Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa review: overwater villas and super service a short speedboat ride from Malé

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

It’s hard to believe the Maldives has only been open to tourists for just over 50 years. In that time, resorts have found – and perfected – the recipe for a luxurious and utterly relaxing stay. With soft sandy beaches lending themselves to barefoot strolls, bluer-than-blue turquoise waters and coral reefs teeming with marine life, it’s hard not to fall in love with the archipelago.

One resort that has been there from (nearly) the very beginning is the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, having first opened on the natural atoll of Furanafushi in 1973. Just the fifth resort in the entire country, the Sheraton – then just 56 keys, and called Furana – has more than five decades of experience delighting honeymooners, families and groups of friends.

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Its age is very much a blessing rather than a curse — it has resulted in well-polished hospitality, with a USD 20 million renovation in 2019 ensuring the resort keeps pace aesthetically with newer openings. Across the property’s seven restaurants and bars, as well as its various activities, service comes with a confident smile of having done this before (for a long, long while).

An unexpected gem, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa offers everything you could want from a stay in the Maldives — and then some.

Middle East Traveller checked in to a Water Bungalow with Pool for a classic Maldivian escape with a series of excellent culinary options.

The Hotel

Within the North Malé Atoll, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa is just a short speedboat ride away from Velana International Airport.

Spanning more than 140,000 square metres, it has 176 rooms, suites and villas, with options including beachfront cottages with pools, ocean villas, and, of course, the overwater bungalows that have become synonymous with the Maldives. Relax in your private pool listening to the sound of the waves, or go for a dip after descending the steps that lead directly from the deck to the cool waters below.

The resort’s conservation project has successfully planted corals in the waters surrounding the island, many of which are just a short swim from the bungalows. Guests can borrow complimentary snorkelling gear or bring their own to explore this underwater world. Kids will love the freshwater swimming pool, which features a separate smaller area for little ones, conveniently located next to the Anchorage Bar.

While many head to the Maldives for its azure skies and even bluer waters, we fell for the resort’s lush greenery. With more than 30 species of plant life and a verdant canopy of foliage, including a 100-year-old banyan tree that serves as a meeting point outside the main restaurant area, the resort is a botanical paradise.

Guests can discover more about the island’s flora through informative signs identifying each species and detailing their traditional uses. Elsewhere, the Orchid Garden bursts with hundreds of flowers, while the resort’s restaurants benefit from the fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs grown on-site.

As you wander around, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover. Alongside the main beach overlooking the lagoon, there are several smaller stretches of sand with clusters of sun loungers for more private dips.

The resort’s map conveniently indicates the directions of the sunrise and sunset, featuring a dedicated beach viewing area for early risers. A sign outside is updated daily with the optimal wake-up time, making sure you never miss the breathtaking morning view.

Newlyweds heading to the Sheraton Maldives will enjoy the Honeymoon Garden, where they receive engraved signs to hang alongside those of other happy couples at special cocktail receptions each week.

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa gets the big things right, but there are plenty of smaller details we loved, too. Public bins are adorned with charming sculptures, and scattered throughout the resort are ‘turtle stops’ — benches perfect for resting when little legs get tired.

The Arrival

One of the big pluses of a stay at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa is the complimentary speedboat transfer, which takes just 10 to 15 minutes. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with a refreshing bottle of water and a cool towel – much needed during the hotter months – before speeding off towards Furanafushi.

Check-in takes place in the arrival pavilion, a separate space from the hotel’s main lobby. As part of the warm welcome, enjoy a delightful lime, mint, pandan, and lemongrass drink as a traditional welcome dance in the background sets the tone. After a speedy check-in, you’ll be whisked away by buggy to your room in no time.

The Room

Close your eyes and transport yourself to the Maldives. We can probably guess the image you conjured up: a bungalow with a thatched roof hovering above perfect turquoise waters on stilts. This is exactly what greeted us when we arrived at our room at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa.

Cozy rather than oversized, the room features a large king bed that takes up most of the space, alongside a seriously comfortable sofa — we happily curled up there for many an hour during short spells of less-than-ideal weather during our stay. The room is adorned with warm woods, exuding an almost Balinese design, complete with an overhead ceiling fan for an extra touch of tropical charm.

Wander through to the bathroom and it’s a similar story, with a waterfall shower and bathtub in prime position for looking out over the calm waters.

Both the bedroom and bathroom have doors leading to the main attraction of booking an overwater bungalow — the plunge pool. If the weather is on your side, you might find yourself spending most of your day here, or luxuriating on the adjacent sun loungers.

