Top 10 best resorts in the Maldives for snorkeling

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Over the past weeks, I published several top 10 lists (as well as resort reviews) related to one of the most beautiful destinations on earth, the Maldives:

Today: Top 10 best resorts the Maldives for snorkeling

The Maldives stand head and shoulders above any other destination on earth when it comes to snorkeling. Most resorts feature a so-called ‘house reef’ close to their shores, where the shallow lagoon precipitously drops off into the deeper ocean waters. The house reef is that area close to the vertical drop off where the coral begins to aggregate in a kind of coral garden teeming with marine life and colorful fish. The shallow water enclosed by the house reef also serves as a large natural swimming pool and protects swimmers from the ocean waves and strong tidal currents outside the reef. Snorkeling in the waters off the Maldivian islands can bring you face to face with everything from surgeon fish, tuna, and parrot fish, to eagle rays, turtles and even hammerhead sharks. However, the quality of the house reef differs from resort to resort, and to help you, I have compiled a list of the best house reefs in the Maldives.

There is more information (with reviews and Youtube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite house reef in the Maldives in the comments section.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*** Follow me on InstagramYouTubeTwitter or Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


On a small private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean sits Baros Maldives, a heavenly Eden overlooking a glistening blue lagoon that will exceed your highest fantasy-island expectations. Elegant and secluded villas – 75 in total – with palm thatched roofs are either over water or facing the beach while a PADI diving centre, a spa with a tranquil water garden, several restaurants overlooking the sea and gentle sea breezes all ensure an unforgettable holiday. This romantic, luxury Maldives resort is especially renowned for its spectacular house reef so close to the shore that it can be explored by beginners as well as experts.



W Maldives is a luxury private island resort in a wonderland of white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons and breathtaking house coral reefs. The 5-star resort provides a cutting edge and contemporary lifestyle experience above and below the ocean. The property features 77 luxurious private escapes – each with its own plunge pool and sundeck. Six gourmet eateries and lounge bars aesthetically located across the island inviting you in for the ultimate indulgence. W Maldives ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up, and hit repeat. Whatever/Whenever. The resort also harbors one of the best house reef of the Maldives, where you can swim with reef sharks and turtles just outside your retreat.



Six Senses Laamu is the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, deep in the Indian Ocean. Just an inter-island plane trip from Malé International Airport and a short boat ride brings you to a place where dolphins swim. This eco-friendly hideaway is a surfer’s haven, with Yin Yang – the archipelago’s most famous wave break – located just offshore. The 97 rustically stylish villas, scattered about the beach and over the lagoon, feature upper decks to fully appreciate the panorama. Cocoon yourself in a treatment nest at the holistic Six Senses Spa. The house reef that encircles Six Senses Laamu is simply spectacular, with a stunning coral garden where it is very common to see Oriental Sweetlips, parrotfish and even green turtles as you make you way along it.

  • Hotel website: Six Senses Laamu
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD resort credit, and a complimentary 50 minute massage for up to two people, per room, once during stay).


At the Nautilus Maldives, the only schedule that matters is yours. Stay in one of the 26 bohemian-chic beach or overwater hideaways with perks like butler service and private pools. Enjoy the freedom of dining whenever and wherever you choose (the four dining venues have no opening or closing times). And indulge in spa treatments as soon as the mood strikes, either in one of the glass-bottomed treatment pavilions or in your villa. You can even go on an impromptu adventure in the resort’s luxury yacht. Vibrant corals and teeming sea life frame every snorkeling adventure at the Nautilus Maldives, with opportunities to witness dolphins, mantas and other marine life at every turn – all within easy swimming distance of the resort.
  • Hotel website: The Nautilus Maldives
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $150 USD food & beverage credit, and a complimentary 30 minute massage for up to two people, per room, once during stay).



Nestled at the south end of the Maldives in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort stretches across two islands with lush foliage, crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches creating a paradise sanctuary. The resort has 21 island villas, each with its own private beach and pool. Over the water, you’ll find another 16 ocean villas with steps directly down to the deep and outdoor marble baths looking out the horizon. The two enchanting hideaways of Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort are separated by 800 m (0,5 mi) of crystal blue ocean and surrounded by 4 km (2,5 mi) of house reef, providing a mesmerizing underwater experience with vibrant coral gardens famed for their abundance of fish and turtles.

