The Maldives, a group of more than 1,000 castaway islands in the Indian Ocean, is amongst the most sought-after honeymoon destinations for its iridescent waters, pristine coral reefs and powder white sand beaches.
For years hotels have been trying to trump one another in terms of luxury with overwater villas, gourmet restaurants and top-notch spas. You can also get involved with marine conservation such as coral planting and turtle watches.
With so many resorts to choose from, it’s difficult to know which to choose. You might want to consider the size of the island, whether the resort has lots of facilities for entertainment and sports and how many restaurants it has (each hotel occupies its own island so there are no outside dining options).
Consider what’s included in the price. Do you have to pay for all your meals, drinks and activities, or would you rather opt for an all-inclusive resort? And do you want to be close to the airport and the main island of Male, or on a remote atoll reached by seaplane?
You might want to double check that your resort has overwater villas, if this has always been your idea of honeymoon heaven, and how much they cost compared to a beach villa. Increasingly, the Maldives welcomes families to its resorts, so if you don’t want kids around, you need to book somewhere adult-only.
The Maldives are popular year-round but there are distinct weather patterns – check out our guide to the best time to travel.
Bear in mind that you can’t get married in the Maldives. If you plan to get married abroad you could consider combining Sri Lanka with the Maldives.
Here’s a list of my top resorts in the Maldives and what I feel is their “unique selling point” for honeymooners.
1. Meeru Island Resort & Spa
Best for: couples on a budget.
You want to honeymoon in the Maldives but you can’t afford the top resorts. Meeru Island Resort (pictured above) has all the elements of a top resort including over-water villas, a spa and of course that eye-popping azure water and fine white sand, yet at 3-star prices. And its all-inclusive option makes it even greater value for money.
Many people ask: How much does a honeymoon in the Maldives cost? In this case, seven nights costs around £1,300 per person full board. Upgrading to all-inclusive costs about £30 per person per night.
Getting there from Male International Airport: The speedboat transfer is a scenic 55-minute ride.
2. Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives
Best for: couples who want a 5-star all-inclusive.
Atmosphere Kanifushihi (pictured above) opened in late 2013 and is ideal for honeymooners who want a hassle-free honeymoon where everything is taken care of as soon as you step on the island – including your final bill. Five-star all-inclusive resorts are still relatively rare in the Maldives. This one includes sumptuous cuisine, unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, twice daily replenishment of the in-villa minibars, exciting excursions, fun-filled activities, live musical performances, access to the resort’s sports complex and à la carte dining.
A variety of complimentary honeymoon offers are available year-round and vary depending on how many nights you stay such as sparkling wine, sunset cocktails, a couples massage at the Akiri Spa and a candlelit dinner.
Getting there from Male International Airport: A 30-minute flight by seaplane.
3. Huvafen Fushi
Best for: couples who like bespoke, quirky luxury.
This much loved, innovative resort (pictured above) continues to stay ahead with the latest technology. Suites come equipped with Bose stereo systems linked through out the villa, pre-programmed mood lighting, remote control blinds and infinity pools with fibre-optic lighting. Huvafen Fushi also created the world’s first underwater spa where couples can enjoy spa treatments together whilst watching the aquatic life go by. Check out the sunset spa sessions where honeymooners can relax on their outdoor daybed and watch the sunset after their treatment.
To leave their mark on the Maldives before they leave, couples can adopt some coral in the resort’s special marine biology programme which will be in their name forever.
Getting there from Male International Airport: 30-minute speedboat ride from the airport or a 15-minute charter seaplane transfer.
4. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort
Best for: foodies.
The perfect choice for foodie couples looking for a barefoot luxury resort. The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has 11 restaurants and bars – more than any other in the Maldives including the world’s first underwater restaurant, Ithaa (pictured above).
Getting there from Male International Airport: 35 minutes by seaplane.
Best for: cool couples who like paradise with a touch of urban chic.
NIYAMA (pictured above) is Huvafen Fushi’s older sister and stands out for its sophisticated studios and pavilions, chic dhonis, floating restaurant, underwater nightclub and 24-hour spa. Honeymooners can head off to Walla Island for absolute seclusion that is only accessible by one of the resort’s luxury dhonis or declare their love beneath a floral pavilion and spend all day drinking champagne.
Getting there from Male International Airport: 40 minutes by seaplane.
6. One & Only Reethi Rah
Best for: couples looking for a bit of bling.
The oversized and luxurious beach and water villas are another winning combination from the owners of the swanky One&Only group. All guests at the One & Only Reethi Rah (pictured above) enjoy the services of a dedicated Villa Host, on hand 24-hours a day to help with anything at all that will make their honeymoon more luxurious and memorable.
Getting there from Male International Airport: 50 minutes by luxury yacht.
7. Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Best for: couples who love to scuba dive.
Located in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll, which is one of the largest and deepest natural atolls in the world and more than 10km from the nearest inhabited island, this resort is pure paradise for those exploring the stunning coral reef, which completely rings the island. The Park Hyatt Hadahaa (pictured above) also has one of the healthiest reefs – the abundance, diversity and topography of the coral is second-to-none. The onsite five-star PADI dive centre run by Resident Marine Biologist Ciara McCarten gives beginners and experts the opportunity to dive amidst these untouched reefs and discover the atoll’s rich and diverse marine life. There are over 125 endangered species (including coral) in the atoll and all can be found off Hadahaa – several species of stingray and sharks, critically endangered Hawksbill Turtles and Napoleon Wrasse are frequently seen.
