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Maldives unwrapped: the luxury Christmas alternative

Words by Hannah Ross
5 min read

For all its calm waters and emphasis on relaxation, some may be surprised to learn that the Maldives loves a party. If there is one time to experience its electric atmosphere, make it the 2024 festive period. Where the resorts burst into a world of colourful celebrations and delectable dinners, and the sand banks become Santa’s grotto.

Stories for... The Head
Spending December in the Maldives may mean swapping the chilly weather for up to seven hours of daylight warmth, but it doesn’t mean sacrificing the merriment. And here at Carrier we know exactly where to find it.
Photo 1. Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Indian Ocean, Maldives, Six Senses Laamu, Ocean Beach Villa with pool
Photo 2. Six Senses Laamu
Indian Ocean, Maldives, Vakkaru Maldives, Child On Beach
Photo 3. Vakkaru Maldives
  • Photo 1. Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
  • Photo 2. Six Senses Laamu
  • Photo 3. Vakkaru Maldives

Traditions with a twist 

From decorations to gift giving, traditions vary in each household but there are always a few everyone can agree on. These much-loved past-times aren’t left behind in the winter sun though. On Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi's beaches, everyone gathers in anticipation for the tree lighting ceremony, and squeals of delight ring out as children greet Santa after his stylish entrance on a catamaran. Six Senses Laamu combines time-honoured Christmas dinner with the new tradition of diving its own remote atoll. Meanwhile, Vakkaru Maldives puts a tropical spin on things with crafts like beachy wreath making, coconut painting and Santa sand art.  

Father Christmas doesn’t play favourites. He can be found greeting excited children on the beaches of these islands too:
Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani

A bird's eye view of an evening dinner on the beach, people are gathered around a circular table and the sand is lined with lanterns

Soneva Fushi

A delightful duo 

Combine one of the largest islands in the Maldives with its mostly overwater sister and you’ve got a recipe that rivals that of Grandma’s famous Christmas cake. At this time of year, the lush shores of Soneva Fushi in the Baa Atoll and glittering lagoon of Soneva Jani play host to the likes of Michelin-starred chefs, sporting icons and Father Christmas himself. Let alone the child-approved fun in the region’s largest kids’ club, The Den, and a New Year’s Eve culinary journey inspired by the elements. If there’s not enough time to experience it all it’s no matter. With both islands able to offer the same experiences, there’s no missing out after checking out.  

Indian Ocean, Maldives, Patina Maldives, Fahr Art Installation

Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

Indian Ocean, Maldives, InterContinental Maldives, Biking

InterContinental Maldives

Bonding time 

For a lot of families, Christmas is the time to come together. Forget the obligatory nativity and charades though, this region knows how to put that extra sparkle into festive family time. Alongside a Christmas Eve dinner inspired by Yuletides from around the globe, the kids’ fashion show at InterContinental Maldives allows children to express their creativity while parents look on with pride. On the sands of Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, some friendly competition is on the cards with family football tournaments. In the evenings, the beach is transformed into a cosy cinema under the stars prepped with a campfire, treats and all the silver screen Christmas classics.   

From football to horse racing, sporting events dominate the festive period. And these hotels are no exception:

    • Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

      Wimbledon comes in winter when practicing your swing with the two tennis legends the resort partners with. They’re also on hand for training tips and routine advice. 

    • Six Senses Laamu

      As the only dive resort in the atoll, guests at Six Senses are almost guaranteed to have the dive sites to themselves. A rarity when it comes to one of the best diving regions in the world.

    • Vakkaru Maldives

      With over 10-years’ experience and a former national Slovenian team member, Vakkaru’s resident tennis coach, Miha Plesnik, leads sessions to help guests practice or is simply available for a fun match.

Festive on the

Indian Ocean, Maldives, COMO Maalifushi, Aerial of the beach

Festive on the

Festivities aren’t for everyone, and the Maldives provides plenty of distractions in itself, so, for some, a low-key retreat is the way forward. While still wrapped in a magical embrace that surfaces during special dinners and kids’ club activities, time at COMO Maalifushi during the festive season is a little more discreet. With the likes of dive packages offering 20 complimentary dives per stay and daily yoga to gear up for the day; champagne cruises setting the evening’s tone as the sun sets; and nighttime whale shark snorkelling — an experience even the most extravagant of festivities finds hard to rival. 

COMO Maalifushi
Sunset fire ring at edge of pool with staff members at Ritz-Carlton Fari Islands

The Ritz-Carlton Fari Islands

Indian Ocean, Maldives, St Regis Vommuli Resort, beach drinks

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

New Year’s Eve 

The festive season isn’t reserved for children; grown-ups are deserving of a bit of magic too. So, while twinning the luxurious St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort with the vivacious Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands keeps families occupied with the jolliest of activities, the pair also caters to adults. St. Regis’ Iridium Spa offers a holistic end to the year with treatments aimed at sending guests into the next rejuvenated and recharged. Ritz-Carlton then sees in that same New Year in dazzling style with a Gala Dinner accompanied by entertainment from gilded performers, aerial dancing and a spectacular firework finale.  

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