I’m a lover of the world and far off places who is so excited that you’re here. Looking forward to sharing more of my world with you and all the things I love. I hope this site really does feel like a wellness oasis right here on the internet.
Before we get into the details of my trip to the Maldives and all of the recommendations I’ve got, I will say that the Maldives is not just for honeymooners or travelers celebrating something big. It’s a great place to vacation during the winter and it’s worth the long flights from the U.S especially if you get a great flight deal. Was the destination perfect for going big and doing bucket list things? Absolutely, but you can also enjoy it anytime.
Going to the Maldives can be as expensive as you make it and you can have a great time while still being budget conscious as long as you prepare. This is not a super cultural trip not so say there isn’t culture and history but it’s not what Maldivian tourism is really build around. This isn’t a trip where you’ll be exploring tons of new sites all day and moving around a bunch so be prepared to relax. I always wondered what people did in the Maldives when they visited because I couldn’t find answers online. The answer is not much. it’s a beautiful and intentional lack of plans which feels restorative, I really appreciated it. You snorkel or dive, eat, hang out near the water or at the pool and perhaps you go to an underwater restaurant or see some special wildlife depending on where you’re staying. Some resorts have yoga and spa experiences which are amazing but still not an overwhelming amount to do.
Full post with things to note for affordable travel can be found here.
The Maldives is far from most places outside of India and depending on where you’re from be prepared for a few long flights. From the U.S Bora Bora is closer and offers a somewhat similar vibe however seasonality is different in both places so be sure to check that before booking. There are flight deals yearly to the Maldives from major cities in the US so keep an eye out for those. We booked several months in advance and it also allowed us to get better hotel rates even during their busier season.
We booked on Etihad routed through Abu Dhabi which worked out well. You can find flights for $700/800 normally and they’ll go up to about $1,500 so a $500 flight deal is a great catch. On the Calendar it took two days to get there but the total time of our trip was only 27 hours. There’s one heck of a time difference so be prepared to combat jet-lag when you land. During the first layover we booked this hotel for around $50 to change, shower and enjoy dinner before our flight to the Maldives. On the way back we went to a lounge in the airport to eat and sleep between flights.
If your card offers priority pass you definitely want to make sure you take advantage of that.
There are a lot of options and it can be overwhelming so I’d ask yourself a few questions.
Asking those questions and figuring out your answer will really help you determine which hotel is most ideal. Most hotels have an overwater option and it’s usually the lowest priced room category because hotels can easily build multiple rooms over water while space on land is more limited. We stayed in two places because I personally wanted to have a bucket list experience and stay within our budget but I would not necessarily recommend doing what I did without fully calculating because of the transportation costs. I loved the experience we got and truly wouldn’t do it differently looking back on things but i just wish I knew more about the transportation before planning was well underway. I thought a flight between resorts would be easy and it ended up being way cheaper for us to just head back to the airport and go to each hotel from there. There’s one sea plane company, with exclusive contracts for almost all hotels which means that you’ll be paying $5-8k if you want to charter the plane for a special route and this is only quoted after you’ve gotten permission from both properties. I spit out my water when I read that and quickly decided that although it would be a hassle to go back to the airport while trying to maximize time at both resorts there was no way I could afford the $8k alternative. If you plan on doing what I did definitely make sure you know the fees for transportation at both hotels and you look at a map to see where they’re located. The seaplane is a part of the experience and the views are amazing so I’m glad we got that experience going to and from our first property. I’ll share my experiences and then list some other hotels you may want to consider as well!
The resort is about a 45 minute sea plane ride from the airport and the cost was about $350 per person round trip. The pricing per night starts around $400 but varies by season and is often cheaper when you book in advance. This price per night was inclusive of food, beverage and most types of alcohol but didn’t include the seaplane ride listed above. We stayed for 4 nights an Overall a great experience, wonderful staff and a really nice few days where we lounged in the sun, didn’t think about where to go for dinner and just relaxed. The room was beautiful although there is no private pool you have direct access to the ocean plus great snorkeling. The floating breakfast was cute and for $150 you got a fully customized breakfast at the pool but I don’t think I’d do it again if I went back and if you’re on a budget that’s money better spent on one of the snorkel or diving tours.
Truly a bucket list hotel stay and one I’m so glad I booked. The hotel is typically upwards of $1500 per night not including taxes or transportation but if you book farther in advance or use points you can definitely get a great deal. As I write this it’s truly the best hotel room I’ve stayed in to date. Kura in Costa Rica was a close second. The rooms are expensive and food isn’t included but it’s truly worth it for the experience if hospitality is something you value. Perhaps it felt even more amazing to finally check in after having to cancel another trip a month prior and after so much planning but it was just as amazing as I pictured perhaps even a little more. It was worth the trip back to the airport and the best 30 hours! We only stayed one night and might have liked one more but because of when we arrived and departed it worked out really well. We arrived around midday from the prior resort and thankfully our room was ready. There is no check-in desk or front desk staff but instead you’re assigned a butler, referred to as your Aris Meeha which is essentially just a personal concierge. This was super helpful because you have one point of contact for everything and if you’ve got what’s app they’re just a text away.
All in all I’m glad we got to do both but unless you really want to see something or do something in two places I would recommend staying in one place since it’s just easier. You can find great vacation rental options if you’re looking to stay for a longer time or looking to stay on the main island of Male for a great price but for a vacation I’d recommend going with a hotel for ease. The above hotels are the two I personally stayed at but below are some other options categorized by budget. Samann Grand a great option on Male if you’re looking for a place to stay that doesn’t require additional over water transportation or a great place to stay before catching your flight.
Some of the below are all inclusive, others are not and of course rates fluctuate so take a look at several date ranges to determine what will work best for your budget.
If you’re looking for a brand like Standard, Four Seasons or Fairmont you can find options easily in the Maldives which makes it a great destination for points/miles redemption.
Overall it was an epic trip and I’m glad we went when we did for the duration we did. I’m total we were there for about 5 nights and 6 full days. We could have stayed one more night maybe two but for a longer trip we’d want more to do especially culturally. If you’re looking for a honeymoon that’s super relaxed this is great and you can always pair the trip with a place like Sri Lanka or Dubai if you want something nearby with more to do.