Maldives Ranked The No. 1 Destination In The World — Here’s Why

The Maldives, a group of secluded island resorts in the Indian Ocean, has been ranked The World’s Leading Destination by the World Travel Awards, which took place November 27, 2020. This is the first time the Maldives has been voted the world’s number one destination by World Travel Awards.

How legitimate is the World Travel Awards to rank Maldives as the number one destination?

The World Travel Awards is an organization founded in 1993 that ranks the best in travel, including leading destination, leading hotel and leading tourist board. Travel industry professionals vote for the best of the best (unlike some other travel awards programs, where readers or a panel of editors who may not know travel well have a say in votes), so the organization’s awards are often regarded as noting true excellence in travel.

Kudadoo maldives
Kudadoo in Maldives.

The Maldives has always been a top destination for travelers. While it’s an exclusive destination, it’s hard for Americans to get to. Travel time can take up to 24 hours to reach Maldives from the United States (there are no direct flights).

Once you arrive at Male International Airport, you have to take a small plane or boat, depending on the island resort you booked. If it’s not near the main island, you’ll likely take a small puddle jumper, and you could possibly take a connecting puddle jumper or boat ride after, so arriving at your resort can easily take more than 24 hours.

Maldives allowing American tourists during Covid-19
One & Only Reethi Rah in Maldives.

The Maldives is also very expensive. A round-trip flight from the U.S. can cost you up to $2,000. The puddle jumpers average $500 to $1000 per round-trip. And resorts in the Maldives average $1,000 a night (some resorts are cheaper, around $300 to 500 a night, but they lack the whimsical flair, the high-end meals, the backbending service and the unique amenities—like underwater spa or ice skating rink—the Maldives is known for).

However, once you arrive, you enter paradise that many Americans haven’t seen (less than 1% of Americans have visited the Maldives).

When you check into a luxury resort, you’ll stay in a beach villa or overwater villa. Both room categories are oversized, likely bigger than your entire apartment back home (some bungalows and villas I’ve stayed in the Maldives was, at minimum, quadruple the size of my 500 square foot apartment).

5.8 undersea restaurant
5.8 Undersea restaurant in Maldives.

In the Maldives, travelers are surrounded by nothing but crystal clear sea as warm as bathwater. Due to the limited number of travelers staying at one island resort, you feel like you have the island all to yourself. If you go on the beach, you essentially will not see more than 1 other person (if at all), since many villas sprawl on their own beach, and honeymooners tend to stay in their villas.

Jumeirah vittaveli beach villa
Jumeirah VIttaveli, Maldives.

There are no crowds, no nightlife, no shopping center and no stress in the Maldives. This is one of the reasons why Maldives is the world’s number one destination.

What does a typical day look like?

You wake up around 6 am. You jump off your private overwater bungalow into the warm sea right at your private terrace for a wake-up swim. You order an extravagant room service breakfast-in-bed (many resorts include breakfast in the rates), which can include eggs, sausage, fish, soups, Japanese breakfasts, Chinese breakfasts, Middle Eastern breakfasts… the options are endless).

Then you spend the afternoon swimming in the sea, lazing on the white sand beach, or doing an excursion, whether it’s a private sail or visiting a remote island.

Beach at Baros Maldives
Beach at Baros Maldives.

You’ll have a decadent lunch (most luxury resorts serve all types of cuisine, from Indian and Southeast Asian to Italian and French). You can book a spa treatment, having a massage in the privacy of your bungalow, on the beach or the spa. Many spas offer glass floors in the treatment rooms so you can see the swim fish below, as well as over-the-top spas like the underwater Spa at Huvafen Fushi.

You’ll spend the next several hours in the comfort of your bungalow, swimming in your private pool (most accommodations at five-star resorts have their own pool) then get ready for dinner, whether its on the beach under the stars or a special place lit up with tiki torches.

stingray feeding in maldives
Stingray feeding in Maldives.

The Maldives simply is one of the best destinations in the world.

To see some of the unique things you can only find in the Maldives, read here or check out our Youtube video below.

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More stories:

4 tips on how to afford the Maldives

You can live at this 5-star Maldives resort for $2,500 a month

The secret to booking an entire resort for yourself — without paying extra

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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