Maldives is proudly noted as the water villa capital of the world, and one of the planet's most desirable holiday destinations, for many different and exciting reasons. However, it should be noted that a Maldives vacation can be a bit confusing because of the long flights into and out of the country and the fact that each visitor then has to take a sea-plane or speedboat to another island to reach their choosen resort.

If you are reading this article you have probably just realized that you are going to have to spend a least one night near the Malé International Airport on your way in or on your way out. You may even have to spend the night near the airport going both ways. The good news is that once you read the information below, you'll be able to confidently book a hotel near the Malé Airport, and know exactly how you'll get there and back.

For Malé Airport hotels, you have 3 main choices:

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Hulhule Island Hotel

The Hulhule Island Hotel is the one and only hotel that is very close to the airport, and also the only place in or near the capital area that serves alcohol. Rooms here start around US$300 per night for two people, and there are many cheaper options nearby.

Take the ferry over to Malé Island

Your first instinct might be to book a hotel in the capital city of Malé, which is a 10-minute ferry ride from just across from Baggage Claim at the airport. As I’ll explain further below, this is really not a good choice for most people, and the option below is far better.

Stay on Hulhumale Island, which is connected to the airport

THIS is where most people visiting the area should look for a hotel. Hulhumale Island is new (on mostly reclaimed land) and it’s connected to the airport island due to a road that runs along the southern border of the airport. You can get there by either taxi or public bus, however, you’ll find that most of the better hotels will arrange for a driver to pick you up and drop you back off at the airport.

Why you probably shouldn't stay on Malé Island

Since you are traveling to the exotic island nation of the Maldives for the first time, why not spend part of a day or night in its capital city of Malé? Well, the answer to that is it’s more of a hassle than staying on Hulhumale Island, and there is virtually nothing there to see that’s of any interest or exciting.


As someone who has visited the capital city of almost every Asian country you can think of, I was shocked by how both crowded and charmless Malé is. It’s literally one of the most densely populated islands on the entire planet, and a very ordinary fish market is probably its number one sight. Stranger still, there are almost no restaurants on the island that are suitable for the typical tourist.

Why you SHOULD stay on Hulhumale island

If you book a hotel on Hulhumale Island, you’ll most likely to have a driver from the hotel waiting for you, just outside of Baggage Claim. Your driver will then take your bags and you’ll be in the car only a few minutes later. It’s about a 10-minute drive around the southern tip of the airport (through 2 security checkpoints), and then you’ll be at your hotel.


Even though the distance on a map is much farther than taking a ferry over to Malé Island, it takes a considerably smaller amount of time to reach your hotel on Hulhumale Island. And you won’t have to even deal with your own luggage once you retrieve it off the baggage carousel because the driver will assist you all the way to the hotel lobby.


Perhaps more importantly, when it’s time to head back to the Malé Airport the next morning, whether you are flying out or heading to your resort, you can also get a ride from your hotel and you’ll be exactly where you need to be only about 10 minutes after checking out of your room.

Hulhumale Island

Hulhumale Island is pleasant, uncrowded, and actually cheaper than Malé


The area along the beach on the northern east coast is where you’ll find many hotels and quite a few tourist-oriented restaurants within an easy walk of one another. If you have some time during daylight hours, you can actually spend it on the sandy beach in this area, which is many times larger than the artificial beach on the northern coast of Malé.


Basically, the Maldives goverment is very aware that Malé is crowded, expensive, and has no real worthwhile sights, so they commissioned Hulhumale Island to be built for hotels serving resort visitors coming into or out of the country.

A New Bridge

A new bridge from the airport to Malé Island opened in 2018, but you should still probably stay on Hulhumale Island


At the end of August 2018 the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge opened up, which is a China-funded project that now connects the southern part of Hulhule Island (the airport island) with the southern part of Malé Island. The bridge has made some things easier for locals, but it really didn’t change anything for visitors. For one thing, the ferries between the airport and Malé Island already run 24/7 and are quite cheap. More importantly, the new bridge takes you into a part of the main island with very few hotels, so it will be a much longer drive to reach a hotel than to reach a hotel on Hulhumale Island itself.


If you are really curious about Malé and want to visit the island it’s better to take the cheap and frequent ferries that leave from right in front of the airport. The ferry terminal on Malé Island is more or less the center of everything, so it’s where you’ll want to start a visit as well. Also, there are quite a few hotels within a fairly short walk of the ferry terminal on Malé Island, so if you want to stay there you are best off in one of those.

The best of the affordable hotels on Hulhumale Island

Paralian Hulhumale


They only have 7 rooms and it gets great reviews, so the place is booked up most of the time. If you make your inquiry early enough you should be able to get a room though, since almost all guests stay only stay for one night at a time. Though the rooms are on the small side they are still very comfortable and they also have good wi-fi and satellite TV channels. They have some modest rooms for a very good price and those are probably best suited to guests who check in after dark and will depart again around sunrise. If you are arriving early or departing a bit later, some of their nicer rooms could be worth it because they are on a really nice beach.


Most guests arrive late at night and leave early the next morning, and they are set up well for that with their own driver. If you need any meals other than breakfast, there are a few good and reasonably priced restaurants within walking distance.

If the Paralian Hulhumale is full, book a hotel nearby

Planktons Beach Hotel – This 3-star hotel is also fairly new and gets great reviews. They charge extra for airport transfer.


h78 at Hulhumale Maldives – Just across the road from the beach, this one has slightly cheaper rooms with no view as well as sea view rooms. If you are only spending overnight hours at the hotel, a view might be pointless. Breakfast and airport transfers are included in the rate.


Hotel Ocean Grand at Hulhumale – This 4-star hotel is near the others and often offers great discounts. Airport transfers are included in the rate, and the reviews here are fantastic.


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