Number of overwater villas: 59
Treating guests to expansive views of the turquoise Indian Ocean from within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, Vakkaru Maldives is a scenic 25-minute seaplane flight away from the Malé International Airport. Surrounded by white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees, the 125 beach and overwater villas are havens that combine the local rustic charm with contemporary elegance in their design. The overwater villas boast unrivalled ocean views, direct lagoon access, and private sundecks, while the Four Bedroom Overwater Pool Residence with a 55sqm private pool and a spa terrace is where guests can unwind with uninterrupted views of the setting sun.
Number of overwater villas: 45
Widely regrarded as one of the most luxurious and romantic resorts in the Maldives, Gili Lankanfushi is home to 45 overwater villas across 10 different room categories, all oozing rustic, barefoot luxury vibes. The lowest category villas still come with huge sun decks and free standing bath tubs, while guests checking-in to the larger residences enjoy the benefit of a private swimming pool, and some are only reachable via boat. The creme de la creme is the sprawling Private Reserve, the world’s largest overwater residence found 500 metres away from the main island. It features an infinity swimming pool, spacious sundecks, couple’s spa pavilion, air- conditioned gymnasium, cinema, bar and even a water slide that runs from the Private Reserve’s top deck into the sea.
Number of overwater villas: 60
Shunning the ultra-romantic, honeymooner crowd to position itself as a more family-friendly playground, Kandima Maldives is one of a number of resorts surrounding a lagoon in the Dhaalu Atoll. The playground feel extends to the interiors, with bright pops of pink in public spacescolourfully contrasting with the largely neutral colour scheme. A super-sized swimming pool earns the accolade of being the longest pool in the Maldives, and an endless itinerary of activities that include cooking classes, water sports, themed nights, a sports arena and spa ensure guests are never without something to do.
Lux* South Ari Atoll
Number of overwater villas: 87
Focused in equal parts on guest experience and eco-conscious initiatives, LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort & Villas differs itself from its resort counterparts by going further than just luxury and design. For adventure travellers, honeymooners, solo travellers and families seeking an eco-conscious island experience, LUX* provides the quintessential Maldivian retreat.
Meeru Island & SPA
Number of overwater villas: 77
A scenic 55-minute speedboat ride from the airport, Meeru is a rustic, laid-back resort that shuns the glamour of many of its neighbours for a more stripped back approach. Though guests can also book one of Meeru’s beachfront villas, the overwater villas are a top choice for offering direct ocean access as well as a wooden sun deck, open-air bathrooms and private jacuzzi.
Six Senses Laamu
Number of overwater villas: 73
The only resort in the Laamu Atoll, don’t be surprised to see a pod of dolphins swim along the shores of Six Senses Laamu. There’s a dizzying array of villa categories, from the most basic lagoon beach villa, to our lottery-winner, the double-decked Laamu Water Villa with pools. Sip Sip is a sunken bar for in-pool drinks with poolside dining, and Chill Bar offers double-bed loungers and sunset views. For dinner, eat local cuisine at Leaf, international fare at Longitude and Kaiseki (traditional multi-course Japanese) at Zen, an intimate 12-person overwater dining deck.
The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
Number of overwater villas:44
With 33 light-filled land villas and 44 overwater villas – their design and coastal-hued décor inspired by this eco-conscious island – the resort aims to redefine barefoot luxury. All villas feature private terraces and pools, state-of-the-art facilities, including iPad room controls and Bang & Olufsen BeoVision TVs, romantic gazebos with bench swings and overwater hammocks complemented by soft daybeds and loungers. To ensure your every need is met, the signature St. Regis Butlers are on hand to provide discreet, bespoke service, day or night.
Number of overwater villas: 24
Soneva Fushi was one of the founding luxury Maldivian resorts, redefining the meaning of barefoot luxury when it opened over 20 years ago. Soneva’s second Maldives property, Soneva Jani, opened in 2016, and quickly became one of the most wow-worthy Maldives resorts. Home to 24 uniquely designed luxury overwater bungalows, ranging from a one bedroom overwater retreat to a four bedroom mansion complete with waterslide straight into the azure waters. Despite its impressive size, it’s maintained the same understated, castaway vibe of its sister property
COMO Cocoa Island
Number of overwater bungalows: 34
While there’s no shortage of overwater bungalows across the Maldives islands, COMO Cocoa stands out as one of the Maldives’ top destinations for couples and honeymooners. The aesthetic of each of the bungalows draws inspiration from local dhoni boats in bleached wood with kajan roof, and there’s a big focus on privacy, with each bungalow spread generously apart to offer ultimate seclusion and a butler on-hand to cater to your every need between snorkelling in the crystal clear waters and relaxing trips to the overwater spa.
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Number of overwater villas: 40
Located on Kihavah Huravalhi Island in the Baa Atoll, Anantara Kihavah is the epitome of Maldivian luxury. There’s both one bedroom and two bedroom overwater villas that come with expansive wooden decks complete with hammocks for lazing away the day, and infinity pools that drop seemlessly into the endless ocean below. A 24-hour host and glass-bottomed bathtub are added little luxuries.