An Honest Nova Maldives Resort Review – is this the best 5 star resort on the South Ari Atoll?

Are you considering booking a dream trip to the Maldives and seeking the perfect 5 star resort? In this Nova resort review, we will share our honest opinions regarding the pros and cons of staying at the Nova Maldives resort.

This Nova resort review is based on our personal experiences having booked an all inclusive couples retreat in November 2022.

Since it was our first official holiday together, it was important to find the right Maldives resort to unwind in after our amazing but hectic trip to Japan! We are pleased to say that Nova resort Maldives really delivered us the relaxing and luxurious experience we were looking for.

The Nova Maldives resort is a brand new resort which was formally known as Vakarufalhi and opened in June 2022 after being fully refurbished. This All-inclusive resort is located near the inhabited island of Dhangethi on the South Ari Atoll, which is a great area for seeing amazing marine life. The resort is accessible via Seaplane transfer from Velana international airport.

What you can expect from this article…

  • 1 Nova Resort Maldives Review Overview
    • 1.1 Pros of nova resort Maldives
    • 1.2 Cons of nova resort
  • 2 Nova Maldives In depth Review
    • 2.1 ReVIEW OF NOVA RESORT Accommodation
    • 2.2 REvie of the Dining options available at nova resort
    • 2.3 Review of the Activities available at nova resort
    • 2.4 Review of the Nova Beaches and House Reef
    • 2.5 Review of the Staff at nova resort, maldives
    • 2.6 Review of the Entertainment on Nova resort
  • 3 Nova Resort Maldives FAQs
    • 3.1 How to get to Nova resort
    • 3.2 WhY CHOOSE A RESORT ON the South Ari Atoll?
    • 3.3 When is the best time to go to nova resort, Madlives?
  • 4 Alternatives to Nova Resort
    • 4.1 For people seeking a family friendly resort, consider The Hard rock maldives resort
    • 4.2 For those who want even more luxury, consider Cora Cora resort
    • 4.3 For those on a tighter budget, consider Eriyadu Island Resort or Fiyavalhu Resort
    • 4.4 For adventure seekers, consider a liveaboard or sailing trip in the Maldives
  • 5 Nova Resort Review in Summary
  • 6 How to book your trip to Nova resort

Nova Resort Maldives Review Overview

Nova Resort Maldives is a very modern, relaxed resort. Overall, we had an amazing time and highly recommend it as a couple’s retreat! Even though the resort was about 85% full when we visited it still didn’t feel crowded or busy which was a big plus for Matt who is an introvert and likes peaceful places! Below is a summary of the pros and cons of staying at Nova resort as we experienced them:

Pros of nova resort Maldives

– Friendly and helpful staff, with rooms cleaned twice a day

– Relaxed atmosphere

– Amazing location

– Located in South Ari Atoll – the perfect location to see Whale Sharks and Manta Rays

– You won’t go hungry as there is a wide range of excellent food choices

– Excellent air conditioning in all buildings and our villa

– Fully refurbished so all accommodation is in the condition you would expect for a 5-Star resort

– Large house reef for snorkelling with lots of sealife

– Enjoying the sunset at the pool bar

– Again, the staff were amazing!

Cons of nova resort

We enjoyed our stay so much that it’s hard to find any cons but we walso want this to be a balanced review of Nova resort so here goes…

– No nursery if you have a family

– Aside from the odd boat trip, you are limited to a relatively small island but this means you’re not tempted to pack in too many day trips so that you can properly relax – there was no shortage of trips to choose from to visit the various reefs though!

Nova Maldives In depth Review


All accommodation at Nova Maldives resort is based in either Beach Villas or Water Villas, so either way you are right next to the sea.

We loved our water villa, which was beautifully presented with modern fixtures and fittings which were all done to a high specification, with excellent air conditioning and a HUGE private bathroom with walk in double shower and double sinks. Plus there was a bath with gorgeous views onto the reef!

The villa was also a good size with a seriously comfortable bed, well stocked fridge and delicious macaroons and fruit platter available for us on arrival.

