More than half of the water villas in the world (which are known as overwater bungalows in the South Pacific) are located in the Maldives. There are over 80 resorts here featuring these popular rooms and nearly all of them are luxurious, but since there are so many we've divided them into three groups.
This middle group includes a wide range of resorts, some which specialize in all-inclusive meal and drink plans, and some which are intimate and are very popular with the honeymoon crowd. Finding the perfect fit may feel daunting, so you might want to check out the main page that recommends resort for over a dozen different preferences.
Getting the best deal
Newly opened in summer of 2012, the Residence Maldives Resort features 75 water villas that are all very large, about half of them with their own private plunge pool on the sundeck. This is the newest in the Residence chain, which already operates 3 other hotels in Africa and the Indian Ocean, all of which are highly acclaimed.
The resort features two gourmet restaurants and a bar, plus private dining opportunities, and a long list of daytime activities and excursions. Early reviews literally couldn’t be any better, which is unusual for a Maldives launch because it’s difficult to have everything ready at the same time. For this reason, we think this is going to be a real winner in the upscale category.
Another of the larger resorts in the Maldives, the Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives Resort is set apart by the fact that it’s one of the very few with its own surfing beach. The 55 water villas complement the 60 rooms on the island, and all are roomy and comfortable.
In this price range this resort seems like excellent value, with a long list of daytime activities and very good nightlife as well. Those who prefer quiet at night will be able to find better choices in the Maldives, but those who like to live it up a bit should find this resort quite appealing.
A rather large resort for the Maldives with 112 rooms, the Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon Maldives has 24 water villas that are fantastic value as long as you don’t mind having one attached neighbor. Considering the price range, this resort gets extremely good reviews from previous guests.
The list of things to do during the day isn’t quite as long as at many other places, and the nightlife is quite mellow as well, but that actually suits many visitors to the Maldives just fine. The house reef is very close to the beach and it’s said to be one of the better reefs in the region, so this is especially good for divers and snorkelers.
Anantara operates three resorts that are on neighboring islands, and the Anantara Veli is at the heart of it. Featuring 50 water villas and no other rooms, this small private-island resort has a luxury boutique feel, at prices that are surprisingly reasonable.
Even the bottom class of water villas are large, and there are four different restaurants and bars available, plus a luxurious spa. Guests can also take a short boat ride to a neighboring resort to experience any of their four restaurants or other facilities, so the Anantara Veli affords guests great variety and possibilities along with an intimate size.
Specializing mostly in all-inclusive packages, the Kuredu Island Resort offers 50 water villas plus 250 beach rooms and suites, making it one of the largest resorts in the Maldives. This hotel is very popular with families and groups, both large and small, as it’s very reasonably priced and loaded with activities and a long list of restaurants and bars. There’s even a 6-hole golf course here with a pro shop.
Honeymoon couples might find more privacy elsewhere, but for a good-value 4-star holiday with almost endless water sports and other activities, this is perfect for many groups in particular.
A 5-star resort offering both land and overwater villas, the Grand Park Kodhipparu Resort is a great choice for both families and romantic couples. If you’re looking for a wedding destination, you’ll want to keep this resort in mind. Here you’ll not only find wedding facilities, but a spa as well. If you’re traveling with kids in tow, you’ll be glad to know that the resort provides a kids club right on-site. You’ll also find lots of outdoor activities to partake in like snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking and more.
In each of the overwater villas, you’ll find a mini bar, a desk, room service, Wi-Fi, and a private deck with direct access to the water below via a set of stairs. On the outdoor deck, you’ll also find an outdoor shower and sun loungers. Back inside the room you’ll find a fun see through glass floor section that allows you the ability to see the ocean below without having to actually get in the water.
Housing both land based and overwater villas, the Hard Rock Hotel Maldives is part of a large chain with resorts and hotels around the world. This particular resort charms with amenities fit for families with both young and older children as well as romantic couples. Here you’ll find a spa, plenty of dining options, a dive center, tours, an outdoor swimming pool, cooking classes, and a fitness center with yoga.
Inside of the overwater villas, you’ll find lots of luxuries, both big and small, to enjoy. These range from the large bed to the private terrace outfitted with sun loungers and a private pool that showcases the ocean beyond.
Noted as one of the finest and most remote resorts in the area, the Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa Maldives houses 2 overwater rooms along with 45 rooms on the beach. The island itself is large and private, instilling a sense of privacy that other resorts may lack.
