How to plan a dream trip to the Maldives & stay in an over water villa

Maldives is the type of destination that’s on everyone’s bucket list. This magnificent archipelago has some of the world’s best beaches, underwater life and natural beauty. The Maldives is also one of the most expensive destinations in the world. If you’re planning a trip to these beautiful islands, you want to make sure you choose the best hotel for your once in a lifetime holiday.

The Maldives has over 1,100 islands, so the hardest part of the planning process is to choose which one you will visit. It’s not an easy task, because when you’re planning an expensive dream trip, you want to know you’re getting the best value for your money while enjoying all the luxuries and activities the Maldives has to offer.

If you want to feel like your living in a postcard, then staying in an over water villa is like a dream and one of the the best places to enjoy this experience is in the Maldives.

Maldives luxury review

A few essential facts you need to know about the Maldives:

1. All international flights fly in to the capital Male City. Afterwards, you can either take a speed boat to your island or an internal flight by a propeller or sea plane. It all depends on where your island is located and how far it is from the capital Male.

2. The internal transfers are extremely expensive, so you need to factor this into the cost of your trip. Also, it is close to impossible to find your own way to your island by booking the internal transfer yourself independently, so the best thing to do is to arrange for it through your hotel. The main types of internal transports are seaplane, speedboat or a propeller plane.

3. The Maldives is a Muslim country and alcohol is only served in resorts and hotels. You are not allowed to bring any alcohol with you even if it’s purchased from the duty free, nor do you have the option of purchasing it from supermarkets.

4. The Maldives has 2 main types of islands: a) local islands and b) islands that have resorts (usually one resort per island). If you stay at a local island in a guesthouse, women are not allowed to wear bikinis except in one designated beach per island. Alcohol is definitely not served anywhere in the local islands.

Maldives paradise

5. There is a huge 21.5% tax and service fee on everything including hotel rates, food, drink and activities inside the resorts. The fee adds a significant amount to your total budget, so keep this in mind.

6. Once you arrive to your island/hotel, you will stay there for the duration of your trip. Some hotels offer excursions to neighboring islands, but usually you will be spending 90% of your time on your island. You don’t have the option of going out to restaurants, supermarkets or bars outside of your hotel.

Overwater villas

Jumeirah Vittaveli

Here’s how to plan your dream trip to the Maldives:

1. The best time to go

The Maldives is beautiful year-round, but some months are rainy and when you’re paying a big budget for a dream trip, you want to go during the dry season. Best months: November to April. High season: December to March.

2. Picking the types of activities you can enjoy

If you’re looking to explore the underwater world and go diving and snorkeling, then each island has different types of wildlife you can enjoy. For example: there are very specific islands to go diving with whale sharks, so don’t expect to go anywhere in the Maldives and be able to see them. Make sure you take this into consideration before choosing your resort.

Stingrays Maldives

3. Selecting your hotel

This is the most important part if your whole trip, because unlike other destination, you will be spending almost all your time in the hotel. This is why I’ve included the best over water villas in my list below suitable for different budgets.

Best Overwater villas

4. Choosing whether or not to book an all-inclusive option

This is a tricky one and it all depends on your meal preferences and budget. The cost of food and drink in the resort is extremely high and if you don’t want to read through the whole menu and prices every time you sit down for a meal, then the all-inclusive option can be easier to factor into your budget. At least you will know how much you’ll be spending from the start.

All-inclusive also means that you will be served A LOT of food that sometimes you can’t even finish. Another option would be to have a big breakfast and dinner and a very light lunch or snack in between, especially if you’re doing water activities. Even with my all-inclusive package, I was sometimes so full from breakfast that I skipped lunch most of the time.

Eggs Breakfast Maldives Jumeirah

Here are the best over water villas in the Maldives for every budget:

*Click on the hotel names to be redirected to the booking pages for more info. The internal transfer fees are per person round-trip. All prices are in US Dollars and do not include the 21.5% tax and service fees. 

