Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort Review: What to Really Expect 

by | Last updated Mar 24, 2024 | Hotel Reviews Asia, Maldives

With more than 160 Maldives resorts and 26 atolls, the task of choosing can be overwhelming. A key factor to consider is the quality of the resort’s house reef. After all, you just traveled across the world for this little pocket of paradise. You want to make sure you pick a place that has amazing sea life when you dip into those crystal clear waters. Continue reading to uncover why we selected the Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort for an exceptional vacation and to see if it’s right for you. 

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The Location + Arrival

Taking a seaplane to Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Taking a seaplane to Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

If you have never been to the Maldives, you are in for a pretty unforgettable arrival!

The Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort is located in the South Ari Atoll, southwest of the capital city of Male.

You’ll fly into Male first and then transfer by seaplane to the Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort. Flying in a seaplane is the quintessential Maldivian experience and is not to be missed!

Some resorts feature a dock where the seaplane conveniently lands (like at Reethi Faru Resort, another Maldives resort we had stayed at).

However, the setup at Outrigger was slightly different. We arrived by seaplane at a floating dock just outside the resort followed by a short boat transfer. This arrangement minimizes plane noise on the property, making for a very peaceful stay.

The First Three Impressions

1. Luxurious without the pretension

2. Softest sand and the most turquoise water

3. Genuinely kind staff that didn’t feel forced

FYI: If you are a fan of The White Lotus, you’ll know what I mean by forced staff happiness if you watched Season 1.

What really sets the Outrigger apart is the GENUINELY kind and helpful staff. You can feel the difference instantly. I’m not sure how the Outrigger recruits their employees, but they must treat them well for them to be such incredible people.

The Rooms

Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Overwater Villa with Pool

Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Overwater Villa with Private Pool

The Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort has several room types:

  • Beach Villa
  • Beach Villa with Private Pool
  • Two Bedroom Beach Villa with Private Pool
  • Overwater Villa
  • Overwater Villa with Private Pool

We chose the Overwater Villa with Private Pool, which was a baller room!

Bedroom at the Overwater villa with private pool at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Bedroom at the Overwater Villa with Private Pool at Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

The very large bedroom had a king bed with crisp white sheets and pops of blue, herringbone floor, and my favorite part … a massive floor-to-ceiling sliding door that completely opened up to the outdoor space.

I love that indoor-outdoor design!

Bathroom at the Overwater Villa with Private Pool at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Bathroom at the Overwater Villa with Private Pool at Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

The bathroom is equally impressive. I hate tight bathrooms when I am trying to get ready with my husband. You will not have a problem here. There’s plenty of room to spread out. You could do cartwheels if you wanted.

Dual sinks, ample counter space, and a great size shower (plenty of room to shave your legs). Ah, the things I appreciate.

I’m not a bath person, but if you are, the bathtub is strategically positioned to enjoy that epic view through the floor-to-ceiling window.

Looking outdoors from the bedroom of the Overwater Villa with Private Pool at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Looking outdoors from the bedroom 

Let’s keep going.

The deck is huge and offers both sun AND shade, which I appreciate!

Private pool in overwater villa at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Private pool in Overwater Villa at Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

The infinity pool is refreshing, especially after a long snorkeling session.

Enjoying a morning coffee at the Overwater Villa with Private Pool at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Enjoying a morning coffee at our Overwater Villa

There’s a small table and chairs to enjoy a morning coffee or evening cocktail and lounge chairs if you want to curl up and read a book.

I appreciate they have an outdoor shower right next to the pool, which makes it easy to rinse off your snorkeling gear.

The Food & Drink

Remember, each Maldivian resort resides on its own island. That means picking a resort known for great food is important because that is your ONLY option for your stay.

Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort offers a fantastic selection of food choices. There are 5 restaurants to choose from. We dined at 4 of them.

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KOTO

Koto restaurant at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Koto restaurant at Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

Koto was one of my favorite restaurants, but I love Japanese food!

The ambiance is very romantic. It sits out on the lagoon, with a seating arrangement that lines the periphery looking out over the water.

The interior is decorated with strings of beautiful pink flowers.

