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How to Choose a Resort in Maldives?

How to choose a resort in Maldives? While choosing a resort in the Maldives, there are difficulties with a large selection of hotels (now there are about 130 of them and every year 3-7 new ones are opened). Which is better to choose: 5 * or 4 *? What meal plane to select? What is the best way to book a resort? These and many other questions will be answered in this guide

  1. “Stars” of the resort
  2. The main types of villas
  3. Meal Plan
  4. Transfer to the resort
  5. Types of resorts
  6. How to book a resort in Maldives?
  7. Special offers and discounts

“Stars” of the resort

Each country has its own classification of hotels. For example, a 3 * hotel (there are only a few) on Maldives is a hotel that corresponds to a level of 4-5* in Vietnam.

Most hotels in the Maldives have 5* or 5 +*. Hotels 4* less, but in price it is noticeable. Therefore, consider the main differences between 4 and 5 *.

Accommodation. In the vast majority of 4* hotels the cheapest and simplest accommodation is in rooms/bungalows (blocks for 2-4 rooms). Private villas will already cost more. Nevertheless, the rooms are quite spacious and they have everything you need. In 5 * resorts, the choice of villas is usually wider than in 4 * (although, for example, in Kuramathi, 4* it’s 11 of them).

Food. In most 4* resorts offer half board, full board or all inclusive meals (this will be described in more detail below) as a default option. It should be noted that water and drinks are not included in the half / full board. In hotels 5* it’s less common. Also on 5* resorts there are more restaurants that offer Thai, Indian and other cuisines.

Amenities and services. In hotels 5* service, however, more personal and generally higher than in 4 *. But each resort has its own restaurants, dive centers, water sports centers, spas, swimming pools. The package of free services is also wider. In all 5 + * hotels you are provided with one or more personal butlers who help you in everything. In such hotels usually, do not pre-order half board or full board.

how to choose a resort in maldives. villa

The main types of villas

Let’s take a look at the main types of rooms/bungalows/villas that can be found in the Maldives.

Standard/Deluxe room. Rooms with a standard set of amenities: bed, table, chairs, mini bar, bathroom. Usually, they build 2-4 rooms in blocks. The simplest type of accommodation. Usually has a garden/island view.

Beach Bungalow. In fact, there are very few differences from the Standard Room. In some cases, this is private accommodation in a separate bungalow. The rooms are bigger in size. The view can be either on the beach or on the garden/island.

Beach Villa. Private accommodation is only for you. However, it is not always your villa is separated from the neighboring with fence of greenery. Some of the resorts, like Angsana Ihuru, have a fenced private garden. They are usually close to the beach and have a private entrance.

Beach Villa with Jacuzzi / Jet Pool / Pool. Accordingly, villas that have a private jacuzzi, jet pool, pool. Bigger than a normal villa.

Beach House / Suite. 2-3 or 4 bedroom villas, designed for 4-8 people. Have a personal jacuzzi, a swimming pool, sometimes a bar and a spa. The cost is usually more than individual villas.

Water Bungalow. Very few rezorts, where you can find together two bungalows, but it’s also possible. Therefore, in general, these are separate bungalows

Water Villa. Separate villa on the water. Deluxe villas are bigger in size.

Water Villa with pool/jacuzzi /bathrobe. Private water villa with pool, jacuzzi or bathtub.

In-ocean Villa. Not a lot of resorts with water villas, which are not connected with the shore. Among them are Angsana Velavaru, Gili Lankanfushi, Jumeirah Vittaveli. Every 15-30 minutes the boat runs to the shore. High level of privacy is guarantee!

Water Suite. 2-3 bedroom villas with the same amenities as the Beach Suite. One of the largest Water Suite is located on the St. Regis Maldives. John Jacob Astor Estate has an area of 1540 sqm, 2 floors, and 3 bedrooms.

how to choose a resort in maldives. restaurant

Meal Plans

By default, each resort provides breakfast in the main restaurant is a buffet style.

Half board (breakfasts and dinners), full board (breakfasts, lunches and dinners) are also served in the main restaurant or in some other restaurants. At the same time, drinks are not included in the price (water as well). Some of the resorts have their own “half board +” or “full board +”, in addition to food can include drinks or discount on food in other restaurants.