  • Hotel website: Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD resort credit, and a complimentary 50 minute massage for up to two people, per room, once during stay).



Opened in November 2016, Milaidhoo is a boutique luxury resort in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, close to Hanifaru Bay, a 35 min seaplane flight from the Maldives’ capital city Male’. Not just another five-star resort in the Maldives, Milaidhoo does things differently: the resort calls it re-invented luxury. The property doesn’t think of their guests as holidaymakers but as story-tellers, crafting a dream holiday. The tiny beautiful island, abundant with tropical greenery, measures just 300 m (1000 ft) by 180 m (600 ft) and is fringed by a soft deep white sand beach. Milhaidhoo is perfect for nature lovers as the resort’s house reef, which encircles the island, is a protected area and noted as an outstanding snorkeling and diving site.



Situated on a private island 55 km (35 mi) north of the Equator in one of the world’s deepest atolls, Park Hyatt is a strikingly modern design resort. Featuring only 51 villas, the minimalist style interiors of the accommodation are designed with the utmost comfort and luxury in mind, whether nestled within the island’s tropical foliage, only steps from the ocean, or elevated above the water. All villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows, and every comfort you would expect, with some villas having the added luxury of a plunge pool. The resort is framed by one of the archipelago’s most unspoilt house reefs, providing easy access for exploration of the underwater marvels of the Indian Ocean.


Set on Kihavah Huravalhi, one of the most pristine Maldivian islands, the Anantara Kihavah Villas is a 30-minute seaplane flight from Male International Airport, an unforgettable experience in itself as the plane flies over a string of glowing coral islands amidst turquoise waters. The 79 spacious ultra-luxurious villas are either poised over the water with sweeping ocean views or nestled along a pristine stretch of private beach. At Anantara Kihavah Villas, guests are treated to a host of dining options, including an incredible underwater dining experience. The near circular island is completely surrounded by stunning coral reefs that are teeming with colorful sea creatures, offering a surreal underwater world for you to explore.


An exclusive private island resort, situated on the southernmost tip of the remote Raa Atoll, next to UNESCO biosphere reserve Baa Atoll, InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort enjoys one of the most secluded and magnificent locations in the Maldives. The property’s 81 spacious villas and residences – either located on the beach, around the lagoon or overwater – are combined with extensive wellness & leisure facilities, bespoke experiences and six restaurants & bars. A highlight of the resort is its world-class service, including being the first resort worldwide to offer Club InterContinental benefits to all guests (e.g. daily afternoon tea, evening aperitif and and all-day refreshments by the pool or beach). The ultra-luxe property is surrounded by a myriad of marine life and home to a unique and spectacular manta ray sanctuary, making it the best hotel in the Maldives to snorkel with manta rays year round (which truly sets it apart among luxury resorts in the Maldives).


Soneva Fushi, the first ‘Robinson Crusoe’ style hideaway in the Maldives, is set on the privately owned tropical island of Kunfunadhoo in Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The island – which is 1,400 m (4,600 ft) long and 400 m (1300 ft) wide – ranks among the largest islands in the Maldives. Apart from the crystal clear waters, white beaches and tropical climate, the island’s unusually rich vegetation offers a unique natural experience. Massive, multi-bedroom, fairytale-like luxury villas and private residences are hidden among dense tropical foliage. In keeping with the castaway theme, many are built to resemble tree houses. All open to their own private stretch of sugar white sands, and most boast their own private seawater swimming pools. In summer 2020, Soneva Fushi also unveiled eight fabulous water retreats, which are the largest and most luxurious overwater villas in the world. IMHO, Soneva Fushi has the longest and most superb house reef in the Maldives.

Contact me to get complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits at Soneva Fushi (e.g. best rate, resort credit, and two personalized Soneva experiences).

