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Travel Guide > Asia > Maldives

Maldives Hotels & Sleeping

  
 
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Aside from the capital Male, there are no hotels in the Maldives, only resorts. Most resorts take up their own island (1500x1500m to 250x250m), meaning that the ratio of beach to guests must be one of the best in the world and it is hard to imagine that you would ever have to struggle to find your own private piece of beach to relax on. Many have a "no shoes" policy and with such soft sands it is easy to love this idea.

The range and themes or the resorts is impressive, and most people will find one they like. Broadly speaking, however, they can be grouped into three brackets:

Dive resorts

Dive resorts are designed primarily for divers. Geared expressly for people who want to spend most of their time underwater, facilities on land are limited, but the house reef is usually excellent. Often found in the more far-flung parts of the archipelago.

Holiday resorts

Holiday resorts are designed primarily for families. These are large and have a full complement of facilities (multiple restaurants, day-care centers, etc), but don't have over-the-top luxury and have less privacy. Most of these are located on Kaafu, with easy access from Male.

Luxury resorts

Luxury resorts are designed primarily for honeymooners and the jet set. The place to be if you want designer furniture, gourmet food and a plasma TV in an overwater villa reachable only by rowboat, and are willing to pay top dollar for the privilege.

Overwater bungalow

A Maldivian classic is the overwater bungalow, built on stilts directly above a lagoon. While these look fabulous and sound appealing, they have their downsides:

  • They're usually packed tightly together (often sharing a wall), meaning little privacy.
  • Especially at low tide, the water level may be too low to allow swimming or snorkeling.
  • Resort facilities may be a fair distance from the bungalows.
  • The lapping of waves is romantic enough on a calm day, but can make it next to impossible to sleep if a storm blows through.

These factors vary from resort to resort, so research carefully. A good one is definitely worth trying at least once, but many Maldives repeaters prefer a bungalow with a private beach.

When considering where to go, factor in transport time and costs from the airport: the more far-flung resorts generally require an expensive seaplane transfer and you may have to stay overnight at the airport on the way. On the upside, the further away you are from Male, the more peaceful the islands and the better the diving.

Many resorts, especially the smaller dive-oriented ones, cater largely to a single nationality, leading to "Italian" resorts, "Dutch" resorts, "German" resorts, etc. While almost all welcome any nationality and have some English-speaking staff on hand, you may be cut off from any evening entertainment and have problems eg. diving if you don't speak the local lingo.

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