Guesthouses are the latest accommodation option to arrive in The Maldives and provide travellers with a more insightful and affordable way to explore the country. Usually modelled on a local home, a typical guesthouse will consist of rooms, nearly always airconditioned with basic amenities. Maldivians do not live in themselves note, so it's not a homestay experience although it is quite similar. Guesthouses are set up and run by locals, so this is a fantastic way that residents can benefit from tourism - resorts are only obliged to employ 50% Maldivian Nationals so a good number of locals can miss out on the rewards.
There's a certain irony to the return of the guesthouse to The Maldives because they were the first type of accommodation for travellers when tourism first came to the country in the 1970s. Afraid of what happened with the hippy revolution in Goa, India with the rise of drugs the government shut down all guesthouses in May 1984 and the only way to visit The Maldives as a traveller was to stay in a resort, keeping locals and foreigners separated.
With the rise of a more democratic and open form of government, as fragile as it is, a change in policy was put through in 2009 to make guesthouses legal again. This meant foreigners could stay on local islands and entrepreneurial Maldivians had a new avenue to make a living. Now there are more than 300 guesthouses in the Maldives across 80 inhabited islands. It has been one of the most successful industries in the country and is set to continue from success to success.
Barefoot Eco Lodge, Haa Alifu Atoll
See a side of The Maldives that few visitors experience on this inhabited island with a beautiful beach.
Bibee Guesthouse, North Male Atoll
Bibee is a comfortable guesthouse on Dhiffushi a few strides away from the bikini-friendly beach on the local island.
Cool Trip, North Male Atoll
A small homely guest house on the island of Huraa, Cool Trip is a relaxing place to stay for those wanting insight into Maldivian culture.
Guraidhoo Palm Inn, South Male Atoll
Stay at Guraidhoo Palm Inn, a homely guesthouse with a beautiful sun terrace overlooking coconut trees and the turquoise sea.
Newtown Inn, North Male Atoll
A very comfortable hotel ideally situated near Hulhumale's long stretch of beach with nearby restaurants and cafes.
Rashu Hiyaa Guesthouse, North Male Atoll
Stay at the luxurious guesthouse, Rashu Hiyaa, with beautiful views over the sea and a short walk from the jetty.