There are also lots of resort activities to enjoy, both on land and in the water. Each villas comes with an added bonus- a butler who will cater to your every need helping you to ease into our vacation as well as out of it once you prepare to leave.
One of the few in this price range that operates on an all-inclusive basis, the Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa offers good value and deluxe facilities. Each of the 30 water villas here has its own Jacuzzi spa among other amenities, making it quite popular with the honeymoon crowd.
The normal all-inclusive rates are quite reasonable, and guests can choose to upgrade to the all-inclusive plus plan, which includes alcohol and other extras, so those who like to drink a bit on holiday might get good use of that option. With 184 total rooms, this is one of the larger resorts of its kind, and it features 8 different restaurants and bars for your dining and drinking pleasure.
Featuring 20 large water villas in addition to 140 island and beach rooms and suites, the Holiday Inn Kandooma Resort is a popular choice among the bigger Maldives resorts. You’ll find many 4-star amenities in the water villas that you wouldn’t find at many of the independent resorts.
The water villas are in fairly shallow water, especially during low tide, and there is no house reef at the island, but there is a full dive center and regular diving and snorkeling excursions so it’s still a very good choice for water sports lovers. The price is moderate considering the resort’s features, but very positive guest-reviews indicate that it’s common for people to return again and again, which is obviously a very good sign.
Part of the anticipated CROSSROADS project by Hilton, the SAii Lagoon Maldives Resort offers a lot of great features and amenities, even though it is on the lower end of the Maldives overwater villa price bracket. At this particular resort, you’ll find dining, drinks, and activities right on-site, but you’ll find even more just on the other side of a 100 meter long footbridge that takes you over the lagoon and onto the main island, which boosts entertainment, dining, and shopping options.
You’ll also find several different types of room options, including overwater villas that feature their own private terrace, along with steps that lead directly from the terrace into the lagoon below. Inside the rooms you’ll quickly notice how large the space is, giving you ample room to move about without bumping into your luggage.
A 5-star resort that operates on an all-inclusive basis, the Atompshere Kanifushi Maldives is a great choice for both families and couples, especially those who want to enjoy the underwater world as much as possible. That’s because this resort is home to a PADI Dive Centre and is in close proximity with several popular dive sites. If diving isn’t your first choice activity, you’ll still find lots to do with a tennis court, spa, gym, and long white sand beach.
Dining choices here include a newly added restaurant, Just Veg, that offers guests both vegan and vegetarian options. This dining option is open for both lunch and dinner while other chooses are open for breakfast. The overwater rooms here are an open concept design with either sunset or sunrise views, large windows, a glass floor cutout, private pool, wooden floors, Wi-Fi, and a butler service.
The smallest in the 3-hotel Cinnamon chain in the Maldives, the Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives features 70 overwater villas and only 10 additional rooms on the island.
The house reef nearby gets very high marks from scuba divers and snorkelers, with twice-daily free boat trips to the prime spots. The restaurant here gets good marks, but it’s the location itself and the staff that receive most of the raves. This is a good value resort in its price range for the Maldives.
Another of the larger private-island resorts in the Maldives, the Paradise Island Resort is a deluxe 4-star hotel that features 62 water villas plus 220 beach villas and suites. The new Haven section of the resort features 22 water villas and its own restaurant, so guests in that section can choose to stay over water for days at a time if they please.
The water villas here are all quite large, and there is a very long list of activities and restaurants available, plus a luxurious spa. The location is also very convenient, being one of the shortest speedboat rides from the airport. The size of the resort combined with the separate overwater Haven section means this could be ideal for a honeymoon or even a group holiday. Considering the amenities and size of the villas, the prices here are very reasonable as well.
Especially popular with an Italian crowd, the Nika Island Resort is a rather small and unusual private-island hotel. The 10 water villas are relatively new, and the 27 beach bungalows are noted for having their own little private beach out front, each with a private Jacuzzi as well.
Most guests find the resort quite charming and are fond of the food as well as the house reef, but things here are a bit more basic than at most of the larger and more modern resorts so it’s not an obvious choice for most visitors who aren’t getting a fantastic package deal.
Another good-value property that specializes in all-inclusive meal packages, the Veligandu Island Resort has 64 water villas, 54 of which feature their own semi-outdoor Jacuzzi. This is a smaller resort that is very popular with honeymoon couples and those on a romantic retreat.
In spite of the buffet-style dining, the restaurants have a great reputation for quality, making this one of the most popular choice in this price range. There are some family options as well, though in general water villas are not suitable for younger children at any of these resorts.
