If you’re deep in the throes of planning your wedding, chances are, planning your honeymoon is also on your to-do list. While this might seem like the “fun” portion of planning, most couples actually come to find planning their honeymoon to be quite overwhelming. This is especially true as of the last few years, with the pandemic making it increasingly challenging to coordinate travel plans. The good news: Things are looking up as far as travel restrictions and advisories go. Many once beloved destinations are now back at the top of newlyweds’ list of places to visit. One of those is a Maldives honeymoon.
While the Maldives—a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean that is known for its crystal-clear waters, stunning white-sand beaches and luxurious overwater bungalows—has always been a honeymoon hotspot. However, it’s drawing even more of a crowd than arguably ever before, according to travel pros. In fact, it’s the single-most requested destination for travel expert and founder of Handpicked Honeymoons, Charlotte Piazza’s agency. “The Maldives has a natural romantic quality and incredible balance of opulence and simplicity—something we often refer to as barefoot luxury— that is just completely unbeaten elsewhere,” she says.
The main reason she believes the Maldives to be so popular for honeymoons is that it offers the quintessential view of what a honeymoon should be—undiscovered beaches with unforgettable views, unmatched service, and peace and quiet for couples to relax and unwind from a year or more of wedding planning.
The Maldives offers a huge array of resorts—more than 130 in total. “There’s truly something for every kind of couple, with each hotel offering its own unique style, range of activities, and innovative dining concepts,” she says. She points out that the privacy at the Maldives is also unparalleled. “The majority of hotel rooms, usually referred to as villas due to their impressive size, offer spacious terraces, private pools and unobstructed views,” she says.
Given the fact that the Maldives reopened their borders to travelers from all countries back in July 2020, and have kept their borders open since, it’s definitely a doable destination—and one that is sure to make for an unforgettable honeymoon. If you’re considering the Maldives for your honeymoon, here is the ultimate guide for what to know, what to expect and tips on planning.
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The Pros and Cons of a Maldives Honeymoon
If you’re looking for a honeymoon that’s all about relaxation and doesn’t require much movement or even really leaving your private hotel room, the Maldives is a great spot. “Once you get to the Maldives you are pretty much confined to the single resort you’re staying at, unless you happen to be at one of the few collections of resorts that are easily accessible from one another, for example, the Fari Islands where the Ritz Carlton is located,” says Piazza.
Being stranded is hardly a deficit when it comes to the Maldives. Given the fact that pretty much every resort offers a wide range of dining options and activities, you are sure to keep as busy as you’d like to be. Piazza does recommend that night owls looking for some evening entertainment contact their resort of choice ahead of time to figure out what they offer. “Some of the islands are quieter than others and it’s truly about personal preference for this one,” she adds.
Consider the Length of Stay and Your Cost
Depending on where you’re traveling from, Piazza also recommends considering how long it will take you to arrive in the Maldives. “I would recommend an absolute minimum of six nights so you have the time to truly slow down to island time and enjoy everything your resort has to offer,” she says.” Most properties run on a 7-day activity program, so if you have a full week you’ll also be sure not to miss out on any specific excursion.”
Last but not least, Piazza points out that the Maldives can be quite pricey. If you’re looking for a budget honeymoon, this is likely not the best destination for you. Not only are flights expensive given the fact that it is a remote island off the coast of India, but recreational activities such as turtle snorkeling, sunset cruises, sandbank picnics and jet ski safaris are often additional costs. For this reason, Piazza usually advises her clients to decide in advance what they’re interested in. This way she can estimate the cost for on-site activities beforehand and avoid any unpleasant surprises on arrival.
6 Tips for Planning Your Maldives Honeymoon
Ready to plan your Maldives honeymoon? Take the advice of our experts before you do.
1. Choose the right island
Believe it or not, there are 1,200 islands in total that make up the Maldives, so it’s important to choose the right one for your honeymoon. If you’re looking for a romantic and intimate setting, Matt James, travel expert with Visitingly, recommends opting for an adults only resort. “For something a little more active, there are plenty of island resorts that offer a range of activities and excursions,” he says.
2. Pick the right resort
First thing first: Decide if you want all-inclusive or not. All-inclusive means that you pay upfront for the full experience. This usually means lodging, meals and all activities with the exception of gratuity. “Some properties offer a choice of meal plans, while others are strictly all-inclusive,” notes Piazza. “Alcohol in particular is very expensive in the Maldives. So just know that if having free-flowing champagne is your honeymoon dream, you’ll be choosing from a much smaller pool than if you’re open to bed and breakfast rates.”
