Can perfection ever be improved upon? In the Maldives, the only luxury water villa upgrade left was the installation of a glass floor. Often in the most unexpected of places. We’ve tottered over them in bathrooms, pushed aside heavier-than-they-look footstools and even leaned over the side of the bed to peer through reinforced glass. Handful of oddly placed sea windows aside, there’s something inexplicably entertaining about watching life play out on the sea floor below you.
For the sceptical, this can rival scuba diving in the Maldives. When last we checked, nibbling on canapés dressed only in a luxury robe wasn’t part of the requisite PADI course. In the name of research, we’ve taken on the arduous task of finding the best glass-floor villas in the Maldives. Be warned, the following list may drastically increase your desire to rethink your Maldives diving holiday schedule and set aside time for something a little more leisurely instead.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Even if you haven’t been glued to the travel hashtags, Conrad’s Maldives underwater restaurant may have pinged your radar. Strewn with accolades, and more than a smattering of tropical fish, the views and haute cuisine menu are world beating. What the gastro reviews won’t tell you? Maldives glass floors don’t get much bigger than those in Conrad’s elegant Sunset Water Villas. They also neglect to mention the rotating beds. Disappointingly, despite the nod to Austin Powers, we have yet to see any ill-tempered sea bass swim by.
Six Senses Laamu
The interior designer at Six Senses Laamu has really embraced the immersive experience vibe. Yes, the sunken glass bathtub is novel, but with excellent snorkelling in the waters below, is it strictly necessary? No, but it’s worth taking a soak for the sharp thrill of a shoal of fish seeing you in the altogether. Thankfully Six Senses has tempting offerings to back up its unconventional bathtub. A picnic for two on a nearby deserted island? A swim-past from a squadron of manta rays? If we’re honest, we were won over the second we discovered the all-you-can-eat ice cream bar. 40 flavours is a lot to get through in a week…
There’s aspirational dreaming and then there’s this. The King Grand Overwater Villa with Pool at the Waldorf Astoria. Your own pool, daybeds, dining gazebo and overwater catamaran nets – amongst many, many other (very pricey) amenities. The location of the glass floor is, of course, in the dressing room. Multi-tasking at its opulent best.
Cinnamon Lagoon Hukuraa Haraa
Cinnamon’s water bungalows immediately stand out. Obligatory Maldives glass floor aside, their designer has managed to do something different with the classic house-on-stilts theme you’ll see repeated atoll after atoll. Each water bungalow proudly sits within a lagoon made for glass floor viewing.
There aren’t as many resort facilities available when comparing against its counterparts, but you do have the entire Indian Ocean to frolic in. Expect to see juvenile sharks swimming under the floor, along with octopi and rays. If you get the chance, join the manta ray snorkel swim or the shark trip. You’ll also see nurse sharks – they look imposing, but are docile enough to tolerate you floating by.
Let’s be honest. A glass floor in the Maldives doesn’t come cheap. Which is really our way of bracing you for what comes next. Lux Resorts on the South Ari Atoll has a LUX villa that will decimate even the most robust travel budget. And, perhaps, stir your luxury travel loins. A week in August you say? $23,000. You’ll be pleased to know that while the price may be steep, they have seen fit to pop a kettle in the villa. Because what use is a glass floor to peek through without a decidedly decadent cuppa? Joking aside, this is something seriously special.
Adaaran Club Rannalhi
If you’re wondering how you’ll fund a Maldives glass floor experience without auctioning a family heirloom, this is the resort for you. Let’s not dare to brand it cheap, but we can perhaps stretch to affordable. Pleasingly, Adaaran Club Rannalhi has plenty going for it besides the glass floors. Firstly, you can get here by speedboat from Male. A huge plus for anyone wary of setting foot in a seaplane. The reef is well-stocked – meaning plenty of swim-by action on your glass floor. And, it may be a buffet restaurant, but we’d put it firmly in the lavish category.
Robinson Club Maldives
If you’re keen to avoid the splish-splash of little ones, an adult-only break can only enhance your Maldives zen. Afterall, a glass floor beneath your coffee table is of little use if it’s littered with Duplo bricks. Robinson’s lagoon villas are chic enough to warrant the high price tag, but it’s the Body & Mind course on the sands that really won us over. Wellness here goes beyond a few hastily scheduled yoga classes. Healthy menus, a spa, water sports and a gym keep this resort decidedly wholesome. And because life’s all about balance, there’s champagne, gourmet dining and room service too.
Special Mention: The Coco Collection Sunset Lagoon Villa
In a possible last-minute addition to their floor plans, Coco Collection added a small glass porthole to their villas. Though, questions do need to be answered about the viability of putting it at the bottom of the plunge pool. It’s not that we’re averse to a brave design choice every once in a while, but there are better Maldives diving experiences to be found. So, while this one doesn’t quite take the crown for best Maldives glass floor, it perhaps clinches first place for the most random.
There’s a relaxing spot in a water villa just waiting to be taken. We’d recommend downloading tropical fish species identification app and, while you’re in the app store, download Orbzii and starting dreaming, planning and booking your Maldives holiday. You’ll thank us later.