Short Breaks Travel

Where to stay in the Maldives: Top picks

You may not need a reason to venture to the Maldives, but you might need some help with which luxury hotel to stay at! We asked the Lightfoot Travel team for some of their top picks on where to stay in the Maldives.

Niyama Private Islands

If you’re worried the Maldives might be boring for energetic kids, Niyama Private Islands will change your mind. Alongside blue seas, white sandy beaches and endless serenity, it serves as a paradise playground full of nature and fun. Spend your days on a Turtle Adventure or Shark Safari, get into arts and crafts, and round off your afternoon on a sunset cruise (with or without the children!). Alternatively, sign your kids up at The Explorers kids’ club where younger guests can build sandcastles and paint coconuts, while older ones can become master chefs and enjoy water sports. As for adults, gourmet picnics, sunset yoga and speciality cocktails await..



For paradise with a playful side, go to Finolhu where you’ll find retro stylings, bold design and quirky touches. There are record players in the bedrooms, vintage style telephones that call for champagne, rustic signs declaring holiday mantras, and even the odd sheep sculpture. That’s not to say that it’s not luxurious; villas come in shades of gold and purple and have direct access to the lagoon; there are four restaurants, two bars and a beach club; and spa treatments take place in pastel huts to music of your choice. For a side order of fun with your sunbathing, there’s a lively pool area full of bright inflatables, pumping music, stilt walkers and acrobats.

Finolhu sunset


Joali is the brand’s first property in the world, and it certainly knows how to make an entrance. It’s fancy without being flashy; it has the longest – and prettiest – jetty in the country; and, due to its Turkish owners, the spa features one of the few hammams in the Maldives. All villas have traditional thatched roofs, sea views and an infinity pool. And we love how there are several options for families. Those looking for a multigenerational trip should book the Private Ocean Residence or Private Duplex Beach Residence. The former comes with an on-call dhoni (local boat). And the latter has a 24-hour buggy service to whisk your family around in style.


The Nautilus

The Nautilus opened its doors earlier this year and offers a Maldivian escape with minimal hassle. Located 30 minutes by seaplane in the Baa Atoll, it’s far enough to feel secluded, but not enough that it feels like a huge trek following the flight from Hong Kong. Ticking all the tropical boxes, it offers a beach, overwater houses with private pools, and butlers known as House Captains. This is an informal place, where guests are encouraged to suggests their own adventures – from deepsea fishing to island-hopping – while some of the restaurants provide “unscripted dining” so guests can simply request whatever tickles their taste buds’ fancy.

The Nautilus Maldives

Cheval Blanc Randheli

Located on Noonu Atoll, Cheval Blanc Randheli is back in business from August after a little freshen up. Details of the makeover have been kept under wraps. But it’s hard to know how this sublime getaway can become any more impressive. After all, this is a place where every villa comes with a 12.5-metre pool, two bathrooms, outdoor showers and a kitchen. It’s where 360 staff wait upon 45 villas, many of the water sports are free, and where going to the spa means escaping to another island entirely. Whatever is revealed, it promises to be stunning.

Cheval Blanc

Book a stay at one of the hotels featured here with Lightfoot Travel and receive a free spa treatment worth up to US$250. Exclusive to Expat Living readers.

Lightfoot Travel is a luxury tour operator with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and London specialising in designer holidays around the world.

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