News & Reviews Indian Ocean Maldives The Maldives’ Best Villas

Perfect if you’re treating your family or just want guaranteed privacy and the kudos of being a resort’s top VIP, the Maldives’ best signature villas are just about as good as it gets globally if you want to experience unapologetic, all-out luxury. From an overwater hideaway that’s centred on all wellness to a beach-chic family retreat with designer credentials, here are six of our favourites. 

Cheval Blanc Randheli’s Private Island

Some of Cheval Blanc’s high-profile guests are so privacy conscious they book out the villas surrounding them when staying at the main resort, so you can understand why the Cheval Blanc crew decided placing their best accommodation on its own island was a necessity. You could also argue that investing in a stay there, rather than squandering money on additional villas that are left empty, is a way of saving money. 

What’s undeniable is that this is one of the Maldives’ most beautiful retreats. The 8,000sqm island easily accommodates four grand bedrooms and masses of amenities. Three bedrooms await in the main house, a great place for parties with its grand piano, multiple reception rooms and 25-metre pool. (There’s a standalone guesthouse for members of your group who’d like to take things easy.) Though you’re just minutes from all of the resort’s communal facilities, lots of guests simply stay put. A dedicated chef and barman take care of all things culinary, plus there’s a private treatment room, screening room and fitness centre, alongside slick meditation pavilions. 

Velaa Private Island’s Nika Residence by Patricia Urquiola

Celebrated interior designer Patricia Urquiola’s Maldives masterpiece, the four-bed Nika Residence might be vast at 1,324sqm, but with its thoughtful beach-chic finish (think woven raffia palms, handmade carpets and beaded chandeliers) it still feels homely and earthy. It’s perfect for families. 

At night, groups invariably gather for celebratory meals around the striking five-metre-long dining table, carved from rippled black marble. Throughout the day, they can enjoy their private beach and pool, train in the gym, zone out in the spa room, or test out the tip-top whole-house sound system. 

Joali Maldives’ Four Bedroom Beach Residence with Pool

The villa’s name is hardly inspirational, but it tells you all you need to know and there’s no doubt the space itself is exceptional. Those four bedrooms are spread across a colossal duplex with a sweeping, triple-height dining and entertainment room (kids will love the high-tech telescope, perfect for clear-sky evenings spent stargazing). 

Enveloped by towering palms, the beach retreat is right by the sea and also incorporates a thatched pavilion that allows for shaded outdoor dining. Plus there’s an on-site butler’s lodge so every need is catered for immediately. If you’d like to see more of the resort – perhaps visiting the manta ray-shaped treehouse to enjoy elevated private dining – you’ve round-the-clock access to a private buggy. 

The Nautilus’s The Nautilus Mansion

It might officially be called the resort’s mansion, but this huge three-bed hideaway is known colloquially as the castle. It’s understandable: at 922sqm and spread over two storeys, it dwarfs the other 25 houses and residences spread across this intimate island. 

Still, it’s the opposite of cold and stuffy. Interiors are brightly decorated with turquoise furniture and rainbow throws; airy bedrooms open up to balconies that overlook the sea. Outside, there’s plenty of space for everybody in the signature curved pool, plus there’s a shaded sundeck and lots of space for your private butler to organise impromptu outdoor dining. 

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi’s Three Bedroom Overwater Villa with Pool

This Waldorf has thoughtfully incorporated a standalone private island – the largest of its kind in the Maldives – for guests who want to celebrate something special with lots of friends and family. But for something slightly more intimate it’s hard to better this standout property that’s surrounded on all sides by glass-flat sea. 

It’s still huge of course – at 1,113sqm – and comes with lots of extras. Alongside its on-site infinity pool, Jacuzzi and dreamy overwater hammock, its guests can shimmy over to Nava beach for anytime use of their own private cabana. 

Joali Being’s Four Bedroom Wellbeing Private Ocean Residence

Built to Biophilic principles, this feel-good wellness resort goes all out to make guests’ stays fulfilling. That means this signature overwater villa features thoughtful extras, like musical instruments and games, that encourage meaningful interaction between friends and families. Other amenities are more customary but are no less impressive: the infinity pool is massive; there’s a plush on-site spa room for gold-standard treatments from Joali Being’s expert therapists; the sauna’s glass-wall allows for uninterrupted views of the ocean; and while some other resorts are shameless enough to put a treadmill in a closet and call it a private gym, the one you’ll find here is genuinely decent. 

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Lucie Cahalan

Written by Lucie Cahalan on 2nd Mar '24

Lucie Cahalan worked with VIP guests in London's best hotels before co-founding Dorsia Travel. This is where she shares her views on what works, and doesn't, in the world of luxury travel.

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