Are the Maldives Worth It?

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

The question I have received most frequently about our stop in the Maldives during our around-the-world journey last year was are they worth it?  There are thousands of beaches we could visit around the world, but is it worth hauling to to the other side of the world and spending lots of money and points to go to the Park Hyatt Maldives specifically?

This post will be dedicated to trying to answer that question from my point of view, as well as to share another point of view from someone who has gone to the Maldives every year for the past several years.  To catch you up, here are the other posts in this series.

Introduction to an Around the World Trip on Points

Highlights from Business Class Flights Around the World on Miles (Part 1)

Review of Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht

Things to Do With 36 Hours in Amsterdam

Overview of the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Which Park Hyatt Maldives Villa is the Best

Food and Activities at the Park Hyatt Maldives on a Budget

Are the Maldives Worth It?

Review of Singapore and EVA Business Class Flights Home

Are the Maldives Worth it?

Before I try to answer the question with 1,000 written words, here are two videos that may do a better job.  Both were filmed while in the Maldives.

This video is just me answering whether I thought the Maldives were worth it while relaxing on my first trip to the island.

The second is even better as I interview friend and fellow BoardingArea blogger, Gary Leff from View from the Wing, while he is also on the island with his wife.  They have been to the Maldives every year for the past several years, and have no intention of changing that pattern any time soon.

If you live in North America, it will take you at least a full day of travel on both the front and back end of your trip to get to and from the Maldives.  You can go through Europe or Asia to get there, and there are no short cuts.  You will have at two long flights to get from the United States to Male, if not more.  Then, once you are in Male you will still need to take at least one more flight and a speed boat ride to get to the Park Hyatt Maldives.  That’s a minimum of 3-4 flights, and a boat ride to get there.  In other words, it is both far and remote.

Park Hyatt Maldives

There are white sand beaches and beautiful water much closer to home than the middle of the Indian Ocean.  So, if all you are after is a pretty beach, that goal can be met with much less expense and hassle than the Maldives.  However, for some remote and far are attractions to the Maldives, not negatives.

IMG_1439.JPG

Amazing beach at the Park Hyatt Maldives….no people.

If you want to keep vacation costs as low as possible then the Maldives are also a poor choice as even if you use airline miles and hotel points because you will be hit with a $500 per person charge for the flights/boat from Male to the resort, and of course food on the island served by the resort will not be inexpensive.  Though costs can be controlled to an extent by following the tips in this post.  If you want beach without that type of cash outlay, then consider an all-inclusive resort in Mexico or the Caribbean you can book with Hyatt points or similar.

If you like high energy, lots of activities, lots of interaction with others, and ample opportunities to explore on your vacations, then the Maldives are not for you.  I like adventurous trips, too, but I’m also okay with some trips devoted to unwinding and enjoying the company of my partner.

IMG_1565.JPG

Not sure we’ve ever been more relaxed!

The Maldives, and the Park Hyatt Maldives specifically are potentially right for you if:

  • You want to really relax and unwind
  • You like either spending time alone or in the company of your partner
  • You don’t want to battle with hundreds or thousands of other tourists for spots by the pool, umbrellas, dinner times, etc
  • You love the idea of a private island that will have no more than 49 other villas worth of people (plus staff)
  • You enjoy looking at, swimming in, and listening to a beautiful ocean
  • You want to see stars you thought you would never see with your own eyes
  • You like world class snorkeling and/or diving
  • You don’t need lots of activities, events, and distractions to have an enjoyable day
  • You are okay with spending a fair amount of money on fresh food each day during your vacation
  • You enjoy just showing up and not having a packed agenda (though you could book lots of excursions if you wished)
  • You want access to a fantastic spa
  • You want to just sit, breathe, appreciate, and enjoy
  • You have the miles, points, and dollars to spend without having to stress about every purchase
Park Hyatt Maldives Spa Pool

Park Hyatt Maldives Spa Pool

The Maldives are not for everyone, but they are absolutely perfect for some people on some trips.  I can’t think of a better place for us to have spent this specific trip.  I do wish we had gone when the weather allowed for more excursions and activities, but overall the Maldives were amazing.  We were able to truly relax, enjoy a breathtaking setting, enjoy the company of our friends while still having pretty of time for ourselves, and there was no hustle and bustle at all.  None.

Are the Maldives Worth it

Because of the cost, distance, and other places we still want to explore, we won’t be “Maldives regulars”, but I do hope to be able to return at some point, perhaps for my own 40th birthday several years down the road.  It is a special place that miles and points made possible when it would otherwise never have been attainable.

