Choosing a hotel in the Maldives
When a trip is only in the planning stage, after purchasing long-awaited airline tickets, a new problem arises, namely the choice of a hotel in the Maldives. For recreation in the Maldives there is a well-developed tourist infrastructure, so hotel chains in the islands are presented to suit every preference and budget. First of all, one should bear in mind that in Maldives there is an unusual rule: there is only one hotel per island. Of course, if you plan to stay in Male or Maafushi, the choice of accommodation will be wider. But the small islands, where travellers go on one-day excursions, have one main hotel.
The table of contents:
- Basic rules for choosing a hotel in Maldives
- All inclusive or not?
- Meals for children and accommodation for young tourists
- Transfer to the island
- To the Maldives with your pet
- When looking for a hotel on the Internet, do not stop at the first option with beautiful pictures. It is best to compare hotels by list of services, location, price and reviews. Useful services on the Internet will perform all this analysis for you according to the filters, and you only need to read the description attentively.
- Since most of the islands are small, the hotel owns the entire entertainment infrastructure. So choose the hotel, which has the institution that you definitely need: massage room, spa, children’s room, hairdresser’s, fitness room. It is very likely that there will be no other options for such places on the island outside the hotel. If you are not very confident in swimming or if you fly to Maldives out of season, it is better to make sure that the hotel pool is at a good level, i.e. regularly maintained.
- Many hotels in the Maldives operate on a “no news, no shoes” basis. Such hotels fight for seclusion and recreation from the excessive benefits of civilization. That is, there is no Internet, mobile communication, and television, though there is water supply and electricity. If you choose a hotel with such conditions of stay, you will definitely enjoy the paradise life on the islands and really relax. But if you are a businessman or work on a trip, this option of hotel is unlikely to suit you for a long time and you will have to pick up the Internet and mobile communications in the Maldives.
- There is no traditional classification of hotel chains by the number of stars on the islands. You can choose a hotel on your own criteria, whether it is a well-appointed private beach or a beautiful coral reef off the coast for snorkeling. But it should be noted that most hotels have a Deluxe, Superior or Standard, which also helps to determine the level of the hotel. However, do not get attached to this criterion, because this evaluation system works only in classic multi-storey hotels, and they are only in the capital.
- If you plan to live on a separate island, you will most likely have to choose the format of a bungalow or a small cottage with private apartments. Romanticists often prefer the first option, because it is original, exotic, and also inexpensive. But there are some pitfalls here. In particular, the typology of a bungalow is also very large. Read carefully in advance in the description, whether it will be a detached single-storey housing, a grouped two-storey bungalow, or an entire block with 2-3 rooms.
First of all, it is worth mentioning that in the Maldives the all-inclusive system in hotels differs from the traditional European or Asian one. Since it is forbidden to drink alcohol here, hotels (if there are tourists and Maldivians on the island) do not include elite drinks in the list of included bonuses. The maximum you can count on is wine for lunch and dinner, cocktails in the hotel’s main bar at a particular time, and a mini-bar with beer. Our tourists are often intimidated by this, but it is more worth wondering if they need alcohol more than beautiful scenery and delicious food. In hotels, located on separate islands, the All inclusive program includes beer, wine, and a couple of kinds of hard alcohol. In addition, the tourist will be offered several kinds of cocktails.
So, most of the islands for the fans of hard drinks will be closed, but there are also pleasant exceptions. Thus, on the southern side of Ari Atoll, there is the island of Nalaguraidhoo. There are five-star hotels with the best beaches and an all-inclusive system, understandable for us, when alcohol has no restrictions. This is the corner of the Maldives (the so-called Maldives Turkey for Russians) where tour operators of domestic travelers are more often called. But at the same time, as you should guess, the price is not small at all, because the rare pleasure on the islands has to be paid more than enough. That’s why sometimes it makes sense to stop at the option of a floating alcoholic bar, i.e. to go by a special boat cruising by the shore to the boundless waters of the ocean and there you can already taste a lot of strong and not very alcoholic drinks.
The “all-inclusive” system is found even in three-star hotels in the Maldives, but usually such hotels have no beaches at all. However, in such hotels still have decent cuisine (it’s not only breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also snacks), and sometimes there is even a free transfer from the capital or Maafushi. High-class hotels on the islands offer an advanced catering system. It offers several themed dinners, tasting of rare dishes, lunches at individual villas and private picnics on the beach.
In addition to food and drinks, the “all-inclusive” system on the islands may include the use of sports equipment, free rental boats, fishing tools, windsurfing equipment, and so on. This information should be checked with the hotel before the trip. Keep in mind that even the elite hotels with “all inclusive” can have paid Wi-Fi.
If “all-inclusive” is very expensive for you, and you do not insist on alcohol, look for hotels that charge less for accommodation, but offer separate, important services for you at an additional cost. Let’s say you want a personal trainer or massage therapist, a yoga course, a yacht cruise, or lunch at an underwater restaurant. And the best conditions for surfing are to be found in the eastern half of North Male.
Nowadays, to visit the Maldives is cheaply available for most tourists.
