It is obvious that those who argue that “it’s about the journey not the destination” have never visited any of the 1,196 islands—of which 220 are inhabited—that make up the Maldives, an idyllic region in the Indian Ocean. It is true that getting there is difficult—going from the United States is a jetlag-inducing experience that usually entails one or two long-haul flights along with a shorter trip, a protracted layover, and a third ride on a seaplane or boat to your resort after clearing customs in Malé, the country’s capital. You two won’t be able to tell what time of day it is, nor will your bodies.
But rest assured that when you wake up from that well-deserved nap, draw the curtains and step out onto the terrace of your overwater bungalow, you’ll be greeted on the other side by something that can only be the description of screen saver comes to life.
You’ll see lagoons shimmering in every shade of blue imaginable, rays of sunlight gracefully gliding just below the surface through schools of colorful fish, intense sunlight creating tanned skin, and sunsets breathtaking, gypsum sand, green palm trees and trees swaying in the gentle breeze, revealed the lizard was playing hide and seek.
And there will no longer be any doubt in your mind that this end justifies the means.
It’s easy to find photos of the Maldives online, but there’s nothing like seeing those clear blue waters and white sands in person.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Aishwarya, Delhi-based luxury travel consultant and owner of Luxury Vacations and Holidays Pvt Ltd. “It is a truly magical and idyllic honeymoon setting for couples to celebrate their love and begin their journey together.”
Aishwarya accepts that there are many other paradises that would make excellent honeymoon destinations, particularly since many of them need significantly less time and money to get to, but she maintains that the Maldives is worth the extra work that newlyweds must put in.
According to her, “the Maldives is unique in that it offers opulent lodging, a concentration on seclusion and privacy, and breathtaking natural beauty. “Villas with plunge pools, overwater bungalows, and remote resorts offering unparalleled seclusion.” Perfect beaches, amazing diving and snorkelling, underwater dining establishments—the list of reasons the Maldives is a fantastic place for a honeymoon is endless.”
With her expert advice, we’ve created a guide that includes all the information a couple could want to plan the most romantic Maldives honeymoon possible in the Maldives, including where to stay, what to eat and do, and even some money-saving tips.
Although the Maldives has been open to tourists for fifty years, the number of visitors has skyrocketed in the past ten years. The nation’s Ministry of Tourism released data in May 2022, indicating that 2019 saw the highest number of visitors in the previous fifty years. However, the data also showed a lesser (but nonetheless noteworthy) increase from the same total for the first quarter of 2019 as well as a 17.5 percent increase in the first four months of 2023 compared to the same time frame in 2022. Aishwarya has noticed a significant increase in her clientele’s interest in and reservations for the Maldives, and she attributes the surge to a number of factors.
“In the past, I think American tourists considered this a destination for the rich and were hesitant to use so many vacation days because it took a long time to get there,” Aishwarya said. But with so many quality hotel options to suit a variety of budgets and travel aesthetics, social media coverage is causing a stir of FOMO as well as pandemic-induced shifts and shifting mindsets generation about using PTO to the last minute, she believes “that’s not the case.”
Because couples won’t be alone in this trendy destination and there are so many choices, Aishwarya recommends planning ahead, researching and asking lots of questions. “In the photos it looks like all the islands are the same; however, it is important to note that there can be significant differences in operations, facilities and experiences from place to place,” Aishwarya warns. “Many of the islands are owned by private resorts; some have both resorts and local communities. Some islands specialize in diving; others focus on happiness and relaxation. Even wildlife, underwater terrain and biodiversity can vary from island to island.
To start, she recommends asking yourself what kind of accommodations and atmosphere you like, what price range is right for you, what amenities and services you can’t live without, what kinds of activities you want to do and whether sustainability is a priority.
There are about 1,200 places to stay, ranging from spartan liveaboards to capital honeymoon Maldives hotels, guesthouses, green retreats, and luxurious resorts that take care of everything. They aren’t all made equal, of course. Honeymooners often lose themselves in the picture-perfect overwater bungalows, lavish villas nestled within the deep green core of an island, or little beachside cottages. Here are a few of the top options for lodging:
Get to the island right away, because this dreamy tropical setting created by one of the most trusted players in the hospitality industry is less than an hour away from the MLE runway by kiddie yacht. Located in Ivory Coast on three man-made islands connected by promenades on the northeast side of the North Male Atoll, this is ideal for design lovers, with every structure and comfort , from numerous open-air restaurants and the refreshing main pool, where nightly ceremonies are held of drums and fire, to the spa provided by Bamford, which could easily be mistaken for a museum – its sensuous curves, bathed in natural light and accentuating the features of its surroundings picturesque without being overshadowed by them.
