A nation of over 1000 islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean has been beckoning us for years. As the pandemic was slowing, we took advantage of an incredible package though getting to the Maldives from the United States still involves a long and often costly flight. We left from the East Coast of the United States and connected through Dubai on Qatar Airways. All international flights land in Male, the capital of the Maldives, and from Male, you will continue on a much smaller aircraft to your Maldivian island of choice.
Resorts in the Maldives can be expensive and though all-inclusives aren’t our usual choice, in the Maldives they are worth consideration. As you might imagine, getting food and drinks to a resort in the middle of the ocean requires some logistics and they are priced accordingly. Another expense that will add cost is your flight to the resort. There are some resorts closer to Male that utilize speedboats but most are via flight.
We were quite impressed with Qatar Airways. Though we flew in coach, one day we will return to fly in their Q suites which look amazing. We had a long layover in Doha which is inevitable when flying to the Maldives. However, there a few creative ways to spend some time when there. The Vitality Well-Being and Fitness Center has fairly affordable options where you can use the gym, shower, and even take a dip in the pool. A first for us to do a few laps above the hustle of the airport! On our return flight, we grabbed a few hours of sleep in their Sleep ‘n Fly. A pretty nifty option for between $100 to $150 USD where you can grab a very tiny room with a bunk bed with a blanket, sheets, and pillow. The dining options were a bit limited but I surmise this is because many passengers utilize the lounges which unfortunately, were limited with the pandemic.
Mercure Maldives Koodoo Resort
We stayed at the Mercure Maldives Koodoo Resort as part of a package including drinks and meals, our flights to Koodoo Island and a dolphin excursion. In my opinion, the best part of the Maldives is the flight to your resort where you will soar over many small islands surrounded by a spectacular blue. Pack your sunscreen and swimsuit as you will need little else.
We had a friendly greeting on our arrival before we were whisked to our overwater bungalow. At this resort, I think the extra expensive for the overwater options is worthwhile. Our room has a large bathroom with outdoor tub, balcony with umbrella and plenty of storage. We were spoiled with several nice touches of welcome and happy birthday messages on our bed. At this particular resort, the dining options were adequate and there were no premium liquors, but there was a very wide variety at each meal and chefs were happy to accommodate any dietary preferences. Most water sports were included including paddle boarding, snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking.
As most of our vacations are non stop adventure, this was quite a change of pace for us to simply relax and read a book or go for a swim. We did quite a bit of snorkeling and the reef sits right off the end of the bungalows’ boardwalk. It was a very steep drop off at the end of reef which seemed to fall off into a deep blue abyss. Turtles, many fish and even black tipped reef sharks swam beside us in perfectly warm water. Gazing toward the horizon across contrasted shade of blue with a champagne in hand is the memory that will stick with us from our week in the Maldives
There are some truly incredible resorts in the Maldives for a vacation splurge. The Maldives themselves are an expensive endeavor with the international and domestic flights and the resort costs. The views of these tiny islands emerging from the middle of seemingly endless ocean is something special though.
After an entire article on the Maldives, I will say that if traveling from the United States, we were much more fond of French Polynesia. There, we found the water stunning, better snorkeling and more flexibility/affordability to travel between islands. If you are the type that enjoys just lounging at a resort, the Maldives might be for you. But…if you like a little more action, French Polynesia has more to offer (which is not to say that you can’t enjoy a cocktail in a pineapple and just relax in Bora Bora!).