Maldives water villa resorts – A complete guide
There are over 5,000 water villas (called overwater bungalows in the South Pacific) in the world, and around two-thirds of those are located in the islands of the Maldives. This includes more than 80 different private-island resorts, which range from 3-star to 5-star-plus. Choosing a resort here can be daunting, so we’ve included our best recommendation on this page, explaining why each one is so special.
Even the least expensive Maldives water villa will usually have a glass-floor section like we all dream about. You might not have to spend much more money to get a water villa with a Jacuzzi, including a few at some of the all-inclusive resorts that offer unlimited meals and alcohol. If you are looking for luxury then you’ll be happy to know that many Maldives water villa resorts have private pools on the terrace of each villa.
You’ll find details of every water villa resort in the Maldives on the pages linked just below, so if you don’t see one that appeals to you here, you’ll certainly be able to find one by digging deeper.
- Budget Maldives water villas – US$202 to $599
- Luxury Maldives water villas – US$600 to $899
- Super-luxury Maldives water villas – US$900+
Book online or use a travel agent?
If you are already working with a travel agent it’s probably wise to keep working with them. But if you don’t yet have a Maldives travel agent, you can save money and get a better villa by booking yourself.
Arriving in the Maldives
Since all of the water villas are located on private islands, getting to those islands from the airport can be confusing for first timers. So we’ve created this handy guide with full video to explain it.
>>>Where to stay near Male, Maldives Airport for one night – Many people choose the wrong area on their first trip, so we explain the best choices here.
Editor’s Choice Maldives resort picks
With over 80 Maldives water villa resorts to choose from, we are creating lists of the best picks in different categories to help you find the perfect place quickly.
Best of the cheaper resorts
There are dozens of resorts in the Maldives that are relatively cheap (for the Maldives), but of course some are far better than others. This list features only the best hotels in the lower price category.
The private-island resorts on this list tend to offer the best value, so it’s a good place to start if price is one of your key issues.
Best all-inclusive resorts
The Maldives has dozens of resorts that are fully all-inclusive or at least offer an all-inclusive room rate, and this list show the finest of them based on guest reviews and value.
Some also offer full-board or half-board options, which might be even better value for those who don’t drink. Virtually all Maldives resorts include all non-motorized activities in the room rate, so if you are a light eater and drinker you might get a better deal paying as you go.
Best for honeymoons
These private-island resorts can generally be divided into two main categories: resorts that cater to couples, and resorts that cater to families.
Among the couples resorts, this list shows those that are the best among honeymooners and others looking for a private romantic getaway. Some are in modest price categories in spite of great reviews and overall popularity.
Best for families
The majority of Maldives resorts have swimming pools and at least a few other activities that young people enjoy, but only a couple dozen have Kids Clubs, babysitting services, and other family-friendly amenities that are essential for children and toddlers.
This list reveals the best of these resorts that specifically cater to families, and several are also in modest price categories.
Best for scuba diving
Among the best features of the Maldives is that it’s literally one of the top rated scuba diving spots in the world, and pretty much every resort has diving available, if not a full PADI school and dive shop.
This list is the best of the best of the resorts for divers. All have full dive shops and they enjoy great house reefs and close access to the best dive spots in all of the Maldives.
Best resorts with private pools
The majority of Maldives resorts have freshwater pools on their islands, and an increasing number of them have at least a few water villas with private plunge pools out on their decks.
Many newer resorts feature a large class of water villas that all have pools, and this list features the highest rated and best value among them. In high season the room rates at the pool villas do tend to be high, but in low season you can sometimes find promotions that bring rates to surprising levels.
Best for extreme luxury
For most of us, any of the Maldives’ 80 or so water villa resorts will represent luxury, but of course some of them go much further, with room rates to match. These are the best of the best for those who don’t worry about prices and other little details.
Most of these have water villas that are literally as big as houses, and a few of them have water villas that are as big as mansions, like the one pictured to the right.
