It’s not easy transporting huge gym equipment, porcelain bathtubs, and slabs of Italian marble to the middle of nowhere, but five-star resorts in the Maldives don’t hold back—they go above and beyond with modern design and comfort. No, seriously. Imagine a squad of award-winning, forward-thinking interior designers getting zero budget cap and going all out. Newer properties are tricked out to feel ultramodern, stand out, and command your attention by straying from common, traditionally rustic, island decor. Throw in yachts, fine dining, and superior spas, and you get these five amazing, splurge-worthy resorts (the best in the Maldives) that merge modern sensibility with that trademark island allure.
One & Only Reethi RahOne & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
If you want genuine celebrity sightings on your honeymoon, One & Only Reethi Rah is your best bet. Gordon Ramsay, David Beckham and Russell Crowe have kicked back here because it’s possibly the most stylish resort (even the staff wears designer sunglasses). There are eight beaches, an overwater infinity pool, artist studio, chef garden… the list goes on. The Ocean Club is a true highlight with a live DJ, an outdoor bar serving ice cream, an outdoor rock climbing wall, volleyball and ping pong, which makes it feel like you’re somewhere in South Beach/Hamptons/Punta Del Este. Oh, not that you’ll use it, but the fitness center is the biggest on the islands (indoor and outdoor). This is world-class, folks. The overwater villas are huge and staggered fairly far away from each other (unlike many resorts in Maldives, which is why celebrities love it here).
W Retreat & SpaW Retreat and Spa Maldives, Fesdu Island, Maldives
If Palm Springs was a private island, it would be the W Retreat & Spa. The resort is super glam and chic in the way of W hotels, so expect to be chilling out with bona fide jet setters. The resort has 78 villas with sundecks, plunge pools, wine fridges, and barbecue stations, because what jetsetter doesn’t like to fire up their own barbecue? The way to go is booking the domed, overwater villa that feature glass floors, but if you’re more of a beach person, the beach villas have outdoor bathrooms, draped daybeds, and plunge pools (with amazing, seamless indoor/outdoor bedroom design). Because jet setters can be a bit ADD, there’s countless things you can do here—diving, kitesurfing, a game room, a private yacht, a tricked-out spa, etc. If you get bored, that’s on you. And what’s a W resort without live DJs? Yeah, you can find the party at the resort’s 15 Below bar.
Conrad Maldives RangaliConrad Maldives Rangali Island, Rangali, Maldives
Upgraded from a Hilton in 2009, Conrad (the most upscale brand in the Hilton chain) is serving up priceless honeymoon memories on Rangali Island. It’s failry large for a Maldives resort at 150 rooms, but the property is split among two small islands connected by a 1,640-foot bridge (and, yes, you can spend all day on this bridge just looking at the tropical fish and manta rays swimming in the crystal clear water below). This is the resort that introduced the first underwater restaurant to the world (insert most romantic activities story).You are literally underwater in a glass-walled, domed cocoon restaurant. It’s also home to the world’s first overwater infinity pool. There are nine restaurants to choose from so you won’t go hungry, and the beach villas (which we recommend) are comfortably rustic with a massive outdoor bathtub, separate rain shower, and a unique en-suite atrium.
Cheval Blanc RandheliCheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives
Considered the most luxury-drenched resort in Maldives, Cheval Blanc oozes with the scent of rich people (like Prince William and Kate, who frolicked here once upon a time). We’re surprised the villas are not dipped in gold. Cheval Blanc is famously owned by Louis Vuitton, so there you have it. It’s the most lavish, opulent, over-the-top resort for sure. The major highlight is the Guerlin spa, reachable by a dhoni, and you can bet you’ll find the finest (and most expensive) selection of wines here. There are only 45, butler-equipped villas, so it’s perfectly intimate, and each villa sports a huge infinity pool (basically double or triple the standard plunge pool, so you can theoretically do laps).
Velaa Private Island ResortVelaa Private Island, Republic of Maldives, Maldives
Staying at Velaa gives you the privilege of saying you honeymooned on a billionaire-owned private island (most island resorts in Maldives are rented/leased by the hotel) and, man, are you in for a treat. Even the lowest-tier room here, the beach pool villa, is a one-bedroom with separate living area, private pool, the works. You may stagger a bit just from the over-the-topness, so definitely avoid drinking as you explore the property. Feel like island royalty with the private yacht, Clarins spa, ocean-view sauna, nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, and a three-level tower restaurant with 6,000-bottle wine inventory. Oh, also, we hope you love sea turtles. They love to nest and hatch here.