Where to Stay in Maldives [February 2019 • Bargain Guide]

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Immaculate beaches, swanky resorts, and coral reefs brimming with life. The Maldives are world famous for their elaborate cutting-edge resorts and tranquil turquoise waters. From whale sharks to manta rays, the ocean floor is a showcase of all kinds of breathtaking marine life.

The Maldives is made up of over 1,200 islands, how can a tourist pick just one?

We made choosing your island getaway easy with this guide to the Maldives!

Put together by our team of well-seasoned travelers, we found the best places in the Maldives for you!

By the end of this article, YOU will have the knowledge to book with confidence when choosing your island and resort. You may even be educating locals on some of the Maldives best-kept secrets!

These are our best picks for where to stay in the Maldives.

 

Table of Contents

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in the Maldives

  • Where to stay in the Maldives your first time – Baa Atoll
  • Where to stay in the Maldives on a budget – Kaafu Atoll
  • Best area to stay in the Maldives for nightlife – North Male Atoll
  • Coolest place to stay in the Maldives – Faafu Atoll
  • Best area in the Maldives for families – Ari Atoll

Where to Stay in the Maldives

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in the Maldives.

Best Budget Hotel in the Maldives – Madivaru Kro

Madivaru Kro

Madivaru Kro is the best budget hotel in the Maldives

Staying in paradise doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg on a luxury resort. At Madivaru Kro you get the same stunning white sand beaches and crystal clear waters for a fraction of the price!

This guest house offers its guests a private beach, free wifi, a continental breakfast, lounge, restaurant, and even a terrace! Their comfortable airy rooms are sure to leave you refreshed and ready for a new day of relaxation!

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in the Maldives – Gangehi Island Resort

Gangehi Island Resort

Gangehi Island Resort is the best mid-range hotel in the Maldives

At Gangehi Island Resort you receive 5-star luxury service, with the best service money can buy while still not paying the astronomical cost of those exclusive VIP hotels.

Gangehi Island checks all the boxes off down the list with a spa, gym, library, volleyball court, and restaurant!

The resort continues to dazzle with its onsite white sand beaches and tropical gardens! Each of the verandas is sure to have you remembering your romantic Maldives holiday for years to come!

 

Best Luxury Hotel in the Maldives – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi is the best luxury hotel in the Maldives

When a hotel is considered the most luxurious in the Maldives, the resort is probably in the running for being the best hotel worldwide. Hold on to your hats, the amount of features and services in Gili Lankanfushi is sure to blow you away!

When booking into this island paradise you not only get your own butler, you also have a bar, restaurant, pool, spa, tennis court, steam room, and game room at your disposal.

When you are done pampering yourself, go out on an adventure with resort arranged snorkelling, diving, cooking classes, and boat rides, all arranged by your hotel!

Your private thatched villa is sure to give you that “Castaway” experience you’ve been craving for, while still having all of your modern day comforts!

 

Maldives Area Guide

Maldives

Maldives

Traveling to the Maldives is almost like traveling to the edge of the world. This small nation in the middle of the Indian ocean relies heavily on boat travel to hop from island to island. Depending on what kind of traveler you are, you can either do it like a local or board a seaplane to your exclusive resort in the middle of the sea!

Hotel Jules Insider Tip

The Maldives is a confusing nation to tackle in terms of “neighborhoods” to stay in. Many of the luxurious 5-star resorts own entire chains of islands throughout this country.

The archipelago, which is the Maldives, is broken into 20 different administrative atolls, each with their own culture and unique atmosphere, catering to different kinds of tourists.

Regarding what to do in the Maldives, a lot determines on your hotel and resort. No matter what atoll you stay on, you are sure to find loads of diving, snorkelling, and beaches. What makes each area different, however, are the activities, amenities, and tours your resort provides.

While many may think that the Maldives is a country which caters only to the super rich, tourists will be delighted to find that there are many budget options from the most populated areas like Male to the more remote such as the Baa Atoll.

You may be overwhelmed now, but in a few more moments you are sure to find the best area in the Maldives to suit all your travel needs!

The Maldives’s 5 Best Areas to Stay in

Now let’s take a look, in greater detail, at the best areas to stay in the Maldives. Each is a little different from the last so be sure to check out which is right for you!