Under $500 per night:

1. Sun Aqua Vilu Reef

Price per night: $ 334     Room type: Reef Villa     Internal transfer: $450 (35 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: on-site diving center, 2 restaurants, spa, great location for water activities.

Maldives trip

Maldives trip

2. Adaaran Club Rannalhi

Price per night: $ 300     Room type: Water Villa     Internal transfer: $150 (45 min speed boat)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: affordable all-inclusive meal options (starting $360 per night), 4 restaurants, spa, great location for water activities.

Maldives Villas

Maldives Villas

3. Meeru Island Resort & Spa

Price per night: $ 478     Room type: Overwater Villa with spa bath     Internal transfer: $185 (45 min speed boat)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: 2 swimming pools, children’s playground, lots of activities such as golfing, snorkeling, windsurfing. All-inclusive rates start at $ 640.

travel Maldives

travel Maldives

4. Gangehi Island Resort

Price per night: $ 498     Room type: Overwater standard room     Internal transfer: $435 (25 min sea plane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: diving school, spectacular diving spots, Ayurvedic massages, beautiful coral reefs, open air yoga classes. All-inclusive rates start at $ 640.

Maldives hotel

Maldives hotel

5. Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon

Price per night: $ 357     Room type: Water bungalow     Internal transfer: $202 (25 min sea plane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: great diving spots, spa, infinity pool, fitness center. All-inclusive rates start at $ 502.

Maldives trip

Maldives travel

Between $500 to $800 per night:

1. Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives

Price per night: $725     Room type: overwater villa   Internal transfer: $499 (70 min flight + 5 min speedboat)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: stunning island with lush tropical jungles, diving center, golf course, amazing water activities, exceptional dining options with so many different cuisines, dolphin cruise, private dining on the sand, walking trails and fabulous service.

Read about my wonderful stay at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives.

Maldives overwater villa

Overwater villa

2. Amari Havodda Maldives

Price per night: $700     Room type: Over water villa    Internal transfer: $460 (55 min flight + 10 min speedboat)

Meals included: breakfast, lunch & dinner

Hotel features: spa, water activities, 5 dining options, tennis and volleyball courts.

Maldives villas

Overwater villas

3. Olhuveli Beach And Spa Resort

Price per night: $525     Room type: Over water villa    Internal transfer: $277 (45 min speedboat)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: diving school, 4 dining options, 3 bars, day trips, massages, beauty services and tennis.

Maldives dream trip

Maldives dream trip

4. Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

Price per night: $800     Room type: Water bungalow    Internal transfer: $136 (25 min speedboat)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: modern furnishings, 7 dining options, water activities, tennis, yoga classes, spa and proximity to Male.

Where to stay Maldives

Where to stay Maldives

5. Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

Price per night: $700     Room type: Lagoon villa    Internal transfer: $443 (30 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast & dinner

Hotel features: amazing spa, tropical style interiors, 5 dining options, several water activities and great diving spots.

Maldives Water villa

Maldives Water villa

Between $800 to $1,200 per night:

1. Jumeirah Vittaveli

Price per night: $1200     Room type: Sunrise water villa with private pool   Internal transfer: $308 (20 min catamaran)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: beautiful island, fishing and diving trips, over-water spa, proximity to Male, delicious dining options, amazing facilities for kids, stunning views, great underwater life, submarine rides, cooking classes, exceptional service. 

Read about my wonderful stay at Jumeirah Vittaveli.

Maldives hotel

Maldives hotels

2. Constance Halaveli

Price per night: $1128     Room type: water villa with private pool   Internal transfer: $480 (35 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: over-water spa, fishing and diving trips, 3 dining options, tennis, water activities and spacious villas.

Stay in overwater villa

Stay in overwater villa

3. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Price per night: $1000     Room type: King water villa   Internal transfer: $560 (30 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: 2 islands connected by a bridge, stunning glass underwater restaurant, 12 dining options, huge wine cellar and 2 amazing spas.

