A bit delayed, but it took me awhile to think of where I should review next. I have quite a few places in India I haven’t covered yet, but I wanted to do something warm and fun for those of you dreaming of nice weather stuck in the cold. (I wouldn’t know – Hyderabad is an almost always 80 degrees during this time of year. Indians dress up in thick jackets when it’s about 75 degrees out.)
Maldives has to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. It is not the typical vacation destination for Americans because it’s in the Indian ocean, taking about 20-25 hours to get to. It’s also pretty expensive – it’s where the rich go to vacation. But the stunningly clear blue seas and the amazing sea life are worth every penny. I was lucky because Spice Jet had a $200 flight from Hyderabad, which is the cheapest flight it’ll ever be for me to get to Maldives for probably my whole life. I also found a deal on hotels.com that made the hotel about 50% off – considering hotels are very not cheap, this was a great deal: my rooms became about $300/night instead of the usual $550-600/night. I booked in September for an April stay, so I took a risk (since me or my boyfriend didn’t have time off) but I figured if we planned well, it’d be alright.
When you are looking at what hotel to choose, you need to look at distance. Cheaper hotels might seem nice, but they might be further away which means you’ll have to take a sea plane, which might cost you $200+. Ours did. At the same time, it was really, really neat flying in a sea plane for the first time. It has to be the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced. If your hotel is closer to Male, the capital, then you’ll just take a speedboat which is substantially cheaper (but substantially less cooler).
Note: we did not check out Male. It’s a small little city, so if you have time before/after your flight, you could probably check out what it has to offer…if you choose to leave your hotel.
We stayed at Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa in one of the beach rooms – it’s right on the beach, but not in the secluded area/doesn’t have a spa. There are inland, garden rooms (no, don’t do it) and the amazing on-the-ocean rooms. If I ever do a place like Maldives again, definitely will splurge on one of those kind of rooms. This resort had everything you could want: all-you-could drink, amazing spa, its own coral reef, great buffet food, great restaurant food, two swimming pools, and all the activities you could want.
The first night we did the sunset cruise, which was stunning. It included drinks, which was great, though if I remember correctly, it started to rain – but that’s okay. The second day we did a sea turtle snorkeling trip. It was amazing because we saw a ton of fish and two sea turtles, but you definitely need to know how to swim: the currents were really quite rough. We also ate dinner at the Asian Wok restaurant, which has a pier right into the ocean, which was awesome just seeing the dark sea at night. Mesmerizing. The third day I had a terrible sunburn (really really bad), so we just chilled out, swam a bit in the hotel coral reefs, and then did a normal dinner.
The fourth day we did a whale shark tour which was EPIC! We got incredibly lucky – an up-close-and-personal 45-minute swim with a whale shark. Usually they swim quite deep and you look down at them. We were swimming right along ours, so close you could touch it (but don’t! You’ll scare it AND get a fine and in a lot of trouble.) Check out the photos (more below)!
That night we also did an on-the-beach dinner, which was incredibly romantic, though it did start to rain during the entree. That’s okay: very much worth it. Last day we just chilled out by the pool before we headed out.
We also did a couples package at the spa (they have a ton of different things) that included a massage, wrap, and a bathtub soak overlooking the water. We had an amazingly relaxing time, not to mention the views both during the bath and as we were checking out in their relaxation area. While you’re getting your massage, there’s even a little viewing area to under the room where you can see fish swim by!
The rooms are standard, though with an outdoor shower and bathroom area (we didn’t have a tub), but 1) it had a porch, which was nice, 2) it was right on the beach, which was great, and 3) you shouldn’t be spending time in your room, duh!
All-in-all, I loved the Maldives. Relaxing, stunning, great food, great ambience. I really hope someday that I can go back.