*** Follow me on InstagramYouTubeTwitter or Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***



  1. Well we have to believe we will get there one day Xxx

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Hello, I have been extensively throughout the Maldives for many years , with the park Hyatt being the last trip in October 2015, where I was astounded by the house reefs vitality and diversity .. very sadly I have just learned that due to El Niño in 2016, this reef is 95% bleached . My question is to you why is this information not widely available on hotel websites and also here on your recommendations? Most people do book their maldives holidays with the marine life and reef systems being of top importance and I feel that as devastating as it is, people must be correctly informed of damaged and dying reefs…

  3. All reefs in the Maldives were badly damaged after the tsunami in 2004. El Nino caused some damage as well. However, I visited the Park Hyatt Hadahaa two months ago, and I can reassure you that the reef was vibrant, alive, and breathtakingly beautiful!

  4. Thank you for the reply to my comment .. I am conflicted as I received an email directly from the dive centre who said the reef was 95% bleached and that the marine life is slowly returning yet the corals are very damaged .. unfortunately there was also a comment from someone on trip advisor who said the entire reef was ruined .. how can in be such different ends of the spectrum? I am deeply saddened as this was one of the most vibrant reefs in the Maldives as of 2 years ago ..

  5. Your not wrong Annie the house reefs (Resorts) in the Maldives are all but distroyed
    I’ve dived and snorkelled most of the above in the last 12 months and the extent of the EL NIno 2016 has devasted a lot of the worlds coral including the Maldives, even the Maldivian government has set up a task force regarding the bleaching, most house reefs are in a terrible state if you take the time to look into this issue there is lots of Data, footage, reports form divers, live aboard, scientists, unhappy tourists, I share your sadness about the state of the reefs I’ve visited over 20 resorts over the last 10 years in the Maldives, dived 100s of reefs, visited most Atolls, I was even thinking of returning this year, been talking to various tour operators and not one has mentioned to me the above issue (quotes of and around £16000 mind you)
    at these prices I would expect to be informed of any issues, the coral was only just beginning to recover after 2004, even though resorts like PHH, Baros, Angsana Mirhri were largely untouched by 2004 EL Nino a lot of other resorts were not.
    so to conclude if you can recommend to me a resort with a pristine reef ( Not Bathela) I will book this week

    Ps, this is not a Troll, I would like nothing better than to be proven wrong, Carnot see how I can be, as I’ve been to the Maldives in the last six months and seen with my own eyes and it’s all very sad.
    Pays your money takes your Chance.

  6. Bummer. This sounded like the trip or our life but I guess we will have to find another place to go snorkeling. any suggestions?

  7. Very useful. We want to go for years. I heard that W is great but vabbonfaru too . Which one do you advise, why ? And w is good everywhere ?
    Thank you

  8. Hi Georgia, I visited Baros on december 2017 and can assure you that the reef was astonishing!!! I went one day to Soneva Gili (!!) and the reef was terrible…..

  9. I have been going to the Maldives every year for the last 10 year. Before the 2016 El Niño I saw some colour coming back to the reef at Bandos (I have also visited Baros since 2016), however I have to agree the reef has again been battered and colour disappeared again. The fish however are still abundant and we still see reef sharks, rays and turtles on every visit. The Maldives is definitely still worth a visit (by people who understand how to treat a reef)

  10. What has happened to the reefs of the Maldives is nothing short of devastation. I visited this year, it has forever been a dream of mine to step off the beach and into some of the most diverse and colourful coral reefs in the world. What i actually stepped into was the most concrete undeniable evidence of rapid climate change that the tourism industry is trying to cover up. Entire ecosystems dead, only the algae covered skeletons remaining.

    It was a depressing paradise as most fish species and densities remain but this will not last if you take away their food and shelter. It’s a ticking time bomb.

    The waters are warm, the beaches are beautiful, the waters are crystal clear, the scenery is stunning and the fish are overly abundant. If you can ignore the loss of the most diverse ecosystem on the planet, it is paradise!

  11. We want to Como Malafushi in 2018 what was once a beautiful reef was affected in 2016 by El Niño and it was totally bleached and barren. We relied on the resort for that false information.
    We are looking to go back to the Maldives as we are traveling to Africa this year and with another El Niño starting do you have any idea of the properties above still have vibrant reefs. Unfortunately, the resorts we spoke to said they were all healthy and vibrant which we know is not true. Snorkeling is a big deal for us.

  12. How. Is the Status of the corals at the Moment at these ten resorts the luxury travel expert? Are the corals healthy and how many species are there?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.