Park Hyatt Maldives Worth It

So yes, the Maldives and the Park Hyatt Maldives were unquestionably worth it for us on this big and special trip.  They are not right for every trip or every traveler, but then again, no destination is.  I very much hope we get to go back, eventually.

Have you been to or considered the Maldives and the Park Hyatt Maldives?  What makes it worth it, or not worth it, for you?

Comments

  1. Shame on you. So many sentences about the Maldives without mentioning the huge political problems they have. No freedom of speach, nearly to slavery situation, Islans owned by big corporates which bring ZERO to the locals.

    Next thing: stop talking about resorts. There is much more than this. A few islands are opening for tourism… where usually tourists are not allowed to go to islands which locals living on them.

    Sorry but postings about the Maldives not containing this information make me really upset just because unfair – as long as you think tourism has something to do with the locals.

    • This is a travel blog, not a human rights blog. Plus, the author is offering what she experienced in her trip to the Maldives. I highly doubt she experienced political unrest and visible, near-slavery treatment of staff at the Park Hyatt.

      If you want to talk about eye-opening, mis-treatment of the Male people you can go write for CNN.

      Again, if she is blogging about her experience and she experienced the flight, the food, and staying at a resort that was on its own island with hardly any opportunity to explore due to weather conditions; then I expect a blog about…… you guessed it!

      So shame on you for not writing your own blog.

      • So you don’t care about human rights in countries that you visit?

        Thailand is beautiful, who cares about child prostitution?

        Let’s all go to China and ignore the treatment of factory workers!

        Let’s go to India where honor killings are increasing and rape is considered normal!

        Seriously, what the hell?

        A travel blog, blogger, tourist, traveler- all human beings on earth- have a responsiblity to this planet. And that includes promoting healthy tourism to places that cherish human rights.

        • Those are all important things for sure, and everyone needs to consider all relevant factors before deciding where they want to visit. On the other hand, tourism and visiting places you don’t agree with 100% has some real upsides too for the destination and traveler. Either way, I think that is enough of that line of discussion for this miles and points blog.

        • You name a country without human-rights issues, and I’ll be happy to send you on an all-expenses-paid trip there.

          Good luck.

    • This is not a political blog, and I think Summer and many other points bloggers have been clear in the past that discussions about this sort of thing belong elsewhere. This is not a trip I would have taken for plenty of reasons, and we might share some opinions, but this is Summer’s blog and I, for one, am glad to see a trip report uncolored by political rhetoric. Go where you go; I’ll do the same, and I’m sure Summer will continue to do so, as well. I hope she continues to write about it.

    • Who gives a sh.. about the political situation in the Maldives? If you are that concerned about politics you should be looking closer to home in a place called DC before you start talking about the Maldives. This is a travel blog and if you look at the political situation of the entire world you would probably not leave your house.

    • I take it if you were to win a contest for a free trip to the Maldives sponsored by MPs you’d decline the prize, right?
      Don’t answer that.
      If you have a problem with freedom in the Maldives, then don’t go to the Maldives. Don’t read MP’s blog either. No need to give an ethics lesson to others. This is not the appropriate forum for that. Live and let live.

  2. Short answer –
    First/Business – absolutely
    Coach – doubtful 🙂

    I loved the Maldives, but the $1000-$1200 for the seaplane might prevent me from returning (at least to any properties far from Male)

  3. I would argue most of the PROs you list can be had elsewhere just as easily and much cheaper, and the scenery isn’t anything special.

    For diving / snorkeling types who want to get to the middle of nowhere, a much better choice is Raja Ampat in Indonesia. For about $200-400 per day, you sail around on a live-aboard ship and do 3-4 dives per day in the most diverse marine environment on the planet.

    Even the seclusion and private beaches can be had elsewhere for less. Sorry, don’t see the hype with Maldives or a single thing I can get there that’s not available elsewhere for much less and/or with less hassle.

  4. How much are the hotel per night? Also, excluding flights, and assuming no points used for hotels, how much would five nights cost for two people — so hotels, food and internal flights? This seems insanely expensive.

    • Ha ha. Well it’s 100% not paid or sponsored by anyone. Half the post is reasons not to go, but you are right the other half are reasons why we loved it.

  5. I just don’t see how going to the Maldives is better than going to French Polynesia. FP is so much closer to N.America. And you get the diversity of jagged mountains like on Bora Bora or the remote starkness of atolls like Fakarava.
    I’ve thought about the Maldives but after 3 visits to Tahiti, I’d rather continue exploring those beautiful islands.
    But to each their own!

