Further AfieldTravel

Celebrate in Style – Why Not Book Christmas in the Maldives?

Our premium listings for the best luxury resorts located across the stunning islands in the Indian Ocean and all of their festive entertainment and events.

If celebrating in the UAE has become a little ‘samey’ for you and you’re not braving the winter chill back in the UK, why not indulge in the next best thing and splurge on a sumptuous trip with your loved ones to the magnificent Maldives? 

Boasting 132 hotels and resorts spread across the 1190 coral islands and 26 atolls, ranging from fun and flirty, splashing out, and awe inspiring luxury with helipads and private villas, with a season of ultra-competitive events hosted by award-winning global brands. The Insider team have made choosing your festive vacation a little easier, with our ‘best of’ Christmas in the Maldives list…read on to find out more before you pack your LV cases and book those Emirates flights…

The Standard, Huruvalhi, Raa Atoll

Christmas in the peak season of the topical paradise makes as much sense as spending your festive trip at the glorious The Standard Hotel in Huruvalhi Island in the Raa Atoll. Listed at the Best Hotel in the Maldives by Conde Nast Travellers, you can see why the global brand has carved out space for themselves in slick and stylish cities such as New York, Miami and London – and the Maldives since 2016. Unlike the typical thatched roofs and rustic vibes on other islands, The Standard remains consistent with its eccentric charm, with vibrantly coloured villas and quirky touches such as disco balls in the bathroom and neon artwork throughout the resort. Each villa has its own plunge pool, and if you order breakfast to your room you can get an Insta-worthy shot of the iconic floating breakfast against the shimmering azure backdrop of the Indian Ocean. There’s also a welcoming spa with a communal steam room, aroma room and daily yoga, or you can replenish calories from a day of snorkeling at all-day dining spot Kula, traditional Maldivian themed dining concept Guduga, or party the night away at lively Beru Bar.  

There are three weeks of festive action-packed activities, themed dining events and more, from wellness to watersports, and a taste of original Maldivian culture, plus plenty of chances to enjoy spectacular dining on the shoreline accompanied by the gentle ocean breeze under the sun, or under a glittering sky full of stars. The annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony kicks off at the beach reception with free-flowing eggnog, frozen and hot chocolate and live music. Expect regular confire nights and celebrations on the beach for all ages as part of the annual Camp Standard NYE Countdown. Little ones can engage in treasure hunts, pizza making, and art and craft classes, as well as educational programs at the Lil’ Shark Kids Club and ‘Save the Turtle’ initiative, designed to focus on sustainability in the region. Watch dolphins frolic in their natural habitat on the Dolphin Cruise, or get wild with various watersports, or check out the incredible 40 diving points. Spend your evenings dining on delicacies from Arabic, Asian and Maldivian cuisines with seafood, grills, and sweet treats, all served with a festive flourish. Stay for a minimum of 5 nights to get 20% off on all restaurants, bars, the spa, and weekly snorkeling tours, while the seaplane is free. 

Christmas Eve: Enjoy an afternoon of creativity, with a festive card-making session at Todis Beach, followed by a belly-busting festive feast of suckling pig, turkey and ham, oysters, cheese, terrines, seafood, BBQ – plus live dessert station, served at Kula & Joos Cafe between 2-5pm. Spend the evening at ‘Smore Stories’ on the main beach, with Maldivian tales, traditional dance show, DIY smores and lashings of hot chocolate. 

Christmas Day: Santa arrives first thing with a sack full of presents – catch him on the main beach, then send the little ones on a treasure hunt at the Lil’ Shark Club in the afternoon, while adults relax with a sound healing and vibrational sound session. The main event from 4-5pm features Oysters & Wine, plus caviar, condiments and a variety of grape. Later you can relax with your favourite Christmas film at the main pool and laze around on JUMBO pasta floaties, and free popcorn, if you have room for it!

Vakkaru, Baa Atoll

Located in the heart of Baa Atoll, Vakkaru Island is as alluring as it is secluded, with the region’s powder-soft white sand delicately dusting the shores and towering palms that evoke a feeling of timeless serenity. Unlike other man-made islands, Vakkuru has the edge on tropical beauty, with barefoot luxury combined with earthy elements, such as burlap sacks in the bathrooms, muted tones, and gently swaying hammocks – a note to its history as a coconut plantation, with the word ‘Vakkaru’ derived from a translation of ‘coconut timber’ in Dhivehi. During Christmas week and up until December 31st the all-day activities include wreath making, a head and shoulder massage workshop, evening yoga, turtle snorkeling, Maldivian coconut oil making, and a champagne breakfast at the Lagoon Bar, accompanied by an a la carte breakfast and with picture perfect sea views.

With unique marine biodiversity next to the cotton-candy white sandy beaches and lashings of idyllic charm, whether you want to snooze on the beaches or engage in the myriad of festive and exquisite dining events, there’s plenty here for you and your family to get enchanted by on this wondrous island. 

Christmas Eve: Before Santa’s big arrival guests can recline on the magical shores, sipping on glamorous island-themed cocktails on Isoletta beach, followed by an indulgent gala dinner. The crashing of the ocean waves will be accompanied by authentic carols and smooth sounds from a live saxophonist, plus a four-piece band, fire dancers, a DJ, and more.

Christmas Day: Santa arrives in paradise not on a sleigh with reindeer, but in tropical style with his own merry band of island elves delivering gifts for all the little islanders. After this there are games, activities and prizes under the glorious Maldivian sun, while the afternoon sees tennis enthusiasts battle it out on the court for Vakkaru’s annual Christmas Tennis Tournament, hosted by the resort’s resident tennis coach.

Ritz-Carlton, Fari Islands, North Male Atoll

A new contender in the Maldivian paradise, the Ritz-Carlton was opened in 2021, and far from being a formal corporate hotspot or couples-only destination, it has one of the most entertaining kids clubs in the whole archipelago. Take your loved and littles one aboard their luxury speedboat as you listen to a smiling staff member blowing the sangu – a traditional Maldivian instrument to announce the arrival of a VIP guest to the island. With the resort spread over three separate islands – Culinary Island, Grand Sunset Beach and Fari Marina Village – choose to stay in one 100 waterfront villas ranging from 1-3 bedrooms, all with iconic views, private sundeck, horizon-facing infinity pool, outdoor raindrop shower, and guests even get their own private butler, known as an Aris Meeha, 24-hours per day – as if the overwhelming tropical beauty of the island isn’t enough, you know that the entire family will be totally spoiled from start to finish. A bold and contemporary design from renowned Kerry Hill Architects, the overwater villas at one end form surround the spa, while the halo-shaped feature is designed to represent the circular flow of ocean currents. 

From Dec 22nd until the 31st there are truly magical experiences for all ages, including gingerbread house making, yoga, cupcake decorations, sun rise cardio tennis, tree lighting and cocktails, Panettone culinary lab, beach zumba, and sunset fishing. There’s even a kids fashion show to give your youngsters the chance to feel like the star of the show. 

Christmas Eve: Start the day with a balance workshop or beach resin art while the kids are entertained crafting Christmas wreaths and other decorations, then glam up for an evening of festive cocktails, a delectable evening dinner filled with culinary joy, followed by a party from 9pm until late.

Christmas Day: Enjoy a joyous start to December 25th, as the kids savour the spirit of the holidays with Santa’s workshop wonderland, while adults can swim with turtles, or even engage in a spot of night snorkeling. Teens can work up an appetite on the court with the Beach Tennis Tournament, before the family sits down to a Cantonese Signature Dim Sum brunch, with Chef’s Table pairing menu and sake being available later in the evening. Expect a visit from Santa as he appears at the EAU Bar cocktail and parade and Mystique Garden, sharing gifts with guests of all ages. 

JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa, Shaviyani Atoll

Exuding unrivalled luxury and phenomenal class, the JW Marriott proudly sits on the azure waters of Shaviyani Atoll, with 60 sprawling over-water and beach villas that boast private pools and every desired amenity. Satisfy your palate with varied dining options including Japanese and Italian, plus a stylish grand breakfast buffet, and even the option to dine in a treetop above the shimmering Indian Ocean. Slightly more remote than other islands, the resort has an unparalleled view of the glittering stars, giving a truly other-worldly vibe and proving to be the perfect place to disconnect from the hubbub of modern life. While the service and cuisine is everything you’d expect from a 5-star luxury resort, experiences such as dining in the treehouse with tiki torches and swing seats or paddling in the Missoni influenced chevron mosaic in the family pool only serve to enhance the image of tropical magic. 

Meanwhile the Little Griffin’s Kids Club is inspired by a pirate ship – complete with 13-metre-long ship – custom made beach huts, but inside ventures a ‘sea-meets-jungle’ theme with varying landscapes, designed to enchant little ones in a miniature fantasy world. The festive period will see children delight in the kids club activities such as gingerbread decorating, Christmas camouflage, and a Santa hunt with a chance to receive a gift and get a picture with the man himself. For adults the culinary magic will be accompanied by cocktails and special events, plus entertainment from a live band, soulful saxophonist and DJ Ana, events which start on December 20th and continue for three weeks until January 10th 2024.

Christmas Eve: Gather for the Christmas Eve Gala Dinner surrounded by crystal clear waters and the softest sand. The usual tranquil night sky will be lit up with thousands of spectacular fire performances and festive sparkle. 

Christmas Day: Start December 25th with Santa’s breakfast, a glorious themed buffet with live cooking stations and all the classic dishes. Later the ‘Tales of Turkey’ Christmas brunch sees guests feast on tender turkey with all the trimmings and a selection of their finest beverages. Finally, ‘Butcher’s Hook’ finishes the special day with an impressive selection of Wagyu steaks served with luxurious accompaniments including caviar, truffles and foie gras. 

Jumeirah Maldives, Olhahali Island, North Male Atoll

Celebrating true island bliss, the Jumeirah Maldives combines modern elegance with exceptional experiences from dining, service, and the replete luxury of each and every water villa and room, with the powder-soft white sands and sapphire waters that come as standard in this part of the world. Each villa not only comes with its own pool, but a rooftop viewpoint where you can gaze at the magical sunsets and sunrises across the whole resort. The villas belie their true size, as the spacious white interiors house a sumptuous living area, free-standing bathtub, and even a private garden and outdoor shower area. The resort is slightly smaller and more intimate than rivals, but the warm and cosy vibe is enhanced by the friendly smiling staff. You can dine on the beach at restaurant Shimmers, while you can dine poolside at Glow and Kayto.

The festive events in December include traditional activities including tree lighting, gingerbread making, carols, and receiving Santa Claus as he arrives – not with reindeer – but in a more tropical style of speedboat at the main jetty. Families can immerse themselves in Maldivian culture with the ‘Taste of Maldives’ experience, exploring local islands with guides and joining the Olhahali Kite Festival on Boxing Day. There are also masterclasses for sushi and pizza making, mixology, sea turtle or dolphin quests, private retreats to sandbanks by yachts, and plenty of snorkeling. Jumeirah Maldives are also offering guests the chance to savour wine and cheese tastings, Indian Thali nights, lagoon-side champagne tasting with oysters, seashell jewellery making, clay pottery art, coconut shell candles, or something more relaxed in the world famous Talise spa, where you can indulge in a range of treatments from yoga, to sound healing, massages, and other holistic therapies.

Christmas Eve: Start your day with a dolphin quest, Zumba, or private sandbank retreat in a yacht, before an afternoon of expressive clay pottery art or island exploration with a local guide with a sunset cruise and traditional drumming. Enjoy Christmas Gala Cocktails at Shimmers just after sunset with artisanal canapés, cocktails and a range of champagne, before an indulgent Gala Dinner feast with international cuisines, accompanied by live musical entertainment.

Christmas Day: December 25th proves to be action-packed, as you start the day with a Sun Salutation session at sunrise, followed by Santa’s arrival bringing gifts and cementing the festive atmosphere. In the afternoon you can relax with a charming afternoon tea, or get involved with a latte making class with a trained barista. Dine at Kayto with the Chef’s Degustation Dinner with innovative flavours, after a sunset cruise with plenty of bubbles. 

Stuck for what to do for Christmas in UAE? Check our local festive listings here.

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