Area #1 - Baa Atoll

(Where to stay in the Maldives for your first time)

Baa Atoll

Baa Atoll is the best place to stay in the Maldives your first time

Baa Atoll is our pick for where to stay in the Maldives on your first time

The Baa Atoll is located in the North-west part of the Maldives archipelago and consists of over 75 islands, of these only 21 are inhabited. The Baa Atoll is further separated into three nature atolls: Maalhosmadulu Atoll, Fasdūtherē Atoll, and the Goifulhafehendhu Atoll.

The Baa Atoll has 8 islands which are owned by private resorts, but what makes this atoll great is that it strikes the perfect balance between having just enough modern conveniences while still being far away from the commercial hub in Male.

The Baa Atoll offers stunning white sand secluded beaches on uninhabited islands, diving with exotic creatures such as whale sharks and manta rays, some of the best waves in the world for surfing, as well as swanky luxurious resorts.

Even for those on a tighter budget, Baa Atoll has an island which is sure to cater to your individual needs! This region will have all types of tourists amazed at the tranquil beauty of the Maldives!

Things to See and Do in the Baa Atoll

  • Swim with whale sharks in Hanifaru, the gentle giants of the sea!
  • Snorkel and view an underwater zoo of coral and exotic fish in Landaa Giraavaru.
  • Scuba dive to the ocean’s depths and uncover hidden treasures!
  • Lay out your towel and soak up some sun on Reethi Beach.
  • Bite it to something that will make you crave for more when you eat at Sea Fire Salt Sky.
  • Dine with the fish when you eat underwater at the Sea Underwater Restaurant on Kihavah Huravalhi.
  • Grab a drink and relax on the beach at Moodhu Bar.

Where to Stay in the Baa Atoll

Best Budget Hotel in the Baa Atoll – Azoush Tourist Guesthouse

Azoush Tourist Guesthouse

Azoush Tourist Guesthouse is the best budget hotel in the Baa Atoll

Forget the impersonal mega resorts and fall in love with Maldivan culture by staying at Azoush Tourist Guesthouse. The welcoming staff will make you feel right at home and even assist in booking tours, boats, as well as organizing various water sports.

Each room at the Azoush includes a flat-screen TV, free WiFi, air-conditioning, and a private bathroom.

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in the Baa Atoll – LVIS blancura Hotel

LVIS blancura Hotel

LVIS blancura Hotel is the best mid-range hotel in the Baa Atoll

Feel right at home in between towering coconut trees and the slow tranquil blue waves when you check into LVIS blancura Hotel.

With a snack bar, restaurant, tour desk, and garden, both convenience and relaxation are both laid out on your doorstep. Each spacious room comes with free WiFi, flat-screen TV, minibar, and a private bathroom.

At LVIS blancura you will feel like one of the family for the entirety of your stay!

 

Best Luxury Hotel in the Baa Atoll – Milaidhoo Island Maldives

Milaidhoo Island Maldives

Milaidhoo Island Maldives is the best luxury hotel in the Baa Atoll

No resort gets you closer to the aquatic wonderland under the sea the Resort Milaidhoo Island.

Located on an actual UNESCO biosphere reserve, an underwater multi-color forest is only a quick dip away. Once you resurface, catch a breather at one of the three restaurants or two bars which have an array of alcoholic beverages.

The fun never stops with hotel organized snorkelling, yacht cruises, yoga classes, and more.

End your day by retiring to your traditional villa made with all Maldivan hand-made furnishings and wake up each morning to the sun playing off the water from your 180-degree view of the ocean!

 

Area#2 - Kaafu Atoll

(Where to stay in the Maldives on a budget)

Kaafu Atoll

Kaafu Atoll is the best place to stay in the Maldives on a budget (Photo Credits: CruiseMapper)

The Kaafu Atoll geographically contains many islands including the capital: Male. Male, however, belongs to its own separate entity altogether and in terms of administration is not part of Kaafu despite its location.

With over 107 islands, there is sure to always be something to explore in the Kaafu Atoll.

Due to the island’s proximity to the capital, prices for hotels, transportation, and day to day necessities will not be as expensive when compared with some of the more remote regions.

