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THE MALDIVES - BEFORE YOU BOOK

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

The Maldives is a hugely popular destination, with a wide range of resorts, and it can all be a bit confusing when you start to research a holiday. Here are a few things you should bear in mind as part of the planning process.



Transfer from Male International Airport

There are three ways you can be transferred from Male International Airport to your resort – speedboat, seaplane or domestic flight + speedboat. This is dependent on how far away the resort is from Male Island. For many people a seaplane transfer is a fabulous way of starting their holiday. Other people don’t like the idea of travelling in a small plane that lands on water. Speedboat is the fastest way of getting to your resort – there’s less waiting around, but this does limit the number of resorts you can choose. Domestic flight + speedboat transfers will take you to more remote islands – but some people don’t like the idea of another flight after they’ve travelled from the UK. You can usually access these more remote islands via seaplane for a supplement.


Type of villa/bungalow

An Overwater Villa or Bungalow is many people’s dream and delivers that Instagram moment you may be wanting. But Water Villas are substantially more expensive than Garden or Beach Villas (routinely adding £1200-1500 per person to the price of a 7-night holiday) and they tend to be further away from the resort facilities such as restaurants. Some people prefer to opt for a Beach Villa where they can walk straight out onto the white sand and into the ocean. Some resorts offer the option of a Garden Villa – which will always be the cheapest option.


Range of dining/All Inclusive plans

Most people opt for an All-Inclusive package when they stay in the Maldives – it’s not as if you can walk into the nearest village to a local bar or restaurant! Things to consider here are how much variety you’re looking for in terms of dining and how important premium spirits are for you. If you’d rather not eat in the same restaurant every night (particularly if you’re staying for 10 days or more), there are plenty of resorts that offer several different dining options. Sometimes there’s a $US credit for meals in the à la carte restaurants if you’re on a standard All Inclusive package. And some resorts offer a Dine Around All Inclusive package where dining in any of the restaurants is included. Many resorts offer different levels of All Inclusive package where certain excursions, spa treatments and premium spirits are all included. In the past few months, a several resorts have introduced multi-tier versions of All Inclusive which are quite complicated. You’ll need to dig deep (or consult an expert!) to make sure you understand the various options so that you can choose the best one for your needs.


House Reef

If you’re an avid diver or love to snorkel, you may want to consider opting for a resort with a House Reef. This means that there’s easy access to the best spots for coral and marine life. In some resorts you need to be taken on a boat to access the best places for diving, whereas with a House Reef you can often simply wade out from the beach.


Adult Only

Surprisingly for a destination that’s so popular with Honeymooners, there aren’t that many Adult Only resorts in the Maldives. There are a few, but they do tend to be more expensive than resorts with equivalent facilities and service levels. I usually advise my clients that it’s a better option to look for resorts that don’t have good facilities for kids or promote themselves as family-friendly – because if you’re taking the family to the Maldives you’ll be looking to go to resorts with kids’ clubs and activities. Some resorts have Adult Only areas or restaurants. And most won’t accept children staying in Water Villas for safety reasons. So, if avoiding kids is important for you, there are a few ways you can do this without being restricted to an Adult Only resort.


Time of year

The Maldives is warm all year-round with average highs of 29°C to 31°C, but the main difference in climate is how much rainfall there is. January to April are the driest months, with little rain and low humidity, making this peak season at the resorts. Temperatures are still warm from May to December, but rain is more likely and there is a risk of storms. However, even during this period there are usually long spells of bright sunshine. Attractive prices and offers (particularly in May and June) mean this is still a popular time to visit. If you’re not limited by needing to travel in school holidays, it would be best to avoid Christmas/New Year, Easter and February and October half term as prices are at their highest at these times.


Budget

When I start to plan a holiday in the Maldives, I always ask how much a client is looking to spend. This is essential to know because the price difference between different resorts can be enormous! So, it’s important to have an idea of a) how much you’d like to spend and b) how much you’re prepared to spend so that I can refine my search accordingly and come back to you with options that tick all the boxes in terms of what you’re looking for and are realistic for your spend level. And if you’ve been to the Maldives before, get ready to be surprised by current prices as they’re substantially higher than they were pre-Covid.


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