Similar to the Hilton Maldives mentioned above, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa is nicer and more posh than you’d expect for an international chain hotel. This is a large resort with 56 water villas that are kept to a high 4-star standard. The location is also very convenient, being only a 20-minute speedboat ride north of the airport.
As such a large resort, guests have six restaurants and bars to choose from, plus a very long list of water sports and activities, plus a few nightlife options that are rare in the Maldives. The spa here is also excellent and very popular, so this could be ideal for honeymooners of anniversary trips where the theme is pampering.
With only 2 water villas, the Bandos Island Resort & Spa is actually more of a beach resort than anything. It also is very close to the airport, making it convenient for travelers who wish to experience a Maldives vacation without the hassle of finding transportation to islands further away.
Even though there are only 2 overwater villas at the resort, each one is very spacious and quite luxurious, with a price to match. As a family oriented resort, guests will find that the rooms are great for kids and large groups. There is also a long list of activities available, including snorkeling and diving.
Featuring only 36 villas total, 30 of which are over the water, the Mirihi Island Resort is one of the smallest private-island resorts in the Maldives. Unlike most of the larger islands, there are almost no child-friendly activities here, so it’s more or less a couples resort that is ideal for romantic holidays.
The water villas are fairly good in size and offer most 4-star amenities, but they have no televisions, which could be good or bad depending on your goals. Those looking for a small and intimate private island will find the Mirihi Island Resort to be ideal and a great value.
Offering among the best values in the 5-star category, the Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa features 36 water villas that are all enormous, each coming complete with an infinity-edge bathtub-for-two with a view of the lagoon. Each water villa also has a large private deck with an outdoor shower, which is a common feature in the super-luxury resorts.
There are four restaurants at the Anantara Dhigu Resort, each offering high quality menus and interesting offerings, but guests here also have access to four more restaurants and plus activities at the Anantara Veli Resort, which is a short-and-free boat ride across the lagoon. This is a great choice for romantic couples in particular.
A romantic resort that offers an all-inclusive plan, the OBLU SELECT at Sangeli Resort offers guests a few different room choices, both on land and over the water. The water villas allow guests to relax in luxury with a private deck and steps that lead into the ocean below. These steps make it so that you can easily explore the water world without having to walk to the beach and swim from there.
With that said, you’ll also find scuba diving, sunset fishing, various watersports, a gym, an adults only pool, and a spa catering with treatments of varying lengths, a sauna, and a yoga pavilion.
Only open since 2008, the Zitahli Resort & Spa Kuda-Funafaru is a luxury 5-star boutique resort located on one of the smaller private islands in the Maldives. Each of the water villas is huge, and spaced at least 10 meters from its neighbors, so privacy and romance are at a premium here.
There are two fine-dining restaurants plus a cafe and two bars, which with only 50 total villas, means that everything is intimate and secluded. This is one of the more remote islands in the Maldives, involving a 50-minute sea plane flight from the main airport, but it’s already very popular with honeymooners and those on anniversary trips.
As the Maldives’ first (and so far only) resort south of the equator, the Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa has a remote location, though it’s fairly convenient to reach. Those with private planes can fly directly to an airport that is only 8 minutes away by speedboat, making this place popular with the super-rich.
Each of the 60 water villas is huge and loaded with luxury amenities. The service is extremely attentive, and the 6 restaurants and bars are all of very high standards. In spite of the price and remoteness, they have good facilities for children and families, so this is a good choice for romance or for a group.
Operated by the Banyan Tree Group, which specializes in luxury properties, the Angsana Velavaru Resort has 38 water villas that are enormous, each including a private plunge pool on the deck. The rest of the resort may not live up to the 5-star promise of the water villas, but prices there are more reasonable too.
Among the unusual amenities here is a private sundeck on the roof of each water villa, which gives guests perfect sunbathing at any time of day. There are also some 2-bedroom water villas here along with good facilities for children and families, so this could be a good choice for a group.
With 14 water villas complete with a jacuzzi, the Komandoo Island Resort located on a private island is a great choice for those who are looking for an intimate, adults only vacation on the lower end of the price spectrum. There are also 31 beach villas available, each with views of the ocean.
Most book a stay here with the all-inclusive plan, which features all meals in the main restaurant. Lots of water and land activities are available though most spend a lot of time participating in the snorkeling and scuba diving available on the house reef.
The larger and slightly more expensive of the two Coco Palm properties in the Maldives, the Coco Bodu Hithi is a 5-star resort that has 56 water villas that are all very large and loaded with luxury amenities. There are three restaurants and one bar here, all with excellent offerings and service.
