Take one look at any photo of the Maldives and it’s easy to see why it is, in a word, a quintessential honeymoon destination. Arguably one of the most beautiful tropical countries in the world, honeymooning in the Maldives checks every box a beach-loving couple looking for the ultimate in luxury accommodations and relaxation could want.
Stunning beaches? Indeed. High-end accommodations that offer every amenity? You bet. Complete privacy to enjoy your time as newlyweds? Absolutely. Here, more on why this stunning spot deserves a place on your honeymoon destination shortlist from experts Malu Hilmy and Heidi Nanigian, plus everything you need to know before you book your trip.
Meet the Expert
- Malu Hilmy is a native Maldivian and the marketing communications manager at Coco Collection Resorts.
- Heidi Nanigian is a signature travel advisor with CTA Travel Agency.
Why Honeymoon in the Maldives?
There are plenty of other stunning tropical locations around the globe—and some even much closer to home—so why the Maldives? "The most unique aspect of the Maldives is certainly the one island, one hotel concept," explains Hilmy. "Each resort is located on its very own private island, creating an exclusive and peaceful environment. The Maldives is also known for its lush natural surroundings and wildlife, with resorts being built in harmony with nature." To this point, many of the properties are very eco-friendly, with an emphasis in particular on preserving natural wildlife.
Essentially, no matter where you’re staying, you’ll be on a private island, a huge boon for couples seeking a super private, intimate experience away from crowds and the beaten path. And if you choose to stay in one of the beautiful overwater bungalows that many of the resorts offer—and that the country is so well-known for—that privacy factor is magnified even further. "The overwater bungalows are much more private in the Maldives than in any other destination. You will feel like you have the island to yourself. Most of these villas also have their own pools or direct access to the beach," points out Nanigian.
Similarly, "an exceptional standard of discrete service has become the signature of Maldivian hospitality," adds Hilmy. Personal butlers and concierge service are common. The point being, if you’re looking not only for a stunning, luxurious beach destination but also one that offers the utmost privacy and impeccable personalized service, the Maldives is it.
How to Get to the Maldives
The Maldives are a set of 26 ring-shaped atolls and hundreds of islands located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, approximately 1,270 miles off the southern tip of India. In other words, prepare yourself for a pretty long flight (or flights, as it were). "There are no direct flights to the Maldives," explains Nanigian. "The route will depend on where you originate from, but there are several schedules including stops in Dubai, Qatar, and Singapore. Many of these layovers can be eight or nine hours long, so you may want to consider breaking up the journey by staying overnight in one of these cities," she suggests. All international flights arrive at the Velana International Airport in the capital city of Malé. From there, you’ll hop aboard a speed boat, sea plane, or domestic flight, depending on where your resort is located, says Hilmy (this transfer will usually be arranged by your resort). Worth noting: The Maldives is nine hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so brace yourself for a little jet lag, too.
Best Time to Visit the Maldives
The rainy season is May through September (though it can stretch a bit further into the fall), however, traveling during this time does have some advantages. "Not only do prices drop because it’s low season, but there are also unique experiences that can be enjoyed during this time such as spotting manta rays in the world-famous Hanifaru Bay. Fishing enthusiasts can also cast their lines with great success with larger catches," says Hilmy.
The temperatures throughout the year remain fairly consistent, ranging from 78 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, there’s really no bad time to go to the Maldives, says Nanigian.
What to Do in the Maldives
Water lovers, take note. Pretty much any and every type of water-based activity is an option, but above all, snorkeling is a must. Coral reefs abound, home to all kinds of marine life, including many endangered species such as turtles, whale sharks, and manta rays, says Hilmy. Coupled with the pristine, crystal clear water, expect a snorkeling (or scuba diving) experience like no other. Many resorts capitalize on this and also offer things such as underwater spas and restaurants, notes Nanigian. Fishing, jet skiing, paddle boarding, and boating are all great options, as is surfing; the best surfing spots are in the Northern and Central atolls. Almost all of the resorts have spas, and many offer daily excursions to different islands for couples who want to do a little exploring.
Maldives Honeymoon Cost
This is definitely not a trip for those on a tight budget, so be prepared for a pretty hefty price tag—and/or to use up a lot of those saved credit card points. According to Nanigian, the cost for a seven-night stay, including accommodations and transportation, can range from approximately $15,000 to upwards of $25,000. Granted, this can quickly go much, much higher based on where you stay.
Because most things have to be imported, keep in mind that food and beverages are going to be pricey as well, Nanigian points out. That being said, it is worth asking about all-inclusive options at your resort. While these aren’t the same as the all-inclusive properties in say, Mexico, where the alcohol is flowing, she says these might include two to three meals, plus a few glasses of wine at dinner. Many properties will include breakfast in the cost of lodging, however.