  6. Linda, i debated for a long time on whether to go to bora bora or the Maldives – i ultimately decided on the Maldives because of the superior flight redemption options (flew first class with Etihad and Cathay) and we wanted another stop off point for a few days and we had more options with the maldive trip) – however i very much want to go to bora bora (the terrain of bora bora was one of its biggest selling points to me)

  7. My wife and I just flew out of the Maldives this afternoon. We can attest to everything Summer just said. The Park Hyatt was at full capacity, but it felt like hardly anyone was there. There were places to relax everywhere (my wife loved lying on the lounge couches gazing at the stars). The snorkeling/diving is some of, if not the best in the World. You are also paying for seclusion – everything was romantic! Now would we do it without points? Of course not. I think that’s why we are reading Mommy Points right now! I’d recommend combing this trip with another one. We went to Sri Lanka for a week and the Maldives for 5 nights, nice to see both.

    • Travis, so glad you had a great trip, and I totally agree about having more than just one stop if you are going that far. We talk about that in the video, but I should have written it in the post, too.

  8. Great post as always MP. My wife and I have the points and dollars to spend on this kind of trip, but we can’t decide if we really want to. We’ve found that you can have just as remote an experience by checking into Petit St. Vincent or Parrot Cay, so why bother traveling all that way? I feel like it would be a special trip, but not necessarily a unique one.

  9. There are ways to be in the Maldives without spending enormous amounts of cash, and being secluded in a resort. You essentially do homestays or book rooms with the locals instead of shelling out a bunch of points to Hyatt (and then add on additional cash for food, etc.). It isn’t as high-end resort-like, but you do get to see the same stars, take excursions, and so on, and it brings you closer to the local community.

    http://guesthouses-in-maldives.net/

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maldives/hotels/guesthouses

    I wouldn’t imagine this to be popular in a community dedicated to miles, points and credit cards, but it would be an alternative.

  10. I agree this is not a political blog, but I do wonder to what degree people take such things into account at all when going to the Maldives, etc. The Maldives is a strictly Islamic country under sharia law. As an example you can get alcohol at resorts, but it is illegal elsewhere. You can be jailed for attempting to bring in alcohol.

    I guess as long as you stick to the resort islands the other aspects can be ignored if you choose to do so.

    • Exactly Carl.

      And a female travel blogger with a daughter has a repsonsiblity to promote tourism that promotes the rights of women rather than denounces them.

  11. Dear Mommy Points,
    At some point, you should realize that you are a “1% er,” with points, in much the same way that the richest of the rich are in the news lately. Through your blog and your financial relationships, you will always have many more points than your readers. The Maldives on miles and points are simply out of reach for the average frequent flyer looking for a few trips a year. Looks like your blog has changed, as now you seem intent on conveying your travel conquests that many will never take. We know that long distances are too far for you and your family to fly in coach, as you are at the top of the food chain when it comes to points and miles (you are a 1%er). I have spent a ton of miles over the last 5 yrs in order to provide vacations for my family, but we don’t fly business and we don’t go to the Maldives. Not sure where your blog is going

    • You make a great point that accumulating enough points to go to the Maldives for the average reader of this blog would take a few years.

    • I don’t actually think so. I don’t have millions of miles and don’t really do anything out of the ordinary to earn miles. This was a big trip, but very possible to replicate without a ton of work. I couldn’t do these trips regularly. I usually fly coach and am flying coach to Europe next month cause it made more sense. In Jamaica now for 22k ANA miles round trip, which is more in line with how most of our trips are. That said, I think points being a big trip like the one we did last year to the Maldives into realm of possible for most anyone in the us willing to get a couple rewards cards…which is what I did.

      • How many points did you have to redeem for both airfare as well as hotel? I am thinking anything beyond 400K to 600K points for a vacation for two and you would be pushing the limits for your average reader.

        • Jediwho, those details are all in the intro post for the series linked toward the beginning of this post. It was less than those numbers quoted. Remember two nights that come from Hyatt visa would now be great use their too

    • 7 nights at PH was 175,000 (UR or less if you use Hyatt CC).
      2 Bus tickets round trip runs 100K-150K x 2 depending on how you book (AA or Alaska is probably best).

      Assuming you’re taking a spouse you can sign up for:
      2 Hyatt CCs (4 nights)
      2 Ink Plus (4 more nights easy)
      4 AA cards personal/bus (200K points)
      2 SPG cards (75K points)
      = 10 credit cards, with points plenty of points to spare to cover the cost of doing first. 10 credit cards between 2 people is EXTREMELY easy.

