I have been living two years and six months in Maldives, where I have seen and experienced different Resorts and Local Islands. Always people asked me my recommendation for picking the right place and Island for their vacation. Well with a selection of about 130 Resorts it’s not that easy to make a decision.
Spread through the Atolls of Maldives, there are plenty of Guest Houses, 3*, 4* and 5* Resorts. After arrival at the Airport there will be a counter for every single Resort and depending on how far the Island is, you will have to continue with either Speedboat, Seaplane or Domestic Flight.
Usual Speedboat type of the Resorts
Many travel agencies tell their guests that the south of Maldives is more beautiful or the underwater world would be more colourful – Honestly?, it really does not matter north or south. The Islands and Reefs are same in north as in south of the Indian Ocean. The only difference you will find is, the spots of seeing Whalesharks, Hammerheads or Eagle Rays which depends on the location of the Island.
Experiences which can give you a small idea about the differences
Long Stay, Backpacker, Surfers, Lowest Rate
Guest Houses are available in every of the local islands of Maldives. The prices may vary and you get Bed, Hot Water, AC and if available a TV as well. Food is to be taken care by yourself. The Locals are very guest and visitor friendly and even like to show their islands to foreigners. But attention: Maldives is a Muslim country! There will be no alcohol available on local islands and to go for swimming, ladies should wear like shorts and t-shirt but not a Bikini. The Sea is amazing everywhere but there won’t be much activities.
Long Stay, Medium Rate
4*Kuramathi Island Resort, Raasdhoo Atoll
A very big island reachable from Male either by 15min Seaplane or by a 45min Speedboat. However, for seasick travelers I would say rather to go by Seaplane even it’s more expensive. Beautiful Sandbank for Pictures available, like we see it on the famous pictures of Maldives. Huge selection of Villas and a wide range of Restaurants, Bars and Activities. Packages like Full-Board or All-Inclusive. Definitely the Resort I recommend the Most!
4*Olhuveli Beach Resort & Spa, South Male Atoll
Also a bigger island (but not as many possibilities as Kuramathi), reachable from Male with a 45min Speedboat ride. Villas in wooden style. Diverse packages available but not many points to go. Less recommendable as the beach on one side also is mostly full with leaves due to the current passing from the beach.
Average Beach Villa of Olhuveli
4*Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, Raa Atoll
Small Island and reachable from Male with a 45min Seaplane ride. Villas a bit old but very comfortable. There’s not many places to go but a normal range of activities are available and the beach is a plus point here because it is being cleaned every early morning.
4*The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, Noonu Atoll
After a 45-55min Seaplane flight you may reach the small iru fushi. This is absolutely a Party-Island. Stylish Villas and lots of Nighttime entertainment like Disco and DJ Nights. The Beach here is also very nice and clean. Activities are fun and the atmosphere is great. Very recommendable for young travelers.
Short Stay, High Rate
5*Ayada Maldives Resort, Ghaafu Dhaalu Atoll
As nearly the most south located Resort, Ayada is reachable only by a 50min domestic flight followed by an additional 50min Speedboat Trip, which makes it tiring and uncomfortable or travelers who have already spend hours in the international flight. Managed by a Turkish company, the resort has an ottoman style. Villa construction is hilarious but as the island is small, again the possibilities are less. Mostly occupied by Chinese guests and really just recommendable for Honeymooners for example, who just want to relax few days after a previous tiring adventure trip to Sri Lanka.
Wine and Cheese Bar in Ayada
5*Velaa Private Island, Noonu Atoll
Very small island reachable by a 40-45min Seaplane. It’s the only island with a golf course and a tall tower including a Restaurant and Wine Cellar from which you have a 360 view of the island. The villas are huge and have all private Beach and a stunning design and so there are the high prices of service. Recommendable for big Families or groups to travel together and share the room rate, which would make it more affordable.
Short Stay, Maldives Nr.1 Fashion and Luxury
Cheval Blanc Randheli, Noonu Atoll
A connected 3-island French Resort reachable by a 40min usual Seaplane or a private Seaplane charter which costs accordingly. As mentioned it is fashion and luxury and so mostly occupied by the world’s most rich and famous people. Highest Level of service and privacy. The villas which are called ‘maison’ as in French language are immense and are on the latest updated with technical and modern facilities and functions. The Spa and another top private bookable island are both on separated islands. Not so many facilities as the island is small. Recommendable really just for those which want privacy of highest level and just if you have an unlimited credit card maybe, because it is like I say ‘A piece of Paris dropped on a Maldivian island’. Sad actually for people like us who really ‘travel’, because this has nothing to do with Maldives anymore and is just a French creation.
Private Seeplane of Cheval Blanc
So that how the Resorts vary in Maldives. It totally depends on what occasion you go there. Some travelers want to relax and some want to be active and do some sports. There are resorts for all kind of vacations.
Food is everywhere delicious, specially if you like spicy food you should eat local. There are always expat cooks in the kitchens. Most of the Maldivian staff are having a difficult life when you think that they are from other islands and sometimes they just get the chance to see their families once a year and that’s why tipping is really appreciated in the resorts. Wherever you go, the locals are very friendly and love to help wherever they can.
Maldives is for most of us a ‘once in a lifetime’ Holiday, so make the Best of it!