If you can get away from your suite’s complimentary minibar, deep soaking tub, or indoor/outdoor shower, go on a memorable diving or snorkeling trip aboard a restored traditional boat. Within an hour’s radius, you’ll find shipwrecks, stingray cleaning stations, underwater cliffs and caves, and coral-covered mountain peaks. Naturalists trained by Jean-Michel Cousteau can help you understand what you see under the sea. Or start your day with yoga in the garden, a friendly tennis match or take a small ferry to a neighboring island for a change of scenery and enjoy food trucks.
Aishwarya loves JOALI’s offerings, which are comprised of two distinct sister properties situated across two tranquil islands in Raa Atoll. She values the fact that they are woman-owned, devoted to protecting the environment, and joyfully constructed. Scattered over the grounds, JOALI Maldives is an art-centric fantasy where visitors may play and practice in an art studio alongside visiting artists and installations, some big enough to climb inside, six restaurants, and the spa bearing the ESPA name. JOALI BEING, which started in November 2022, creates wellness programs that target the mind, skin, microbiota, and vitality by fusing nature, traditional wisdom, and contemporary science. Here you may do sensory deprivation and sound baths, practice antigravity yoga in a pavilion overlooking the turquoise lagoon, indulge in gourmet vegan meals, and attend lectures on herbology. Couples might enroll in private coral planting if they wish to feel wonderful long after they get home.
Situated on 133 acres, this all-inclusive resort owned by the Maldivians offers a five-star experience without sacrificing fun for guests. Its features include the largest floating water park in the Indian Ocean, a full-sized soccer pitch with weekly matches, overwater bungalows equipped with waterslides, rentable semisubmersible vessels capable of barrel rolls, a unique resort horse ranch, and dance classes. Thanks to the houses’ six bedrooms, it’s a great choice for honeymooners who won’t be leaving the kids at home. When it’s just the two of you, enjoy a picnic on a deserted island, go horseback riding along the coast at sunrise or sunset, or share the honeymoon package cake by candlelight.
At its first island hideaway, a 40-minute seaplane flight from Malé, the big-city brand has effectively transported its cool-kid cred, irreverent design, party vibes, and allergy to boring neutral color schemes to paradise. It’s one of the larger properties with 115 villas, each featuring a private deck and snorkeling gear as wall decoration. It’s also one of the hipper options with a glass-bottomed overwater nightclub, beach bonfires with tribal beats, personal training, electric buggies, and a communal hammam. Conveniently, Hanifaru Bay, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that hosts the greatest gathering of manta rays in the world from May to November, is just 25 minutes away.
This Baa Atoll sanctuary is only for adults, so unlike many resorts in the Maldives, couples here won’t have to deal with screaming, crying, or splashing littles in the sand, crystal-clear surf, or swimming pool. It recently underwent a nine-month restoration that included the addition of six beachfront pool villas, the introduction of a villa host service, a revamp of the dining areas, and an expansion of the wellness programs to include a Moroccan hammam, IV therapies, sound therapy, and a variety of Ayurvedic treatments. Veli also offers cooking classes, surfing lessons, and boxing ring battles, so visitors can leave with a new talent.
The collection, which was started by four brothers from the Maldives, consists of two properties: the more modern and sophisticated Coco Bodu Hithi in Malé Atoll, which is more geared toward couples, and the more rustic Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu in Baa Atoll. However, they both place a strong emphasis on incorporating regional themes into the schedule, such as Maldivian cuisine served in restaurants with recipes gladly shared, craftspeople selling and demonstrating their skills, and traditional music and musicians performing live. A good number of eco-friendly activities are also available at both locations, such as private dining in the hotel garden, which plants coral and supports the first and only turtle rescue center in the Maldives run by veterinarians. The hotel garden grows many of the foods used in the restaurants to reduce their carbon footprint. Adventuresome spouses can forgo their comfortable accommodations for a day or two and spend the night in the lone rustic cottage on Embudhoo Island, a sibling-owned private area of undeveloped property located 15 minutes from CPDK.
From its 1997 launch as the destination’s first hotel—a Hilton—to its massive refurbishment between 2019 and 2022, this supplier of beachy joy has established a lot of trends. It also created the first villas on stilts in the area and has the world’s first underwater restaurant, wine cellar, and underwater dwelling (the main bedroom is sunk 16 feet below the surface). Choose from 12 restaurants, 2 spas, and 14 different kinds of lodging on the more active, family-oriented island or the adults-only one. Additionally, they provide local island tours and, depending on the season, one of the best “swimming with whale sharks” experiences to add a little bit of culture to your vacation.
