Review: Domestic Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport

Introduction
Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER New York JFK To Hong Kong
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SriLankan Business Class A330-200 Hong Kong To Bangkok
SriLankan Business Class A330-200 Bangkok To Colombo
SriLankan Serendib Lounge Colombo Airport
SriLankan Business Class A330-300 Colombo To Male
Beach Palace Hotel / Ui Inn Maldives
Domestic Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport
Maldivian Dash 8 Male To Kooddoo And Park Hyatt Boat Transfer
Park Hyatt Maldives Park Villa
Park Hyatt Maldives Park Pool Villa
Park Hyatt Maldives Park Water Villa
Park Hyatt Maldives Breakfast & Diamond Cocktails
Park Hyatt Maldives Resort Overview
Park Hyatt Boat Transfer And Maldivian Dash 8 Kooddoo to Male
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Cathay Pacific Business Class A330-300 Male To Hong Kong
Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class 777-300ER Hong Kong To Newark


I had emailed the Park Hyatt in advance to ask about the transfer process from Male Airport to the resort, and here’s how they explained it:

Round trip transfers between Ibrahim Nasir international airport and resort will be arranged by us and will be charged at USD 510 per person inclusive of taxes (domestic flight and speedboat transfer).

Domestic flights are arranged via Maldivian Airlines and waiting times may vary from min 1 hour to max 4 hours. The shortest flight from Male International Airport to Kooddoo Domestic Airport is approximately 1 hour and the longest flight approximately 1 hour 45 min due to “stop over” in Kadhdhoo Domestic Airport. A short speedboat journey of approximately 30-40 minutes will follow as the final stretch of your journey to our island.

All domestic flights are scheduled around arriving and departing international flights.  At this stage we are unable to confirm exact flight details as our domestic airline operator confirm their schedule one day prior to arrival.

All guests waiting for a domestic flight will be escorted to the Airport Lounge where light refreshments are available. Our airport representative will overlook all arrangements and ensure that you have a smooth transfer on the next available flight.

We require full names of your travel partner as in the passport in order to arrange domestic transfers.

As you can see:

  • Maldivian, the domestic airline, only officially finalizes their schedule a day in advance, so before that you won’t know at what time you arrive; they promise a wait of no more than four hours at Male Airport, though
  • The flight takes anywhere between 1hr and 1hr40min, depending on whether you fly directly to Kooddoo, or whether your flight has a stop in Kadhdhoo, which about half the flights seem to have
  • From there it’s about a 30 minute speedboat ride to the resort

MLE

Anyway, we had arranged a car to take us from our hotel to the airport at 6:15AM, so we arrived shortly before 6:30AM. There’s a separate domestic terminal, which is much smaller than the international one, and also a bit more rundown.

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Domestic terminal Male Airport exterior

I was under the impression we were supposed to be met by a Park Hyatt representative, though I didn’t see one. I did find the Maldivian check-in counter, so we figured we would queue there to get our boarding passes.

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Domestic terminal Male Airport check-in

We waited for about 10 minutes before we were approached by a representative from the Park Hyatt, who explained that we could wait in the lounge while he takes care of our check-in formalities.

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Domestic terminal Male Airport check-in

The Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge is located one level up from the main concourse, in the departures area. The resort arranges lounge access for all guests, presumably because we’re paying much higher fares than the locals pay. This is also a Priority Pass and Lounge Club lounge, for what it’s worth.

We were escorted straight into the lounge by the Park Hyatt representative, and passed by the check-in desk altogether.

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Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport

The lounge was large and completely empty. Male Airport isn’t nice at all, so I had low expectations of the lounge, though was pleasantly surprised.

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Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport seating

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Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport seating

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Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport seating

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Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport seating

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Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport seating

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Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport seating

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Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport seating

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Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport seating

In addition to plenty of seating, the lounge featured a fairly good buffet.

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

The buffet consisted of juice, water, a coffee machine, cereal, muffins, croissants, yogurt, fresh fruit, poundcake, finger sandwiches, salad, and four kinds of hot food. That’s actually a pretty darn good spread for a domestic lounge. As you’d expect there was no alcohol, though.

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

I thought the silverware was presented in an especially unique way.