Best resorts with no children
There are honeymoon resorts and family resorts in the Maldives, but there is also a third category with resorts that are just primarily built for adults, so they attract few if any families. If you don’t need 5-star romantic luxury but still prefer the peace of an adult-oriented resort, you’ll find this list to be helpful.
These resorts mostly don’t have age limits or policies about children and teens, but without swimming pools or any kid-friendly activities, they are mostly just couples.
Best for water villas with glass floors
The one feature that probably drives more visitors to researching water villas in the Maldives is the glass floor section.
Only a dozen or so of these resorts have glass floors or coffee tables with views directly into the lagoon below, and the list linked above has the best of them ranked from least to most expensive. Some of the glass sections are out on the deck while others are right in the bedroom area, but they tend to be equally lovely and entertaining.
Not all of us can afford the “best” in any category, so for your convenience here is a list of the cheapest all-inclusive Maldives water resorts in order. Room rates are fantastic value and even the most modest of them is still quite nice, but it’s wise to read reviews and compare at least a few if you are in this lowest price category.
Some of these also offer full-board or half-board options, which can save even more money for those who don’t drink much alcohol.
High season and low season
In the Maldives the high season for resort prices is generally December through April, with December and January being the most expensive months. The low season is May through November, with June through August usually being the cheapest months.
Many resorts have fairly similar prices all year, while others drastically discount during the off season. If you are coming between May and November you should check this list below.
Best resorts for stays of 3 or fewer days
Many resorts require a long sea-plane flight from the main international airport, which can add several hours extra to your arrival and departure day. If you are only coming for a short stay it’s worth considering one of the water-villa resorts that are a relatively short speedboat ride away, which saves time, money, and adds flexibility.
Below you’ll find our top pick in each category, along with a link to our full selections in each category. The resorts below are the highest rated by previous guests among all that meet the criteria so you can be confident that they combine quality, excellent service, and very good value.
–Best cheap water villa resort in the Maldives–
- Water villas: 64
- Total rooms/suites: 76
A solid 4-star resort that offers both all-inclusive and full-board options, the Veligandu Island Resort represents amazing value in its class. The 10 smaller water villas are fairly large and come with a whirlpool tub, but the 54 Jacuzzi water villas are your best bet, with an upgraded bedroom suite and a walled-in area on the deck with a 2-person Jacuzzi.
There are several restaurants and bars from which to choose, plus a huge list of daytime activities that are suited for families or active types, plus a huge infinity-edge swimming pool. The Vegigandu gets fantastic reviews and many repeat guests, so theirs is a winning forumula and an obvious bargain in the Maldives.
- Low season online specials from US$513 per night
- High season online specials from US$757 per night
–Best all-inclusive Maldives water-villa resort–
- Water villas: 56
- Total rooms/suites: 119
One of the highest rated of all Maldives hotels, the Lily Beach Resort and Spa offers a very generous all-inclusive plan as its only option. There are 16 Lagoon Villas here that are quite large, just perched over the edge of the lagoon, but the 36 Deluxe Water Villas are huge, each with its own private on-deck Jacuzzi.
This is a 5-star private-island hotel with 2 swimming pools, excellent diving and snorkeling, plus a full-service spa. It’s so popular that it stays quite full during the high season, even in the super-luxury price category, but during the slower summer months the online special rates are fantastic, making the Lily Beach perhaps the best bargain in the Maldives for the 5-star category.
- Low season online specials from US$864 per night
- High season online specials from US$1,639 per night
–Best honeymoon water villa resort in the Maldives–
- Water villas: 33
- Total rooms/suites: 36
With only 36 total guestrooms, 33 of which are water villas, the Cocoa Island Resort is one of the smallest and most intimate in the Maldives. The water villas come in a variety of sizes and configurations, but all are quite large and all are shaped like traditional Maldivian fishing boats for added flair.
