Maldives has some of the world's most beautiful and expensive resorts - although choosing one for yourself is one hell of a task. R & I browsed through innumerable websites, tripadvisor reviews, pictures and blogs for days before settling on the Paradise Island Resort and Spas. Its crazy coz one looks more beautiful than the other.
My experience says that it is better to first fix a budget and minus the air travel expense. The trick is to then divide the remaining amount into the number of nights one plans to spend on the island. Go onto travel websites like hotels.com, tripadvisor.com and sort the resorts that suit your per night budget. Read reviews, blogs and shortlist the probable resorts. Finally compare the rates that your travel agent has to offer, the travel website has to offer & the hotel website itself offers. We finally booked directly through the hotel website - villahotels.com. A package deal from some of the regular India travel websites wasn't promising enough for us. The idea is to plan well in advance to avoid rude shocks later.
My suggestions here are:
1. Maldives is divided into a number of Atolls. Therefore the distance from the Male airport may differ for various resorts. Resorts accept US dollars and the local currency is not required.
2. For resorts located far from the airport, there is a mandatory seaplane transfer which can get really expensive. Incase there is a constraint on the budget go for hotels that offer speed boat transfers instead. We paid $70 per person for the speed boat transfer.
3. Most resorts are self contained and have a number of restaurants on site. Its better to go for a half- board or a full board deal than just a buffet breakfast. We went with the half board deal (breaka & dinner) and experimented at their various restaurants for lunch.
4. Non swimmers who would like to venture out into the lagoons should carry floaters to avoid the coral hurting the feet. This will save you the expense of buying coral shoes from the resort's souvenir shop.
5. The Water bungalows are an an architectural marvel. You actually live on water for those few days. Go for it if the budget allows.
6. Since we skipped the water sports activities, we spent some of our time relaxing at the spa. Spent almost $500 for both of us.
7. Again, carry some snacks!
8. Usually, one island houses one resort (I maybe wrong here, but as far as I know). Therefore check on the food quality and general reviews on travel websites. A great resort with not-so-great food may not be the best holiday. It is not easy to hop on and hop off various resorts. These are self sufficient, hold all systems.
We booked a beach cottage on half - board meal basis for $1300 approx. This covered our 4 night/ 5 day stay, the speed boat transfer, some mandatory tax per room, daily breakfast & dinners and all other taxes. We spent another $100 - $150 per day for our lunches, a couple of cocktails and snorkel equipment. A couple of people we met around the resort had opted for water sports packages for about $220 for a couple which included various activities. The prices may vary depending on the season. Since we travelled to the Maldives in December, we availed good off-season deals. We returned satisfied with our holiday at the Paradise island resort and would recommend it to fellow budget holiday- makers.
Finally, as I mentioned in my earlier post, there is lots to do and nothing to do. Choose from a day trip to Male, dolphin trips, fishing trips, water sports or simply read a book and laze around on the warm white sand beaches. I have posted a few photos on my tripadvisor review.