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As you may know, the Hyatt Gold Passport program is having some annual category adjustments that kick in on January 22nd (Thursday) and some properties will be getting pricier in points while some are getting cheaper. One of the noteworthy hotels getting pricier in points is the Park Hyatt Maldives that will be going from a Category 6 to 7, and from 25,000 to 30,000 points per night.
I’m in the middle of writing an around-the-world trip report that includes posts on the beautiful Park Hyatt Maldives. I had hoped to be further along in sharing the write-up before now so you could have a little more info to decide if you wanted to lock in some nights at that property before the points price goes up on Thursday, but it didn’t end up working out exactly like I hoped.
So, I’m going to jump ahead a little bit and write up a little overview of the Park Hyatt Maldives ahead of schedule in the trip report in advance of the January 22nd deadline. Feel free to ask questions if you have them, and I promise to go into more detail on various aspects in subsequent posts on the property.
Here are some other posts in the around-the-world series – note that the Andaz Amsterdam reviewed below is also going up a category on Thursday from a Category 5 to a 6.
Getting to the Park Hyatt Maldives:
Up front, I’ll say that the biggest drawback to the Park Hyatt Maldives for me is the location. Its location also a big asset, but if you are coming from a reality without unlimited vacation days and responsibilities back home, then having the time, miles, and money to get to the middle of the Indian Ocean isn’t easy. There is no quick way to get from the US to Male, and then you still aren’t quite there.
So, no matter how much I might love the property, it isn’t somewhere we could go very frequently as there will be at least a full 24 hour day of travel (or more) on both ends of the trip. On top of that, even though you can use airline miles to get to Male, you still will have to pay the $500+ per person fee to get from Male to the actual private island where the Park Hyatt is located in the form of a Maldivian Airlines flight, and speed boat transfer. The Park Hyatt handles all these logistics, and then you pay the hotel directly for the flight and boat transfer.
All of the Rooms are Beautiful Villas:
A huge draw of the Park Hyatt Maldives is that you can use points to have not just a room, but your own villa. There are three types of villas on the property that I will outline in greater detail later, but the base villa you can secure for points is still one of 51 private villas. That is amazing, and a great way to spend a vacation in your own private paradise.
Even if you aren’t yet sure which type of villa you want, you can just book the base villa with points and then contact the hotel later to negotiate a paid upgrade to the pool or over-water villa. If finances are an issue, the base villa truly is totally fine and enjoyable. The layout of the villas are all very similar, it is just the location and/or private pool that varies substantially from villa type to villa type.
The Hotel is on a Private Island:
In addition to having your own private villa, it is worth emphasizing that the hotel is on its own private island. The only folks there will be other guests and employees, so don’t worry about vendors bothering you on the beach, hoards of tourists setting up umbrellas in front of you on the beach, etc. It is a very quiet, calm, and exclusive environment that lends itself to just unwinding and relaxing.
On the flip side, if you want lots of excitement and action-filed days, then the fact that you are isolated in a sense on your own island may be a negative. We loved that aspect, but I can imagine some personality types (or travel partners) would have trouble just sitting and relaxing together for days on end.
You Can Bring Kids, but it it’s not a Family Resort:
We did not bring our daughter to the Maldives, and I’m glad we didn’t. I love traveling with her, but if I want to take her to the beach, there are tons of beautiful beaches we can get to much cheaper and easier than the Maldives (like this one, for example). For me, the beauty of this resort is the calm, relaxing, sit-around-and-enjoy-vibe. As anyone with kids will know, that ain’t gonna happen when you are entertaining a young kid. She would have enjoyed swimming at the resort, but it would have been a totally different experience for us had we brought her. Truthfully, it would likely have been pretty frustrating to have gone that far to a resort that specialized in helping you relax, just to worry about keeping my kid quiet enough to not bother others from their “chill time” at the beach, pool, and in the restaurant.
I have also read they are now charging extra for kids ages 3 and over to the tune of $250 additional per night, though I have not seen that reflected on their website. Don’t get me wrong, there were kids there, and I’m sure you can have a great time with your family, but I personally don’t think the resort is the ideal destination for families with young children given how many other more easily accessible and affordable options there are in the world.
Food Doesn’t have to be Super Expensive, but it’s not Cheap:
This is a private island, so food is going to be a big expense on your trip, but it doesn’t have to be astronomically expensive. We found that the room service menu was actually a good value relative to heading to the restaurant. So, you can certainly eat for less than $75 per person per day if you get the free breakfast, and don’t really drink much, but I doubt you will do it for much less than that unless you are frugal to the point of it being stressful.
If you have Diamond status, your breakfast is free and generous, and if you take advantage, it should keep you full enough most of the day aside from perhaps a snack by the beach. There is also a “create your own” menu with a meat and two sides that ranges in price from $22 – $32 that we found to be a good value.
On our trip, we typically had the Diamond breakfast, a snack or small order for lunch, and then enjoyed a larger dinner, including a private dinner once (which really isn’t a much higher price than eating in the restaurant).
In terms of quality, I didn’t love everything we ate there, but I at least liked most of it, and loved some of it. I loved all the drinks and fresh juices, and there was plenty on the menu to keep me happy.
Great Diving and Snorkeling:
In addition to being a haven for romance or relaxation, the Park Hyatt Maldives is top notch for snorkeling and diving. If you stay in an over-water villa you can literally just snorkel off your back deck, which we did during our time in that villa. I am not a diver, but I have universally heard that this resort offers some of the best diving in the world, though at a price, of course. If you want to snorkel, you don’t even need an excursion for some good snorkeling, as the reef right off the property is very good. You can see some prices for dives in this Flyertalk wiki.
The Time of Year Matters:
We went in late April/early May for my husband’s 40th birthday, and we knew that was not the best time of the year for weather, but it should have been better than it was based on historical patterns. The “wet monsoon” runs from May to November, and while we should have lucked into more “transitional” weather in late April and early May, the weather was not that great. We had periods of sun for sure (thank goodness), but the weather and rough water made it so that no excursions were running while we there at all. We tried to book fishing, exploring neighbor islands, etc. and they were all canceled every day due to weather.
That was a bummer for us as we were looking forward to some of those things, but there was nothing that could be done about the weather, obviously. We ended up spending more time in the nice spa since it was open and functioning despite weather, but if we return in the future I will be sure it is during the dry monsoon season from December – March.
Would I Go Back:
Yes, I would go back if miles and points continue to allow that to be possible in the future, but this is not the spot I would go every year or two. We went for my husband’s 40th birthday, and I could see us going for something like my 40th in six years. I would again not bring kids, and would want this to be a couples/adults-only trip. We intentionally overlapped our trips with friends Gary (View From the Wing) and his wife, and that was a fun way to have interaction with others, while still having your own private island and villa. I would love to overlap with friends again if we returned, but due to price, distance, and the adults-oriented nature of the property, this will never be a regular vacation spot for us.
That said, we did really enjoy the property, and if you go when there is good weather, I could see really loving this spot…every 5-10 years or so.
You Can Do it Too:
If you want to go, be sure to book your rooms today or tomorrow using points for the next 12 months to avoid having to spend more Hyatt points starting on Thursday. As always, you can transfer points instantly into Hyatt 1:1 using Ultimate Reward points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus Business Card, or even the Chase Freedom® if you also have one of those other two cards. The property is also a very good use of the two free nights that come via the sign-up bonus from the Chase Hyatt Visa (look for the best offer with statement credit while making a Hyatt.com reservation).
Have you been to the Park Hyatt Maldives, or are you considering booking a trip before the points price increase?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.