costs around €1,600. Almost nothing! Of course, the resort is simply spectacular.
And what about the beaches? Well, they will leave you speechless. White sand, crystalline waters… the ones you’ve always dreamed of! And the island is surrounded by a beautiful reef where you will find everything. If you are looking for a special stay, do not forget this private island. Without a doubt, one of the best islands to stay in Maldives.