This resort has no facilities for children so it’s an ideal choice for romantic couples who prefer an adults-only atmosphere. The spa here is excellent, as is the scuba center, and there’s even a yoga pavilion with a resident instructor for guests who want to do more than just relax. The Cocoa Island Resort also gets the best reviews of any Maldives resort from past guests, so it’s a perfect choice for those looking for a small and romantic island retreat.
- Low season online specials from US$824 per night
- High season online specials from US$1,086 per night
–Best Maldives water villa resort for families–
- Water villas: 57
- Total rooms/suites: 86
With a Kids’ Club, a freshwater swimming pool, pedal boats, and a long list of other water sports that are great for families, the Constance Halaveli is a top choice for those with children coming to the Maldives. Each of the 59 water villas is quite large and has its own plunge pool on the deck, so the young ones will be entertained at all times, even if just hanging around in the room.
The resort features all the most popular features of private-island hotels, with special online rates that make it a stunning value, especially during the summer months. The reviews are very positive as well, so it’s building a solid fan base who return each year.
- Low season online specials from US$822 per night
- High season online specials from US$1,437 per night
–Best Maldives water-villa resort with excellent scuba diving–
- Water villas: 86
- Total rooms/suites: 110
With 86 water villas in two different classes in addition to 24 island rooms and suites, the Constance Moofushi is one of the newer Maldives resorts, only open since late 2010. The scuba diving at and near the island is said to be among the very best in the Maldives, and the entire property gets very good reviews all around.
Operating fully on an all-inclusive basis, this hotel offers even better value than it might first seem. In the 5-star category the room rates for proper all-inclusives usually start much higher, so the online discounts often available make it as affordable as a typical 4-star.
- Low season online specials from US$944 per night
- High season online specials from US$1,319 per night
–Best Maldives water-villa resort with private pools–
- Water villas: 55
- Total rooms/suites: 64
A private plunge pool built into your water villa’s sun deck is a feature available at many of the most expensive 5-star resorts, but it’s also available at 33 of the 55 water villas at the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, at quite a reasonable price. This is an adults-oriented (no family facilities) property run by the famous Taj Hotel Group of India, so it’s as elegant as you could hope for.
There are several restaurants in addition to private-island dining available, and all the amenities you would expect at a proper 5-star Maldives resort. Another notable feature is that it’s relatively close to the Male International Airport (but not too close) so you can arrive by private speed boat at any time of day or night, rather than waiting for a pricey sea-plane flight that only operates during the daytime.
- Low season online specials from US$843 per night
- High season online specials from US$1,031 per night
–Cheapest Maldives fully all-inclusive resort–
- Water villas: 70
- Total rooms/suites: 80
For guests whose main priority is keeping costs low and predictable while staying in a Maldives water villa, the Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa resort is perfect. There are 70 water villas and 10 island rooms at this well-regarded property.
The all-inclusive plan does include most food and even alcoholic beverages at the resort, but some of the water sports come with extra fees, as you’d expect at this low rate. The online specials that are available all year round make this an excellent bargain in a country not known for them.
- Low season online specials from US$403 per night
- High season online specials from US$687 per night
–Cheapest Maldives water villa resort with an all-inclusive option–
- Water villas: 106
- Total rooms/suites: 286
The 106 water villas at the Meeru Island Resort are the most of any hotel in the Maldives, and the second most in the world. When added to the 180 island rooms and suites, this is one of the largest private-island resorts in the country as well, and with that larger scale comes reasonable prices and lots of options.
They offer an all-inclusive plan as well as full-board and half-board plans here, so the Meeru Island is ideal for groups and families who might prefer different rate plans and even room types, since non-drinkers can save money that way. This is a very popular resort with many repeat guests each year, and their online special rates are some of the lowest in all of the Maldives.
- Low season online specials from US$400 per night
- High season online specials from US$610 per night
>>>Check for airfare deals to the Maldives
Top photo courtesy of Chi King on Flickr