Each water villa here has a split level private deck with an outdoor shower, suspended over one of the better lagoons for snorkeling and scuba diving in the region. The larger villas are enormous and have the most privacy, making this another ideal resort for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
With different types of rooms available, both on land and over the water, the Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa is great for those who love a good amount of choices. In fact, the resort houses 64 overwater bungalows and 76 island villas, all with great views. Though not an all-inclusive option, they do provide half board stays that help to create a good value.
There are also a large number of activities and amenities to choose from including snorkeling, scuba diving, other water activities and a luxury spa on-site. Located just south of the airport, it can be reached by a short 15 minute speed boat ride both day and night.
Thanks to special low rates that are often available, the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Luxury Resort (formerly the Hilton Maldives) usually offers the best value water villas in the Maldives, at least in the budget price range. There are 80 water villas that are each decked out with 5-star amenities and features, reminding guests of resorts where they’d cost twice as much.
This is a large resort with 10 restaurants and bars, all the diving and water sports options, plus a huge and fancy spa. A large and popular resort where every water villa is huge, this was a favorite when it was a Hilton, and the new management seems at least as good.
A boutique resort that only opened in 2009, the Adaaran Prestige Vadoo consists solely of 40 water villas, each with its own personal butler. Each water villa is large and very well appointed, and the butlers have a reputation for smoothing out the details of a holiday, including putting meal orders in early and automatically, among other things.
Each villa also comes with a glass floor section for viewing of the sea life directly below, as well as a large Jacuzzi tub with a view in the bathroom. The snorkeling and diving are excellent in the house reef within the lagoon, so it’s popular with water lovers. There’s only one restaurant plus a cigar bar, but the restaurant is also located over the water and serves food of very high standards, so this is an ideal smaller resort for romantic couples in particular.
Having undergone a full remodel in 2009, plus a name change and the addition of 40 water villas, the Adaaran Prestige Ocean Villas Resort is now in the solid 4-star category, but with some 5-star features such as a personal butler for each villa. In addition to the normal selection of water sports, this resort also has a proper surf beach plus rentals and lessons, so it’s popular with the surfing crowd.
The water villas are all quite large and luxurious, which isn’t true of the beach villas at the sister resort on the island, so it’s probably best to pay for the better rooms. There are four restaurants and bars in addition to 24-hour in-villa room service, so this could be a good honeymoon hotel, especially for those who like to surf.
A luxurious 4-star all-inclusive resort, the Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa has 62 water villas in 3 different styles and sizes in addition to its 42 island rooms. The basic all-inclusive package comes with food and most drinks, but the resort also offers a premium Island Club level that also includes an additional restaurant and other features.
All the water villas here are large and well appointed, and almost all of them feature a Jacuzzi spa and a heavenly rain shower on the deck. The prices are higher than many of their all-inclusive competitors in the Maldives, but the quality is there to justify it, even without the Island Club add-ons.
Just opening in late 2011, the Ayada Maldives is a 5-star resort with a Turkish theme, operated by a Turkish company. The 50 water villas range from very large to monstrous (for the 2-bedroom suite) and all have a private splash pool on their private deck.
There are 8 restaurants and bars here, including a Turkish cafe to keep the theme going. There’s also a luxurious hammam (bath-house) in addition to a large and luxurious spa on site. The location is quite remote as it requires both a plane ride and then a speedboat ride, but that seclusion should suit the clientele of such an opulent resort very well.
A newer resort that’s been open since February, 2012, the Dusit Thani Maldives resort is a new super luxury property with a Thai themed and operated by a noted Thailand-based company. The water villas here are all enormous and very well appointed, as you’d expect in this price level.
The Dusit Thani Maldives boasts having the largest swimming pool in the Maldives, but they’ve also got tennis courts, a kids club, a luxury spa, and just about every other amenity you could hope for. If the Thailand theme sounds enticing and the price is affordable then this one is hard to beat.
Great for those looking to unplug from their busy lives, the Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu Resort offers an island paradise free from stress filled days. It’s also great for newlyweds and romantic couples as privacy is ever present. There are 14 different overwater villas and 80 land villas, giving guests a choice of where they would like to stay.
Each villa is nicely sized and large by villa standards. They also include a private plunge pool that overlooks the ocean. If you’re looking for a super sized villa, you’ll find 2 Sunset Lagoon Villas that are almost twice the size of the other water villas on-site. There is also a large amount of water sports and other activities to choose from along with 5 restaurants and bars.