Even with a larger concentration of hotels, Kaafu does not give up any of its natural beauty. This region boasts some of the best snorkeling, diving, and beaches in the entire country!

Other than the areas natural beauty, a larger population also means more opportunities to experience authentic Maldivian culture! All hands on deck and get ready to set sail to the vacation of your dreams!

Things to See and Do in the Kaafu Atoll

  • Island hop and discover uninhabited beaches in the Indian Ocean!
  • Get a massage and unwind at the Vail Spa.
  • Visit one of the local mosques and experience native culture.
  • Sunbathe on one of the many beaches that Kaafu has to offer!
  • Go out on a cruise and feel the ocean breeze flowing through your hair!
  • Grab a bite while being served on the beach at MU Beach Bar & Grill.
  • Dine in a real-life aquarium when eating at M6m, an underwater restaurant where you are truly under the sea!

Where to Stay in the Kaafu Atoll

Best Budget Hotel in the Kaafu Atoll – Hibiscus Holidays

Hibiscus Holidays

Hibiscus Holidays is the best budget hotel in the Kaafu Atoll

Get the most bang for your buck by staying at Hibiscus Holidays guesthouse, a beachside hotel that is sure to make you have the vacation of your dreams. Other than its private beach, Hibiscus also provides its guests with a restaurant, garden, and terrace.

Each room comes complete with free WiFi, air-conditioning, an electric kettle, and a private bathroom.

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in the Kaafu Atoll – Hulhan’gu Lodge

Hulhan gu Lodge

Hulhan’gu Lodge is the best mid-range hotel in the Kaafu Atoll

Surfs up! Hulhan’gu Lodge is a popular centrally located hotel which attracts tourists from all walks of life.

The hotel offers its guests access to an onsite restaurant which includes free coffee and water as well as opportunities to partake in hotel-sponsored events!

Each room ai Hulhan’gu has stunning views of the gardens or ocean as well as flat-screen TVs, private bathroom, and free WiFi!

 

Best Luxury Hotel in the Kaafu Atoll – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah

One & Only Reethi Rah is the best luxury hotel in the Kaafu Atoll

Located in a tropical paradise, One & Only Reethi Rah dazzles its guests with stunning views of both the island and the Indian Ocean.

The resort continues to dazzle its guests with an infinity pool, private beaches, 4 restaurants, and bar, and spa.

Each of the hotel’s luxurious rooms come complete with a flat-screen TV, iPod docks, and free WiFi. If you are ready for non-stop fun and round the clock relaxation then One & Only is just for you!

 

Area #3 - North Male Atoll

(Best area to stay in the Maldives for nightlife)

North Male Atoll

North Male Atoll is our pick for best area to stay in the Maldives for nightlife

Nightlife in the Maldives is limited strictly to foreign tourists. By law, every citizen of the country is Muslim.

The government takes their religion very seriously to the point where they have even moved people from sparsely populated islands to urban centers in order for them to participate in Friday prayers.

Just because the locals don’t drink doesn’t mean you can’t party hard! Bars, clubs, and music venues can be found at resorts around the country to ensure that the beats don’t stop pumping, even in the middle of the Indian ocean.

Being the most populated region of all of the Maldives, it goes without saying that the North Male Atoll (including the capital of Male) has the most bars and clubs by volume.

Just because you are out in the middle of nowhere does not mean you can’t still boogie, but in North Male tourists are sure to have tons of choices on where to dance the night away!

Things to See and Do in North Male Atoll

  • Dance at Kurumba, where DJs will be laying down the hottest tracks in the country!
  • Drink it up at Club Med Kani, with three bars in one club you are sure to have the night of your life!
  • Head over to Paradise Island Resort for a more laid-back experience drinking on cocktails and socializing.
  • Watch a movie in the great outdoors at Jungle Cinema.
  • Go local and visit the fish market in the capital: Male!
  • Get a blast from the past when you walk through the National Museum.
  • Feel the history when you visit Hukuru Miskiiy, the oldest mosque in the country.
  • Dive down to the deeps and discover the Victory Wreck, a sunken cargo ship resting at the bottom of the ocean!

