Southwest of India, you will find the endless teal blue waters that make up the 26 Atolls of the Maldives. The Maldives offers incredible luxury and exclusivity that is unlike any other destination in the world. It is no surprise that the Maldives is known for being one of the world’s best honeymoon destinations, with its expansive, private bungalows perched above the waters edge or dotting the white sand. Hotel development has expanded significantly in recent years, providing luxury experiences for all price ranges.
We recommend a minimum of 4 nights in the Maldives, overall. Depending on where you fly from, the journey is long and there is typically an additional fee to get to your hotel from Malé. Therefore, 4+ nights is recommended to make the trek worth it.
Our personal recommendation is to either:
The majority of luxury hotels are on their own secluded island in a larger Atoll. The closest hotels to Malé are accessible by speedboats (transfers costing $70+) and the transfers are organized through the hotel. Hotels outside the vicinity of Malé will require a plane transfer (typically through sea plane arranged by the hotel). When selecting hotels, be sure to account for transfer costs in your budget as well as the airline the hotel uses.
There are two airlines that operate sea planes in the Maldives: Maldivian Air and Trans Maldivian. If you are hoping to stay at more than 1 hotel, review the properties these airlines fly to and align to that airline to avoid needing to transfer back to Malé before going to your next hotel. This can save you time and money, so check with your hotels in advance. Also note, a few luxury hotels operate their own seaplane and do not operate through Maldivian Air or Trans Maldivian, such as Cheval Blanc.
It’s important to remember that once you are at your hotel, there is nowhere to go. All your meals will be served at the property as there is no “town” to go to. When considering your resort, be sure to take into account the higher cost of food due to import taxes in the Maldives. Many hotels offer packages that typically offer breakfast or breakfast and dinner. These can typically be a great deal.
Note about alcohol:
Alcohol is available at the resorts, but alcohol is not allowed in the capital city of Malé. There is no duty free at the airport and you are not allowed to bring liquor into the country. You will need to purchase alcohol at your island resort.
Since the majority of hotels are on their own private island, most of them have a great gift shop where you can purchase clothing, accessories, items you have forgotten and other trinkets. There is no other shopping available and duty free upon departure from Malé international is limited.
Some hotels focus more on Maldivian culture than others, but in some hotel shops, you can find traditional lacquer goods, weaved goods and other crafts.
The Maldives is governed by a conservative Islamic government, and therefore, Alcohol is illegal to bring into the country via checked luggage. Since resorts are on their own islands throughout the Maldives, guests remain unaffected by conservative laws. However, it is important to note that if you spend any time in Malé or populated islands, dress conservatively in town and at your resort, do not sunbathe topless. We found Maldivians to be incredibly generous, kind and service-minded throughout our experience in the Maldives.
Pristine beaches with dreamy overwater huts make the perfect destination for honeymooners or those just looking for that quintessential luxury vacation — but the Maldives can be complicated both logistically and culturally. Here's what you need to know.
The Maldives is unlike anywhere else in the world for a number of reasons. It’s important to consider all the costs that go into your trip to avoid trouble along the way.
Of course, there are the international flights and standard hotel charges- but it doesn’t end there. As you look up room rates and hotels online, we encourage you to look into the cost of the transfers, before committing to a particular property. It’s common to see rates from $100-250 USD for boat transfers per person and anywhere from $450-600 USD for flight transfers per person.
Once on property, it is unlikely that you will be traveling anywhere for any meals. Most properties offer all-day dining at a number of restaurants, so we encourage you to look at restaurant and bar prices to ensure they align with your budget. Many properties offer meal plans that may be a good option for your vacation. The common packages are:
Breakfast: This rate only includes breakfast for two
Half-Board: Includes breakfast & dinner as well as soft drinks (and 90% of the time, water)
Full-Board: Includes breakfast, lunch & dinner as well as soft drinks (and 90% of the time, water)
All-inclusive: Includes all meals, snacks and alcoholic beverages.
If you are considering meal plans, be sure to look at the terms & conditions to ensure you have access to the restaurants onsite that you are looking for. It is common to be allowed into only 1 or 2 restaurants, even thought they may have 4 or 5. We recommend finding hotels that allow you to try a variety of restaurants, particularly if you are staying for more than a few days.
Suggested daily budget – What you won’t expect from the Maldives is that you can find accommodations ranging across any budget. There are beautiful little guest houses for around $100 USD, all the way up to $1,000+ USD. Pro Tip: look for all-inclusive packages for a hassle free vacation.
While there is no bad time to go to the Maldives, the best time to visit is between November and April. High season falls between December and March, resulting in higher prices but optimal weather. Monsoon season runs from May to October, peaking around June. The northern atolls have highest rainfall May-Nov; the southern atolls from Nov-Mar.
Check out some of our favorite Maldives resorts and what we like and don’t like about each of them.
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Planning a trip to the Maldives can be incredibly overwhelming. With hundreds of hotels and resorts spread across hundreds of islands, where do you even start? Our first recommendation is to set a budget for yourself. Consider what you’re willing to pay per night for your trip (and be sure to include a transfer cost of $250-500 per person). This will automatically give you a great sense of the options available to you. From there, head to trivago.com or a similar hotel aggregator and filter by that budget.
Next, if you plan to stay at multiple resorts, we recommend looking at Trans-Maldivian and Maldivian Aero. We recommend staying only at multiple hotels if they use the same transfer company. MORE MORE MORE