Colonial class: Equator Village
A Maldivian hotel in a town with an airport, lets you meet the locals, carries its history with pride and lets you savour the islands as you should? Easy-peasy, at Equator Village. The island of Gan was a British air base till 1976, and what is now a resort used to serve the troops. It still smells of colonial heritage in the billiard room with RAF relics and barracks-style accommodation. Value for money, with great dive sites nearby.
Tariff doubles from $198 Contact equatorvillage.com
Family-friendly luxury: Jumeirah Vittaveli
When guests at a new Jumeirah are keener on the kids’ club than the over-the-top decor (much streamlined here), it makes even us seasoned travellers do a double take. After all, the archipelago is best known as a romantic destination. Make no mistake — this is a luxurious resort, with prices to match and youthful teething troubles to boot. But if you want to relax across three generations, this is your address.
Tariff from $1,020 Contact +960-6642020, jumeirah.com
Value For Variety: Kuredu Island Resort
With a laidback ‘No Shoes, No News’ policy, Kuredu is also easier on the pocket than most island resorts. Quirkily, it eschews a unified aesthetic for variety — from whitewashed, thatch-topped beach huts to enclosed pool villas like small houses, 383 rooms of nine types pretty much make three resorts in one. Even the seven restaurants and seven bars are themed to match your stay. Children under 12 are not encouraged.
Tariff from $210 Contact kuredu.com
Urban(e) Bargain: Sala Boutique Hotel
This Thai-themed city hotel is a gem of a find for that late first night or last overnighter in Male. No rude shocks in this calm, charming six-roomed hotel, with an excellent Thai restaurant attached and a calm air within walking distance of the ferry. Most important in bookending a Maldives vacation, transfers are handled flawlessly by the attentive, pro-active staff. Take advantage of the Thai foot massage while there.
Tariff $148–178 Contact +960-3345959, salafamilymaldives.com
Everything excellent: Shangri-La Villingili
You can’t avoid a rapt tone when talking of Maldives’ luxury hotels; there’s certainly no escaping it with this gorgeous resort. On a large island in the southern-most atoll, Addu, it has 132 villas in seven styles. Stunning water villas dangle your feet over the ocean; tree villas upgrade treehouses into something special. Breathtaking views are everywhere. The spa menu is long. F&B goes from the Levant to the Far East.
Tariff from $860 Contact +960-6897888, shangri-la.com
Global desi: Taj Exotica
When it opened a decade or so ago, it was not the first international Taj hotel. But it was the first world-class Taj — understated décor, fine F&B, the discreet service one expects at the world’s most exclusive hotels. The 2005 tsunami necessitated an early makeover, and it got even better: upgraded dive centre, Jiva Grande spa, F&B luxurious but not intimidating. And it’s only 15 minutes by boat from Male airport.
Tariff from $1,300 Contact +960-6642200, tajhotels.com