Let’s take a look at the all-inclusive more carefully. For this, we take examples of 4*, 5* and 5 +* resorts.

Bandos Maldives, 4*

Food and beverages
– Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at the Gallery Restaurant during meal times. Meals from other outlets will be at an extra charge.
– Non-carbonated bottled water is served at all Food & Beverage outlets.
– Regular tea and coffee (hot/cold) is served at Sand Bar, Huvan and Gallery Restaurant.
– Soft drinks and canned fruit juices are served at the Sand Bar, Pool Bar, Huvan and Gallery Restaurant. Fresh fruit juice will be at an extra charge.
– House wine is served at the Sand Bar, Huvan and Gallery Restaurant. Premium brands of wine and all sparkling wine are chargeable.
– Draught beer is available from the Sand Bar, Huvan and Gallery Restaurant.
– House spirit (gin, vodka, rum and whiskey) is available from the Sand Bar, Huvan and Gallery Restaurant. Premium brands of spirits are available at an extra charge.
– Select cocktails and mocktails are available from the Sand Bar and Huvan.
– Select sparkling wine is served by the glass at the Sand Bar and Huvan.
– Daily tea, coffee and snacks, served on display, are available from Sea Breeze Café from 1530hrs – 1700hrs.
– All drinks are served one glass at a time.
– Sand Bar options are available from 07:00hrs – 00:30hrs daily.
– Pool Bar options are available from 10:00hrs – 20:00hrs daily.
– Huvan options are available from 07:00hrs – 00:00hrs daily.

– Windsurfing: maximum 02hours per person per day
– Canoeing: maximum 02hours per person per day
– Table tennis and billiards are included in the package, along with equipment.
– Gymnasium, fitness centre, spinning, step classes, steam room and sauna are included.
– Daylight tennis facilities with equipment are available.
– All the above sports are subject to availability.
– Lessons and certifications are at extra charge.

– The All Inclusive Package does not include any of the following;
– Food & Beverages not listed above such as other liquors, liqueurs, selections from the wine list, fresh fruit juice, espresso, cappuccino, blended drinks, cocktails etc.
– Beverage from Room Service, Gift Shops, Mini Bar, Sports Centre and Excursions.
– Beverages served outside all inclusive hours in any of the outlets
– Local & International Telephone Calls/Fax/Internet.
– Compulsory Christmas & New Year Supplement.
– Souvenir Shops and Laundry Service.
– Diving and any other recreation or sports (land and water based) facilities not stated herein as all inclusive.
– Airport/Resort/Airport Transfers.
– Any other services, amenities and facilities not stated herein as all-inclusive are also not included in this all inclusive package.

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, 5*

Breakfast is served in Iru restaurant during Breakfast operating hours.

– All-inclusive Lunch is available from all below Restaurants and Bar as a selection of 3 meals per person during restaurants lunch operating service hours
– Islanders Grill – Entitled for three items from the A la’ cart menu
– Trio – Entitled for three items from the A la’ cart menu
– Bamboo Restaurant – Entitled for three items from the A la’ cart menu
– Fluid– Entitled for three items from the whole A la’ cart menu
– Reflection– Entitled for three items from the whole A la’ cart menu
– Any additional items taken from the a la carte menu other than three courses will be charged in guest account for full payment.
– Any Lunch or meal taken after lunch operational hours will be charged in a guest account for full payment.

– All Inclusive dinner is available during dinner operating hours in Iru Restaurant.
Second option:
– All-inclusive dinner is available from all our entire restaurant on selected items during restaurants dinner operating service hours
– Islanders Grill – Entitled for three items from the A la’ cart menu
– Trio – Entitled for three items from the A la’ cart menu
– Bamboo Restaurant – Entitled for three items from the A la’ cart menu
– Flavours Restaurant – Entitled for three items from the A la’ cart menu
– Taste of India – Entitled for three items from the A la’ cart menu

Selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks served by glass at a time including Wine (single label White, Red & Rose), Spirits, Beer (Draught Beer and Carlsberg), selected cocktails, soft drinks, chilled packet juice, selected mocktails, water, coffee and Tea in all restaurants during operating hours.

