Review: Park Hyatt Maldives Resort Overview

Introduction
Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER New York JFK To Hong Kong
Qantas Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong Airport
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
Leeli Lounge Male Airport
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


So far I’ve reviewed the three types of accommodation at the Park Hyatt Maldives — the Park VillaPark Pool Villa, and Park Water Villa — as well as the breakfast experience and evening Diamond cocktail reception.

Now let’s talk about what I actually did at the Park Hyatt Maldives for six days.

Let me start by saying that I’m usually a pretty active traveler, in the sense that I’m not one for sitting at a beach or pool all day. I struggle to sit still for more than five minutes, which is why I almost always favor a city vacation over a resort vacation. So I was borderline terrified when I planned this trip, since I was worried I might be extremely bored.

The resort is truly secluded — it’s the only thing on the island, so everything you do will be at the resort. And while I knew it was a small resort, frankly the public spaces were even more limited than I expected.

When you arrive at the Park Hyatt by boat, you first walk down the jetty, where the hotel’s big sign is located.

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Park Hyatt Maldives resort welcome jetty

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Park Hyatt Maldives resort signage

Just past that is the reception pavilion, which looks like an upside down boat.

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Park Hyatt Maldives reception area

To the side of that is an air conditioned media room, where you can rent DVDs, play games, use a computer, etc. There are usually some staff on hand there as well.

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Park Hyatt Maldives media room

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Park Hyatt Maldives media room

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Park Hyatt Maldives media room

Opposite of the media room is some covered outdoor seating, overlooking the pool and beach in the distance.

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Park Hyatt Maldives grounds

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Park Hyatt Maldives grounds

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Park Hyatt Maldives grounds

Past that is the hotel’s main pool, which borders the beach on two sides, the bar on one side, and the restaurant on one side. The pool is gorgeous, though frankly feels a bit “exposed” for swimming.

You’re just a few yards from the restaurant, which usually has some people sitting on the “patio” area, so you almost feel like you’re performing at Sea World if you swim there.

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Park Hyatt Maldives main pool

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Park Hyatt Maldives main pool

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Park Hyatt Maldives main pool

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Park Hyatt Maldives main pool

Instead I far preferred the spa pool, which was much more private and secluded.

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Park Hyatt Maldives spa pool

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Park Hyatt Maldives spa pool

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Park Hyatt Maldives spa pool

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Park Hyatt Maldives spa pool

And while I’m usually anything but a beach person, this property has an absolutely breathtaking beach — the sand is just perfect, and the water couldn’t be clearer.

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Park Hyatt Maldives beach

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Park Hyatt Maldives beach

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Park Hyatt Maldives beach

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Park Hyatt Maldives beach

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Park Hyatt Maldives beach

Back near the pool was the fitness room, which was basic though perfectly functional for a secluded island.

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Park Hyatt Maldives yoga room

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Park Hyatt Maldives gym

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Park Hyatt Maldives gym

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Park Hyatt Maldives gym

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Park Hyatt Maldives gym

The hotel also has a second restaurant, The Island Grill, which is open for dinner. It’s the “signature” restaurant, though I never did end up eating there.

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Park Hyatt Maldives The Island Grill

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Park Hyatt Maldives The Island Grill

As somebody who can’t sit still for more than five minutes, this sort of sounds unpleasant, doesn’t it? Well… surprisingly it wasn’t. There’s something incredibly calming about this place, which both pictures and words can’t do justice.

Perhaps I can best explain it by outlining my days. By the last day I had sort of developed a routine and gotten used to “island life.” The transition was tough for me, though it really did feel oh-so-good. I slept in until about 9AM, and then would go to breakfast and just kind of sit there for an hour and a half, enjoying the views and sipping coffee.

Then I’d get some work done for a few hours. Then I’d go to the pool or beach. Then I’d go to the gym. Then I’d go the evening Diamond happy hour, and just sit there for a couple of hours slowly watching the sunset.

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Park Hyatt Maldives beach at sunset

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Park Hyatt Maldives beach

The hotel even offers complimentary yoga a couple of times per week, which I took advantage of. I’ve never before done yoga in my life, though by the second time I was basically a pro I managed to balance myself on one foot all the way to the count of “three Mississippi.”

On the surface none of this sounds that exciting, but this place does have some restorative effect which I can’t put into words. When I sat at breakfast for 90 minutes, I wasn’t refreshing my Twitter feed every 30 seconds, as I usually do. And in some cases I didn’t even bring my laptop. I just kind of sat there and thought about life. And that’s not something I usually do. I was oddly at peace and living in the moment.

Like, I don’t think I’ve ever spent as much time in my life just wandering around and taking in the views as I did at this resort.

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Park Hyatt Maldives overwater bungalows

One morning I got up early to watch the sunrise from the dawn jetty.