Sushi at Koto restaurant at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Sushi at Koto restaurant

They offer some delicious small plates and of course sushi! It’s not Sawada in Tokyo (which goes down as my favorite meal of my life), but it was pretty delicious!

We also enjoyed some chicken karaage, pork ramen, and yaki soba.

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MOODHU GRILL

Moodhu Grill at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Moodhu Grill at Outrigger Maldives  Maafushivaru Resort

Moodhu Grill has one of the most intimate dining experiences.

Ask to be seated in one of their 5 private overwater dining platforms so you can watch the fish and maybe some sharks swim below.

Lamb leg tagine at Moodhu Grill at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Lamb leg tagine at Moodhu Grill

The restaurant is known for its delicious grilled meats. Order the lamb leg tagine, which has been braised for 12 hours.

Pair it with a Moodhu cocktail, one of their signature cocktails made with vodka, elderflower, agave syrup, blue curacao, and egg white. Little sweet than what I normally do but refreshing nonetheless.

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CUISINE GALLERY

Cuisine Gallery at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Cuisine Gallery

The Cusine Gallery is Outrigger’s buffet. This is where you will eat breakfast every morning, and they also serve dinner.

This restaurant offers a wide variety of choices both for breakfast and dinner.

Breakfast at Cuisine Gallery at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Breakfast at Cuisine Gallery

Breakfast options include traditional choices like omelets, quiches, potatoes, and sausage and international choices like sushi. Dinner choices include a variety of international food. 

One of my favorite parts of the breakfast buffet was the Juice Bar. They make fresh juices daily. My favorite was the ginger.

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EDGEWATER

Atacama Sour at Edgewater at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Atacama Sour at Edgewater 

Edgewater offers lunchtime classics like crab cakes, burgers, pizza, and fish tacos.

We did not eat here because we usually had a big breakfast and weren’t hungry until dinner.

However, we did enjoy some incredible happy hour cocktails! Edgewater had some of the best cocktails not only at Outrigger but in all of the Maldives!

You may have noticed when you go to some of these tropical islands, the drinks are overly sweet and very watered down. It is very DIFFICULT to find a well-crafted cocktail.

We had the cocktail of the day, which was the Atacama Sour (pictured above). It was made with Pisco, angostura bitter, egg white, lemon juice, and sugar syrup … and it was incredibly well-balanced and delicious! Surprise!

Enjoying gin and tonics at Edgewater at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Enjoying gin and tonics at Edgewater

Another solid cocktail we enjoyed was the Mango G&T, made with gin, fresh mango, coriander, and black pepper.

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ART-I-SAN

Art-I-San at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Art-I-San

Art-I-San is Outrigger’s fancy restaurant with a fine dining menu. Think duck liver parfait and spiced duck breast carpaccio,

The restaurant overlooks the pool and ocean and is beautifully designed.

My husband and I did not dine here, but the menu looked delicious and well thought out.

We enjoy the occasional fine dining meal and will travel specifically for some of those foodie experiences (Hisa Franko, Pujol, Maido, etc), but this is not what we came to the Maldives for.

The Amenities 

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POOL

Pool at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Pool at Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

The pool is large and beautiful and faces the ocean with plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas.

Although it looked inviting, we actually did not swim here because we had our own private infinity pool at our villa!

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Navasana Spa at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Navasana Spa at Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

The Navasana Spa is super cool, and I strongly advise taking advantage of an incredibly relaxing massage during your stay.

Before my spa experience, I had the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing dip in the pool that blends into the ocean and some sauna time.

I enjoyed a relaxing 90 minutes of a Seaweed Hot Stone Massage, where seaweed and hot stone (as the name implies) are placed on your skin during your massage to soothe those tense muscles. Great after a long snorkeling session!

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FITNESS CENTER

Fitness center at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Fitness center at Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

There is a gym with a beautiful view.

We prefer to get exercise by snorkeling for hours, but you can sweat it out in the gym if you choose.

For us though, ocean > treadmill.

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ACTIVITIES

Sushi class at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Sushi class at Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

Another super fun offering is the free (yes, free!) classes you can participate in.

We did two. 