Where to Stay in the North Male Atoll

Best Budget Hotel in the North Male Atoll – Rashu Hiyaa

Rashu Hiyaa

Rashu Hiyaa is the best budget hotel in the North Male Atoll

For a budget hotel, Rashu Hiyaa provides there guests with a little bit of everything, from free bikes to private beaches, guests are sure to have the time of their life in the Maldives!

The hotel also boasts a restaurant, water sports facilities, and a shared lounge. Each room includes free WiFi, refrigerator, dining room, and some even with a private spa!

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in the North Male Atoll – Cokes Beach Maldives

Cokes Beach Maldives

Cokes Beach Maldives is the best mid-range hotel in the North Male Atoll

You make the most out of your holiday when staying at Cokes Beach! This hotel includes a private beach, restaurant, terrace, garden, lounge, and so much more!

After waking up from your comfortable, tastefully decorated room, enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast before starting out on another relaxing day in the Maldives.

 

Best Luxury Hotel in the North Male Atoll – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru is the best luxury hotel in the North Male Atoll

Those looking for your luxury getaway, look no further! Banyan Tree offers its guests exclusive villas with stunning views of the ocean as well as sun decks, a coffee maker, and free WiFi.

The resort also gives its guests access to a fitness center, spa, bar, and three restaurants. It doesn’t matter if you will be taking a dip into the sea or relaxing on the beach, the beginnings to your dream vacation start here!

 

Area #4 - Faafu Atoll

(Coolest place to stay in the Maldives)

Faafu Atoll

Faafu Atoll is the coolest place to stay in the Maldives (Photo Credits: Maldives Resort Workers – WordPress.com)

The Faafu Atoll is our pick for the coolest place to stay in the Maldives

There are several different ways to define “cool”. What the Maldives lacks in hipster coffee shops and vintage clothing stores is made up with deserted islands which seem like they are on the edge of the map.

Out of the 23 islands of Faafu only 5 are inhabited with a total population adding up to 4,200. Making this atoll one of the smallest, sparsely populated, and least visited atolls in all of the Maldives.

For those wishing to truly get away from it all and have some of the best beaches, surfing and diving all to themselves, nothing can top the Faafu Atoll.

When you are done playing castaway, be sure to experience authentic island culture. The largest city in the Faafu Atoll is nothing more than a fishing village, making it the perfect place to get in touch with true island living.

Traveling to the Faafu Atoll is sure to leave an impression on the select few who venture there, making memories which will last a lifetime!

Things to See and Do in the Faafu Atoll

  • Have your own private stretch of beach devoid of pesky tourists!
  • Take a dive and explore the wrecking of two traditional dhonis.
  • Snorkel and view an array of colorful coral.
  • Swim with reef sharks, turtles, and eagle rays!
  • Explore the small fishing village of Nilandhoo.
  • Cast out your line and reel in dinner by going out fishing!
  • Trailblaze uninhabited islands and find something new!

Where to Stay in the Faafu Atoll

Best Budget Hotel in the Faafu Atoll – Orchid Inn Nilandhoo

Orchid Inn Nilandhoo

Orchid Inn Nilandhoo is the best budget hotel in the Faafu Atoll

Welcome to your personal secluded piece of paradise, the Orchid Inn provides budget accommodation in one of the most remote places on the planet!

This hotel offers modest rooms with free WiFi, air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, teapot, and private bathroom.

Start every morning off right with your choice of halal, continental, or Asian breakfast before setting off to explore the islands of the Faafu Atoll!

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in the Faafu Atoll – Nilandhe Inn

Nilandhe Inn

Nilandhe Inn is the best mid-range hotel in the Faafu Atoll

Nilandhe Inn is sure to offer guests in the Faafu Atoll a luxurious experience for half the price. This hotel provides guests with relaxing lounges and wide open terraces. Every room comes with a flat-screen TV, free WiFi, and some with a balcony.

Send your taste buds to heaven every morning when treating yourself to the hotel’s delicious buffet. The hotel also organizes various activities such as snorkeling, diving and more!

 

Best Luxury Hotel in the Faafu Atoll – Filitheyo Island Resort

Filitheyo Island Resort

Filitheyo Island Resort is the best luxury hotel in the Faafu Atoll

As the sole luxury resort in the Faafu Atoll, Filitheyo Island Resort grants its guests access to some of the most “off the beaten path” places in the world, all from the comfort of their 5-star hotel.