First of all, it is necessary to be ready that on some islands, and consequently, hotels too, underage travelers are simply not allowed, even if they are accompanied by parents. Usually, this happens for three reasons:
- The hotel is not safe for children. Some bungalows are located just on the oceanfront or even under water. Such exotic living conditions create problems with increased control over children, so many hotels simply refused to accept minors.
- Children can cause damage to the environment. As you know, the Maldives has many rules of conduct related to the safe life of marine life. For example, on some beaches you can not walk barefoot, fishing from the shore is also prohibited, the collection of sea creatures by the water is not approved, etc. But it is difficult to explain all these rules to children, and to make them follow all these requirements is very difficult.
- Minors may not stay in hotels with alcohol. Many hotels with the “all inclusive” system seek to avoid problematic situations involving the sale of alcohol to minors and the consumption of alcohol by adolescents.
So, to choose a hotel in the Maldives to stay with children (no matter what age), you need to be even more careful. Even if the hotel is allowed to rest with kids, there may not be absolutely no infrastructure, and parents can not constantly carry a child with them to adult entertainment.
Almost all large and self-respecting hotels (4 and 5 stars) provide such children’s facilities as playgrounds or rooms, as well as separate shallow pools. There are also children’s clubs, TV channel for babies in the room, children’s animation. This is very convenient, especially since the child has a chance to make international acquaintance with other little travelers. By the way, keep in mind that if there are several hotels on the island, they may have a common infrastructure, so even if you stay in a budget hotel, you and your child can use the services of an expensive hotel. A special bonus of some places for accommodation is free babysitting services. In this case, kids are always busy during the parental rest, because they are organized master classes and beach games. For very tiny travelers hotels provide nursery services.
A separate important issue when traveling with your baby is the children’s menu. If the child is already preschool age or older, he can eat in the same restaurant of the hotel as the adults, and with the same choice of dishes from the menu. Often, young tourists are allowed to eat for free. For young children it is necessary to have a separate menu in the restaurant (or at least a children’s buffet), preferably with free chairs for children, as on the islands of Bandos, Furanafushi, Dhigu and Veli, Ukulhas, Thoddoo, Rasdho, Manafaru, etc. Special meals for children under 1-2 years old are less often provided in hotels, but they are free of charge.
A visit to Maldives with children should be planned in advance. What else should I pay attention to when staying in a hotel in the islands with children? First, accommodation in a room. Children aged 1-2 years are offered free accommodation in most hotels. Then you will have to pay extra for an additional bed. Secondly, take into account the entrance to the water on the selected island, especially if the child is not very confident on the water. It is better to choose a quiet gentle bottom and a flat sandy braid.
Popular and longstanding hotels in the Maldives almost always provide a transfer service to your island. The hotel can offer this pleasant bonus even for free, especially if a fast boat will sail only 5-10 minutes. But you can go on the water to the island even a few hours.
In general, the remoteness of the hotel in the Maldives is an important factor in pricing. After a flight to the Maldives, all travelers stay at the airport a few kilometers from the capital, and then they choose where to stay. You can get to Male first and look for a transfer there or order transport in advance, and then you will get to your island even without stopping in the capital. In principle, if you order a transfer from the hotel itself, you will have a choice between a boat and a seaplane. In case of independent search of options, you can use a public ferry or negotiate with private individuals who discount the price when a large number of wishing to get to a particular island.
The most expensive type of transfer on the islands is a seaplane. It is suitable for those accommodation options that are located at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers from the airport. There are some nuances here. For example, a vehicle departs only in daylight hours, i.e. until 4-5 pm. The flight price is at least $200 one way per adult. For a child will be asked less, and children under 2 years old generally fly for free. In high tourist season and on holidays, the cost of the flight increases. Tickets should be booked in advance. An alternative flight option is to use local airlines, if you are in no hurry and ready to make an internal flight in 10-12 hours or a day after arrival in Male. With this option, you should look for a sleepover in the capital.
The distant islands in the Maldives have their pros and cons. On the one hand, it is a long way to get to interesting places. But on the other hand, the remoteness from civilization allows admiring untouched corners of nature. If you do not plan to go every day to individual island excursions, and want privacy in a particular place, you can not worry about the location of your hotel, and pay attention only to the state of the reef, a list of entertainment services, and so on. If you have plans for daily trips to the new islands, give preference to something large, like the island of Maafushi, where it is convenient to get to many interesting places in the Maldives and there are a variety of excursions from different hotels.
Pets in the Maldives are a rarity. Officially, it is forbidden to breed dogs and pigs on the islands, so you can only find cats or birds, and that is not often. This is largely due to the religious structure of the state, as Muslims believe that a dog is a dirty animal. The only option for such an animal to be present on the islands is a service dog at the border and customs.
There are no exceptions for tourists (the ban on the import of dogs is marked on the immigration card, which is filled out when arriving in Male). So if you have a four-legged friend, leave him at home with friends or send him to a special animal hotel. It is a little easier to bring a cat to the islands, but here it is more difficult to find a hotel, which will accept the traveler with a pet and provide good conditions for the beast.