With around 100 different resorts in the Maldives to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice! But perhaps too much choice, so where do you start? Which is the best resort for you? Which one is best value? Does all-inclusive really mean all-inclusive?
Having travelled to the Maldives numerous times I can help answer these tricky questions for you! I’ve got 6 considerations for you:
- Resort Class: Is 5-Star Worth it?
- Room Types: Beach Villa or Water Villa?
- Dinning Packages: All-inclusive of Half board?
- Does all-inclusive mean all-inclusive?
- What activities are included?
- Transfer by Plane or Boat?
1. Resort Class: Is a 5-Star rating worth it?
Your first consideration is to decide if you’re going to splash out on a Luxury 5* Star resort or not. Having stayed at LUX (5 stars), I can testify to the difference that these 5 star resorts offer compared to the 3 or 4 star resorts. They are uniquely in a class of their own. 5-star Luxury to me says, impeccable service, amazing food, comfortable surroundings, beautiful scenery and world-class facilities. No worries. No stress. Every detail, even the very smallest, is looked after. A place where the realisation is greater than the expectation. This is what 5-star buys you.
Let’s face it, if this is your Honeymoon, significant anniversary, or important celebration; we want to make the best of that moment, it only comes around once. Life generally delivers us realisations which never meet our expectations. I am yet to find that with staying in a 5-star resort or hotel. I’m always blown away by discovering all the little extras that a 5-star establishment delivers, and I’m left with a felling of WOW!
Will you return to the Maldives, or is this a once-in-a-lifetime visit? If you’re only going to visit here once, then maybe you can justify splashing out on a 5-star resort?
2. Room Types: Beach Villa or Water Villa?
Water Villa’s are one of the main draws to the Maldives. Staying in a private bungalow built on stilts above the lapping waves of the Indian Ocean is a unique and memorable experience. With sun loungers on your private terrace and steps into the sea, you can choose to lounge in the sun or snorkel in the sea.
But, these unique Water Villas come at a price; You could be adding anything from 25-50% extra to stay in a water bungalow. They’ll always be the most expensive room types in each resort. Some resorts even differentiate between a standard water villa and a luxury water villa which can be larger and have unique features like private pools or hot-tubs.
Beach villas are the basic room types in Maldives Resorts. In some resorts they adjoin with neighbouring rooms alongside, above or below. At LUX beach villas are wholly separate and private from others, with an outdoor tropical shower and bathroom. At Olhuvelhi Beach rooms are contained to 4 within each block, meaning you’ll be sharing patio space with neighbours.
It’s always a tough choice to balance your budget against resort type and room category. I generally prefer to stay in the lowest room category of a much better resort for the same price as the best room category in a much lesser resort; but that’s my personal preference.
3. Dinning Packages: All-inclusive or half board?
Your next choice is the board basis or food package. There’s generally 3 types:
- Breakfast only
- Half Board (Breakfast & Dinner)
Breakfast only , means you’ll be paying as you go for the rest of your meals and drinks during your stay. Half board is a good compromise, especially if you don’t drink alcohol. But all-inclusive is the king of Maldives Resorts packages. All meals, drinks, alcohol are included. It’s a worry free, no need to daily budget, no need to worry about breaking the bank when you’re there.
This is the dining receipt for an evening meal at LUX. At LUX everyone has to sign for everything, because guest are on differing dinning packages. A 5-course meal for two with Champagne, and we managed to total up a USD$317 bill! But being on the All Inclusive package, it was worry free, returned to zero. The 3 glasses of desert wine totalled $63 alone!! This is the beauty of All-incusive packages at the top end resorts.
4. Does All-Inclusive mean All-Inclusive?
But here’s the catch with all-inclusive. Some all-inclusive’s don’t mean everything is all-inclusive! Check the details!
Are all drinks included, or is it just drinks with meals? What about the coffee shop, is that included? Ice cream snack bar? Is every restaurant included in the package? More often than not, specific restaurants within a resort wont be available to all-inclusive’rs, or worse you’ll have to pay a supplement to dine there.
Need some inspiration for you next beach holiday? Maldives Wanderlust in 20 Photos.
5. What activities are provided?
The Maldives is home to some fantastic snorkelling and diving opportunities. But here’s the catch. Great snorkelling doesn’t happen off the beach or from the steps of your water villa. Great snorkelling involves a boat ride to the reef, beyond the breaking waves around your tropical island.
That boat ride may cost extra. It could be USD$30-50 per person. For a couple, that $100 each trip!
My stay on LUX included complimentary daily snorkelling trips from one of their specific dive boats. That meant being able to go snorkelling every day, without the bother or worry of spending more. It’s a small cost, but for a larger family, these are the incidental costs which could break the bank!
Its the same with scuba diving and water-sports; kite-surfing, catamaran sailing, windsurfing; Are these included in your stay or not?
6. Travel by Plane or Boat?
Flying across the spectacle that is the one thousand tropical islands that make up the Maldives islands is the perfect start to your vacation. So if you want to fly by floatplane, then you’ll need to pick one of the resorts further out which provides flight transfers by air taxi. The resorts located closer to the international airport provide transfers by speed boat which is a much cheaper option.