Speaking of food, enjoying Hedhikaa, a range of Maldivian snacks typically eaten at tea time, is a must. There are a variety of options, many of which rely on the Maldivian staples of tuna and coconut, says Hilmy—think Bajiyaa, fried triangular pastries with a spicy tuna filling, and Huni Folhi, coconut pancakes made with jasmine water.
Where to Stay in the Maldives
Options include everything from luxurious hotel brands to more niche, boutique properties to eco-friendly resorts. Ahead, more on 10 different choices.
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Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
From beach villas with direct beach access to overwater villas with overwater hammocks, the accommodations at this five-star resort are impeccable. Honeymooners will appreciate that the staff can set up everything from private beach picnics to couples massages under the stars.
Rates start at $1,675+ per night
Coco Bodu Hithi
Accommodation options at this resort, one of the brand’s two boutique properties in the Maldives, include the standout Coco Residences. These villas come complete with everything from a private wine cellar to a spit level deck overlooking the Indian Ocean, not to mention a dedicated butler to tend to your every want and need. The property is also surrounded by coral nurseries that make for stunning snorkeling experiences.
Rates are about $742 per night
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
Located 30 minutes by seaplane from the airport in Malé, this sister property feels even more removed and offers six different villa options (which also happen to be some of the more affordable choices in the Maldives). And if that’s not enough privacy for you, you can take a boat to the resort’s privately-owned desert island, where you can have lunch or even stay overnight in the single traditional hut. Both Coco Collection properties also place an emphasis on eco-tourism; at Palm Dhuni Kolhu, you can visit the on-site marine turtle rescue center or take a snorkeling tour with a marine biologist.
Rates start at $206 per night
Velaa Private Island
For those ready to blow the budget, this resort’s Romantic Pool Residence takes next-level luxury to the extreme. Accessible only by boat, you’ll really never need to leave; it comes with a personal gym and spa treatment room, fully-equipped kitchen, infinity pool, and even a private chef should you so choose. But if you do want to leave, there’s also a new paddle tennis court and tons of high-tech water toys, among plenty of other amenities, at the resort.
Rates start at $13,762 per night for the pool residence; other accommodations available starting at $2,200 per night
There are not one, not two, but four Four Seasons properties in the Maldives—all offering unique experiences. Highlights include a spa that sits on its own private island and offers rooftop treatments, a variety of accommodation options, and plenty of activity choices. There’s also an entirely private island that comes with seven bedrooms and a 25-person staff, ideal for over-the-top elopements or small destination weddings.
Rates start at about $1,200 per night
Six Senses Laamu
There are 97 thatched villas at this eco-luxury resort, a mix of beach, forest and overwater. It’s within swimming distance of five shipwrecks and a coral reef (a snorkeler’s dream!), and the resort also offers a wide range of activities, from a full day of island hopping to outdoor move nights to dolphin cruises. You can also visit an island to experience the Maldivian way of daily life.
Rates start at about $700 per night
Kuda Villingili Resort Maldives
Overwater bungalows are a dime a dozen in the Maldives, but for those who prefer to be land-based, this newly-opened resort also has beautiful penthouses that are elevated among the palm trees, offering unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean. It’s also a great spot for couples who want to stay active; the location offers prime access to one of the world’s top ten surfing spots.
Rates start at $1,000 per night, including breakfast
Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa
Another option that’s more wallet-friendly than others, Emerald also holds the distinction of being one of the top three resorts in all of the Maldives with the lowest density of villas. Also nice: It’s one of the rare all-inclusive properties, offering unlimited dining at the four restaurants. There’s also a honeymoon package that includes a private beach dinner and spa treatment for two as well.
Rates start at $700 per night
Barefoot luxury is the name of the game at this eco-friendly spot. There are 63 beachfront villas, many of which feel like uber-luxurious treehouses, plus eight water bungalows (including one with its very own water slide). Hit up the spa, hop on a sea bob, or take a nighttime dinner cruise where an astronomer will teach you about the stars as you enjoy a four-course meal with wine pairings.
Rates start at about $1,200 per night
Milaidhoo Island Maldives
All of the villas here come with a private freshwater pool and an outdoor day bed, perfect for lounging and soaking up the sun and beautiful scenery. Their honeymoon package features a couples’ spa treatment, as well as a three-course, in-villa candlelit dinner. The cherry on top? You also get to name your own star and go home with a certificate including the coordinates. Talk about the ultimate in romantic souvenirs.
Rates start at about $1,100 per night