  12. As I was redeeming a biz class ticket to Asia this year, I considered the Maldives before rejecting it. I could handle the expensive food, or the additional cost to get their from Male, but not both. At that point, it just seemed silly — kind of like going to Bora Bora (which, I suspect, is nicer than the Maldives).

    When I went to Tahiti a number of years ago (perhaps the only nice place in the world that is HARDER for Americans to get to than 25 years ago!), we visited Moorea — which is a paradise that didn’t require a large additional airfare to reach (cheap, short ferry boat from Papeete). If there was a wonderful place in the Maldives that I could reach inexpensively from Male, I would reconsider. Otherwise, there are just too many other places to visit in the world.

  13. Hi Summer. 2 things..

    1. Great post

    2. Please don’t let the haters ever get to you! Self important political trolls here now? Oh dear. Jealous people…nothing new. Ignore em and keep up the good work.

    You are clearly a nice person trying to make a living at something you’re good at, writing well and you know your stuff

    I salute you.

    Ps… Just got to the PH Maldives last night. 😉

    • BBC News – Maldives ex-leader Nasheed arrested on terror charges

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-31575279

      So Andy, we’re not supposed to give a damn about the conditions of other human beings’ lives?

      As long as I get there for FREE and get my own little private beach, all is well?

      If I wish to go someplace where the women have rights, I’m a hater and jealous?

      Want a lovely beach in the U.S.?? Go to Chinoteague, VA- look it up. Guaranteed beauty, no political backlash. Win-Win!

      I will never set foot in the Maldives. Good on me!

  14. Based on my personal experience with the Conrad Maldvies Rangali Island, I’d definitely say that the Maldives are worth it if you have the points, dollars, and time to make it out there. The closer tropical beach areas in the Caribbean are very nice (I’ve been to Aruba, St. Maarten, Bahamas, etc), but there’s something really special about the remote, less-crowded and more-picturesque locations. This may be due to the fact that they’re so hard to get to that the natural beauty is better preserved, but the water and beaches are what you imagine when visualizing your own personal tropical postcard moment.

    Comparing two tropical paradise resorts based on the interest in Bora Bora in these comments, I slightly preferred my Bora Bora experience at the Intercontinental Thalasso to my Maldives experience at the Conrad. I preferred the water and scenery (Mt. Otemanu as the backdrop) at Bora Bora though there wasn’t much snorkeling – the Conrad has great snorkeling at its own snorkel area on-site. The scenery really is straight out of a photograph everywhere you look.

    The IC Thalasso also has the best rooms I’ve ever had (though the Four Seasons and St. Regis are supposed to be better) – I’d give my overwater bungalow a 9.5/10 while the Conrad over-water would be an 8/10. And if you’re ever in the position of considering between IC Thalasso and IC Le Moana at Bora Bora – its not even close, go for the Thalasso. Much better beaches and water and much better rooms.

    I also stayed at the Sheraton Moorea (now the Hilton) and while Moorea was very nice, the scenery and experience wasn’t nearly as spectacular as the IC Thalassao.

    • Thanks for the note. I’m planning to go to Bora Bora next year, but the availability as MP mentions is pretty shitty at the Thallaso. although the other IC has plenty of availability.

      Park Hyatt had plenty of availability, and being able to route via 4+ routes (Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dabi, Colombo, Qatar) make it much easier to get to I think (especially in First or Business).

  15. Summer, when did you go and how was the weather? I’m planning my 10th anniversary trip to Maldives (probably Conrad) but we want to make sure we go in the dry season and not the stormy monsoon season, even if that means after our actual anniversary date.

  16. Wow Andy. “Self important political trolls”? I just don’t live in a bubble and prefer not to vacation in one either. That’s just my opinion and you are welcome to yours. Enjoy your stay!

