The best Over Water villas in the Maldives
The Maldives is a true tropical paradise and home to some of the World’s most stunning luxury hotels.
It is also home to the best selection of over water villas on the Planet. People coming to the Maldives want the ultimate experience. An over water villa gives that, with uninterrupted ocean views and direct access to the crystal clear waters.
But where are the very best water villas in the Maldives? Here are my top ten choices that offer exceptional luxury, innovation and something truly special. In no particular order……
THE RESORT – Soneva Jani occupies a stunning location in the Noonu Atoll a short 30 minute seaplane journey from Male airport. Set within the pristine, crystal clear waters of a huge lagoon, the resort boasts some incredible villas and retreats, both on land and over the water, all with private pools. The whole resort perfectly combines luxury and nature. It has been designed sympathetically and built with sustainable, traditional materials but with a contemporary and elegant twist. There are some really unique experiences at Jani. Relax and watch a movie at the overwater cinema. Or Visit the Maldives first observatory and check out the starry skies, or join an astronomy cruise. Join a local fishermen on a traditional Dhoni, or help out planting new coral in the reef.
THE VILLA – Just getting to the over water villas is an experience in itself. The wooden boardwalk stretches endlessly into the ocean. You should definitely hire a bike to get back and forth. There are different sizes of villas but the ultimate is the vast four bedroom water reserve, that has it’s own slide into the crystal clear lagoon. Although if you don’t need that much space there are one and two bedroom options that still have slides.
NIYAMA PRIVATE ISLANDS
THE RESORT – Niyama is a resort set on two islands ‘Play’ and ‘Chill’. The island of play is great for families and people looking for some fun. Chill is where couples can relax and enjoy a romantic stay. Both islands are fairly big by Maldives standards (over 1.5 miles) and covered in banana trees and coconut palms. Nature lovers will love exploring the lush islands, swimming with dolphins and visiting the turtle breeding grounds. There is plenty to keep you busy on Niyama. For sports lovers there is a football pitch, tennis court and badmington. The island is also great for surfing, with lessons available. Of course there is a really good scuba centre and plenty of other watersports. In the evenings there is live music and a nightclub as well as some top class restaurants, including the Edge, an overwater restaurant which sits a kilometre out to sea.
THE VILLA – The Crescent is a private and separate selection of five exclusive villas that can sleep up to twenty two guests. The two bedroom ocean pool pavilions there have a big deck with an infinity pool that seems to blend in with the ocean behind. The villa has two luxurious bedrooms and a cool sunken living room that fully opens up to the deck. In the evening why not mix a drink at your own cocktail bar, then relax in the outdoor jacuzzi or explore the night sky through the telescope.
THE RESORT – The Conrad resort is set on two private tropical islands connected by a 500m footbridge. This is a fairly large resort with plenty of facilities and is great for both couples and families. As well as some relaxed, dedicated adult only areas, there are also spaces and activities for the whole family and a great kids club. The resort has twelve fabulous dining options, although it is the underwater restaurant that makes the island famous. There is a fantastic choice of watersports and not one but two Spa’s, including the award winning overwater spa. Due to the size of the islands there is lots of space, so you can always find a quiet spot if you want it.
THE VILLA – the Muraka is truly a one of a kind villa, even for the Maldives. Set on its own jetty away from everyone and everything. The Muraka is an ultra chic and stylish retreat offering exceptional luxury and the ultimate in privacy. This is an incredible two level villa where the bottom floor is under water! You will actually sleep 16 feet under the ocean surrounded by colourful marine life.
THE RESORT – Soneva Fushi is the Maldives original luxury barefoot retreat. It is a wonderful eco-chic jungle hideaway with some of the most incredible villas in the Maldives. The immense Private Reserve has nine bedrooms! This eco friendly resort has been designed to blend seamlessly into the environment. All the buildings are built with local, natural materials and there is an island garden, recycling centre and even a solar power plant. the lush island is surrounded by soft, white sand beaches where you can always find a quiet spot. There are plenty of activities available on the island including a top class watersports centre and fabulous Six Senses spa. Children are well catered for and there is a dedicated kids club area, ‘The Den’ which is deemed a technology free zone. A great idea. The resort has some amazing restaurants including one set up in the treetops where you can dine under the stars.
THE VILLA – The water retreats at Soneva have a huge deck with a large infinity pool and come with a slide into the lagoon. There is also a really cool sunken outdoor dining area perched over the lagoon, where you have amazing ocean views while you dine. Inside there is a unique retractable roof over the bed so you can relax under the starry night skies, plus glass floors to check out the colourful fish below.
THE RESORT – This is an upmarket island resort conveniently located just a twenty minute catamaran trip from the airport. The relatively small island packs a punch when it comes to activities and accommodations available. The look of the resort is based upon a Maldivian village, with 43 traditional thatched and coral-clad beach villas sitting on the white sands and hidden by the lush vegetation. There are also a further thirty nine water villas, all with private pools and some with slides. Great for families, there are plenty of fun activities available and a well run kids club.
