I’m not the best person at simply relaxing. I am usually on the move, and tend to get bored when in the same place for too long. While I was really excited for this Maldives trip, I was a bit concerned about spending 7 days on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. In retrospect, I’m happy we had as much time as we did. The Maldives are so isolated, and simply getting to the Park Hyatt takes so much effort (and expense) I wouldn’t recommend a short trip to the resort.
Main ‘entrance’ to the Park Hyatt Maldives, the Dusk Jetty
We wanted to do some scuba diving, and I ultimately did so on multiple days. We dove together a few times, but we also split up when I went diving and my wife went to the spa. All Park Hyatt guess are assigned a personal assistant. This was fine, and it was helpful to have a main point of contact at times, but it also felt like there was a bit of pressure to sign up for more activities.
She was lovely, but I wished for a bit more flexibility with regard to schedules. I had heard of others getting a late breakfast after a morning activity such as scuba diving, but despite asking, we were not able to do this. We also had to check out quite early on the day of our departure and hurried through check out, only to sit at the Kooddoo airport for several hours. No luck changing this either.
The bar overlooking the main pool and beach
In addition to the upgrade to a pool villa, my Hyatt Diamond status allowed us to partake in ‘sundowners’ each evening. This consisted of a free cocktail (anything on the menu) and canapes before sunset. Breakfast is complimentary for all guests, so this is a nice bonus. Any drink on the menu was included and with prices up to about $20 each, so this was a nice treat. In addition, a ‘tower’ of snacks is served as well. The choices varied daily, but typically a mix of sweet and savory. This was pleasant, a nice relaxing snack and drink before dinner, after a busy day of activities, or just sitting by the pool. We also enjoyed the conversations we had here, occasionally with other guests, but also with the bartenders.
canapes served with sundowner at the poolside bar
The staff at the hotel was excellent. Many of the staff are Maldivian, but there is a mix of other nationalities as well. Many staffers work several roles. None of the bar staff are Maldivian, since by law they are not allowed to serve alcohol. During our stay, we were among only a few North American guests. During our stay, most of the guests were Chinese, with other guests from Korea and Japan. Based on the number of flights into Male, east Asia seems to be a target market for the Maldives, certainly more so than Europe.
View from The Dining Room towards pool and beach
There are 2 restaurants on property. The Dining Room is open all day and is where breakfast is served. This restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating near the pool. The Island Grill is open for dinner only, and is slightly more expensive. This is located in an area with open air, but with a thatched roof, and a sand floor.
Dinner at the Island Grill
We were told that our dinners that we were using our Passport Escapes meals had to be taken in the Dining Room. We did dine at the Island Grill a few times, once after eating our fresh catch after a fishing trip, and another night which was “Taste of Maldives”. There are featured meals a few nights a week at the Island Grill, which are usually served on the beach, but when we had Taste of Maldives, the weather did not cooperate so these meals were served in the restaurant.
Breakfast each day was quite filling. The service began with a tower including fresh fruit, tuna mushuni roshi (tuna mixed with coconut with roti), and pastries.
Besides the tower, there were various set plate options offered on a menu. In addition, any item could be ordered a la carte, there were multiple international options. As for western options, there was yogurt, muesli, cereals, waffles, pancakes among other choices. Breakfast is complimentary for all guests.
One of countless reefs across the Maldives, from the bow of the dhoni
Scuba diving was good, but not outstanding I’m pretty spoiled by the time I’ve spent diving the Great Barrier Reef, and I’ve yet to find any other location that compares, but I’m still trying! It was a still a good experience, and highly recommended for divers visiting the Maldives.
The dive trips were on the Dhoni, which made for a unique experience. It is a traditional flat bottom boat that is common in the Maldives due to the many reefs. I was the only diver on the boat twice, so with a divemaster, boat captain and 2 crew, a 4:1 ratio is hard to beat. That said, service wasn’t as personalized as I would have expected based on these numbers and other reviews. This may have been due to conditions, but it felt that the crew was kind of just going through the motions. Diving is quite expensive, it works out to about $250 per 2 dive boat trip not including equipment rental. For a more thorough review of an excellent diving experience, check out MilesAbound here.
On the way to a dive site we spotted a pod of dolphins. I wasn’t ready with my camera!
In addition to underwater creatures, we encountered some other animals on the island as well.
Hermit crab on the beach. (photo is close to live size)
Flying Fox. There are several of these on the island, and are key pollenators in the ecosystem
We enjoyed time at the spa, and also took a free yoga class. There is a very nice tranquil pool near the spa, and there are individual spa villas for treatments. The main pool is quite lovely as well, and although it was rarely busy, it gets more traffic than the spa pool.
We also did a sunset fishing excursion on the Dhoni. This was approximately $100 per person, but we were able to keep the fish we caught, and had our fresh catch for dinner at no additional charge. It was fun, and you can’t find fresher fish than we had that evening. This trip is a good way for non-divers to get off the island a bit and enjoy a boat tour.
The island itself is small. I walked all the way around along the beach, and it didn’t take long. There are also shaded paths to access each villa.
The Dhoni. A shaded lounge near the pool. Books and games available here.
The Park Hyatt Maldives is a lovely spot. There is excellent personalized service and the place is remarkably beautiful. This is not an easy place to get to, and not cheap, even if using Hyatt Gold Passport points (22,000 per night), plus transfers and meals. It is certainly not for everyone, but we are happy to have made this trip. I’d love to return some day, but there are lots of other places I’d like to visit first. It seemed like an excellent deal with the Passport Escapes package we used to mitigate many meal costs, but that is no longer available.
It is not the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in, but I think it is in the conversation. This trip coincided with our wedding anniversary, and I think it was a wonderful way to celebrate.
We decided to splurge on an overwater villa for the last night of our trip. It was much more expensive than we normally pay, but at a place like this, why not. This was quite a unique experience that I will discuss in my next post.