So finally, we decided on Maldives as our honeymoon destination! And then the next key question came along – which resort should we stay at?
Just a quick search on Agoda would return you hundreds of results. There are so many islands, so many resorts…how should we go about choosing?? After swimming through the multitude of options, I decided that it was necessary to set some boundaries in helping us to decide on our resort. It was super helpful in narrowing down my choices (to just one, in fact) and I hope this structure helps you too. I’ve listed these 4 criteria in the order of elimination that I used while doing my search, and it worked for me. But you might find it necessary to shuffle some of the factors around or decide what areas you are flexible in to allow you to find your ideal accommodation.
“Wow, Maldives! It must be expensive.”
That’s the most common reaction I got when I told people that we chose Maldives as our honeymoon destination. Actually, it really depends. Maldives has a hugeeee range of accommodation options available, and I really mean HUGE. It can range from as low as $100 a night for a hotel room, to upwards of $2000 for a luxury resort, depending on many factors, which I will cover in the rest of the article.
Other than the price of the room, you’ll need to take into consideration costs such as the sea plane transfer, and food & drinks which are going to add up to a pretty sum since you’ll be eating at restaurants in the resort. Various water sports and other activities (read: massage time!) are not cheap on Maldives as well, especially if you’re not on the main island. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Seaplane, or not?
Male is the main island of Maldives which international flights fly into. There is a selection of accommodations on this island that are easily accessible by car from the airport. Plus points for convenience, but the downside is that you’re unlikely to enjoy those unblocked sea views which Maldives is famous for as there are many boats and ships that surround Male.
The rest of Maldives (which is usually what is depicted in photographs) are the atolls that are made up of several islands each. There are two ways in which you can travel to these islands – via speedboat, or seaplane, depending on the distance from Male. The further islands are only accessible via seaplane, and the typical understanding is that the further away you are from the main island, the better the views. Though I can’t verify that comparison since I only went to one island (which I accessed on a seaplane), I can guarantee that the views at the island I stayed at were SPECTACULAR. Words cannot fully describe how amazing the experience was :’) and all I can say is that you have to experience it for yourself.
Do note that if budget is a constraint, you might have to re-think choosing a resort that requires a seaplane transfer though. I’m not entirely sure whether the rates are standard across islands, but from Male to Lhaviyani atoll where I stayed, the 40min seaplane transfer cost US$460 per person. It was a few times the price of my international flight to Maldives!!! It’s rather shocking to be honest, but unfortunately the seaplane transfer is run by only one service provider, hence the ability to charge exorbitant prices.
3. Type of Accommodation
Overwater villa at Hurawalhi Island Resort
As I brought up in my first point, there is a range of accommodation options in Maldives, from hotel rooms to apartments and resorts that are right on the beaches. Within each resort, there are again a range of choices from rooms, to suites and the type of views.
It really depends on what are your non-negotiables, and what you’re looking for in your holiday. Is a beachfront view sufficient for you, or do you need to have direct access to the sea from your villa? Of course, the overwater villas come at a premium which you have to consider.
Also, depending on how luxurious the resort is, an overwater villa in Hotel A could possibly be more affordable than a beachfront-facing room in Hotel B. It really depends on what you are looking for, and it is important to have these considerations in mind before you begin sifting through the mountain of options.
4. BED & BREAKFAST? OR ALL-INCLUSIVE?
Cocktail night at Hurawalhi Island Resort
Finally, to make things even more complicated, within each room category, there are a variety of board options which are available for selection. Do note that not all resorts offer the full range of options, but these are typically what you can find:
Bed & breakfast only – daily breakfast is included, and all other meals and activities are on your own expense
Half-board – daily breakfast & dinner are included
Full-board – all three meals are included, but typically drinks (especially alcohol) are excluded
All-inclusive – all three meals are included, with alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks, as well as some activities
As you will probably expect, the prices of these packages will increase with more things being included. However, it is worthwhile to think of what meals and drinks you would potentially plan to have during your stay, and what activities you plan to do, and check if your hotel has the price list for the food menus or activities. While the all-inclusive option might seem extravagant, do keep in mind that food and drinks in Maldives tend to be very expensive when they are charged on an ala carte basis. Add up the costs and weigh your options before you decide which option you’ll like to go for. Not many resorts offer the all-inclusive option by the way. So if you do decide to go for that option, you will probably have a much easier time deciding with fewer options to choose from.
Phew, sounds like a lot of possibilities doesn’t it? You’re right. To share with you, the criteria in the order that I listed above were:
Budget of <S$1000 per night (it was our honeymoon so we decided that we were willing to splurge a little. For the record, we don’t usually spend this kind of money on accommodation)
Seaplane – we didn’t have a specific preference for this, but we did take the cost into consideration as well
Accommodation – again, since it was our honeymoon, we wanted nothing but the best: hence, the decision was to go for a 5-star resort with an overwater villa.
All-inclusive – which was really the best decision ever
The good news (for us at least) was that once we determined our criteria for the resort, we literally narrowed down our choice to just one resort. And I’m so, so glad that we chose to stay at Hurawalhi Island Resort. It was simply paradise on earth! Deciding to go for the all-inclusive option allowed us to completely enjoy our honeymoon without stressing over the cost of each meal or drink (signing $0 checks was really a cheap-thrill!), and we really enjoyed our beautiful overwater villa.
I will do a separate post on Hurawalhi Island Resort. I hope this post on choosing a Maldives resort was useful in helping you make a decision for your trip! Let me know which resort you decided on in the end, or what other criteria was important for you. Till next time xx