The views from the veranda were gorgeous and we enjoyed using the steps straight down into the sea for easy snorkelling access. More expensive villas than ours come with either a hot tub or even a private pool!

As we were all inclusive we had access to all soft drinks in the minibar for free! This was great as each item in there is pretty expensive and the cost would add up quickly. I would recommend opting for fully inclusive for this reason as it is usually more cost effective!

The villas benefit from a safety deposit box and twice daily housekeeping. There is also a paid-for laundry service for nice clean clothes and beach towels are provided for you.

REvie of the Dining options available at nova resort

The main restaurant at Nova is called the Soul Kitchen, where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. This was the best buffet restaurant we have ever experienced and the food was always delicious. Chefs would even prepare extra meals for you alongside the buffet food choices at your request. There was always a great variety of food and we particularly enjoyed the curries!

For dinner, there are also a couple of a la carte restaurants – Flames, which had lovely grilled food. We were lucky that our all inclusive deal included some meals here which were always delicious.

We didn’t try Mizu, the Japanese restaurant, mainly because we had spent 2 weeks in Japan prior to this holiday and wanted to try something different! But we heard great things about it!

Review of the Activities available at nova resort

Nova resort offers so many ways to relax and enjoy yourself and there are a multitude of activities to choose from.

The spa is excellent and offers a wide selection of massages and even a couple’s massage lesson. Bobbi and her team were very helpful and the massages were always amazing! You could even see baby sharks swim beneath you as you had your treatment,

During our visit, we took advantage of sseveral of the boat trips that were offered where you can swim with Manta Rays and Whale sharks. Both were both great experiences we will never forget.

We particularly enjoyed the Manta Ray trip as we got lucky and a group of them were feeding and swam around very close to us! Our view of the Whale Shark was more fleeting but still one of our trip highlights!

We also went on a trip to see dolphins and were lucky to witness hundreds of them performing acrobatics around our boat!

There is a dedicated Dive Centre for organising snorkel and dive trips and a gym for those who like to stay fit while on holiday and offered fitness classes such as sunset beach Yoga too.

Review of the Nova Beaches and House Reef

Being an island, Nova resort is surrounded in beaches, which are all made of beautiful white soft sand. Some areas were quieter than others and for those who like a more lively atmosphere, there was a infinity pool with a swim up bar. This was a popular place for sunset with incredible views and the sea swing a popular spot for photos!

Near the main reception and bar area is the house reef. This is a great area for snorkelling as you can see a wide variety of marine life just a stone’s throw away from your villa! You can even go straight into the water from the steps from your balcony into the lagoon if you opt for a water villa.

You can rent out snorkels, masks, paddle boards, catamarans and kayaks to explore the lagoon in (free with the all-inclusive package).

Review of the Staff at nova resort, maldives

We can only say that the staff at the resort were exceptional. Always friendly, helpful and courteous.

We felt they took the effort to get to know us and felt like friends within a day or two.

They go above and beyond to make sure your every need is met. One of the receptionists even offered us her own medication although that didn’t end up being necessary as the resort doctor had some in stock.

You can rest assured that whatever issues you have, they will do their very best to sort it for you. Amazing!

Review of the Entertainment on Nova resort

The main bar is open during the day and has relaxing seats and table tennis if you are feeling competitive! There is another swim up bar at the outdoor pool which we enjoyed at sunset most days. Plenty of cocktails/mocktails (and most other drinks) are free with the all-inclusive package.

Aside from the previously mentioned daytime activities, the evening entertainment consists of movie nights and local bands/singers and dancers most evenings. Again, the standard of the entertainment was great and it was a fun way to end the day!

Matt particularly enjoyed one night where a telescope was set up on the beach and we could look at the planets in clear detail. Movie night on the beach was another unique experience!

Nova Resort Maldives FAQs

How to get to Nova resort

International flights arrive via the main airport in Male. The resort provides an airport transfer service to the seaplane terminal. The seaplane will then take you to the resort which is a fun way to take in some sights as you journey towards your relaxing holiday retreat. Some planes are more spacious than others – the trip out there was like taking a private jet! The return trip was a little more cramped but the views made up for it.