Each stilt villa comes with a wooden terrace, flat-screen TV, CD player, and mini-bar. The hotel also provides massages, an on-site dive center, outdoor infinity pool, an international buffet, 2 restaurants, and a bar!

 

Area #5 – Ari Atoll

(Best area in the Maldives for families)

Ari Atoll

Ari Atoll is the best area in the Maldives for families!

The Ari Atoll is our pick for best area in the Maldives for families

The Ari Atoll (divided by North and South) is by far one of the most beautiful places in all of the Maldives, with some of the most luxurious resorts in the whole nation!

It doesn’t matter if you will be exploring the ocean’s depths or lounging with a good book on the beach, the Ari Atoll is sure to cater to whatever the tourist’s needs may be!

Other than the islands’ stunning natural beauty and modern resorts, the Ari Atoll also offers a bit of local flavor as well with its fishing villages and historic mosques.

The Ari Atoll is known for being the most invested in and developed atoll in all of the Maldives. With only a 30-minute plane ride from Male, your family’s dream vacation is just a short a short trip away!

Things to See and Do in Ari Atoll

  • Go out on a boat and watch for whales and dolphins!
  • Head out to Fish Head and be on the lookout for sharks!
  • View the swimming manta rays and other schools of colorful fish!
  • Explore the white sand beaches of Dhigurah.
  • Dive deep and view the sunken ruins of Rannamaari.
  • Eat fresh seafood at a barbecue on the beach!!
  • Explore the village of Mahibadhoo, the capital of South Ari!

Where to Stay in the Ari Atoll

Best Budget Hotel in the Ari Atoll – Thoddoo Retreat

Thoddoo Retreat

Thoddoo Retreat is the best budget hotel in the Ari Atoll

Thoddoo Retreat covers all the bases for tourists looking to bring their dream vacation to life in the Maldives. With a private beach, restaurant, garden, and snack bar, guests are sure to have everything they need within their grasp.

The hotel also organizes various excursions such as windsurfing, snorkeling, and so much more. Each of the hotel’s rooms come with free WiFi, air-conditioning, a washing machine, dining area, and a private bathroom.

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Ari Atoll – Relax Residence

Relax Residence

Relax Residence is the best mid-range hotel in Ari Atoll

The Relax Residence on Thoddoo will do more than just refresh its guests, this hotel will provide you with the best service and amenities available on the island.

Relax Residence has bikes available for hire, free WiFi, snorkeling, and even skiing. With an on-site restaurant and a delicious breakfast, you are sure to have a good time in the Ari Atoll!

 

Best Luxury Hotel in the Ari Atoll – Veligandu Island Resort & Spa

Veligandu Island Resort and Spa

Veligandu Island Resort & Spa is the best luxury hotel in the Ari Atoll

Guests are sure to never have a dull moment when staying at Veligandu Island Resort & Spa. This mega hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, garden, terrace, restaurants, bars, a game room, and so much more!

Each of the resorts spacious luxurious rooms come with a flat-screen TV, free WiFi, and air-conditioning. From stunning views to live music, at Veligandu Resort guests are sure to have the time of their life!

 

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in the Maldives

The Maldives are known throughout the world for having the most remote exotic beaches and the most romantic holiday resorts.

It doesn’t matter if you will be spending your time exploring the many coral reefs in between the country’s 1000 islands or receiving a relaxing massage on the beach, the Maldives is a place where luxury and adventure are seamlessly blended together.

As a recap, the Baa Atoll takes the cake for being our favorite area in all of the Maldives. This Atoll strikes the perfect balance between castaway beaches and high-class resorts.

As far as hotels are concerned you can’t go wrong with booking into Gangehi Island Resort. This hotel provides many of the services and comforts as the ultra-exclusive resorts do, but for a reasonable price. You will not be sacrificing luxury for a bargain when staying at Gangehi!

The Maldives may be at the edge of the map for many people, but once you arrive you will find that these islands have the same beauty and luxury to fit any budget! Grab your snorkel gear or maybe just your flip-flops and get ready for the vacation of a lifetime!

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below. Have a safe and exciting journey to the Maldives!

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