  17. Actually going to the Maldives CAN be astronomically expensive, and it also can be very much within reason. Although my wife and I went there completely free on points (flight and hotel), even if you were to pay for the hotel, it depends where you go. The Maldives has 1100+ islands, and the Park Hyatt is one of the most expensive per night stays and cost around $500 to take a seaplane from Male. SO, that gets expensive. We stayed at Holiday in Kandooma and if you go on IHG.com site, it starts around $225/night. This is one of the best hotels I’ve been to in my life (and I’ve been a lot of places), each room is it’s own 2 story detached ‘hut/cabin’ (don’t know what to call it), they provided 6 free oranges per day with a juicer, three 1liter bottled waters, a FREE snorkel trip (they take you on a boat) every single day (those trips elsewhere would normally cost $60-100), free sunscreen. They have to take you to the hotel on a speed boat from the airport and if you arrange it with the hotel it’s like $200 or so per person. I found a 3rd party speedboat and negotiated a rate that worked out to just over $90 per person round trip. My flight to Maldives was a ‘stop over’ at the time United allowed stop overs on international flights, so we stayed in Singapore for 5 days, then went on to Maldives for 5 days and then back to LAX…round trip 65000 points on United (flew back on a dreamliner). Park Hyatt isn’t the only hotel out there, I’d love to go there and have the points to stay there free, but refuse to pay $500pp for the seaplane to get that particular hotel. That $1000 for my wife and i would be more expensive than all the out of pocket that I’ve had to pay for 20+ trips (air, hotel, car) in the past 3 years we’ve been on combined! So, I think it’s very much within financial means to take a vacation there with proper research and planning…

  18. I honestly don’t understand all the negativity. This is a personal blog, and the author is expressing her own opinions. She enjoyed her time in Maldives, which by the way, looks like a very nice destination. She is not telling that everyone should go there and is upfront about tremendous costs involved.
    Whether one needs to consider political climate before selecting their travel destination is also a personal choice. This isn’t a “black and white” issue. In indirect ways, locals do benefit from tourist dollars, even in upscale resorts that are seemingly isolated. It isn’t fair to attack individuals who made a choice that you don’t approve of.

    • A blog that earns money is no longer a personal blog but a business. Therein lies the difference. A business has a responsiblity to it’s clientele.

      Go to the Maldives, enjoy, have fun. Personally, I cherish democracy more and therefore support those places that promote it. To each his or her own.

      I rather enjoy MP’s blog for the most part.

      It’s just all these luxury “best” places that end up being discussed all over BA aren’t actually considered “best” by the world’s elite. I find that amusing. *shrugs*

      • I never said Maldives was best…I wouldn’t know as there are still many, many places I have yet to go. Even still, best within a miles community would probably be best than for the ‘world elite’ as we are dealing with where you can get to and stay on miles and points not where you could get to with an unlimited budget. 😉

  19. I just went to the Maldives a few weeks ago, and the attacks on Summer seem a little ridiculous.

    I probably have the same opinion as her, in that this is really a luxury R&R destination. Yes there are better VALUEs out there, since this trip could easily cost you 5-10x Hawaii (I spent $7K cash in 7 nights on food, booze, excursions, upgrades).

    You really should not go to the Maldives unless you’re looking for a 5-star luxury vacation, and have a budget of 500-1000 a day on food/booze/excursions. It’s the same arguement everyone makes that you could fly coach for half the miles, and is business/first really worth it. If you’re the type to save and scrimp your mile, and dollars, this probably isn’t the trip for you. If you are looking for an luxury vacation and are using miles/points to save some serious cash, then it is worth it… but it is not free.

    As for the credit card churning requirements, I’d assume you can do a week at the PH and fly business in 7-8 credit cards for a couple. And considering my wife and I churn about 30 cards between us a year, it is pretty easy to get the points required to make this trip work.

  20. Thanks for is. It definitely puts things in perspective. I totally want to visit but I have neither the cash nor the points/miles to visit. I was thinking of saving up to visit but I think my resources would prolly be best used on a more attainable location.

    • I’m glad to hear that actually. The post is just as successful if it shows someone where they don’t want to or shouldn’t go, as it is if they show someone it is the perfect place to go.

      • And for this record…. I really enjoy your blog. I don’t know why some people can be so nasty behind a computer screen. Try to not let them ruin your day. Some people will always be bitter in life and there’s nothing you can say to change them. Just continue to be yourself and do what you’re doing.

  21. wait, $1k for ANOTHER plane/boat from Male that can’t be done with points? THAT alone makes it not worthwhile for me. I mean, FFS, I spent $2.5k for the wife and I to travel Asia for 3.5 weeks in 5* hotels. We visited no less than 4 Park Hyatt’s during that trip. I’d rather do that again…

  22. Hi, great post! And lovely photos. I was just wondering given the weather wasn’t the best, were you still able to snorkel? And were the waters still crystal clear during this time of the year? My husband and I are considering going in July but worried about the weather…Thanks!

    • I would 100% take seasonal weather patterns into consideration – we had some good weather days that allowed for snorkeling, but the bad weather days really were unfortunate as you can’t do much then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *