Park Hyatt Maldives: Initial Thoughts

Hello from the Maldives! Even though I didn’t book this trip that far in advance, this hotel stay has had more blog foreplay than HBO programming at 2AM.

For those of you not up to date, here are the previous installments I’ve written about my trip:

I’ve been here for four days now, and had originally intended to write a post about my initial thoughts of the resort on day one. But I’ve been relaxing, which is sort of a foreign concept to me.

With that in mind, I have plans to write a super in-depth trip report about my stay, but in the meantime figured I’d share my impressions, as I’m a bit over halfway through my stay.

The Park Hyatt Maldives is so secluded

The Maldives is already quite a secluded place. What I didn’t realize before I came here is just how secluded the Park Hyatt is.

Male is already in the middle of nowhere, while the Park Hyatt is another 250 miles south of Male, just by the equator. You really are in the middle of nowhere down here, as it requires taking an hour domestic flight plus a 25 minute speed boat ride.

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This place is so relaxing

I’m a person who can’t unwind or relax. I’m simply not “wired” that way. I like to always be doing something, and possibly my biggest struggle in life is sitting still.

An hour after I arrived at the Park Hyatt I said “ummmm, what am I supposed to do here for the next six days? This place is boring.”

But starting that evening I started to embrace that. The fact that this place is so secluded and “boring” is part of what makes it so awesome. This is the first time in memory I can actually remember voluntarily unwinding. I feel relaxed, at ease, and not on edge… for once.

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Like, I sit down at night and have a cocktail.

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I play board games. I’ve done yoga several times (and as anyone who knows me can confirm, I’m not the yoga type #top). I’ve just sat on the beach looking at the sunrise and sunset. I’ve just floated in the ocean with the current. I’ve snorkeled.

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It’s tough to explain, but the seclusion really does make this place awesome. Being on a beach during sunrise all alone and only seeing and hearing nature has an indescribably calming effect.

The staff are fantastic

I’ve been to the Maldives before, and in general I don’t find the Maldivian service culture to be amazing. While I think it’s genuinely hospitable on the lower end, I find that many Maldivians aren’t able to execute “luxury” service so well.

The Maldives is also notorious for drug problems, which adds further “tension” to the service.

That being said, overall I find the staff at the Park Hyatt to be exceptionally good.

The resort has a new general manager, Mariano Silvestri, who is fantastic. He has been in the hospitality industry his whole life and interacts more with guests than any GM I’ve seen before.

And much of the rest of the staff are pretty exceptional as well. A special shout out to Deeksha in the spa, who is possibly my favorite person ever. The “hosts” who look after you all day are top notch as well.

The service overall has impressed me across the board.

The (basic) Park Villas are awesome

As many of you may recall, when I first booked my stay here I was confused by all the upgrade options. I wrote a post entitled “Park Hyatt Maldives Upgrades — My Head Hurts.”

When you redeem points you’re booked into a Park Villa, and then from there you can pay to upgrade to a pool villa or an overwater villa.

I’ve been perfectly happy with the Park Villa, and can’t imagine ever paying extra for the Pool Villa or Overwater Villa. Even the “base” villa is gorgeous, with a beautiful bedroom, large bathroom, and an outdoor shower. The villas also have direct beach access.

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Ultimately the Pool Villa is identical to the Park Villa, except it has a small plunge pool.

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As a Diamond member you get an upgrade to this room type on a space available basis, but I can’t imagine paying an extra $250 per night for a plunge pool when the hotel has two beautiful pools and among the most pristine beach I’ve ever seen.

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Prices are as you’d expect

I don’t think prices for food, drinks, etc., are unreasonable at the resort.

I’d say prices are similar to what you’d pay in New York City (perhaps a tad bit higher), and then there’s a 12% tax and then 10% service charge.

This is an incredibly remote place, and surely it’s not cheap to run. So while staying here won’t be cheap, ultimately I don’t think the prices for food and drinks are unreasonable. In other words, I don’t feel like I’m being ripped off.

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The food quality at the resort is excellent, though I just wish it were a bit more varied.

The breakfast is awesome

The breakfast at this hotel is awesome.

When you sit down you’re brought a tray with some goodies, and then you can order as much as you’d like from the a la carte menu.

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They recommend about three main courses per person, which seems like a lot to me, though I guess the size of the dishes varies substantially, depending on whether you order eggs, yogurt, etc.

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The tuna curry is amazing.

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The food quality is top notch, and the coffee drinks and fresh fruit juices are lovely as well.

Back of the house tour is a must

This hotel prides itself in being sustainable and mostly self-contained. So the hotel offers guests free “back of house” tours, where you can see how the island is powered, the bottling plant (the hotel bottles all their own water), where the staff live, eat, and hang out, etc.

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The tour is free, and in my opinion is probably the single best thing a hotel can do to create goodwill among guests.

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Not only was I amazed by how clean everything was on the “back end,” but I was also impressed by how nice the living quarters are for the staff, how good their food is, etc.

I can’t say how amazing it was to get a behind the scenes look at the resort. I’d actually say it has probably been the highlight of my stay so far.

Bottom line

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the Park Hyatt Maldives, and it has exceeded my expectations by quite a bit.

When I first booked my stay I wasn’t sure what I was thinking, since I figured I’d be bored as heck. And I am sort of bored, but in a good way. If you’re like me and are always “connected,” then I think “bored” and “relaxing” might just be synonyms.

My time here so far has been extremely relaxing, more so than anywhere else I’ve been lately.

Is it a place I’ll come back to vacation every year? Probably not, because there are a lot more places I’d like to visit. But if you’re traveling as a couple and/or just want to unwind and relax, I think this is one of the best spots out there to do so.

If you’ve visited the Park Hyatt Maldives, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. Was there a year ago. Did 2 nights in the pool villa, and 2 nights in villa 49. The scuba thru the hotel was great, and i agree the massage at Vidhun was ever so relaxing.

    The journey from the U.S was the only drawback for us, but we were honeymooners, so a stop over in dxb for few nights were great too. Enjoy your stay!

    p.s try the fishing course and cooking course there. we enjoyed it.

  2. I had the same experience at the Conrad Rangali Island – you’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s just awesome. We went on a fishing expedition and it was the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done. There’s something about literally having nothing to do and it’s awesome. Glad you’re enjoying the Maldives.

  3. This blog is getting a bit risque 🙂 Between the “European cut” joke and now #top. Totally unexpected and hilarious.

  4. Lucky, glad you are finally able to unwind. As someone who truly works 24/7, you’ve earned it. The Mrs and I were there 2 weeks ago for a belated honeymoon and up until 20 minutes before our departure will still researching creative ways on how to stay just one more night. For us, it might become an annual trip from London. Not sure I’d feel the same way from the US.

    A side note – we booked the pool villa and were very happy with our choice. I felt that the main pool being right in front of the dining room was a bit too front & center. I enjoyed the spa pool, but loved being able to plunge (clothes optional) into our own pool at any hour of the day with no judgement from those chowing down on breakfast/lunch/dinner.

  5. The rooms and the resort look gorgeous! Looking forward to the full review!

    It’s nice to disconnect sometimes, isn’t it? 🙂

  6. Ben,

    Glad that you’ve had a nice surprise and are enjoying the Maldives. I’m like you in that I like to visit beautiful places, but after a few days I’m ready to go someplace where there’s more “action.” I’m a city-type guy, and I’ve not been to the Maldives yet, but thanks to your review, it’s climbed way up on my list. Can’t wait to go now!

  7. Haha nice preview maybe a little TMI… But yeah PH Maldives now sounds a lot more appealing to me because I find it very hard to truly disconnect and relax. I tend to visit cities and thus am always checking my phone and email. I’d love to go to some remote part of the world and kick it early 90s style, back when I only used a giant Gateway 2000 for word processing and SimCity.

    Villa looks great. Look forward to the full report!

  8. I think Ben mentioned a “friend” was also staying there at the same time. Coincidence? Now I know why he likes it so much so far 😉 #Top lol

  9. “This hotel prides itself in being sustainable”

    You seriously can’t be that delusional? Between the first class flights and the luxury hotel, this little trip leaves the equivalent carbon footprint as an entire village from a developing country. And ten there’s the amount of fresh water consumed and waste produced, etc.

    Which doesn’t mean we must forgo all material comforts, but we need to at least face up to the impact we create on the world.

  10. Beautiful resort and great pics! Nice to see you relax. No bathing suit photos? Was it well received?

    PS I think Lucky being in Male and #top are redundant. 😉

  11. Tell Deeksha we said hello. Tell her the “hot” cop and his partner misses her and that place. Last time I spoke, she was wanting to move to a Hyatt in Dubai.