You will spend a significant amount of time in, on, and around the water, as you would in any coastal vacation destination. The Maldives is a snorkeler’s and scuba diver’s paradise because of its unparalleled visibility and biodiversity. To swim with sharks, manta rays, turtles, and dolphins, you typically don’t even need to go that far offshore. In addition, it’s a great place to go fishing, sailing, jet skiing, sunbathing, strolling at dusk, and playing games and sports in the sand.
But as Aishwarya already indicated, the other parts of your Maldivian schedule mostly rely on where you stay because of the island-specific availability. A good travel advisor will match your interests, lodging choices, and travel style to the ideal resort and/or region of the nation, she continues. If you feel that fully immersing yourself in the culture is essential, think about spending a day in Malé or renting a home on an island that has historical monuments or a nearby settlement. (She issues a warning that Malé is not the most romantic spot; like many capital cities, it is crowded and dense.)
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As with most beach honeymoon hotspots, romance abounds at the resorts, which offer many of the same lustful amenities and activities. Intimate settings such as secret gardens, tree-top patios, or at the end of a dock that has been emptied and juts far into the ocean are popular for their private chef dinners. Other offerings include sunset cruises, luxurious spa treatments for couples, beach or sandbar picnics, and butler-drawn bubble baths. The floating breakfast is an unmissable treat that has come to be associated with the Maldives, despite its rumored Bali birthplace. Although it’s cliche, it’s also a delightful and seductive way to start the day.
Aishwarya nearly always suggests booking at least one incredibly special celebratory dinner at one of the world-famous underwater eateries in the Maldives, such as Sea at Anantara Kihavah Villas, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant at Hurawalhi Maldives (the largest all-glass underwater eatery), Subsix at Niyama Private Islands, or Conrad’s Ithaa. You may live up to your inner Little Mermaid at glow parties, bubbly breakfasts, wine tastings, and dinners with built-in entertainment in the submerged environment. She says, “It’s a must-do experience in the Maldives.” “Usually, I advise couples to make a reservation for dinner so they can observe how the restaurant’s atmosphere changes as the sun sets.”
The self-contained compounds typically offer a wide range of dining options from poolside food trucks and casual bistros to sushi bars and fancy fine dining establishments specializing in a particular world cuisine like Indian, Italian, or Japanese food. This is because moving around one of the most geographically dispersed countries in the world can be challenging and expensive. Some include local specialties and cuisine in their daily main buffet spread and/or host a weekly Maldivian night.
As one might imagine, fish dominates this dish, particularly tuna, which is frequently offered for breakfast as well as other meals as a major protein, a topping, a soup, or a curry. If Maldivian lobster is served, you should definitely taste it. The Maldivians are heavy users of coconut and starches like cassava and potatoes. Their tolerance for heat is seen in their love of fiery Maldivian chilies and carbs (oh my, crackers, samosas, and dessert fritters).
Any paradise worth its weight in seafood platters and palm palms will be pricey, but the Maldives is exceptionally expensive, largely because of its remote location, which raises the cost of flights and hotel operations. Rates remain high since demand is still increasing. (In the long run, competition usually favors the customer.) Higher demand also motivates airlines to increase flight frequency and hoteliers to construct, a travel trend we are now witnessing in this area. Aishwarya claims that there is still possibility for short-term financial savings.
The counselor remarks, “You would be surprised at how affordable the Maldives can be. I’m not saying that it is a budget destination by any means.” The Maldives can be a wonderful deal when compared to other similar destinations because of things like inclusive nightly prices at select hotels, honeymoon packages that help couples maximize the value of their stay, and American hotel brands or airlines that can be booked using points.
She also reminds people that there may be discounts and special offers while vacationing in the shoulder or low season. “For example, whale shark spotting starts in May, as well as surf season for those who like a bit more adventure,” she says. “Remember that during monsoon season, it can get pretty rainy, so make sure to adjust your itinerary accordingly.”
When packing for a honeymoon in the Maldives, it’s essential to consider the items that will make your trip enjoyable and comfortable. Here’s a list of essentials and recommendations to pack for your honeymoon:
Remember to check with your resort about any specific requirements or restrictions, such as weight restrictions for suitcases, especially if you’re traveling via seaplane
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