Memos from Asia

5 Different Types of Places to Stay in the Maldives

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The Maldives is one of the world’s most beloved tourist destinations and sees thousands of travelers visit its beautiful islands every year. While the archipelago’s luxurious resorts are famous for their lavishness, there exist plenty of other stay options in the Maldives for couples, families, and even offbeat budget vacationers.


Staying at any of the 145 resorts in the Maldives is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Most of these establishments are on individual islands, officially considered as “uninhabited.” The resorts differ in size and consist of on-land villas, water bungalows, and other accommodation options to suit every taste. Several visitors to the Maldives are under the misbelief that resorts cater to just the rich and the famous. However, many island getaways in the Maldives let you stay and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings at pocket-friendly prices.

From private beaches and villas with plunge pools to over the water bungalows that let you dive straight into the water; the more luxurious resorts of the Maldives personify extravagance and boast top-of-the-line creature comforts and personalized service. The budget resorts are equally comfortable and offer standard amenities such as multiple restaurants, spas, swimming pools, and free Wi-Fi.


Hotels are rare in the Maldives and found on the bigger inhabited islands, such as Malé and Maafushi. One advantage of staying in a Maldives hotel is that you can experience city life, which is not possible in a resort. Moreover, hotels tend to be in the three or four-star category but come with all modern-day facilities such as air-conditioning, TVs, en-suite bathrooms, and swimming pools.

If traveling to the Maldives on business or only for a diving excursion, you can certainly consider a hotel for your break. Do try and opt for a hotel by the water, so you can at least enjoy the magnificent seas views that are the primary attraction of the Maldives.


Spending your holiday in a Maldivian guesthouse is an offbeat adventure to remember. Since the government only allowed locals to start guesthouses in 2009, it is a relatively new trend, but fast-growing with over 500 bed and breakfasts across the 200 odd inhabited islands. Owned by residents, guesthouses are full-board and can have up to 6-7 rooms. Homestays are uncommon, but solo travelers can find some on websites like Airbnb.

Similar to hotels, one benefit of living in a guesthouse is the chance to immerse into the local Maldivian culture. From participating in regional events to savoring homemade delicacies, guesthouses offer a more rustic sojourn, which contrasts a resort holiday. Nevertheless, visitors need to realize that the Maldives is a Muslim country, and one must dress conservatively when touring the cities. Moreover, you cannot wear bikinis or short swimming trunks on public beaches, something that you don’t have to worry about when on a resort.

Private Island

For most people, owning a private island is a dream, but you can easily rent one for a memorable holiday in the Maldives. A typical private island hire has one or two villas on a stretch of land with multiple rooms. While they are the perfect secluded hideaway for honeymooning couples, families will also find the conveniences of a private island to their liking.

Private islands in the Maldives have their own army of staff to ensure that every guest has a wonderful time. From a personal beach and pool to gorgeously decorated living spaces, you can feast on gourmet food and pretty much do anything your heart desires. If traveling in a small group, one can also book all the rooms in a small resort, converting it into your own private island escape to enjoy with friends and family.

Boat or Yacht

Amongst the most exciting places to stay in the Maldives is onboard a yacht. With hardly any cruise ships floating in the region, smaller luxury boats give holidaymakers the unique opportunity to go island hopping. The liveaboard vessels range in size and features. Some of the larger ones have over 20 rooms, while the more intimate yachts are ideal for smaller groups with four to five rooms. The price of your trip depends on the boat and the duration.

When sailing on the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives, guests get to relish freshly caught and cooked seafood, stay in cabins with air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms, enjoy a dip in a jacuzzi, or sunbathe on a spacious deck. Most of the liveaboard boats also have a designated dive team and dhoni and are ideal for scuba divers who want to visit some of the hard-to-get parts of the island nation.

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