Water villas and overwater bungalows continue to gain in popularity around the world so it's no surprise that new resorts keep opening that feature the rooms on stilts. The Maldives alone now has 81 water villa resorts with more than 3,100 water villas combined, which is nearly two-thirds of the world's total.

In the past few months we've seen three new resorts opening to the public, with one aimed at the mid-level market and the other two at the high end. In fact, the most luxurious of these new resorts features the second largest overwater bungalow in the world, which is still being completed as of press time. Let's look at the three new resorts below.

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Niyama Resort By Per Aquum – Maldives

A new entry for this upscale resort brand, the Niyama by Per Aquum Maldives resort features 44 water villas in addition to 40 island rooms and suites. Each of the water villas features its own private plunge pool on an oversized sun deck, so combined with the interior space these are among the largest accommodations in the Maldives.

 

There are also Deluxe Water Studios as well as Water Pavilions and Ocean Pavilions that are increasingly larger and coming with more amenities. The top two classes even come with personal on-call Thakuru (Maldivian butler) service, so it’s obvious that this resort is meant for people who are willing to pay extra to make sure everything is exactly as they like. The off-season rates starting at US$714 per night seem quite reasonable for villas like these, though they may just be introductory promotional rates.

>More information about the Niyama Resort By Per Aquum – Maldives

The Residence Maldives Resort

Moving even a bit further up the price scale, The Residence Maldives Resort has opened recently with 75 water villas and 19 beach villas. This is a new entry for a small chain that operates luxury properties in Tunisia, Mauritius, and Zanzibar already, and the opening here appears to have gone flawlessly as it’s received nothing but 5-star reviews so far, which is a difficult feat in this market.

 

Even the smaller class of water villas here is huge by normal standards, and nearly half of the total have a private plunge pool on the sun deck as well. Each of the water villas has a separate bedroom, and there are family-friendly services, so this would be a good choice for those bringing children. For larger families there is are 2-bedroom water villas available, along with butler service. Off-season rates are starting at US$912 per night.

>More information about the The Residence Maldives Resort

Viceroy Maldives Resort

Still in the process of opening in summer of 2012, the Viceroy Maldives Resort is an exciting new entry from a Los Angeles-based resort chain that aims for the top of each market. This one has 32 water villas and 29 island villas, each of which is larger than a typical suburban house in the United States. Of course, each of the water villas has a plunge pool out on its private sun deck, but the differences might be more profound indoors.

 

The furnishings and style of these water villas are quite a departure from the standard tropical look, clearly aimed at the younger and more trendy upscale market. The largest of them is the Royal Villa, which is 638 square meters (6,867 square feet) inside and out, making it the second largest overwater bungalow in the world. Unlike the largest, which is at the Gili Lankanfushi Maldives Resort, this one appears to be one giant 3-bedroom structure, so in some ways it is indeed the largest. Off-season rates are starting at US$1,057, and nearly double that in the winter.

>More information about the Viceroy Maldives Resort
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  1. Hi Roger
    I am visiting Male on a cruise ship and would like to get a day ticket to a nearby island. Could you recommend one or two with good snorkling and give any advice on the best way to book.

    Thanks

  2. I have booked Paradise island resort for 3 night stay in December but I want to visit underwater restaurant like Ithaa or 5.8 but unable to get information how can I go there ? Please help me the cheapest way of travel from my resort to the underwater restaurants

    1. Amit,

      Generally speaking, there isn’t much transportation between resorts. It’s mostly between the airport and the resorts. It would be best to check the website of the resort with the underwater restaurant and see what their policy is. Best of luck. -Roger

  3. Hi Roger,

    if i take a ferry first to the city. Will it be possible to book a watervilla from there via some travel agent or some rep ?

    1. Game,

      I would assume that it would be possible, but I’m not sure. Because of the fact that airport transfers are built into the reservations could make it awkward to book once in Male. Also, I doubt you’d get a better deal there because the best deals tend to through Agoda.com and if someone has an office they would find it hard to compete. I know there are a couple of online travel agencies based in Male, but I don’t know if they have walk-in offices. Best of luck with this. -Roger

  4. Hi Roger, great list. Do you know if any of these resorts are particularly baby friendly — offer cribs and childcare, etc?

    thanks!

  5. Hello Roger,
    Thanks a lot for all the information! We just booked a 4 days stay in Meeru Island, and I wanted to check with you if the speedboats can only be booked via the hotel for a fixed price, or are there different websites/companies with different rates?
    Many thanks,
    Talina

    1. Talina,

      I’m only aware of booking speedboats through the resorts. Meeru owns quite a few different boats and they send the appropriate size to the airport to pick up the people who have just landed, usually within an hour or so. I’ve heard of private speedboat companies, but I don’t think these private-island resorts allow transfers through them. You are going to love Meeru Island. -Roger

  6. Am planning my honeymoon on 21/12/2018 till 28/12/2018 I know it’s the high season but I want to ask what it the best water villa with pool in good resort around $800 – $1000/ night all inclusive ? And if u can also tell me what transfer is best to that resort and how much it will cost /person ? Thanks a lot

    1. Mika,

      I’m not sure how many all-inclusive Maldives resorts have private pools, although quite a few of them have private Jacuzzis. Check our list of the best Maldives resorts with pool water villas. I think the all-inclusive resorts with private Jacuzzis such as Meeru Island and Veligandu Island are going for around US$700 to US$900 per night for that week, and those are usually the cheapest, so I’m not sure if you’ll find a pool villa in that price range. As you know, that is literally the busiest and most expensive week in the Maldives and everywhere else in the Tropics.