There is no All Inclusive meal plan on 5+* Resorts.

how to choose a resort in maldives. seaplane

Transfer to resort in Maldives

There are 3 main types of transfer to resorts in Maldives: speedboat, seaplane and domestic flight


Modern and powerful boats with a capacity of 16-22 people. Basically, such transfer is provided by the resorts that are located close to Velanaa Airport – Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Olhuveli Beach and Spa Resort, Paradise Island Resort.
A big advantage of that a transfer is the cost. It starts from 70-80USD per person in both ways. There are no restrictions on luggage and age of guest. For infants 0-2 years old free of charge, children 2-12 years old – 50% discount.

How is the transfer provided? At the airport you are met either by a tour operator representative or by a hotel representative. Assisted to the check-in counter and if there are other guests on your flight or on a flight that arrives at the same time, then all of you are put on the boat together and go to the resort. This is not a private transfer, the cost of which is much higher. Nevertheless, the resorts provide such service as well.
Each resort has a small fleet of VIP boats for transfer, which it provides for an additional fee.


Maldives has the largest fleet of seaplanes in the world! At the moment, three companies operate (Trans Maldivian Aero, Maldivian, Flyme). The total number of aircraft is about 60. The dominant position belongs to the TMA, which has about 50 aircraft. The capacity is 16-19 people. Thus, for regular flights, resorts use the services of these companies. In other words, you can’t book a plane by yourself. Also on the way to your holiday, he can make several “stops.”

Main disadvantages:
– cost. It starts from 290USD in both directions per person for 15 min flight. The maximum cost is 600USD.
– availability. All flights are only operated during the daytime 7:00 – 17:00. If your flight later, then there are only 2 options: stay overnight in Male / Hulumale or take a transfer domestic flight + speedboat, which is not provided by all of the resorts.
– restrictions on luggage. You can take luggage with limit 20 + 5 kg per person. Over this limit – for an additional fee.

Main advantages:
– Speed. The average flight time is only 15 – 45 minutes.
– Maldivian views. A bird’s-eye view offers a stunning view of Maldives islands. This is the only way to enjoy of all the beauties from the air.
– A unique experience. Not a lot of countries in the world where you can try this kind of trip.

It’s not the cheapest transfer in Maldives, but it’s worth it!

Flight by domestic airlines + speedboat

In the Maldives, in addition to the international airport of Velana, there are 12 more local airports (some of them also have international status). Some of the resorts can be reached only by this type of transfer (such as Shangri-La Village Resort, Hideaway). Since for seaplanes it is far. Some resorts, such as The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, provide such a shuttle service as an alternative to seaplanes.
An important advantage of it is availability. To the majority of airports from Male there are 2-6 flights per day. Upon arrival you are met by the staff of the resort and escorted by boat to the hotel. Domestic aircrafts also have baggage restrictions of 25 + 5 kg.

In the Maldives, there is no public transfer (scheduled ferries or speedboats) to/from the resort.

Types of resorts

Most of the resorts in the Maldives are family-friendly. For children aged 1-11 years, Kid’s Club services are provided, where you can leave the child with a nanny. In addition, special events are organized. In most cases, the resort has special offers for families with children (free meals, transfer, etc.). Examples of family type resorts: Bandos Maldives, The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi

Other resorts like Hurawalhi, Komandoo Maldives, Centara Ras Fushi accept only guests over 12 to 18 years of age. But there are very few of them. On such resorts there may be special offers for honeymooners or simply couples who came to rest without children.

how to choose a resort in maldives. view

How to book resort in Maldives?

There are 3 main ways to book a resort: online travel agencies (OTA), travel agency, resort website.

OTA include websites like Booking.com, Expedia and others. The specificity of the Maldives is that hotels prefer to work with travel agencies more than with  OTA. This is due to the size of the commission that hotels must pay to the platforms. If you take into account the amount of the check and the interest rate of the platform, then the amount can’t go out small. Online platforms do not take into account the specifics of the Maldives. And resorts in Maldives belong to luxury brands.

Travel Agencies

Let’s compare rates from OTA and Budget Maldives.

