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Luxury Travel in the Maldives: Overwater Bungalows & Incredible Scuba Diving


Renowned for its remote Indian Ocean location, sublime beaches, uber luxurious resorts, and amazing coral reefs, the Maldives nevertheless soars above its reputation and delivers. What makes the Maldives so special is its unique geological history that began when 26 volcanoes burst through the surface of the Indian Ocean. Now dormant, their rims rest beneath endless hues of stunning blue water. Corals grew on these volcanic rims and in certain places pierced the ocean's surface, creating coral islands and sandy beaches and the only dry land in the area. This is the land on which the phenomenal resorts you will call home were built. As you would expect, the diving and snorkeling are literally at your doorstep and are in a word, mind-blowing - these are the things that aquatic dreams are made of. And about those resorts that man put on top of these seekers come one and all and bring your discerning eye as there is more choice than one wants or needs and something to suit every taste...but don't forget your wallet as only those with the most robust budgets need apply. 


  • Scuba Diving & Snorkeling: Scuba Diving and snorkeling in the Maldives is an underwater Eden - sea turtles, 30 foot manta rays, sharks, sting rays, whales, giant shoals of fish numbering in hundreds of thousands, and some of the most spectacular coral reefs on the planet. Night dives are also on offer with blue lights that make the corals glow like the inside of a psychedelic nightclub. Choose a property with a good house reef and just stroll into the ocean with a snorkel for the full show within a hundred feet of your suite. 
  • Sunrise & Sunset: Claiming the title for the lowest average height of land at 4 feet, watching the sun rise and set from your Maldivian overwater bungalow creates the unique feeling that you can see the end of the earth off in the distance. 
  • Luxury: From exquisite dining and pampering spa treatments to the massive overwater villas, this is truly THE place to spoil yourself. 


  • Velaa Private Island: Cast away to Velaa Private Island, an exclusive hideaway in the beautiful northern Noonu Atoll. Velaa’s motto is “polite luxury,” meaning the design is understated rather than opulent, with neutral colors and natural materials; but the activities are over the top, with every aquatic adventure imaginable. Velaa offers an unusually diverse variety of villa types, from overwater bungalows surrounded by canvas sails to spacious four-bedroom freestanding residences to an ultra-secluded romantic villa reachable only by boat. Find the perfect spot for sipping sundowners - the view of the sun sinking into the horizon is equally magnificent from the cloud-like daybed, private deck or beautiful sunken bathtub.
  • Cheval Blanc: A newly opened Louis Vuitton resort, the 2400 square foot sleek villas feature lavish interiors with modern art and private pools. The stunning spa is located on a separate island and offers exclusive tailored treatments and a series of exceptional therapies. Excellent food and service round out this property and given its remote location, Cheval Blanc really has it all. That said, if you need to ask how much it is, it probably isn't the property for you. 
  • One & Only Reethi Rah: Supreme and private luxury set on one of the largest islands in North Malé' Atoll, amidst endless white sand coves, turquoise bays and nature's tropical magic. Beautiful villas boast private pools, large over-water decks, bathroom suites with stone soaking baths and little modern luxuries such as surround-sound systems to make you feel right at home - and all of which enjoy breathtaking ocean views and direct access to the lagoon. 
  • Gili Lankanfushi: Voted the #1 Resort in the World on Trip Advisor, this stunning property is barefoot luxury at its finest. Massive rustic villas with traditional wooden design, incredible service, unbelievable food and great nearby reefs make this one of our favorite properties in the Maldives. Just a short boat ride from Malé Airport, which is convenient but also means that you will not feel lost in the Indian Ocean like some of our other recommended properties. One other thing that makes Gili special is their No News, No Shoes policy, encouraging you to disconnect from the world and...they take your shoes upon arrival so you remain barefoot throughout the entire stay - even the bike pedals have cushions for your feet!
  • Park Hyatt: Located on the southernmost atoll, this Park Hyatt is remote and gives you the feeling that you are completely lost in the Indian Ocean. The villas are a bit smaller than the other properties on the list but are sleek, modern and chic and a great price by Maldivian standards. The lobby area sits under the inverted hull of a massive traditional Maldivian dhoni boat making for a truly spectacular arrival. This property also boasts one of the best house reefs in the archipelago with sea turtles, sting rays and harmless sharks just around the bend.
  • W Retreat & Spa: A short 25 minute seaplane ride from Malé and your private paradise awaits. Surrounded by some of the very best dive sites and featuring pool bars, creative cuisine and the only underground club in the Maldives. And the villas...their signature design will make you feel as though the Indian Ocean has infiltrated your room, with frameless windows and glowing outdoor cabanas.
  • Constance Halaveli: Voted by some as the best resort in the world (Leading Hotels of the World). Just a short 30 minute flight from the main land or 2 hours by boat. Featuring water and beach villas, the latter of which have pool and garden views. And the gardens are gorgeous, as well as the interiors and spacious bathrooms. The property also offers golf carts for guests who don't wish to walk. But above all - the diving is excellent. 
  • Huvafen Fushi: In the local Maldivian tongue, Huvafen Fushi means 'Dream Island' and with overwater villas that allow you to dive into the Indian Ocean's turquoise waters from your bedroom (they also have private plunge pools), an underwater spa, an underwater wine cellar and some of the best underwater life in the area, we must agree the name is quite fitting. Located in the North Malé Atoll and boasting some of the most gorgeous sunsets you'll ever lay eyes on. 


  • The Maldives serves as the ideal end after a luxurious African safari or cultural journey through Asia. It is easily accessible as there are direct flights from Sri Lanka (1.5 hours), India (3 hours from New Delhi; fights also available from Bangalore, Trivandrum and Goa), UAE (5 hours; Dubai and Abu Dabi), Qatar, Oman, Singapore (5 hours), Thailand (5 hours), Malaysia (4.5 hours), Korea (9 hours), China (7 hours) and South Africa (8 hours). 
  • When To Go: Depending on what you want to do and how much you wish to spend, the answer to this question varies. Tropical weather allows for year-round travel but the high season is from November to April with great weather, clear skies, and of course high prices. The monsoon season strikes from May to October with a peak in June, but this is considered the best time to snorkel and scuba dive.
  • Geography: The secret of the Maldives is out so consider carefully not just what brand of resort you choose but where it is located. As a general rule, anything near Malé is more developed and you will likely see other properties and/or local islands. If you are looking to feel like you are set adrift in the Indian Ocean, head farther North or South in the archipelago. Properties near Malé will be reached by boat transfer directly from the Malé airport. Anything farther will be reached by sea plane or if even farther, by traditional commerical airplane. 
  • House Reef: What is referred to by each resort as its house reef is the reef on which the resort was built and where you will do your walk-in scuba diving and snorkeling. At some house reefs, the underwater life is so spectacular that there is really no need to go elsewhere. Either way, for the more enthusiastic scuba diver, you can take a boat or sea plane to the thousands of other reefs in the archipelago which are beyond compare - sea turtles, sharks, whales, giant table sized clams, and 30 foot manta rays abound.