Maldives

Truly a dream destination, I have been lucky to go to the Maldives a few times now, on holiday or for layovers. One of the advantages of living in Qatar is that we are not too far away (we’re also lucky to have travel benefits with our airline !).

If you look for a hotel on booking.com (my go to for booking hotels), it can be really overwhelming, with all the options, crazy prices and hidden fees. Some hotels seem to be reasonably priced but then you realise you have to go by seaplane, which is quite expensive.

CINNAMON HAKURA HUURA

For our first time, I really wanted an overwater bungalow and I wasn’t opposed to flying by seaplane (if you can afford it, it truly is an unforgettable experience !!). I found a good deal for the Cinnamon Hakura Huura. One of the reason of the deal was that the hotel was primarily aimed for Chinese guests, so activities and buffet were very oriented towards that. The only reason I would recommend this hotel is their amazing dive center, where we basically were the only guests and the diving was the best ever ! Otherwise it was a very small island, no swimming pool (honestly not a problem for us as we spend all our time in the sea, but that was a complaint from other guests).

It was our first time diving after doing our PADI Open Water in Thailand and we were mind-blown ! Manta rays, turtles, sharks, we felt like we were in an aquarium ! We actually spent so much time diving on that trip that we only went to the beach for 2 hours aha.

MEERU HOTEL

After that I went to the Maldives on layovers a few times and then last April, we went on a girl’s trip with my best friend Déborah. We went to Meeru hotel. We were half-board guests and we stayed in a beach villa with jacuzzi.

Here are the pros and cons of that hotel :

PROS

  • Beautiful hotel and island, and infinity pool
  • We were upgraded in an overwater bungalow for our first night (really nice !!)
  • Delicious buffet with lots of choices
  • Good value for money
  • 45 min boat trip from Male

CONS

  • Very disappointing dive club, not accommodating at all
  • No real snorkeling opportunities from the hotel beach, boat trips are organized though

If you are not a diver, I would highly recommend this hotel though, the setting is amazing and it’s not outrageously expensive. If you are a diver, check out the next hotel we went to 🙂

BANDOS MALDIVES

In October we went on a family trip and we chose Bandos hotel. I completely fell in love with the hotel !! By far my favorite from the ones we have stayed at. It’s only a 15 min boat trip from Male which is great with young kids.

The island is big but not too much, and even though the hotel was full, we never felt it. There are a lot of ‘private’ little beaches all around the hotel, so we were basically on our own little beach everyday. We stayed in the beach villas which are cute little huts. They have 2 floors so they are spacious and they have a jacuzzi and an outdoor bathroom. We were all inclusive and the buffet was delicious and varied, as well as the choice of drinks and cocktails.

The dive club is the best part : super accommodating and professional. We planned to go on a snorkeling trip on the first day but unfortunately it was cancelled due to weather. As we were a big group and the next trip was going to be full, they planned a private tour for our family, with extra instructors for my mother in law who wasn’t 100% at ease on her own in the water, as well as another private instructor for my 5 year old niece. Best service ever. We went to the tuna factory which is were we saw the stingrays.

The guys went on a big-game fishing tour which they really enjoyed, and the fish they caught was cooked specially for them with a 5 course meal. During that time, the girls went for massages 🙂

I already want to go back !