When it comes to vacations, the Maldives is the peak of luxury. Now that the world is opening up, add this to your wine bucket list. At five-star resorts scattered around the atolls, guests can partake in sumptuous seafood buffets paired with natural wines or cuts of A-5 Wagyu served alongside rare vintages. Nearly every resort in this tiny island paradise comes with a dedicated sommelier to cater to your preferences, whether you’re drinking over or under water.
Ultra-luxury hotel chains like St. Regis and Anantara pride themselves on their selection of labels, as well as unique and uncommon wines, including one bottle totaling more than $50,000. Here are some of the Maldives’ best wine libraries and cellars.
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
The world’s first underwater wine cellar means you can select your bottle of Moët & Chandon while schools of fish swim by. For the fifth year in a row, SEA wine cellar and restaurant have been awarded three-star recognition in the World’s Best Wine Lists Awards.
There are 450 labels from 17 countries with some vintages dating as far back as 1795. But unlike the other resorts, there is no dedicated wine room separate from the restaurant. Anantara Kihavah has an open wine cellar and restaurant so that guests can get the most out of their underwater views.
The resort’s Resident Wine Guru can help pair your favorite wines with fine dining dishes and also offer wine tasting flights that span nearly a century of winemaking.
St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
Tucked into the corner of their signature restaurant, Alba is a staircase lined with bottles of Cristal and Dom Pérignon. Decanter, the wine cellar at the St. Regis Vommuli, is so large it has its own sitting room, decorated with a magnum bottle of Cristal, of course.
Decanter opens up into a spacious wine-lined cellar with an Italian marble table set for 14. It has 650 labels from 23 different countries across the globe, making it one of the largest selections of wine in the Maldives. They specialize in French and Italian wines, vintages and New and Old world.
The resort’s sommelier hosts a five-course wine dinner, one of the most popular offerings at the St Regis Maldives. Fresh herbs from the island’s garden and local fish are paired with multiple wines while the guests get a chance to get to know each other over a glass or five. If the night goes well, one may decide to buy the cellar’s oldest bottle, a Portuguese vintage port from 1795 costing $22,222.
Baglioni Resort Maldives
Next door is the brand new five-star hotel from the renowned Italian brand of the same name. Here, everything is done with an Italian flare, including the wine. “In my church, our wine library, we have all the best wines from the best regions of Italy,” says Head Sommelier Alessandro De Angelis.
The resort has a partnership with Ferrari Trento (no, not the car brand), so the iconic winery’s best vintages are always on display in the spacious wine library on the second floor of their traditional Italian restaurant Gusto. The sleek and modern library is made entirely of glass so guests can look out onto the ocean during the day and the busy dining room at night.
Here De Angelis and the chef work to pair an Italian feast with wines from the best small producers in the different regions of Italy. Of course, they don’t only have Italian wines. There are 355 labels from around the world, many of them biodynamic, and most of them on rotation. De Angelis says, “Pop into my church, and I’ll create something fantastic to make the guests happy.”
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
At Waldorf Astoria Maldives, new world and old world combine, and we’re not just talking about the wine. This new resort has a grand underground wine cellar, called The Rock, made of ancient white Jordanian limestone.
The journey starts with pre-dinner drinks in the sunken seating area just outside the wooden doors. Then, wine lovers are led down a long, cool limestone hallway to a contemporary room where up to 12 guests can drink and dine around a 200-year-old Jarrah wood table.
There are close to 1000 different labels from around the world at The Rock. The resort’s sommelier can pair the guests’ preferred wines with a menu that highlights a renowned region, including France, Spain, Australia and the US.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
The Wine Cellar is the largest wine cellar in the Maldives, with over 15,000 bottles and nearly 800 labels. Located six and a half feet underground, the rustic wine library allows up to twelve guests to partake in a degustation menu expertly paired with wines from around the world.
This isn’t any bland old wine tasting; the sommelier at the Conrad Rangali Island makes it interactive. Each guest gets to follow along on their own personal screens in front of them. There is also a blind tasting where guests can test their knowledge of different regions and terroirs.
Thirty percent of the wine gets changed every year, and some of their rarest include Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1995 and the Methuselah of Cristal 1990 special edition selling for a whopping $52,000.
Katie Lockhart is a travel and food writer traveling full-time around Asia. She writes for National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and many more. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @findyourhappyplate.
Photo credit: Waldorf Astoria courtesy of Anantara Kihavah
Photo credit: Courtesy of St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort Conrad