Getting there from Male International Airport: Maldivian now flies five times daily to the new Kooddoo Airport in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll, a 45-minute flight from Male, followed by a 20-minute speedboat transfer.
8. Angsana Ihuru
Best for: scuba diving in an intimate setting.
Angsana Ihuru (pictured above) is a small, intimate island with just 45 villas. The resort has an excellent house reef and one of the Top 10 dive sites in the Maldives. Guests can pay a supplement for unlimited dives which can also be used as credit in the spa if they feel less energetic. Those who don’t want to do a full dive can enjoy Snuba which, with the use of tubes, enables you to snorkel under the surface.
Getting there from Male International Airport: 25 minutes by speedboat.
9. Vivanta by Taj
Best for: couples who want some adventure.
Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef (pictured above) provides an ideal backdrop for couples looking for an adventurous honeymoon. Thrill-seekers can explore the Maldives’ underwater life with expert divers on hand to guide them to an authentic shipwreck, 22 metres deep, covered with corals and home to thousands of fish. To feel every inch a modern Robinson Crusoe, lovebirds can explore a deserted island in the Maldives archipelagos and then enjoy a BBQ on the beach. Those with a ‘green’ heart can also participate in the Coral Rehabilitation initiative at the property, which aids the recovery of damaged reefs. To relax, couples can set off on a romantic sunset cruise with Champagne or hit the Jive Spa, before retreating to their over-water bungalow.
Getting there from Male International Airport: 45-minutes by speedboat.
10. Shangri La Villingili
Best for: sporty couples.
At Shangri La Villingili (pictured above) there is a range of water-based activities such as wave-surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, traditional Maldivian night fishing, catamaran sailing, fun tubes and banana rides, kite surfing, paddle boards, parasailing, small dhoni sailing, water ski, mono ski and wake-boarding. Flat seas and dependable trade winds guarantee ideal conditions for sailing and windsurfing and for diving enthusiasts, there are more than 25 dive sites teeming with marine life. The land-based activities include a fully equipped gym and Health Club, an entertainment centre, an Eco Centre and two tennis courts. Shangri-La also boasts the only golf course in the Maldives, covering nine holes. There are also five neighbouring islands, which are linked together by a 17-kilometre road along which couples can cycle. Chill out with yoga or meditation overlooking the ocean.
Getting there from Male International Airport: A 70-minute flight followed by an 8-minute boat ride from Gan Airport on Addu Atoll.
11. Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
Best for: surfing.
The sister resort to Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa (pictured above) has a small, village-like feel to it. Accommodation is both over water and on the beach with its spa on a separate island reached by miniature gondola. The watersports centre has a surf school and guests can learn in the still waters of the lagoon and then head out to a nearby reef to hit some good waves.
Getting there from Male International Airport: 20-minute speedboat ride.
12. Cheval Blanc Randheli
Best for: trend setters.
If you simply have to be in with the in crowd, book your honeymoon at the Cheval Blanc Randheli (pictured above). It’s an intimate and contemporary haven on the unspoiled Noonu Atoll with 45 villas.
Getting there from Male International Airport: 40-minute journey north of Malé, which guests will enjoy in the Maison’s own bespoke seaplane.
13. Maalifushi by COMO
Best for: diving and snorkelling in a cool setting.
The latest from the superb COMO Hotels and Resorts, Maalifushi (pictured above) has one of the few reefs in the Maldives not affected by El Nino, so it’s unusually brilliant for diving and snorkelling. All of which explains why Maalifushi has a resident marine biologist on site, and why it has its own PADI dive centre on the island.
That island is the Thaa Atoll, on which the 66-room Maalifushi is the only resort. Thaa is neighboured by a string of uninhabited islands – more classic wisps of sand and lolling palm trees, including another deserted isle belonging to the resort that can be visited for super-secluded picnics.
It’s mostly overwater accommodation, including a number of suites and villas with private pools; unusually for the Maldives, the seas below the overwater accommodation are not rocky, but perfectly smooth. Interiors throughout the resort are by Japanese designer Koichiro Ikebuchi; a pared-back style, with natural light and open vistas. The island will also have a Japanese seafood restaurant facing the sunset, a 44m pool, a sunken sushi bar and one of the Maldives’ best and biggest spas.
Getting there from Male International Airport: 50 minute seaplane flight to Thaa Atoll.
The Maldives combines easily with either India or Sri Lanka, both a short flight away. Typically, couples travel first to India or Sri Lanka for a private tour then fly to Maldives for a week’s total relaxation.
This trip Magic of India and Maldives costs from under £1,800 per person for two weeks. It includes the Taj Mahal, the Amber Fort in Jaipur, the temples and palaces of Udaipur and a cruise on Lake Pichola.
This two-week Sri Lanka and Maldives honeymoon costs from £3,225 per person, including half-board in Sri Lanka, B&B in the Maldives, all flights, transfers and sightseeing.