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport buffet

Then there was a small play room for kids.

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport kids room

In addition to that there was a spa area, where you could purchase treatments.

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport Serena Spa

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport Serena Spa menu

Treatments cost $1.50 per minute.

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport Serena Spa menu

Lastly — and I wish I had known this before — the lounge does have a shower. It looked infinitely nicer than the shower at the hotel I stayed at the night before.

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport shower room

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport shower room

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Maldivian Domestic Lounge Male Airport shower room

The lounge does also have wifi, which requires a code you get from the front desk. However, the wifi was extremely slow, and borderline unusable.

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At around 7AM the Park Hyatt associate came by to bring us our boarding passes for the flight to Kooddoo. He explained that boarding would be announced in the lounge.

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Maldivian boarding pass

The boarding pass indicated the flight would board at 7:05AM, so when at 7:10AM there was still no sign of boarding, I asked the associate working in the lounge when the flight would board. She said “soon.” At 7:20AM I asked again, and she once again said “soon.” Then probably a minute later she came by to indicate that the flight was boarding.

From there we walked down the stairs to the main level, and then proceeded through the (very simple) security checkpoint. The agent screening the bags didn’t seem to pay any attention, so this seemed to be even more of a security theater than we see in the US.

Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport bottom line

This lounge exceeded my expectations, especially after visiting the international lounge at this airport on my return sector. Ultimately I wouldn’t arrive early to spend any time here, though as I indicated in the previous installment, I’ll do everything in my power to avoid an overnight in Male in the future. As a result, a wait of 1-4 hours in this lounge doesn’t seem like a bad option.

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Comments

  1. God, that lounge logo is embarrassing!

    On a side note, I would’ve gone into the spa and asked for a one-minute massage 😀

  2. The quality of the lounge is surprising. Looks pretty nice. Was certainly not expecting that.

  3. It just seems crazy how hard it is to get to the fancy hotels in the Maldives and, at least to me, not worth the effort. I guess the hotels are doing well enough regardless or perhaps they would have some incentive to improve the situation. Hope you had a good time though.

  4. Moonimaa lounge could definitely use a bit of sprucing up here and there, but overall it’s not so bad as a lounge used by so many resorts. I loved their chilli pasta ! 🙂
    You arrived at a good and quiet time, the 2 separate times I used the lounge it was packed with group tourists :/

  5. This comment is probably better suited for the next installment, but I’m sorry…no way I’m shelling out a GRAND for my wife and I for the transfer to the hotel. That’s reason enough for me to not really desire going to the PH Maldives! Not worth it. I’d rather get an 11 hour massage. 🙂

  6. Ben,
    Are you presently here at the Park Hyatt? My wife and I are enjoying our third night, leaving Monday, and I would love to say hello.
    Jim

  7. Lucky, your boarding pass shows your flight in economy/coach. I presume you don’t fly coach much? That would be a very humorous review – 8+ hours in coach. Lol.

  8. @ A Simons — Hah, for the flight within the Maldives? It was indeed a one cabin flight.

  9. Ben, can you talk at all about how tight customs was in checking incoming baggage for alcohol? Were they very strict with it?

  10. Ah, the crap internet receipt from “Hotspot Internet Service”. Just went through using that at a hotel in Reil, Germany. It was like going back to the dial up era – god forbid you load a page that has any kind of picture or interactive feature, like the weather.

  11. Google Maps shows a Hotel Park Hyatt in Male. To see it, search on Hotel Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Machangolhi, Malé, Maldives.
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hotel+Park+Hyatt+Maldives+Hadahaa/@4.175026,73.508931,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x3b3f7e545177fc87:0x9f43c955a316d5e3

    This is different than the Park Hyatt that shows up if you search on Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Gaafu Alifu Atoll, Upper South Province, Maldives.
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Park+Hyatt+Maldives+Hadahaa/@0.505681,73.4541713,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x3b4a81f83aa51e77:0x404618016c43ecde

    I thought maybe the one in Male was the lounge, but you indicate the lounge is in the airport and not in Male. Do you know what the Hotel Park Hyatt in Male is? Any idea why it shows up in Google Maps?

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