One of the chefs did a demonstration on how to make a delicious sushi roll. Of course, we had the hard task of tasting the rolls to confirm he did it right. 🙂

Wine tasting class at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Wine tasting class 

We are big wine travelers, so we definitely signed up for the wine tasting class.

It was held outdoors in the beautiful Art-I-San restaurant. Great time with fellow travelers to learn a little about wine!

The Rates

Rates all depend on the time of year, type of room, and meal plan and will range from $692-$1534/night BEFORE taxes.

Also, take into account the additional cost of the seaplane transfer.

The Reasons for Choosing This Resort

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01- INCREDIBLE HOUSE REEF

Turtle at Outrigger in the Maldives

Turtle at Outrigger in the Maldives

My husband and I LOVE to snorkel and frequently plan “snorkations” from Belize to the Great Barrier Reef.

Trust me when I say that the Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort has one of the best house reefs in the Maldives we have encountered.

Do not forget to bring your own fitted snorkeling gear.

We saw a variety of marine life including many baby and juvenile blacktip reef sharks, a nurse shark, turtles, stingrays, lobster, and many types of fish including a stonefish!

I have created a fun Maldives Fish Chart if you need help identifying what fish you saw.

If you love snorkeling do not miss my detailed Outrigger snorkeling report on where to snorkel. Plus, I have included lots of photos of all the fun sea life we saw including whale sharks!

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02- BOUTIQUE FEEL & FRIENDLY STAFF

Some resorts in the Maldives are large and sprawling. When you start to accommodate a large number of guests, you lose that intimacy and personalization.

The Outrigger is just the right size.

Not so small that you are claustrophobic, and not so big that you become a number and not a person.

I didn’t realize this until we landed, but we were assigned a personal butler. Anything we needed, he was there to accommodate.

Now, we are not really “butler” type of people because we love doing things ourselves, but we appreciated the personalized attention.

You will also see the same friendly faces over and over at the various restaurants, where they start to quickly recognize you and remember your preferences. Very thoughtful.

Again, the kindness never feels forced and truly feels genuine. 

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03- WHALE SHARK EXPERIENCE

Swimming with a Whale Shark on the Outrigger Maafushivaru Excursion in the Maldives

Swimming with a whale shark at the Outrigger Maafushivaru Excursion in the Maldives

Not every atoll offers the opportunity to swim with a whale shark.

If this experience (#16 on my couples’ bucket list!) is a priority, then pick a resort in the South Ari Atoll.

The dive shop at the Outrigger offers this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Now realize, this is not a zoo, and sightings are not guaranteed. But there is a high probability you’ll get lucky to swim with this beautiful 40,000 pound fish.

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04- MODERN AESTHETICS & PRIVATE POOL

Private pool at overwater villa at Outrigger Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

Private pool 

If you look at the highly-rated Maldives resorts with personal private pools, your jaw will drop at the price tag.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The Outrigger is still expensive, but the Overwater Villas with Private Pool offer incredible value for the money compared to other resorts.

Also, I just love clean, modern, and thoughtful design. The Outrigger nails it, and I’m a picky traveler.

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05- SEAPLANE EXPERIENCE

Trans-Maldivian Airways Seaplane

Trans-Maldivian Airways Seaplane

Flying in a seaplane wasn’t as high of a priority this time since this was our second time in the Maldives, and we had already done the seaplane.

However, if this is your first time, this is a do-not-miss experience!

We have done several small plane experiences like flying on the shortest commercial runway in Saba and flying to Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The seaplane in the Maldives though is our favorite! And the pilots fly barefoot! Love the islands.

Other Resorts We Considered

Since we are avid snorkelers, we focused our search on exceptional resorts WITH exceptional house reefs.

A strong contender was Kandolhu Maldives.

It is consistently rated as having one of the best reefs in the Maldives. Honestly, it was a tough choice between Outrigger and Kandolhu. Maybe next time we’ll do both. 

Final Thoughts

The Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort exceeded expectations.

Beautifully designed rooms, gorgeous private pools, an incredible house reef a short swim away, genuinely kind staff, surprisingly amazing cocktails, whale shark tours, and just the right size.

What else could you ask for?

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