The Best Options for 2023
Some resorts that Duncan Greenfield-Turk, of Global Travel Moments, recommends include Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which was voted the “Best Hotel in the World” twice. It also boasts underwater dining and rooming. “Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is both captivating and innovative. [It] reinvented seaside luxury when it unveiled Ithaa, the world’s first undersea dining experience,” he says. For those with a larger budget, you might consider booking The Mukara. In this two-level residence you’ll have your own private underwater aquarium with a submerged master suite.
Gili Lankanfushi is another luxury resort that has a near 5-star rating. It’s just 20 minutes by boat from the nation’s capital, and is incredibly intimate and eco-friendly. “Two distinct honeymoon packages offer a breadth of romantic amenities and bespoke travel experiences, from evenings spent dining under the stars to unparalleled pampering at the Meera Spa,” says Greenfield-Turk. “Perfect for couples, the seven Crusoe Residences provide the ultimate in privacy and understated luxury.”
Soneva Fushi, known as “the original desert island hideaway,” is set right on the beach with a turquoise lagoon. “For sea-lovers and snorkelers, spacious villas on the sunset side of the island offer easy access to reefs. They are perfectly poised for dolphin-spotting,” says Greenfield-Turk. “Alternatively, the sunrise side of the island features expansive views of an endless horizon and remote reserves for extra privacy. Don’t forget to check out the impressive resort amenities, including a movie cinema and sky observatory.”
3. Consider your budget
Since the Maldives can be expensive, having a budget in mind can help during the planning process. That way you can ensure that you don’t spend more than you’d like. “There are a range of accommodation options available, from luxury villas to more affordable guesthouses,” says James. “It’s also worth considering whether you want to include meals and activities in your package.”
4. Choose the right time of year
As with most exotic destinations, there are best and worst times of the year in which to travel. The best times of year to travel to the Maldives is during their dry season from November to April. However, James points out that this is also their busiest season. That means you can expect things to be more crowded, not to mention expensive. In the wet season from May to October, you can get a bit more rain than you bargained for, but may find some better deals.
5. Get travel insurance
There’s never been a better time to consider travel insurance—especially in our post-COVID world. This is especially important if you’re traveling to a remote destination such as the Maldives, notes James. “Make sure you’re covered for any medical emergencies, as well as for lost or stolen belongings,” he says.
6. Figure out how you’ll get to the island
Internationally speaking, the only true option to fly to is the Velana Airport in the capital city of Malé. “From here you have the option to take a speedboat, seaplane or domestic flight to your resort,” says Piazza.
Most couples opt to take a seaplane, a powered fixed-wing aircraft that takes off from the water and flies above it to the island itself. “Despite the weather sometimes being tricky to navigate, the seaplane operation is both professional and impressive,” says Piazza. If you go the Seaplane route, she recommends booking through Trans Maldivian Airways, the largest seaplane operator in the world.
Word to the wise: It takes a while to get to the Maldives. For this reason, Piazza recommends a stopover in the UAE. “Not only are the Middle Eastern airlines far superior to their US and European counterparts, but a stop in Dubai, Doha or Abu Dhabi gives you the chance to beat your jet lag. You can also do some shopping and have either a first or final honeymoon dinner in some incredible restaurants,” she says.
Maldives Honeymoon FAQ
The Maldives is definitely one of the more expensive destinations you can choose, but it’s also the prettiest! On average you can expect roundtrip flights to start around $700, with most flights averaging around $1,200. Hotels range from inexpensive guest houses for under $100/night to mid-range resorts for $400/night and luxury options starting at $1,000.
Generally speaking, yes! Compared to Bora Bora, the Maldives is is the less expensive option, with hotels in Bora Bora costing about 40%-50% more on average.
The Maldives is made up of over a thousand islands and 26 atolls. While this sounds like a lot, it’s important to note that these islands typically only consist of one or two hotels. So while some can debate whether or not the north or south Maldives is better, it really just depends on which hotel you like better. One thing you do want to keep in mind, however, is the time of year you go, since there can be more or less rain in one vs. the other depending on the month. At the end of the day, though, it’s not a huge difference, so the choice is up to you.