The comparative analysis was conducted on March 19, 2018 and is valid for this date. Another day may be with different price. We take 4*, 5*, 5+* resorts. It is important to note that many resourts have special offers and prices for a particular country or region. Therefore, we will consider the country Germany, the cost is in USD.

Sun Island Resort and Spa, 4*
Accommodation: Standard Beach Bungalow
Meal: Full Board
Dates: 14-18 May 2018
No. of adults: 2
Transfer: domestic roundtrip flight
All taxes (Service charge, GST, Green tax)

Bookingcom price: 1148 + 12% + 11,2% + 6USD/pax/night*2*4 = 1460USD
Transfer: 252*2 = 504USD
Total: 1964USD

Screenshot you can find below

how to choose a resort in maldives. sun island


The same package from Budget Maldives with total price 1305USD

Angsana Velavaru, 5*
Accommodation: Beachfront Villa
Meal: breakfast
Dates: 14-18 May 2018
No. of adults: 2
Transfer: seaplane
All taxes (Service charge, GST, Green tax)

Bookingcom price: 1412 + 12% + 11,2% + 6USD/pax/night*2*4 = 1788USD
Transfer: 470*2 = 940USD
Total: 2728USD

Screenshot you can find below

how to choose a resort in maldives finolhu


The same package from Budget Maldives with total price 2463USD

Finolhu, 5*
Accommodation: Beach Villa
Meal: half board
Dates: 14-18 May 2018
No. of adults: 2
Transfer: seaplane
All taxes (Service charge, GST, Green tax)

Bookingcom price: 3420 + 12% + 11,2% + 6USD/pax/night*2*4 = 4255USD
Transfer: 628*2 = 940USD
Total: 5511USD

Screenshot you can find below.

how to choose a resort in maldives finolhu


The same package from Budget Maldives with total price 3991USD

There are very rarely cases when the travel agencies price higher than OTA

The main advantages of travel agencies:
– The price. As you have already seen, the price can vary significantly.
– Special offers. Many resorts offer special deals either for all countries or for some specific regions. At the same time, OTA doen’t have such information. There is the other side of the coin: there are a few cases when resourts give the right to sell tours to one operator in a particular country. For example, Olhuveli in Japan can be provided only by one operator. But there are very few exceptions like that.
– Expertise. Because of the wide variety of resorts, it can be very difficult to make a choice. The agents have all the necessary information abot the resorts. Also, they personally visit hotels. Therefore, they know their product from the inside.

If you book via the site directly, it goes a little cheaper than through OTA, but more expensive than via travel agencies.

Special offers and discounts

Let’s consider the most common types of special offers provided by resorts.

Early Bird. In this case when you book for 30-45-60 and so on days prior to arrival, the hotel provides a discount. Usually this is 5-20%. Sometimes restrictions are imposed, for example “subject to 4 nights minimum”, or only for villas with a certain category.

Free nights. For example, stay 4 nights and pay only 3 nights. This offer can be availbale both throughout the year, and only at certain dates.

Free meal plan upgrade. For example half board -> full board. Usually this offer is valid only for limited dates. Or there are restrictions in the form of 4 or more nights.

Free upgrade of villa. The rather rare offer, for example, Holiday Inn Kandooma has now. Allows you to get the next category of villas for the same price.

Special discount. Such offers operate for 1-2 months and provide additional discounts from 20% to 40%.

Special offers for families. One or two children, eat and/or stay and/or transfer for free.

Special offer for honeymooners. In some cases, especially in 4 * hotels, a regular set of privileges is provided for the honeymooners: dinner with a bottle of wine or sparkling wine, a festive cake. In hotels 5 * and 5 + * packages are much wider: a discount for accommodation, a discount on spa procedures, additional activities, photo shoots, etc.

90% of all offers are cover the deals that were described above.

When is the best time to go?

Best time to go is for a minimum of 4 nights, book for 30 days or more in advance, from April – till Nov.

Only with a combination of all these conditions you can get the lowest price, even for 5+* resorts.


What next? Check packages to resorts or get a tailor-made tour.

How to Choose a Resort in Maldives?
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