Maldives overwater villas: your guide to a luxurious stay

Almost every upmarket resort in the Maldives features a string of overwater villas, the celebrated accommodation that most people associate with a dream holiday here. Some of the most exclusive, boutique-style resorts are water villa only, while most compete to make each more wow-worthy than the last - with glass floors, sweeping terraces, private pools on the sundeck and steps down into the sea for your own private swimming entrance. Of course, these come at a cost and if you’re staying with children in particular or prefer to sunbathe or cavort on a beach, it might actually be better to book a garden or beach villa. But for sheer romance and lust-worthy Insta images, you just can’t beat staying right over the water in one of these luxury homes.  

Watch the sunset and sip sundowners on your deck

Most overwater villas have been positioned to embrace the ocean vistas. Large windows and open decks make it easy to get 360 degree views of blue waters and even bluer skies. Pour yourself a drink, then kick back on a sunbed or hammock in the soothing ocean breeze as the waves ebb and flow. If you’re a morning person, get up to watch the sunrise then start your day with a dip in the lagoon on your doorstep.

See the ocean through the glass floor in your villa

Many villas offer a unique experience - a view of the aquatic life swimming below you through a glass floor. Numerous resorts have applied this feature innovatively to dining areas, bedrooms, or in the case of the W Maldives (North Male atoll), via glass-bottom showers. But if you’re really looking to go all-out (and with no expense spared), the Muraka suite at the Conrad Maldives (South Ari Atoll) includes a bedroom completely submerged underwater. This 180 degree curved dome presents uninterrupted views of the local marine life swimming around you. Ever wondered what it’s like to sleep on the seabed? Well this is about as close as you’ll get.

Go snorkelling before your first coffee

Usually situated in shallower parts of the lagoon, overwater villas provide excellent opportunities for snorkelling. Many island resorts, like the Filitheyo (Ari atoll), are home to their own reef, with tropical fish, turtles, manta rays and octopus just some of the aquatic life you’ll spot amongst vibrant corals. At the Hotel Rui Palace Maldivas (Dhaalu Atoll) you can greet the sunrise on your private deck before taking the steps directly into the Indian ocean to explore the coral reefs below your villa. What better way to start the day than a dip before your early morning coffee?

Enjoy the ultimate in private luxury

If privacy is what you’re looking for, then an overwater bungalow offers the perfect getaway. Most resorts include options for your own private pool, sun deck and lounging areas, allowing you to hide yourself away from the outside world if you wish. The concierge service at Six Senses resort (Laamu Atoll) includes your own private butler, and a personal chef serving gourmet meals to your villa. Fancy a change of scenery? Then allow yourself to be whisked away via speedboat to your very own private island for a romantic picnic lunch. Just remember: you will have to return to the real world at some point! 

Next-level relaxation in the Maldives

Overwater villas are created with total relaxation in mind. Whether you choose a villa that’s rustic or modern in design, expect to be greeted by comfortable interiors, sleek living areas with mod cons, all complemented by fantastic ocean views. Resorts have a wide array of amenities to help you unwind including jacuzzis, spa treatments and yoga classes. There’s plenty of more affordable options out there, but for those really looking to push the boat out, you’ll find villas that take relaxation and luxury to the next level - some which are only accessible via private boat! The Waterside Resort at Soneva Fushi (Baa Atoll) includes your very own freshwater pool, secluded outdoor bathrooms, and a master bedroom with retractable roof in case you fancy stargazing before you sleep. That's not enough? Then the Private Reserve at Gili Lankanfushi (Baa Atoll) - the largest overwater villa in the world - comes with it’s own infinity pool, couple’s spa, cinema screen, and even a water slide to descend from the top deck into your own private lagoon.

King for a day

Maybe your budget doesn’t stretch to a week at one of the exclusive resorts here, but it’s absolutely possible to dip your toe into the world of luxury with a day trip to resorts that offer this. Maafushi (South Male Atoll) is a good jumping off point for many nearby resorts, including Sun Island Resort & Spa 5*, and SAii Lagoon Maldives, with lots of offers advertised locally. You can also book day passes to resorts closer to Malé from the capital. Costs range from £60–£140 for a day trip including transfers, meals, drinks and amenities at the resort.

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