There are over a hundred resorts in the Maldives and about ten are being opened every year. Tiny, huge, luxurious, affordable, overwater, adults only: they are all slightly different. Kseniia Spodyneiko selflessly treks across the Maldives to help you choose your tropical perfect.
WORDS KSENIIA SPODYNEIKO PHOTOS ALEX SPODYNEIKO
Kandolhu: With only 30 villas, Kandolhu has made unrivalled service its key focus. All guests are personally greeted by general manager Marc LeBlanc. The room is equipped with everything you could possibly think of: a GoPro for taking underwater footage, yoga mats, beach towels, an iPad to communicate with staff, free snorkelling gear, and a personal wine cellar which would sit comfortably in a Michelin star restaurant. Talking of food, Kandolhu has five restaurants to service its 30 villas, and they are opening another next year. In other words, everything is done to the highest possible level.
Must do: The art of Japanese cuisine performed at Banzai exclusively for six people.
Price: From $770 per night.
For nature lovers
Kuramathi: Giant Kuramathi Island has been blessed by nature. It is easy to spend an entire day admiring the fragrant and colourful plants on the botanical walk, exploring the untouched tropical forest on the nature trail or learning more about the fruits and vegetables grown for 18 resort restaurants at the hydroponics garden. Buggies go back and forth every ten minutes, so it’s easy to get from one point of the 2km long island to the other. Which helps to save energy for a walk along the sandbank in the evening: the place to be for sunset!
Must do: Visit the Eco Centre with a fascinating underwater world exhibition.
Price: From $550 per night.
Dhigali: Dhigali founders have favoured contemporary design over more traditional Maldivian architecture. And it seems the unexpected marriage of modern style and lush greenery was made to get your creative juices flowing. Giant Alexandrian laurel trees, Indian almond trees and coconut palms were growing here way before humans arrived. Sunny white villas with lots of fresh air and pops of bright colours fit in perfectly. Feed your inspiration by kayaking in a glass-bottomed boat, sunrise yoga, painting classes, traditional fishing or a jet ski ride. Energised and inspired, order the biggest cappuccino at Capers restaurant and get to work!
Must do: Local island tour with the only coral stone mosque remaining in the Maldives.
Price: From $550 per night.
For social butterflies
Kurumba: Whereas many luxurious resorts are focused on silence and privacy, Kurumba is the perfect destination for a people person. The oldest resort in the Maldives is known for its active night life with DJs, live bands, lagoon cocktails and traditional dancing in the Kandu bar. Daylight here is not an excuse to stay behind closed doors, either. The main pool is the place to socialise after sunrise. Even the terraces of the beach bungalows are facing each other, so you meet all your neighbours seconds after arrival!
Must do: Learn how everything works from the inside at the back-of-house tour.
Price: From $620 per night.
Velassaru: Velassaru is a picture-perfect resort. The beautifully decorated rooms with giant ethnic gates to the outdoor bathroom make you want to stay in the thatched bungalows forever. The overwater spa complex is picturesque yet cosy, and fits perfectly into the landscape. Everything is so well thought out, even down to where each tree along the walkways has been planted. The sand on the beach is whiter than white. Breakfasts are a visual (and culinary) masterpiece. There are certain requirements to a Maldives holiday and Velassaru definitely ticks all the boxes.
Must do: The infinity pool in the spa complex after a relaxing massage.
Price: From $750 per night.