It's no secret that the Maldives has some of the best diving in the world. This archipelago of 1,190 pearl-like islands, strewn across the Indian Ocean and spanning 26 atolls, offers something for everyone. We're talking everything from exploring shallow reefs in turquoise lagoons to embarking on deep channel dives to encountering whale sharks and manta rays. With over 160 resorts vying for your attention, the choice of where to stay can feel somewhat overwhelming. But no matter where you choose are your base, you're all but guaranteed luxurious dwellings, palm-fringed white beaches and turquoise lagoons. And for those seeking the crème de la crème of luxury dive resorts? Consider a private island. The Maldives has some of the best in the world and many lie next to excellent dive sites, have fabulous house reefs and display an unwavering dedication to the underwater environment. So, without further ado, read on to discover the top five dive resorts in the Maldives.

Maldives hotel beach on tropical Island Resort aerial drone view

Six Senses Laamu, Laamu Atoll

The remote Laamu Atoll, in southerly Maldives, is almost entirely undeveloped and rarely visited. Six Senses Laamu is the only resort in the atoll, and swooping in by seaplane feels akin to being at the edge of the world. Championing barefoot luxury, the resort's villas are discreetly nestled in the palm-fringed jungle, opening up to expansive swathes of white beach and uninterrupted vistas of the turquoise Indian Ocean.

What sets this resort apart is its unwavering dedication to conservation. The island hosts three NGOs - the Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and the Olive Ridley Project - collectively forming the Maldives Underwater Initiative to safeguard the marine environment of the Laamu Atoll. The outcome is a thriving house reef and over 30 sites teeming with marine life, including a manta cleaning station just a short distance from the resort, providing divers with a virtually exclusive experience. On land, Six Senses Laamu has implemented various eco-friendly measures by prohibiting single-use plastics, recycling all organic waste and cultivating its own vegetables, resulting in some of the freshest and most delicious cuisine in the Maldives.

Dolphins jumping at sunset in the tropical sea in the Maldives

Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Huvadhoo Atoll

The Park Hyatt Hadahaa boasts a remarkable house reef, solidifying its position among the top five dive resorts in the Maldives. Situated on the secluded and pristine island of Hadahaa, in the Huvadhoo Atoll, this exclusive resort is surrounded entirely by a vibrant and healthy house reef. Conveniently located just 160ft from the shore, and a mere 50ft from the overwater villas, the easily accessible reef caters perfectly to both divers and snorkellers.

The reef starts at a depth of three metres, before gently descending into the deep blue, and is regularly patrolled by a variety of marine life, including turtles, eagle rays, eels, octopuses and reef sharks. Venturing further into the sea, towards the east, reveals several deep channels where divers can encounter blacktip and whitetip sharks, leopard sharks, turtles, eagle rays, Napoleon wrasse and, if you're lucky, giant pods of spinner dolphins.

shoal wildlife clownfish in an sea anemone on maldives

COMO Maalifushi, Thaa Atoll

COMO Maalifushi is the only resort in the secluded Thaa Atoll in the south-western Maldives. This luxurious, isolated island getaway is almost entirely surrounded by coral, and has a spectacular house reef teeming with schools of tropical reef fish, turtles, octopuses, dolphins and the occasional reef shark. Beyond the house reef, there are thrilling channel dives and deep reefs that will appeal to advanced divers.

Between December and April, you're also virtually guaranteed to see whale sharks, and COMO Maalifushi can arrange a night snorkelling trip to see these gentle giants under the stars. On the island itself, the focus on wellness takes centre stage, featuring an exceptional spa, daily yoga and pranayama sessions. Those seeking more active adventures can surf local breaks and go stand-up paddleboarding.

Milaidhoo Island, Baa Atoll

Unlike the flashy extravagance of other resorts, Maldivian-owned Milaidhoo Island provides a more intimate and understated experience, where luxury blends with the simple pleasures of island life. The island fully embodies the spirit and culture of the Maldives, from the architecture to the cuisine - boasting the only Maldivian restaurant in the archipelago; the lobster curry, in particular, is sensational.

Set in the thriving Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the aquatic adventures are nothing short of sensational. The house reef offers myriad caves, overhangs and shallow soft coral reefs, while several deeper thilas (underwater pinnacles) are within close access of the resort. The island is also conveniently close to Hanifaru Bay, which hosts whale sharks and the world's largest aggregation of manta rays between June and November.

Whale shark swimming in clear blue waters

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavarui, Baa Atoll

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavarui, another knockout in the Baa Atoll, is everything you would expect from the uber-luxurious Four Seasons group. The impeccably designed villas are enormous, there's an award-winning Ayurvedic spa and four exceptional restaurants offering a diverse range of cuisines, from fresh seafood and Italian to Asian and Lebanese dishes. Yet, beyond its opulence, this, this luxury island distinguishes itself through its unwavering commitment to conservation, earning it a prestigious position as one of the top five dive resorts in the Maldives.

The resort's Marine Discovery Centre, spearheaded by a dedicated team of marine biologists collaborating with Reefscapers and Maldivian Ministries, actively works to safeguard the local marine environment. Guests are invited to participate in various conservation projects, contributing to initiatives such as coral-frame planting and turtle rehabilitation.