  12. Hmm, judging from the other comments, apparently #top does mean what I imagined it might. Oh boy 😉

  13. Beautiful pictures, and the innuendo is hilarious 🙂

    On a different note I’d take the backstage tour and propaganda with a grain of salt. Obviously they’re only going to show the most positive aspects.

  14. Lucky,

    Quick question – is the breakfast included in the room rate on award reservations? We have the Hyatt CC and were told that breakfast would be free – from a friend who had stayed there last year.

    What’s the setup for breakfast, could you let us know?

  15. I think your report confirms that I wont be checking the “points and miles required Maldives box”. Just as “Vendoming” became a word, I’m now coining “Maldiving”. Remember who started it! With such an expense, crazy travel time, and nothing to do there but sit on the beach, that can done much closer to home for way cheaper, just as secluded and just as, if not more beautiful.
    Still don’t get the joke though. Can’t even look it up.

  16. I didn’t realize that being the yoga type made me a bottom. I guess flexibility has more advantages in that position…

  17. @ K — You get a tray with some goodies when you arrive, and then you can order as much as you’d like off an a la carte menu. There are tons of options. I’m not sure if non-Diamonds get breakfast on award stays. I was under the impression they don’t, but I could be mistaken.

  18. @ Romer — ROFL, I’ll let her know. And she is soon headed to Abu Dhabi. Big loss for this property.

  19. @ Maury — It’s $510 for the flight plus speedboat transfer per person roundtrip. No clue where the Conrad is.

  20. @ Peter — Happy you enjoyed it! Very true about the main pool feeling sort of “on display.” I do love the spa pool, and there are also hours where the restaurant closes, so that helps. 😀

  21. “The Maldives is also notorious for drug problems, which adds further “tension” to the service.”

    What on earth do you mean by this? Can you please clarify? I’ve never had anyone tell me of any drug problems there.

  22. Good Work, Ben. You have journeyed far beyond your miles.
    When I was your age, I learned this with my now husband in the Teton Wilderness Area
    #Top

  23. @ mkcol — Just Google “Maldives drug problems” and you’ll get all the information you could possibly want…

  24. Love this blog it’s fabulously entertaining oh the points thing is secondary. My 2 cents worth, ” let’s see the new swimmers with legs in them”. #top. Enjoy the solitude and isolation!

  25. I have spent 4 nights in Maldives and 3 nights at PH last Sept. First night at Traders Maldives, for $400 a night, not impressed but that is probably best hotel in Male. PH on the other hand is in nice location, but boy these inter-island flights were scary. The PH hotel was nice as Lucky mentioned, but a bit run down. IMO still offers good value especially all on points to avoid hefty tax & fees. Last Sept, we want to do the equator trip for $2k, but 1 of their yacht was in Dubai for maintenance, and the other was broken at bay so we were out of luck. In PH’s brochure they offer telescope for guests, but we were told they were broken as well. As far as I remember, 3, or 4 of their water villas was out of services and another 1/3 beach villas had their private breach washed away. IMO, going that far, there are better choices. We had good value for our stay, no doubt, we spend $1000 on the transfer from MLE to PH, and $2000 for 3 days of activities and food in PH. The room we had was a pool villa all on points, so no tax and room charges. I think we stayed at villa 25, but the beach was washed away for all the villas near us. We paid $35 dollars for a cooperstone sunscreen in PH, so don’t forget to bring your own.

  26. I happened to be staying at the Park Hyatt Maldives at the same time as Ben. We crossed paths at breakfast this morning.

    It’s my second visit here and I still find the place to be good value on Hyatt reward points. The privacy of your own villa is nice. Sure, you could pay $300 to get a private villa in Bali, but you’d be no where near the beach or some of the best snorkelling on the planet – not to mention being on your own semi private island.

    This place still just “works”. Two thumbs up.

  27. I’m not a native speaker, but consider my English good. Still do not get what #top means. From the comments, am I right in guessing that it means a particular part of the body has big size? I really googled but could not find an answer. Curious coz seems like a lot of comments seem to suggest this is very funny.

  28. I appreciate reading the review, and I found all the innuendos (including in the comments) funny, too.
    But, I have an actual travel question (or two): How do you get to Park Hyatt, since it’s clearly not on the same island as Male. And, Ben/Lucky, did you leave the resort at all; and if so, what did you do and what do you recommend? You said you actually purchased the business class fare — did you get it for ~$2000?
    Thanks!

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