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Park Hyatt Maldives dawn jetty

It was completely silent, all I could hear was a bit of nature. What’s not to love about being able to take in the below view?

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Park Hyatt Maldives sunrise view

So more concretely, what else was there to do at the Park Hyatt?

I got a spa treatment once (only once because I got pretty badly sunburned after a few days, at which point it wasn’t practical anymore). The treatment was fantastic, and reasonably priced given the location.

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Park Hyatt Maldives Vidhun Spa

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Park Hyatt Maldives Vidhun Spa

One of the absolute coolest things this hotel offers is a back of house tour, whereby you can get a behind the scenes tour of the hotel. Back in the day this was only offered once a week, though now they seem to offer it on demand. The head of engineering offers these, and it really provides some incredible insight into the resort, both in terms of how they try to keep it as sustainable as possible, and also in terms of how the employees live on property, etc. It was probably the highlight of my stay, and I’d highly recommend it.

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Park Hyatt Maldives back of the house tour

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Park Hyatt Maldives back of the house tour

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Park Hyatt Maldives back of the house tour

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Park Hyatt Maldives back of the house tour

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Park Hyatt Maldives back of the house tour

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Park Hyatt Maldives back of the house tour

The Park Hyatt also has a new general manager as of the beginning of April, Mariano Silvestri. When I visited, it was his first week there, and he was fantastic. He’s a career-long Hyatt guy, and has worked at the Park Hyatt Mendoza, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Park Hyatt Shanghai, etc. It’s always great to have a GM who has worked his/her way up in the industry, so really understands all aspects of the operation.

And it’s exciting that he’s also a lifelong Hyatt guy. Hyatt does a fantastic job retaining talent, which is one of the reasons Hyatt delivers so well with on-property benefits. Lifelong Hyatt employees “buy into” the brand, including Gold Passport. That’s good news for us. While the previous general manager was also great, based on what I’ve heard, he wasn’t much of a Hyatt guy, as he was already with the hotel before it was rebranded as a Park Hyatt.

Mariano was extremely hands on, both with the staff and guests, which I really appreciated. He made the rounds just about all day every day to see how everything was, and was eager to learn. I’m confident things at this resort will only get better under his leadership.

In terms of the service from the staff, they were generally quite good. The property has a good mix of nationalities among their staff. I’d say at least half of them are Maldivian, while otherwise there’s a good mix between Indian, Chinese, etc.

While I generally find Maldivians to be genuinely hospitable, I find sometimes service isn’t especially polished. That was definitely true here, though it really did vary by person.

For example, Ashish at the bar and Deeksha in the spa were two staff who were especially awesome, and made for a memorable stay.

Bottom line

I had a lovely time at the Park Hyatt, much more so than I was expecting. Coming in, I didn’t think I’d be able to relax, since it’s not my personality. But by day six I found myself loving island life, and actually “disconnecting.”

Is this a place I’d return to often to relax, given that I do think it’s a great place to unwind? Probably not, because there are more places I want to see, and it is a real pain to get to.

But I’d definitely return at some point, either on a special occasion, or when I’m in the general area anyway. This is a great property, and I’d highly recommend it.

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Comments

  1. There was another GM since the Hyatt takeover of the property. The guy who oversaw the Hyatt takeover was GM when we visited in 2012, but he left in 2013.

  2. @ Gene — Hmmm, just did some Googling, and found this article:
    http://maldives.net.mv/9261/julian-moore-appointed-as-general-manager-at-park-hyatt-maldives-hadahaa/

    “With a career in hospitality spanning 30 years, Julian brings a wealth of experience to Hadahaa. He has a thorough understanding of leading luxury island resorts, managing new and existing properties, and has over five years experience in the Maldives. Julian also has vast knowledge of Hadahaa, having spent two years as General Manager of the property in advance of the opening.”

    So I could be mistaken, but…

  3. Good you connected in a different way than your norm and enjoyed yourself. I hear ya about thinking about life and stuff, usually happens to me too when Im stuck on a beach. Cheers buddy

  4. I just did same. I must be confusing the GM and the M! The manager we met was family and much thinner. 🙂

  5. @Gene the first Hyatt GM was Pierre Lang. He left after two years and was replaced by Julian Moore who managed the opening of the hotel when it was an Alilla Villas. So the GM that Lucky met is the 3rd GM since becoming a Hyatt. Basically a GM does 2 years on property and then will frequently move on, it’s a great gig for awhile but not forever..

  6. At least there’s a stockpile of Nutella in the storeroom 🙂

    Really cool to see the water station behind the scenes.

  7. Hi Lucky,
    Can you talk about ants/lizards/bug situation ?

    My wife is really afraid of those and based on reviews from tripadvisor it seems to be really bad on the hotel. I have heard you can’t even use outdoor sunbeads because of the number of bugs and ants.

