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Local Island Hotels

Locally lived-on islands

We’re partial to daydreaming about a blissful week or two in the Maldives, and can while away plenty of hours thinking about those impossibly pristine sands and turquoise-clear waters... the photos don’t lie! But for us, the full cherry-on-the-cake wish fulfillment includes a good sprinkling of the archipelago’s history and culture too. Just beyond the archipelago’s blissful beaches is a wealth of local culture to discover in the islands’ small and vibrant communities. A stay at a welcoming resort on a local island makes the Maldives experience even richer, with real connections and immersion in daily life. 

Staying on a locally lived-on island, as opposed to a resort-only option, gives you the chance to experience the depth of the archipelago in laid-back comfort, and still enjoy a sprinkling of luxury here and there. Discover the gentle bustle of the country’s working towns and coastal villages whilst soaking up the golden sands, sumptuous spas and sparkling seas.


On locally lived-on islands throughout the archipelago, conveniently located and laid back, with plenty of the classic Maldives paradise ambiance.

A little more detail

  • Local culture & connection

  • Laid-back atmosphere

  • Water sports & diving

  • Fresh seafood & local cuisine

From a client…

We took things at our own pace without ever feeling rushed. Snorkelling was a highlight, and we really loved heading to the local cafes for some traditional treats.

Image gallery

People eating fruit in the Maldives
Colourful houses in the Maldives
Lobsters ready to eat in the Maldives
Water sports at Olive Goidhoo
Picture-perfect beach in the Maldives

Why we love it

Discover what to expect from staying at Local Island Hotels

Olive Goidhoo

While the Maldives is famed for its uber-luxury hideaways, the Olive Goidhoo is proof that there are options out there that deliver the full Maldives package within a thriving local community. There are several fruit and vegetable farms, as well as a handful of locally-owned restaurants and cafes where you can rub shoulders with those who call this corner of paradise home. The Olive’s uncomplicated yet welcoming spaces are the perfect balance, keeping you connected to the destination in a low-key, sustainably focused way. The self-contained suites feel bright and homely, with private balconies for enjoying an early morning cuppa with a view.

Sunset over the Olive Goidhoo

Sama Garden, Fehendhoo

Hidden away on a tiny locally-lived-on island, about an hour and a half’s boat journey from Male, Sama Garden Fehendhoo is about as far away from the city rush as you can get. This resort offers a laid-back slice of that typically Maldives paradise pie, with relaxed, cosy beach-washed suites facing idyllic golden sands and clear waters. Step straight into the sea for a shoreline snorkel from the resort’s private beach, or head out into deeper waters for a diving trip beneath the waves. Beach cabanas hidden beneath shady palms are the perfect spots for taking things easy, and there’s a welcoming, family-friendly vibe throughout.

Sunloungers at Sama Garden Fehendhoo

Island Luxury Dive Hotel, Fulhadhoo

The waters around Fulhadhoo Island wash over a colourful house reef, part of the larger Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which plays host to dozens of key marine species including turtles and manta rays, making it a divers’ paradise. The resort’s focus is right at the heart of this underwater world, with the onsite Maldives Passions Underwater Institute taking both beginners and experienced divers out to discover it. The island’s local community are front and centre of the resort’s success, with aspects ranging from the design of the guest experience to the construction of the buildings themselves having a strong local connection.

Private terrace at Island Luxury Dive Hotel Fulhadhoo Maldives

Tranquila Maldives, Rasdhoo

Situated right on the sands of Rasdhoo Bikini Beach, this welcoming resort puts you in the heart of the local community on the tiny island of Rasdu, which is really a village with a beach! With a 1km-long house reef just offshore, the island is one of the best in the local area for diving and snorkelling, and great for exploring from the shore if the conditions are right (and you’ve remembered your swimming shoes to walk over the rocks with ease). With just a handful of rooms, the resort has a homely, boutique feel. Dine al fresco on the sand, paddle in crystal-clear waters and head out to explore the island’s daily rhythms.

Villas on the sand at Tranquila Maldives

Community Connections

Staying on a locally lived-on island gives you the opportunity to experience modern Maldivian culture, and ensures that more of your travel spend goes directly to the communities that make these islands so special.

We think you may like this journey…

Tea country in Sri Lanka

Maldives & Sri Lanka Cultural Journey

Combine a deeper exploration of Sri Lanka and the Maldives in one journey, creating a nuanced trip that looks beyond the headline beach bliss. Compare and contrast both destinations’ inspiring conservation projects, wildlife habitats, intricate cultures and local rhythms to gain distinctive insight into Sri Lankan and Maldivian ways of life. 

Price from: £3,990 US$4,590
Ideal length 14 nights
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