by Michaela Nicole
So, the top of everyone’s bucket list is the Maldives, it’s the dream trip of a lifetime. The water, the beaches, the island atmosphere, I mean who wouldn’t want to go?
I was recently given the gift of traveling to the Maldives for my birthday and it was everything and more!
First, let’s start off by saying Maldives is NOT a budget destination. Period. Yes, there are resorts where you can pay a few hundred a night but more than likely it will be a 3 to 4 star location, will not have the same amenities as the higher tier resorts, and you will have a beach side villa or smaller suite. Also, what people don’t know is that there are a lot of hidden fees. For example, the taxes alone run something like 22 percent. Secondly, transportation. Most of the resorts are located on atolls that are made up of several islands. In the Maldives you use either a speedboat or seaplane to get around.
The typical method of transpo is a seaplane. This can run $300-800 EACH WAY, EACH PERSON. So, while the resort itself may be like $300 or $400 a night, the taxes and the seaplane fees will take your costs from budget to luxury real quick, fast, and in a hurry!
We stayed at the St Regis Resort Vommuli Island.
From the minute we got off our flight at Male, the treatment was top notch. We were able to wait for our plane in the newest Business Lounge where we were treated to a delicious high tea spread and a variety of juices, teas, and beverages. It was definitely a nice intermission before our next stop.
We took the seaplane directly to our resort. The flight took a little under an hour. The seaplane is tiny, it only holds about 10 passengers tops. But the flight was absolutely stunning, looking at all of the various islands and turquoise water below was quite memorable.
Once we arrived, we were greeted with dancing and delicious refreshments. At the welcome area, we were introduced to our lovely personal butler, Aida. We were then given a tour of the grounds before we were taken to our villa, where we were greeted with sunset views and a bottle of complimentary champagne and desserts.
Step by Step
- We stayed in the Overwater Sunset Villa. The villa was in one word: OUT OF THIS WORLD. It came equipped with a huge tub, plunge pool, and steps that led directly into the Indian Ocean.
- There are only 77 villas total on the entire island, so the attention to detail, customer wise, is really great. Because the resort only has a limited number of occupants on the island, we received lots of tender loving care, and were able to get a lot of extra perks as well.
2a. There were 6 restaurants at the resort. Ranging from Arabic cuisine, (also the Maldives is predominantly Islamic and the language is actually a mix of Arabic and tribal) to Asian fusion, to Mediterranean. I live in the Middle East, so I was just happy to have pork again.
2b. Alba is the main restaurant. The breakfast is buffet style and the options are plentiful. Because of the rain, we had to do dinner there a few times as Cargo, the Arabic based restaurant is outside. The food for Cargo was absolutely delicious.. One night we were taking pictures and one of the staff asked if we wanted to see the wine cellar, and maybe take some pics down that way. Well, it went from a quick tour to a tasting and full blown photo shoot.
2c. Orientale was also a highlight. I absolutely love Sushi and squealed like a little girl when they brought out the sashimi sampler that had everything from halibut to sea-bass to calamari sashimi options. The staff also sang a very sweet happy birthday to me and I was able to enjoy a delicious plate of Gelato.
- It rains. A LOT. But if you are familiar with Miami or Caribbean style rain showers, it’s often a short, warm shower and then it’s sunny again. There was only one full day that it actually stormed the whole day. The best time to avoid rain season is between Dec to about April. However my birthday is in August, so that wasn’t an option.???? But despite the rain, it was quite beautiful.
- This is not a trip for a group. So leave yo kids at home! This is 100 percent a baecation vibes. One, because well, at least at our resort, it was isolated so there isn’t really much to do activities wise. Also because of the rain, a lot of events were rescheduled. After the first couple of days we had basically done every excursion possible.
A lot of people will say that they find the Maldives boring but personally I really enjoyed the peace and quiet. There are plenty of resorts with proper bars and nightclubs, but I really loved the chill and relaxed vibes at the St Regis.
- The Maldives is STUNNING. But you already knew that. Honestly though, pics don’t do it justice. The sunset and sunrise is unreal. I have never seen water so unbelievably clear and I’ve traveled all over the Caribbean, and southeast Asia. It truly lives up to its reputation.
- Also, you don’t need a week. We stayed 5 days and that was more than enough. You do quite a bit of traveling though between the normal flight and the seaplane, so I can see how someone would not want this to be a quick trip as well.
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty, thee PRICE.
So, in the Maldives there are lovely beach villas. But let’s be clear y’all, it’s all about the overwater villas. When we envision our Maldives trip, the first image we see is us walking out into the sunset of a beautiful villa with a panoramic view of the ocean, with the ocean surrounding us.
Beach villas are beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but the overwater villas absolutely hit different. It’s almost unreal. 100 percent they are worth the cost of admission. So if you want that overwater experience, prepare to shell out at minimum $800 to $1,200 per night on the low end, and $1800 to $2500 per night on the high end.
Costs: *All costs are in USD*
Accommodations: St Regis Resorts Vommuli, Sunset Overwater Villa $2,220 per night
We stayed for five nights total. Total cost: $11,100 plus about $1000 in taxes and service charges. So the room was about $12,000 total.
*Quick note: St Regis is a Marriott hotel, if you happen to be a member of Marriott Bonvoy Awards, you can redeem your points towards the balance of your stay. If you don’t stay at a Marriott resort, there are Kempinski, and also IHG resorts as well which have excellent rewards programs*
$1,490 (round trip for two people)
Flight: $1,900 *it should be noted, we flew from Muscat, Oman. Ticket prices will be dramatically different from the States
Glass Kayak -one hour $200
Seaboarding- 15 mins per person, at $150 per person, for a total of $300.
$1800 initial deposit for the food package, but after about the 3rd night, the $1800 was quickly reached. All in all the total for food was about $2700.
I had some awesome birthday surprises. For example, I woke up to an AMAZING floating breakfast for my birthday. Normal buffet breakfast was included in the room cost, but the floating breakfast is separate. The cost runs about $400. But the spread is unreal. It also includes a bottle of champagne.
The average cost for dinner will run you about $300 to $400 per meal. I think the cheapest meal for both of us was $250.
Please make sure you tip! (I’m looking at you, fellow Americans. Because we are known globally to not be good tippers.) At these places they are working extremely hard to keep you comfortable and your trip amazing. Please make sure to tip housekeeping, butlers and servers. It’s not just good and customary etiquette but also, it’s nice to show appreciation to the people who make sure your stay goes well. Standard tip is about 15 percent, but on average 20 percent is a good rule of thumb.
Tip cost: $300 to $500 for personal butler, accumulative for restaurant wait staff and servers, housekeepers.
Clothes: (Cuz you know we had to get island fresh!) $1000
Beauty and Barber Prep
Fulaini braids $50 (Because you know we gots to get the vacation braids!)
Bikini wax/pedi/Russian manicure: $110
Souvenirs: There’s a really decent shop in the Male Airport. Lots of cute little trinkets etc. I was able to find this adorable coral purse and nice bath and body style sets. $400
Total cost: $20,000 to $21,000 total.
All in all, it was the experience of a lifetime and I definitely plan to go back!