If there’s one place in the world that deserves to be called paradise, it’s the Maldives.

Just picture those idyllic islets, surrounded by surreal turquoise lagoons, topped with white sand and swaying palm trees. And then, just to complete the fantasy, throw in your own luxurious beach house, complete with outdoor jacuzzi facing the endless ocean, a hammock hanging between two bending trees, and your very own butler serving you exotic cocktails and fine food.

Okay, enough dreaming. If you’re looking to escape the frantic pace and chaos of everyday life, to a place where time really does stand still, then book at stay at one of these must-visit private island resorts in the Maldives. You could be waking up in one of the world’s most naturally beautiful settings – with no need to pinch yourself.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Four Season at Landaa Giraavaru is a luxury resort with all the tropical island trimmings you expect; shimmering turquoise waters; the finest, golden sand; and uniquely beautiful accommodations.

Over-water villa at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Over-water villa at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Photo: Four Seasons

The remote resort, spread throughout Landaa Giraavaru’s vast natural wilderness, features 103 thatched bungalows and villas in a contemporary Maldivian design, each with their own beach access, pool and lush private gardens. Equally ideal for a romantic break with your partner, or for an activity-packed adventure with the whole family, Four Season at Landaa Giraavaru is the 5-star island resort you have been dreaming of.

Check availability and book here.

One&Only Reethi Rah

A standout all-villa resort in the Maldives, One&Only Reethi Rah is one of the most beautiful resorts in the world. Set amongst a string of coral atolls, lagoons, and bleach-white sands, the resort offers ultra-luxe hospitality, supreme privacy, and the best 5-star service.

Lap pool at One&Only Reethi Rah

Lap pool at One&Only Reethi Rah

Photo: One&Only Reethi Rah

130 huge private villas are either set along the island’s secluded beach, nestled within the lush tropical greenery, or perched above the glassy waters of the lagoon. Venture out your villa and take advantage of the resort’s world-class spa, try your hand at diving and snorkelling, or peruse the three on-site boutiques. One&Only Reethi Rah is a true Maldivian paradise.

Check availability and book here.

  1. Naladhu Maldives

Translated as ‘beautiful island’ in Maldivian, Naladhu is one of the region’s most breathtaking luxury resorts. Spacious villas and houses offer a mix of privacy and opulence, each with its own private pool fronting the azure Indian Ocean, outdoor bathtub, and swinging day beds.

The 'beautiful island' of Naladhu

The ‘beautiful island’ of Naladhu

Photo: Anantara

With only 20 accommodations, the exclusive resort is perfect if you’re looking for an all-encompassing escape from the world. Take a saunter around your serene paradise island and you will come across a number of kayaks – just climb in to explore the surrounding crystal clear waters.

Check availability and book here.

  1. Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

Offering an alluring mix of luxury and tropical seclusion on a beautiful coral island, Gili Lankafushi is widely thought of as one of the world’s finest water villa resorts. And it’s easy to see why.

Unique rustic Villa at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

Unique rustic Villa at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

Photo: Gili Lankanfushi

The 5-star resort incorporates 45 rustic over-water villas made from natural wood and glass. From these accommodations, your floating home, the sparkling blue sea stretches out as far as you can see. One of the highlights of theses beautiful villas is the glass-bottomed bathtubs, where you can relax while watching the exotic sea life swim in the crystalline waters beneath. Truly mesmerising!

Check availability and book here.

  1. The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

One of the newest (it opened November 1, 2016) and most impressive private island resorts in the Maldives, St Regis Maldives Vommuli is about as idyllic as it gets.

St Regis Maldives Vommuli opened in November 2016

St Regis Maldives Vommuli opened in November 2016

Photo: St Regis

Boasting pristine beaches, stunning over-water accommodations, and world-class facilities, this 5-star resort should be one every traveller’s bucket list. It has 77 beautiful villas – some sitting above the water, some shrouded in lush tropical greenery – each served by St Regis’ iconic butlers, as well as a luxurious over-water spa, outdoor tennis courts, and ‘The Library’ business centre, where you can keep up to date with work. Although work will be the last thing on your mind at this tropical heaven on earth.

Check availability and book here.

  1. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Spread across the Emboodhu Finolhu, a tropical island renowned for its rich flora and fauna, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa is an oasis of indulgence, pampering, and luxury.

With 64 sea-view villas and suites - Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

With 64 sea-view villas and suites – Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Photo: Taj Hotels

With 64 spacious sea-view villas and suites embedded within the island’s lush vegetation, the resort maintains a balance with nature whilst providing lavish amenities, including fine dining at two restaurants, an atmospheric bar, and a sleek spa. The resort’s world-famous, award-winning presidential suite is, undoubtedly, one of the most stunning hotel accommodations on earth.

Check availability and book here.

Cocoa Island by COMO

A postcard-perfect getaway, Cocoa Island by COMO is the understated older sister to the newly opened Maalifushi by COMO, another impressive Maldivian resort.

Dhoni-inspired suites at Cocoa Island by COMO

Dhoni-inspired suites at Cocoa Island by COMO

Photo: COMO

Whilst Cocoa Island may have less extravagances Maalifushi, it makes up for it with style, character, and intimacy. Service is exceptional and the resort’s 33 over-water suites amaze with their unique dhoni boat-inspired design. The resort also offers holistic wellness treatments at COMO Shambhala Retreat, South Indian-influenced cuisine, and world-class diving and snorkelling.

Check availability and book here.

  1. Velaa Private Island

One of the true ‘private’ islands in the Maldives, Velaa Island is owned by eccentric Czech billionaire Jiri Smejc, who has created himself a billionaire’s playground after previous trips to the Maldives never quite fully satisfied his desire for the ultimate island escape.

Luxury suite at Velaa Private Island

Luxury suite at Velaa Private Island

Photo: Velaa Private Island

The pinnacle of paradisiacal luxury, Velaa Private Island offers untold privacy, exceptional 5-star service, and 45 incredible villas. Designed to attract the world’s 1%, the island boasts extravagances such as a walk-in snow room in the spa, a three-person submarine, a gorgeous purpose-built yacht, the largest collection of wines in the Maldives, a roofed tennis court and, well, we could go on and on. A stay on Velaa is a once in a lifetime experience.

Check availability and book here.

  1. Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi

A refreshingly relaxed resort, Huvafen Fushi, which means Dream Island, is exactly that – from a dream. In fact, at Per AQUUM, reality will surpass your fantasies. Situated in the North Male atoll, Kaafu, Per AQUUM is a private resort island retreat that opened in July 2004 with 43 stunning cottages.

The world's first underwater spa at Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi

The world’s first underwater spa at Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi

Photo: Huvafen Fushi

Highlights of the 5-star resort include the world’s first underwater spa, a wide range of activities such as diving deep-sea fishing, a number of nice waterside bars and fine-dining restaurants, and a striking infinity pool.

Check availability and book here.

  1. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

The second best resort in the world according to Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards 2016, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas certainly deserves the credit it is getting. Set on Kihavah Huravalhi, one of the most pristine Maldivian islands, the resort excels in offering luxury accommodation, world-class facilities, and superb service.

Underwater restaurant at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Underwater restaurant at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Photo: Anantara

The resort features 78 freestanding beach and over-water villas, each with its own infinity pool, are either poised over the water or nestled along a pristine stretch of private beach.  Add to that an underwater restaurant and wine cellar, a six-suite over-water spa, and one of the Maldives’ longest pools. Recently named a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the resort also offers some of the best diving in the world, as well a number of close-by uninhabited islands to explore. Anantara Kihavah has it all.

Check availability and book here.