You will need to organise your seaplane in advance. If possible ask for an early flight so you can make the most of a longer first day at the resort. We arrived at 7AM and went straight to breakfast. We initially wanted a later flight but this was the only one available – looking back it was great to get more time to relax.

Top tip, try to sit on the left side of the plane on both journeys for the best views!

WhY CHOOSE A RESORT ON the South Ari Atoll?

The South Ari Atoll is said to be the ideal area for finding larger marine life such as Whale Sharks and Manta Rays. If you are lucky they can be seen all year round. We were fortunate enough to see both on our trip!

Sometimes they have better weather than the North so make sure you do your research in advance!

We chose the South Ari Atoll to see whale sharks and we weren’t disappointed!

When is the best time to go to nova resort, Madlives?

Being on the equator, the seasons are a little different in the Maldives. The climate is warm all year round with a Dry season and a Wet season.

Dry season runs from December to March, with the Wet season from May- November.

Dry season is best for guaranteed amazing weather but prices are higher. Our holiday was in November where the seasons were changing and there were only a couple of showers which soon finished, although the sea was pretty rough for our Dolphin seeking boat trip.

The shoulder seasons are often the best time for finding great deals and you can find yourself paying double for high season!


Nova is absolutely ideal for couples looking for a romantic getaway – it was where Matt proposed to Leanne and couldn’t have been more perfect!

However, families can also enjoy the resort. The island never felt crowded or noisy but there were some young families visiting.

We saw mostly couples at the resort enjoying honeymoons, babymoons or romantic getaways.

Alternatives to Nova Resort

Although Nova resort was perfect for the relaxing getaway we both needed, we appreciate it may not be perfect for everyone. Some people may prefer a busier resort with more neighbouring islands to visit. Others may need additional facilities for their children. So here are a few suggestions for other resorts in the Maldives you may wish to consider.

For people seeking a family friendly resort, consider The Hard rock maldives resort

This stunning Maldives resort is extremely kid friendly with a kids club. babysitting service and baby facilities available to hire for your room so no need to pack everything and the kitchen sink!

It has been ranked as excellent on and is also only 8km from Male so easy to access!

Check out the Hard Rock Maldives resort here.

For those who want even more luxury, consider Cora Cora resort

If you want the ultimate in luxury, opt for the two bedroom luxury lagoon villa where you will not only have your own private pool over the ocean but there is even a slide straight into the ocean!

Check out Cora Cora resort in the Maldives here.

For those on a tighter budget, consider Eriyadu Island Resort or Fiyavalhu Resort

Fiyavalhu Resort has options for all budgets including those looking for a little luxury. But those on a tight budget should check out some of the offers on their cheaper garden rooms with deals for around $1200/week.

Check out Fiyavalhu Resort here

For a more budget resort where all rooms are a little more affordable, check out Eriyadu Island Resort. The rooms are a more simple affair but the resort gets great reviews on

Click here to check out Eriyadu Island resort

For adventure seekers, consider a liveaboard or sailing trip in the Maldives

For those who prefer a more adventurous trip, you may want to consider a Maldives sailing trip where you can visit more locations and spend more time at a variety of reefs. This is also a great way to visit the Maldives if you are travelling alone as you will make friends onboard the boat!

Check out sailing trips in the Maldives here.

Click here to read the review of my G Adventures Maldives sailing trip

Nova Resort Review in Summary

In summary, we absolutely loved our stay at Nova resort and it was the perfect location for our ‘pre-honeymoon’! It was a super romantic destination and we got engaged on our last evening sitting under the stars on our balcony! An evening we will always remember and the perfect setting!

Nova Resort will always have a special place in our hearts and we hope to return some day.

We hope you will have just as fantastic a trip and that this Nova resort review has helped you to decide if it’s the perfect Maldives holiday destination for your next trip!

How to book your trip to Nova resort

We recommend booking via as a reliable website where you can often score some great discounts. Each trip you book via the Booking website can score you points which opens up future discounts. And given that any holiday to the Maldives is not cheap, the points you earn will be significant!

Click here to check availability and book Nova resort, MaldivesClick here to check out other hotels and resorts in the Maldives

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