Over water villa

over water villas

4. Velassaru Maldives

Price per night: $1049     Room type: Water villa   Internal transfer: $162 (25 min speedboat)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: proximity to Male, wide range of water sports, fitness classes, fishing trips, tennis courts, 5 dining options and 2 bars.

plan a trip to the Maldives

plan a trip to the Maldives

5. Six Senses Laamu

Price per night: $908     Room type: Lagoon water villa   Internal transfer: $672 (15 min boat & 40 min plane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: Ayurveda spa treatments, 4 dining options, glass tub with a view of the ocean, outdoor bathrooms, rainshower and several water activities.

Maldives over water hotel

Maldives over water hotel

6. JA Manafaru

Price per night: $1,120     Room type: Sunrise water villa   Internal transfer: $660 (70 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: amazing spa treatments, 6 dining options, great service, 3 swimming pools, large selection of water sports, trips to nearby islands and tennis courts.

Water villa Maldives

Water villa Maldives

Over $1,200 per night:

1. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Price per night: $1,385     Room type: Over water villa with pool     Internal transfer: $620 (35 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast & dinner

Hotel features: luxurious villas with infinity pools, over-water spa, beautiful coral reefs, underwater restaurant, two-storey over-water Sky Bar, dinner on a yacht, 5 restaurants, spa, full range of water activities.

plan trip Maldives

Water Villa Maldives

2. Cheval Blanc Randheli

Price per night: $1,200     Room type: One bedroom water villa     Internal transfer: $1171 (40 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: super luxurious villas with infinity pools, 5 dining options including a fine dining restaurant and a feet-in-the-sand restaurant, a wine and cigar cellar, spa and a full range of water activities.

Maldives travel

Maldives travel

3. The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli

Price per night: $1,900     Room type: Overwater villa with pool     Internal transfer: $645 (45 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: 6 luxurious dining options, incredible wine cellar, stylish villas with walk in closets, marble bathrooms, Ayurveda spa treatments, diving and windsurfing, jet packing, sea bobbing, glass bottom kayaking and catamaran sailing.

Maldives hotels

Maldives hotels

4. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Price per night: $1,650     Room type: Sunrise water villa     Internal transfer: $661 (30 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: 4 dining options, lush green jungles, large lagoon, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, anti gravity yoga, panchakarma, multi-award winning spa & Ayurvedic retreat, swim with manta rays and whale sharks, coral reefscaping and turtle rehabilitation projects, kite-surfing, X-Jetblades and parasailing.

Maldives hotel

Maldives hotel

5. One&Only Reethi Rah

Price per night: $2,000     Room type: Water villa queen     Internal transfer: $740 (75 min luxury yacht)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: 3 dining options, beautiful resort grounds, kids and teenager section at the beach club, luxurious and spacious villas.

Plan a dream trip to the Maldives

Plan a dream trip to the Maldives

6. W Maldives

Price per night: $1,750     Room type: Fabulous lagoon oasis     Internal transfer: $515 (25 min seaplane)

Meals included: breakfast

Hotel features: 3 dining options, luxury spa, spacious rooms, water activities, plunge pool and beautiful reefs.

Maldives Holiday

Maldives Holiday

Need more Maldives inspiration? Check out:

45 photos that will inspire you to travel to the Maldives

September 19th, 2016 thejetsetterdiaries A heavenly paradise that we all dream of, the Maldives is definitely on all our bucket lists. The desktop wallpaper on your computer was probably shot in the Maldives. Those dreamy postcards you see with turquoise beaches , coconut trees and over-water villas... also shot in the Maldives! No matter how high you set your…

Dream trip Maldives

Disclaimer: The images used in this article were taken from the hotel websites. I make a small commission from Booking.com with absolutely no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own. 

One Response to “How to plan a dream trip to the Maldives & stay in an over water villa

  • The pictures of the Maldives are STUNNING and your resort photos are dreamy. But the cost of getting there is definitely a consideration and I had no idea about the taxes.

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