The island is small enough to explore on foot from most room categories, but complimentary bikes are provided for guests in the faraway Ocean Villas.

The Service

Service throughout our stay was quick and friendly, with plenty of staff on hand to assist — the resort also offers a convenient buggy service, making it easy to get around. In the restaurants, staff were able to give recommendations based on our dietary requirements with ease.

The Restaurants and Bars

With seven restaurants and bars, and various themed nights, there are more than enough options to banish boredom. Vegetarians, vegans and those with gluten intolerances are well catered for, with clearly labelled menus and chefs that are more than willing to adapt dishes to dietary requirements.

Most of the eateries are concentrated in one area near the pool, with Anchorage Bar, Chopstix, Feast, Masala Hut, Baan Thai and Sea Salt all found here — the last two exclusively open for dinner. Kakuni Hut, meanwhile, is found by the lagoon.

International restaurant Feast is where you’ll tuck into breakfast, with a buffet spanning Western, Arabic, Indian and Asian plates. The pastries in particular are a highlight, as are the freshly made egg dishes and crêpes.

For lunch, Anchorage Bar offers up Mediterranean fare, with salads, sandwiches, pastas and pizzas. Laidback and with a superb view out to the mainland, it’s a great spot to unwind with a tipple or two. The melanzane alla parmigiana, one of the chef’s specials, is a must order, as are the pizzas.

Masala Hut serves an extensive Indian menu, with curries, biryanis, dals and more. A mixed indoor-outdoor venue under a thatched roof pavilion, this is a perfect choice for families looking to share a number of dishes.

The Maldives is undoubtedly a preferred destination for honeymooners, and there are two ultra romantic spots to choose from — Baan Thai and Sea Salt. The former serves up classics from the Land of Smiles such as tom yum soup, massaman curries and pad kaprow — with an all-Thai culinary team, the experience is impressively authentic.

Making the most of its beachfront setting, Sea Salt focuses on Italian seafood. You can order à la carte plates such as the ravioli with lobster and pumpkin, the squid ink risotto or steamed sea bass, or select your seafood from a live fish tank to be prepared as you like it. Either way, it’s an evening to remember.

Our favourite place to eat, however, has to be Kakuni Hut. The beachfront bar dishes out Mexican plates without the bells and whistles — this is simply good food, best enjoyed with your toes in the sand and a cocktail in hand.

The Activities

Unsurprisingly for the Maldives, many of the activities offered take place off-shore. Motorised water activities come with an additional fee, but paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking are all complimentary. Snorkelling and scuba diving is available for those looking to explore the island’s famed reefs, while the sunset dolphin cruise appeals to romantics and nature lovers alike.

The resort’s Adopt A Coral programme sees guests attach fragments to a coral frame, which will then grow over time (and can be tracked online). Marine biologist Katelyn Hegarty-Kelly is on-hand to explain the project in detail, and also gives talks on a wide range of topics throughout the week.

Keeping active doesn’t have to mean time on the treadmill – though the hotel’s gym is open 24/7 ––as you can also work out at the outdoor ‘CocoFit’ gym. Alternatively, those who wake up at the crack of dawn can enjoy complimentary sunrise yoga, or you can book time on the tennis courts.

It’s all fun and games at Kakuni Hut, too, with giant Jenga, ping pong and Pétanque. The venue also hosts sip and paint afternoons, as well as palm weaving sessions. For youngsters, the Adventure Club is open to those aged four to 12, with activities such as yoga, hide and seek, and arts and crafts.

Disconnect completely by heading over to the Shine Spa, perched on a separate island to the rest of the resort. There are six treatment rooms and expert therapists are on hand to offer massages, facials and manicures, after which you can sweat it out in the steam room, or flick through a magazine in the relaxation room overlooking the gardens.

Why Stay?

The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa has had more than 50 years to perfect the guest experience, and the team have got it right on all fronts. The foodie offering is exceptional, and there are activities to keep everyone busy, from kids to honeymooners and groups of friends.

A major bonus is the ease of access by speedboat — you don’t need to book an expensive seaplane or stay overnight in Malé after a late flight. These conveniences, combined with the resort’s competitive pricing, make the resort an obvious choice for budget-conscious travellers seeking a luxurious Maldivian escape.

The Essentials

  • Rates: Rooms start at USD330 per night
  • Phone number: +960 664 2010
  • Website:
  • Address: Furanafushi Island North Malé Atol, 08240, Maldives