With its top-tier resorts and secluded beaches lapped by aquamarine waters, the Maldives is rightly considered the pinnacle of far-flung luxury destinations. But staying on top means never resting on your desert island laurels. After closing its borders for a while, the blindingly beautiful Indian Ocean archipelago has reopened to travelers with a handful of shiny new hotels and revamped classics. Here we dive deep into the best resorts in the Maldives.

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A two bedroom villa in Patina

Georg Roske

Maldives patina

This island getaway for aesthetes is one of the smartest resorts to open this year — a particular achievement during a pandemic. It is the first of a progressive new brand of hotels from Capella. (The second will be in Ubud, where Bill Bensley’s Capella Ubud is one of the parent brand’s flagship properties.) Patina and the recently opened Ritz-Carlton are also the first hotels to be built on the artificial Fari Islands in the atoll. from North Male. . With limited space, man-made islands are nothing new to the Maldives, but here, serious sustainability efforts and conservation projects go a long way in mitigating the environmental impact of construction. The resort is the first hotel for Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan, who brought his vision of tropical modernism to the Indian Ocean. In tune with movement, the architecture encourages interaction with nature: The long linear wooden structures are open to the elements and cooled by swirling fans and perforated screens, creating a chiaroscuro dance of light and shadow. Bespoke furniture by Dedon and Italian designer Paola Lenti sits under triangular sunshades suspended between towering palm trees. Then there’s the art collection, which includes a Skyspace light installation by James Turrell used by Rishikesh’s yoga gurus to hold classes. In the evening, when the room is lit in purple, the opening in the ceiling frames the moon. The resort’s 90 pool villas aren’t the largest in the Maldives, but they impress in other ways, with glass walls that retract on three sides. In the bathrooms, there are seaweed exfoliating soaps from Haeckels, and at bedtime, vitamins appear on the pillows instead of chocolates. The Flow Spa, where treatment rooms look like sugar cubes tossed into tall grass, offers high-tech therapies — flotation pods, LED light therapy, Iris sound immersions — as well as rituals like an experience out of body in the Watsu Pool with Balinese healer Purnomo Diretno. Patina also has eight bars and restaurants, each exceptional. The next generation of the Maldives starts here.

Expertly prepared asparagus at Roots, the resort’s plant-based restaurant

Georg Roske

An aerial view of Patina Helio’s beachfront restaurant

Georg Roske

Relax in a water villa

Georg Roske

Turquoise Holidays is offering seven nights in a beach pool villa from $7,716 pp, including breakfast, international flights from New York and transfers. All other prices listed in this feature are also via Turquoise Holidays.

JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa

There’s not a hibiscus plant out of place in this Indian Ocean escape located in the far northern Shaviyani Atoll. The nearby islands are mostly undeveloped so the seaplane transfer, at around an hour, is a little longer than most, but the payoff comes in the form of endless horizons, expanses of uninterrupted seas and crystal clear night skies. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from one end of the island to the other, making it medium-sized by Maldivian standards. Offshore there is a large house reef where you can see large white tip reef sharks, moray eels and clouds of schooling fish. For greater marine thrills, a cruise with dolphins allows you to observe thousands of them, and a fishing expedition reveals sailboats the size of small children. Back on dry land, there are two main pools, a glass-walled spa, and a gigantic kids’ club, not to mention 60 pool villas shaped like upside-down galleons. There are both water and land options; jump first in favor of a vast patch of bougainvillea-shrouded sand just yards from the ocean. The duplexes, with their living rooms upstairs, are perfect for families. Inside, the décor strays from the usual chic Maldivian teak towards soft shades of blue and amethyst. Of the five superb restaurants, lunch-only Kaashi stands out for its authentic Thai. There are also three bars, including one by the pool with the Missoni stripes at the bottom, and another serving 98 types of rum inside a tree house overlooking the beach. While there aren’t many surprises, this is a neat version of the tropical paradise plan.

Seven nights in a duplex beach villa from $22,420 for two, including breakfast and seaplane transfers

A two-bedroom villa at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Maldives

Crusoe Residences, accessible by boat, in Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

Tim Evan Cook

Dinner at the Peruvian-Japanese restaurant in Gili By the Sea

Tammy Gan

Gili Lankanfushi

When this North Malé Atoll location came into being just over 20 years ago, Malé International Airport was little more than a tin hangar, postcards were the main mode of communication and most islands lacked regular electricity. Now Gili Lankanfushi is considered easily accessible (a speedboat transfer of just 20 minutes), yachts and seaplanes ply the ocean and sky from morning to night, and nearby islands have lampposts and a Coca Cola. But relax, some things never change. This hotel is still located in one of the most beautiful lagoons in the country, a vision of wide white sand beaches, shape-shifting sandbars and waters that dance from peacock green to sapphire blue. All villas are on stilts above the water, keeping the island unspoilt and the beaches dazzling. When a fire ravaged the resort in 2019, it was an opportunity for renewal. Interiors have been revamped with handmade wooden furniture and woven lampshades sourced from sustainable suppliers in Bali; bathrooms are now stocked with organic potions and reef-safe sunscreen. For the ultimate undisturbed energy, lock yourself away in one of Robinson Crusoe’s wooden villas on the edge of the lagoon, accessible only by a small pontoon, and stretch out on your rooftop terrace tracing the column spine of Scorpio across the night sky. Return to the island for sunrise yoga; beach and jungle restaurants where ingredients come fresh from the boat or are sourced from organic gardens; and expert therapists from Thailand, Bali and India at Meera Spa. Baby corals grown on ropes in the house reef will eventually be replanted in the sea with the aim of creating reefs that are more resilient to bleaching due to climate change. (They also double as an underwater hammock for a large green sea turtle that stops by most days.) That seven-year-old coral restoration program, as much as the dream location and impeccable service, is the reason why Gili Lankanfushi always stands above the crowd. .