  8. Thinking of going here next June with some Alaskan miles via DXB. One questions about the silence: Suppose someone in an overwater bungalow wanted to “play” in their pool or on the deck…would you be able to hear that?

  9. @ John — Ummmm… as long as there are no “screamers” involved, I think you’ll be fine.

  10. @ Sam Jess — I didn’t think it’s “really bad,” but rather just what you’d expect in terms of wildlife at a resort in the middle of nowhere on a private island. There were ants, lizards, and bugs, though exactly as many as I was expecting for such a resort.

  11. I feel underfed on details.

    Was the sand the usual dull carbonate reef sand that doesn’t burn feet or the prettier imported quartz sand that does? Did you try sandcastling with it?

    How was the ocean swimming? Were the waves high or rough? Did you swim or snorkel out to the edge of the reef? How was the wildlife underwater? How deep does the reef water get near the beach?

    Did it get cool at night? You’ve already said the overwater rooms were uncomfortably hot during the day in spite of air conditioning. Was it breezy at all or still?

    With so few guests, was there an audience for nighttime activities like bonfires, dancing, jazz, mellow herbal indulgence, or late night communal hot tubbing? Were there even hot tubs?

    Did the hotel have organized fun like sport fishing, guided SCUBA, visits from nearby island merchants with fruit and souvenirs, surfing lessons, or local folk music or dancing shows?

  12. @Owen

    If you’re expecting to do anything besides water sports and boat rides, this is not the resort for you. Its reputation is as a couples/honeymoon retreat, so there aren’t a lot of social activities.

  13. Do you ask the people.. “excuse me.. you are in my shot” and move them out of the way?? I don’t see anyone else any of your pictures… 🙂 was it that deserted while you were there?

  14. @Mwwalk, pictures in the wrong place! Call the cops. Seriously, get a life please.
    @Ben, your blog, your choice what order you want to place the pictures.
    Thanks for the review.

  15. I found the 6 mini-cabanas at the head of the main beach one of the best spots on the island, with the 2 beach-closest benefiting from constant breezes even during hottest part of day.

  16. @ Owen. answers inline:

    Was the sand the usual dull carbonate reef sand that doesn’t burn feet or the prettier imported quartz sand that does? Did you try sandcastling with it?. Natural sand gorgeous and white (think NW Florida beaches). Hot during June midday sun, but walkable without sandals. All piers super hot- required sandals mid-day

    How was the ocean swimming? Were the waves high or rough? Did you swim or snorkel out to the edge of the reef? How was the wildlife underwater? How deep does the reef water get near the beach?- The house reef encompasses approx 50% of perimeter of island (400-500 yards or more). Depth ranges from inches starting at beach to 150 feet at outer edge dropoff. Vast majority of reef less than 10 ft depth. Waves rough (2-3 feet with whitecaps) during high tide or high winds, calm other wise. Minimal undertow. The swimming/snorkeling is one of absolute highlights.. The most gorgeous reef and fish and coral I’ve ever seen anywhere (Caribbean, Hawaii, Cozumel not even close).. Equatorial sun burns shoulders through SPF 50 so reapply every hour. Coral razor sharp so plan your shallows snorkeling route from your OW villa ladder since coral rises above water line at low tide. Or pick one of OW villa-adjacent piers, snorkel thru the OW villas, then connect to other adjacent pier. Takes 90-120 minutes at leisurely pace. Two hours you’ll remember for a lifetime

    Did it get cool at night? You’ve already said the overwater rooms were uncomfortably hot during the day in spite of air conditioning. Was it breezy at all or still?. I’d say low 80s each night for lows.

    With so few guests, was there an audience for nighttime activities like bonfires, dancing, jazz, mellow herbal indulgence, or late night communal hot tubbing? Were there even hot tubs? Thursday night is social dinner/maldivian theme (we skipped it). Pretty sure low key, including none of above activities

    Did the hotel have organized fun like sport fishing, guided SCUBA, visits from nearby island merchants with fruit and souvenirs, surfing lessons, or local folk music or dancing shows?- no sport fishing, yes SCUBA, small nearby island tour available but low value per $ from reviews I’ve read.

  17. Ben – I feel similarly to you about cities vs rural/beach destinations. Given that, how much time would you recommend someone stay here? Thanks.

  18. @ Daniel — That’s a toughie. If it were easy to access I’d say three days is plenty. But given what a journey it is to get there, I’d probably say five or so days is perfect, since you need some time to just get over exhaustion.

  19. Have you ever considered the W Resort Maldives? Any comparisons you’ve heard? We are going to Maldives for 4 nights and can’t decide between the two. Rates are roughly the same. We are Hyatt Diamond / SPG Platinum. Been to Park Hyatt before and loved it, but can’t decide if worth trying the W.

  20. Whats the best way to get to the Island from the airport. Does the hotel charge for the transfer, if so How Much?

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