A useful article for those who are just starting to plan their dream vacation. I will tell you where and how to book accommodation in Maldives, what to expect from the accommodation options in the country, and what the tourist tax is. You will also find information on what to look for when booking a hotel or guesthouse.

It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Maldives without these websites

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Flight tickets

package tours maldives island
eSIM internet

maldives top hotels

Accommodation options in the Maldives: what to know

This article mainly focuses on local islands and accommodation options in the Maldives, specifically on them. If you are looking for a package tour to a good resort on a resort island, then you will find a useful article at this link: Maldives tour packages: general information and what to look for when choosing.

On local islands, where independent tourists travel to, all accommodation options are represented by three types of lodging:

  • Hotels
  • Villas
  • Guesthouses

Interesting to know:

These are all names on paper, in fact, they are all guesthouses and there is no difference between them. And overall, guesthouses are the most popular type of accommodation in Maldives on local islands.
apartments maldives
Here’s what the courtyards of guesthouses on local islands look like. There may be 4-8 rooms for guests here.

A guesthouse in the Maldives is a house or several houses on shared territory, where each room is rented out separately. Here’s what you can expect to find in any guesthouse:

  • A spacious room and bed
  • A separate private bathroom
  • A small green area shared by all guests
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • There’s often a shared mini-kitchen with a kettle, water, and tea for all guests.
  • There’s also often a small seating area or balcony outside your room.
  • Air conditioning
  • Hot water (boiler)
hotel in the maldives
The standard room in almost any guesthouse: accommodation in Maldives mostly looks like this.

But here are some things that may not be in the accommodation you book in the Maldives:

  • private kitchen. It’s not available anywhere, and renting apartments with kitchens like in any European city is almost impossible. It’s a national peculiarity.
  • Often there is no refrigerator in the room, but there is one in the shared kitchen.
  • In 99% of guesthouses, there won’t be a swimming pool.
what does accommodation in maldives look like
And this is the bathroom. It’s also standard.

Guesthouses are a budget option for budget-conscious travelers. The average price in the Maldives on local islands is $50-80 per day. This is much cheaper than paying $250-400 per day in a resort hotel.

Where and how to book accommodation in Maldives: what to look for

It’s simple. Search and book on any major global hotel aggregator, from Booking to Agoda. Below, I’ll provide a couple of links; search everywhere and book where it’s cheaper. It’s safe and reliable everywhere, and the aggregator protects your booking in case of force majeure. Even if you arrive on the island and your accommodation in Maldives is unavailable or there are no vacancies, the aggregator will promptly solve your problem. Or, as was the case with us, we found another accommodation on-site, sent them the bill, and they compensated us for everything.

Here are two cool resources with the most complete database of accommodation in Maldives on local islands:

  • Booking – the world’s largest site for booking accommodation
  • Hotellook – compares prices among dozens of other booking services and offers you the best price.
how to book accommodation in  Maldives
And this is another one of our rooms from our latest trip. These types of rooms typically cost around $50-80 per day for a couple on average throughout the islands.

Things to consider when booking accommodation in Maldives:

  • Does it include breakfast? Many places offer breakfast included in the cost of the accommodation, but it doesn’t necessarily make it more expensive. Having breakfast in the morning is important since most eateries on the islands don’t operate in the mornings and you won’t have a kitchen, so having breakfast included makes your stay much more comfortable.
  • How far is the mosque from your accommodation? The country is Muslim, and there will be prayer calls from the minaret every day at 5 am. It’s best to choose accommodation at least 200-300 meters away from the mosque. It’s not always possible since the islands are small, but try your best.

My advice: something that’s difficult to confirm beforehand is the type of power sockets available. The sockets in the Maldives are of the English type, and some guesthouses have adapters or universal sockets, but most do not, so you will need to bring your own adapter. Here’s a useful checklist of things to bring on your Maldives trip.

Always check the map!

Let me explain. If you’ve used aggregator websites for booking accommodation before, you’ll know that when you select a location, they will automatically suggest other interesting options nearby based on their rating or price. This is a convenient feature, but not for the Maldives.

  • There are many small islands here, so it’s possible to be searching for accommodation on one island and be shown a great option just 2-3 km away from your location.
  • Even if you like what you see, open the map and check since it’s possible that the accommodation is actually on a neighboring island!
guest houses maldives
Looking for accommodation in Maldives on one island, but the system offers me options on neighboring islands, so be careful.

Tourist tax: who pays and when

Another important point that may slightly spoil your impression is that the Maldives has a tourist tax, known as the Green Tax. Every tourist must pay for each night spent in the country.

  • On resort islands, it is $6 per person per day.
  • On local islands and Malé, it is $3.

Here’s where things get confusing: sometimes it’s included in the price, sometimes it’s listed separately. Sometimes it’s not included in the price at all, and you have to pay it when you arrive at your hotel. Some places accept credit cards, while others only accept cash. It’s different everywhere.

But the total amount is not small: 10 days for two on a local island is $60. And on a resort island, it’s $120. When booking, try to pay attention to this. Aggregators try to indicate this.

book hotel maldives
Note: there is also a tourist tax listed here, plus $185. And breakfast is included in the price for this accommodation option.

Travel tips

And a few tips:

  • Read a separate article about the cost of a vacation in the Maldives or how much it will cost on local islands.
  • Guesthouses are a great option for tourists who want to visit the Maldives but aren’t ready to pay $400 per night on resort islands.
  • Always look for guesthouses that include breakfast; finding a open restaurant on a local island at 9am can be a real problem.
  • There are a lot of mosquitoes in the Maldives, so mosquito nets on windows are a big plus. And bring a plug in repeller from home.
  • And try not to book accommodation right next to mosques, you’ll thank yourself later.
  • Read this article to find out how to fly to the Maldives cheaply.

In conclusion: accommodation in Maldives is practically represented by one option – guesthouses. You won’t find apartments with kitchens from local residents, aparthotels, hotels from world chains with buildings that are 20-30-100 stories tall. The highest buildings on local islands are 2-3 stories. But at the same time, the room always has everything you need and is created for comfortable living.

If you enjoyed the article and the content in this guide, you can buy me a coffee ^_^

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives

  • Flight tickets and the best deals
  • Tour packages (from budget to luxury): Expedia
  • Hotels and guesthouses on any island:
    • Hotellook compares prices among a dozen other services and platforms and offers to choose the best one.
    • Booking – the most popular service for booking accommodation.
    • Agoda – the main competitor of Booking.
  • 12go is the largest Asian transfer service. It gathers all Maldivian carriers, even the small ones that operate between local islands.
  • Tours and excursions: Viator – a limited selection of excursions, but convenient and reliable.
  • Comprehensive insurance: EKTA
  • eSIM at the same price as in telecom office in Male.