The tropics of Maldives is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, with its enchanting lush tropical vegetation, powdery-soft white sandy beaches, and the crystal clear waters of the turquoise lagoon that surrounds. Its also home to beautiful resorts from reputed international hotel brands as well as charming guests houses and city hotels in residential areas. Whether you are traveling solo, for your honeymoon, or with your family, there are plenty of options to choose from. In fact, you might be overwhelmed with choices to choose from, so here is how you book the perfect stay in Maldives for an effortless holiday experience.
Resorts vs Local Islands
While you search for properties in Maldives, you might see Maldives resorts as well as Maldives local islands also called Maldives public islands. You will also notice that the Maldives public islands are cheaper than even the budget resorts offered by the archipelago. This is because a resort and a public island will provide you with a drastically different holiday experience.
Beach Villa in Paradise Island Resort – A private island resort in Maldives
Most Maldives resorts, except for a few, usually occupy one whole island. Meaning, that you will not find locals or other residents staying in the resort as the island itself is owned by a resort or hotel operator. On the other hand, guesthouses are located on local islands. You can find multiple guesthouses on one Maldives local island.
For accommodation, resorts provide stand-alone villas nestled in the gardens, beachside, and of course, overwater while guesthouses mostly offer charming in-house rooms. If you are looking for a Maldives water villa, then your only option is to book a Maldives resort as local island guesthouses do not offer overwater accommodation and stand-alone villas.
The clothing and other rules are also a bit different when it comes to resort vs guest houses. In resorts, you are free to wear bikinis and roam around the beaches and the island. However, in local islands, bikinis are allowed only on the designated ‘bikini beaches,’ as you are asked to wear proper and decent clothing to respect the local culture.
Alcohol is another factor you should consider when booking a stay in the Maldives. While getting your favorite drinks and premium wine in resorts is not a problem, it is prohibited to have alcohol in other places in the Maldives including local islands. But there is a way around this as some local island offers floating bars – a safari just a few minutes away from the island serving alcoholic drinks.
Dining and Meal Plans
Whether you book a luxury Maldives resort or an affordable Maldives guesthouse, you can usually find three meal plan options to choose from. Breakfast & Bed (BB) for only breakfast, Half-Board (HB) for breakfast & dinner, and Full-board for breakfast, lunch, & dinner. For dining, you will find multiple restaurants in the island resorts. The meal plans provided by the resort allow you to dine in selected restaurants. As for guesthouses on local islands, they usually offer an in-hotel dining area that offers guesthouses a relaxing area for meals. Of course, since it’s a local island you can also explore other restaurants on your own.
Apart from the three meal plans, there is also an all-inclusive plan. The plan differs from property to property but usually, you will find all meals and drinks (please note that alcohol is not served in local island guesthouses) included as well a selection of complementary activities or spa treatments from resorts and some guesthouses.
You will also find all-inclusive resorts where the default and only plan available is the all-inclusive plan. Almost everything from meal plans to luxurious experiences and excursions will be taken care of as you enjoy an effortless all-inclusive holiday in the Maldives.
Whether you are going to a resort or another local island guesthouse, you can have to cross the waters of the Indian Ocean to reach your destination. Resorts and islands close to Velana International Airport of Maldives will offer direct speedboat rides. If the hotel is far away then you have to take a domestic flight to the closest domestic airport, which will then be followed by a short speedboat ride. Some resorts also bless you with a direct seaplane option.
A direct speed boat option is the cheapest way to transfer followed by domestic flights. Seaplane transfer is the most costly out of all. Seaplanes also operate during the daytime (until 16:00) so it is best to check whether your international flight connects when booking a seaplane resort.
It’s also important to note that the 3 transfer options mentioned above are mostly scheduled and shared transfers, meaning you might have to experience some waiting time between your international flight and resort transfer. The direct speedboat option is the most readily available one with frequent scheduled boats while domestic flights and seaplanes follow a more strict timetable. If you would like to remove the waiting times, then Maldives resorts and guesthouses provide private transfer options as well. These cost 3 to 4 times the regular transfer but are fantastic options if you are traveling as a large group.