Since the inception of the guesthouse industry – or otherwise known as local or budget tourism – in the Maldives, the segment has observed an exponential boon over the past decade.
Maldives first entered the guesthouse tourism segment at an official capacity back in the 2010s during the then presidency of Mohamed Nasheed. One of the first islands that became guesthouse-centric is the Kaafu atoll island of Maafushi which has since become widely recognized as the "Guesthouse Hub of the Maldives."
The country's tourism industry entered a nationwide transition following this and over the next decade, the Maldives local tourism industry will observe over 600 different guesthouses and boutique hotels; opening up across various residential islands in the country.
There is little to no denying that guesthouses have become a popular alternative to enclave tourism in the country mostly due to the affordability it offers for backpackers and adventurer tourists who are looking to holidaying in the Maldives without denting their bank accounts too much.
So, we are going to look into the guesthouses that mattered the most throughout in 2021 and by this we mean the guesthouses that were the most and best reviewed, as well as the highest rated among travelers.
Located at the northern tip of Maafushi, this four-star boutique hotel is in fact the most reviewed property under the 'small hotel' or guesthouse category in TripAdvisor – with 1,101 reviews so far and an average of 4.5-star user rating.
The hotel provides its accommodation under varying room categories including the Standard Deluxe Room; which are contemporary spacious rooms with wooden floorings and is the hotel's signature accommodation category, Grand Deluxe Sea View Room; which as the name itself suggests provides you with a beautiful panoramic view of the Indian Ocean vista ahead of you and the Super Deluxe Sea View Room; which are located on the upper floors of the property with larger balconies.
Activities provided through Arena Beach Hotel include various excursions, diving trips, fishing and snorkeling along with various sports and recreational activities.
Additional to this, the hotel also comes with its own private roof terrace pool – with the pool beautifully perched atop the property providing uninterrupted views of the island and the surrounding bays.
This beautiful 10-room guesthouse property, located in Kaafu atoll Dhiffushi has a total of 238 reviews on TripAdvisor with an average 5-star user rating, while it holds a 9.5/10 user rating based on 106 reviews on PlanetOfHotels.
Many users who had reviewed the property highlighted on the priority given towards ensuring relaxation for the tourists as well as the excursions arranged by the hotel. In addition to this, the cleanliness of the rooms is an often-highlighted aspect by the reviewers.
The rooms are air-conditioned and comes with wooden flooring with spacious interiors and are ideal for couples as well as families traveling to seek adventure and experience the idyllic island life.
This 4-star city hotel situated in Maldives capital of Male' City holds an overall 4.5-star user rating on TripAdvisor based on 365 reviews, 8.1/10 user rating based on 435 reviews on Booking.com, 8.3/10 user rating based on 544 reviews on Agoda and 4.5-star user rating based on 479 reviews on MakeMyTrip.
The luxury-tier city hotel provides its accommodation in different room categories including; Superior Double Room, Executive Superior Room and Business Deluxe Room.
In addition to this, the in-hotel restaurant Belle Amie provides a wide range of cuisines and international delicacies to try from while the hotel also comes with a gym facility and a conference hall.
Another Maafushi island property, this Symphony Maldives property at the guesthouse hub is one of the strongest standing inns in the country that currently holds a 4.5-star user rating out of 481 reviews on TripAdvisor, 8.7/10 user rating out of 436 reviews on Agoda, 8.6/10 user rating based on 364 reviews on Booking.com.
The accommodation of the inn comes in three distinctive categories which include the Standard Rooms, Beach Deluxe as well as the luxurious and spacious Ocean Deluxe rooms.
Some of the unique services the hotel provides include wedding catering through the in-house restaurant from the locally famous "Symphony" brand, as well as honeymoon photography for the couples and newlyweds.
Situated in the island of Dhigurah in South Ari Atoll, this hotel holds a 4.5-star rating based on 245 reviews on TripAdvisor, 8.6/10 user rating based on 55 reviews on Booking.com and 8.7/10 user rating based on 107 reviews on Agoda.
Unlike most other guesthouse properties, the TME Retreats have separate bungalow properties in Dhigurah which include; Noovilu (Standard), Shairose (Deluxe), Nalaveshi (Deluxe – With Outdoor Shower) and Rihiveli (Deluxe – Plunge Pool).
Each of these sub-properties have its own features both in an out and are designed to ensure maximum privacy and relaxation for tourists.