      As for airport transfers, each resort books you on their own speedboats or through a charter sea-plane company and they add it to the room price when you book. The speedboats for the closer places start around US$100 per person, return, and the sea-planes can be as much as US$700 per person, return. We list the transfer options just below the normal room rates on our page about each of the resort, along with the price for each option. I hope this helps and best of luck with this. -Roger

  7. Hi Roger, Thanks for this. What are your thoughts on the Club Med resorts in comparison to those you have listed here? are the on the same / better / worse level? Thanks very much

    1. Alex,

      I’ve never stayed at a Club Med, but generally I hear very good things about them and their customers seem to be loyal. As far as I can tell, Club Med offers a premium product at a premium price. I think you can get something similar for less money elsewhere, and nearly all of the Maldives all-inclusives are very high quality. My guess is that people are willing to pay more for Club Med because they trust that it will be great, and to book at a small chain or an independent resort means taking a little chance. I can tell you that Meeru Island and Veligandu Island, which are both run by the same local company, are excellent. I hope this helps. -Roger

  8. Hi Roger,

    Do you know what the weather is like in the Maldive in May? I am struggling to get a common answer off travel agents?
    Also do you know if it is possible to get a speed boat transfer from the airport to the Shangri la Villingili?

    1. LCJones,

      From Late May through early July it can be rainy for most of a day or two at a time in the Maldives, but during the rest of the year the rain tends to last only 20 or 30 minutes at a time and is often overnight. Also, the Maldives covers a huge area and resorts south of the equator can have different weather patterns from the ones closer to Sri Lanka, so you have to drill down. The general weather forecasts including my advice is for the area fairly close to the capital and airport. -Roger

  9. Hello there Roger! This is a very helpful article. I would like to ask if the room fits 2 people and it says 560usd per night does that means 560×2 per night? We are planning to go by next yr and we are group of 7.

    Thanks

    1. Cindy,

      If you are referring to the information on this website, yes, every water villa fits two people (and most of them actually fit 3 because they have a pull-out sofa), and the prices we quote are for the whole room with two guests and that includes the taxes. We update the rates at least once a year, and if you are looking at high season you might see higher rates. But generally speaking you can use the prices on this site as what you’ll pay for two guests per night in a water villa. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  10. Roger,

    Please I would like to know which Resorts/hotels in Maldives offer the symbolic weeding? Also, which are the cheapest? Thank you in advance!!!

  11. Hi Roger, me and my husband are planning a 10 night vacation to the Maldives and would appreciate first hand advice from you pls…….we are looking for as close as possible to the main airport, butler service, all inclusive if poss and over the water accom with splash pool on deck and exceptionally clean is a must! Many thanks, cheers

    1. Sue,

      Unfortunately, I haven’t visited nearly enough of these resorts to be able to recommend one with butler service near the airport. The list in the article should be helpful because we list all of the resorts from closest to the airport and going out from there, and all of them have speedboat transfers. I’m not sure any of the places that have butler service also do all inclusive.

      You might look into Gili Lankanfushi (formerly Six Senses)
      https://www.overwaterbungalows.net/gili-lankanfushi-maldives

      They don’t have all inclusive but they are fairly close to the airport and they have amazing service and great suites. Sorry I can’t be of more help on this. -Roger

  12. Hi Roger,

    Me and my wife will be in Maldives in August 2018.
    i was looking for a resort witch can be access via speedboat and seaplane, i was thinking if we can arrived at the resort via seaplane and back to male via speedboat.

    thanks a lot.

    1. Richard,

      Quite a few Maldives resorts offer both speedboats and sea-planes so you should be able to do what you are hoping. I don’t have a list of the resorts that do offer both, but on this website we have prices for each option on each of our resort pages and we have both prices for the resorts that offer both. In other words, if you look around this site a bit you should be able to find some resorts that look good to you and offer both modes of transport. -Roger

  13. Hi ,

    Me , my wife and my 1 year kid is planning to visit maldives on june 2nd week.

    To avoid a long drive , we would like to take a good private resort near the airport also which includes full meals.

    Could you suggest a good place for us. privacy and safety are our main concenrns

    1. Arun,

      The article above shows all of the resorts that are close to the airport, and most of those are within 45 minutes by speedboat. I wrote it to specifically answer questions like this. -Roger

  14. My husband and I are looking for a pool water villa/ pool beach villa accessible by speedboat from Male airport, for our 15th anniversary. We would prefer something that is all inclusive (includes alcohol), and has a luxury feel to it, but is not exhorbitantly priced.It will be a romantic getaway for 2. We stayed in Taj Exotica for our 10th and loved it – want to explore another property this time. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.

  15. Hey Roger.
    Looking to holiday in the Maldives in November.
    We are a family of 4 (2 kids, 5 and 13).
    Could you suggest a good water villa resort not too far from the airport.
    One thats all inclusive and decently priced.
    Thanks and Regards ?

    1. Danny G,

      The public ferries only go to populated islands and by law all of the Maldives resorts like these have to be on a private island. So unfortunately there are no public ferries to private islands, at least not that I’m aware of. -Roger