THE VILLA – The spacious two bedroom ocean retreats come with lots of outside space and various seating areas to choose from. There is even a sand deck, so you can relax on your very own little beach and the twenty three metre slide into the clear lagoon is great fun.
THE RESORT – The Nautilus, opened in 2019 and is a luxury bohemian hideaway, offering a highly personalised service and barefoot luxury. This is a small, intimate resort in the heart of Baa Atoll, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. From the moment you arrive after your seaplane and private yacht transfer you will notice the laid back feel. This vibe continues with the dining concept of unscripted dining. They encourage you to just order what you want, when you want and the food is divine, thanks to the French chef. No rules here. No set dining times, no dress code, no opening hours. The island has the usual ocean sports available, plus use of the resorts luxury yacht. There are some activities laid on for kids but this is more of a romantic couples retreat.
THE VILLA – I love the design of these over water villas, or ocean houses as they call them. They are a collection of circular thatched rooms all connected to a large terrace with kidney shaped infinity pool.
THE RESORT – It’s not hard to see why this stunning resort has previously been voted the best resort in the World. Especially now, after reopening last year following a multi million dollar refurbishment. The ethos here is eco-friendly rustic chic and a barefoot relaxed feel. There is a Robinson Crusoe theme that runs through the hotel. This in no way affects the level of luxury and service you will experience though. Gili Lankanfushi guests can expect high levels of service and some of the best cuisine in the Maldives. You even get your very own Man Friday to look after you, to cater for your every need. This is another resort with a convenient twenty minute speedboat transfer from the airport.
THE VILLA – the immense Private Reserve is the biggest water villa in the World. It sits alone in the middle of the sparkling ocean lagoon, 500 metres from land. It is more of a luxury floating fort than a villa, with multi tiered levels and various building connected by walkways. Of course you will find exceptional luxury inside and state of the art amenities including a spa pavilion, infinity pool, cinema room, gym, sauna and water slide. There is a private boat to get to and from the island and staff will deliver meals and pop over to help with anything you desire.
THE RESORT – This is a high end contemporary resort that has a distinctive look and feel that is more Cote’s D’azur than Indian Ocean. You won’t find traditional thatched buildings or a Robinson Crusoe vibe here. Think more Miami glamour where V.I.P’s like Leonardo Di Caprio would feel at home (he has stayed here). This is a chic, stylish resort with a modern contemporary vibe. There is plenty going on, from floodlit football matches with the staff, to tennis lessons and plenty of watersports. The island has a large jungle covered interior to explore and a really good house reef for snorkelling. As well as the amazing over water villas and private beach retreats, there is a unique opportunity to stay overnight in a glass bubble surrounded by nature.
THE VILLA – The two bedroom lagoon water villas are stylish and chic. They are more Miami beach contemporary cool than traditional Maldives. I love the sleek clean lines and white decor. All have a large deck with private pool and outdoor rainfall shower. All the villas have state of the art entertainment facilities including Bose surround systems, blue ray players and ipads.
THE RESORT – One of the newest hotels in the Maldives, this super luxurious island retreat was only opened in 2019. It is the first resort in the Maldives under the famous Raffles name and as you would expect offers guests a very high end experience in luxurious surroundings. The resort is split into two, with the main restaurants, pool and beach villas on the main island, with the fantastic water villas on their own, a short boat ride away. The island is in Gaafu Alifu, one of the world’s most remote and pristine atolls. Its far-flung Indian Ocean position and small size make this a very tranquil and quiet resort. It also means the reefs are untouched and so a great place for diving and snorkelling.
THE VILLA – The water villas are set away from the main island. Sitting on a coral reef you can only get there by boat, so you feel like you are staying in the middle of the ocean. I would recommend going for a sunset villa. Imagine relaxing in an amazing infinity pool that juts out into the ocean and watching the sun go down. The bathroom is great too. You can take a bath with unobstructed views over the Indian ocean from the floor to ceiling windows. Don’t worry, no one can see you.
COCOA ISLAND BY COMO
THE RESORT – Como Cocoa island is a stylish and contemporary resort set on a wonderful island surrounded by white sand beaches on all sides. The island is fairly unique in that there are no beach villas, only over water villas. With just 34 villas you can expect a really personal service and the staff here bend over backwards to ensure you have everything you need. The island is home to the Como Shambala Retreat where you can spend a day getting pampered in one of the thatched roof pavilion’s overlooking the ocean. The location means access to the resort is by convenient speedboat transfers rather than seaplane.
THE VILLA – some of the smaller villas are pretty cool here. they are designed to resemble traditional Dhoni boats. Although the best over water villas are the Como Two bedroom water villas. They are spacious at over 300 square metres and have two separate wings sitting either side of the deck and private pool. There is a choice between sunset or sunrise villas depending on what view you prefer. There is also an extra deck extending further out into the lagoon with steps down into the water and a relaxing chill out seating areas.
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