Definitely one of the most memorable and well executed customer experiences end to end that I've ever seen! After booking my 40th Birthday Trip directly through IHG.com, the entire logistics was a
breeze during COVID. Within 24 hours I received a logistics email from the hotel front desk outlining current rules and visa requirements.
Upon arriving in Male (after 40 hours of travel from Canada) it was easy to find the Holiday Inn counter at the airport and immediately organize our boat transfer to the resort. The boat was super comfortable and water was provided. Once docking at the resort, we were greeted by a Welcome Party and driven to the front desk for check-in with bags automatically transferred to our room. We had a single point of contact from leaving the boat through the entire check-in experience. Everything was covered to inform us on our stay. From a process perspective, it was flawlessly executed. COVID PCR Tests are organized at check-in and you are given phone reminders - hassle free.
Our room was a Lagoon View with Beach Access which in my opinion was the best location, however the furthest from the main amenities with exception of the gym and spa. The outdoor bathroom was nice, room was very clean, and the outdoor patio area was nice and relaxing. Beds are FIRM, which is typically normal in this part of the world.
Spa / Gym:
I had two massages (Indonesian + Como Relaxation). Facilities were immaculate, masseuse was well skilled, and the cold tea before and after was phenomenal. The gym, is clean and well equipped.
We took advantage of the complimentary 8:30am snorkeling most days. The local boating staff are very honest and friendly. We had to push off and change some bookings because of water conditions at the snorkeling sites. We experienced swimming with the Nurse Sharks and Dolphin watching (the pod swam right next to the boat). Loved every trip. Snorkel equipment is provided for your entire stay.
Beaches / Lagoon:
We both brought our paddle boards from Canada and we were able to go on a few adventures. Due to COVID we weren't able to dock and explore other islands. Pictures don't do the beach and water justice (however see my pictures). The area around the resort for example is better than the best beach in Hawaii and by a long shot! I'm still in shock that the beach and lagoon were as exception as they were. You don't need to pay $1000.00 a night and fly on a sea plane for $500 to experience the Maldives. I do recommend some water shoes, as there is coral that you could cut your feet on (which I did). Lastly tons of hermit crabs, fish, and geckos to befriend.
There really is only one. The breakfast buffet was great, tons of options, food and beverages were delicious and fresh, plus many chef a cart items. Unlimited on demand lattes made with Illy Coffee was the best part of my day. If you plan to drink, it's expensive. Average $20 USD per drink, also you have to stay at the one bar and there isn't beachside service. It's not the resort if you plan to drink and stay in the sun all day. I did however order a bucket of beer and ice to my room for a paddle board adventure (which stayed cold in my Yeti all day).
I can't single anyone out because the entire team was beyond exceptional. Literally everyone is authentically friendly, anticipates needs, and delivers. I want to provide some solid examples:
- Missing SD Card for my GoPro. The front desk procured one from Male and kept tight communication with me on options and delivery (the either phoned the room or found me personally to discuss)
- Both Doctors on the island bandaged my feet daily after cutting them on the coral. This was at no additional cost
- Excursion Staff were very upfront about sea conditions so that you didn't waste your money. They would rebook for the next day. Normally (somewhere else) you book at your risk and have to go no matter what
- Cleaning staff, I don't know how they got rid of the sand everyday but they did. I couldn't even find a speck
Areas for improvement:
The only real issue during the trip is that there was a conference for the Indian staff from a German Financial Institution during two days. They really changed the vibe. For example I had to tell a Mother that was standing directly next to my table at breakfast yelling (spitting screaming) at her children to shut up and go away. The resort staff did their best to mediate the group from disturbing the other guests. To be blunt, they wouldn't be staying at the resort if their company didn't pay for it. The Manager bought me two drinks to make the pain go away. :)
Bottomline. Expectational Experience. Maldives are better than you can imagine, and I'm talking about the staff. Thank you! [更少]