Ayo and welcome to our Ayo guide to planning your perfect trip to the Maldives!
There are a lot of things to consider when booking a Maldivian holiday, from when to go to what island to visit and what to do there. Especially if you plan on organising the holiday yourself, you need to make sure that you’ve done all your research and are fully aware of what awaits you on your trip. No two islands or resorts are the same, so there are a lot of destinations to choose from. For some additional insights, we’ll also be giving you some recommendations from Travel Counsellor Anne-Marie Banks who has a particular expertise in dealing with travellers booking their dream trip to the Maldives.
What should your Maldivian holiday be like?
“When people tell me, they want to book a holiday in the Maldives, the first thing I ask them to do is to close their eyes and tell me what the Maldives look like to them. Is it a remote island, where they’re in their own bubble away from the rest of the world? Or is it a lovely resort that offers an alternation between rest and activities on a paradise-like island?”
This is step one in trying to find out what package suits you best. If you’re after that escapism, “lost on a desert island” feeling, then you’re definitely looking for a smaller resort. However, if you get bored easily and would like different options on what to do every day, you’re certainly better off with a bigger island.
Generally, it all depends on what the most important things are to you on your holiday. Anne-Marie explains that this can often be found out by asking yourself, “What would ruin my holiday?” By asking yourself this question, you’re trying to avoid anything that isn’t how you’d imagined it. For example, if you want that feeling of being lost on an island in the middle of nowhere, you definitely want to make sure that you’re far enough away from any sewage islands that can ruin the view and the smell. If you’re a foodie, then you probably don’t want to only have the same menu on offer every day or if you’re a diver, you want somewhere that’s not miles away from the best diving spots. As with most things when planning a holiday, these are all very personal points that will vary from person to person. Remember this when reading reviews because everyone’s experience is unique and just because someone else’s experience was one way, doesn’t mean yours would be the same. Travel agents like Anne-Marie are always more than happy to help you along and give you honest feedback.
When to go?
The Maldives don’t have a tropical climate and it can generally be a great place to visit all year round but we know what weather is like – nothing can be guaranteed. The best time to go though, especially if you want good water visibility, is January through April. As with any main season, this is also the most expensive time to book. In the off-season from May to December, you can still have a wonderful visit but you can be unlucky and get a lot of rain. Depending on your budget, the off-season can certainly be worth consideration as even in the main season the weather can be unpredictable and the weather is generally quite good. The rain showers in the Maldives often pass over quite quickly and the average temperature is over 20 degrees Celsius all year round.
Food and board
In most cases the best option is going all-inclusive. Certain premium all-inclusive options even have a wine list and certain more exclusive, branded products for you to choose from. Again though, it depends on what you’re going for and what’s important to you. If you’re a foodie and want to have the option of trying different things and certain specific restaurants, then you can consider the bed and breakfast option or simply not pre-pay for board of any kind. This is usually the more expensive option but certain high-end resorts don’t give you the option of going all-inclusive.
“Be careful not to be mislead by the cheap looking bed and breakfast offers as you could then end up paying a lot more for the individual meals with soft drinks costing about 7USD (6EUR) per drink and a meal for two with wine can easily set you back an excess of 150EUR. These islands are remote so import fees are high accounting for what appears to be high prices. The all-inclusive offer tends to be the best option and they sometimes even include the underwater restaurants depending on which resort you’re staying at.”
There are so many different resorts to choose from that each tailor to a different type of traveller and budget. Our Ayo recommendation is the Sun Siyam Vilu Reef Resort. It’s a great all-round resort that is guaranteed to give you that paradise feeling so many Maldives visitors are looking for. The Sun Siyam resorts are generally good resorts for most people and most budgets and our definite Ayo favourite. The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi is one of Anne-Marie’s favourites for families with children and teenagers without losing that authentic luxury resort feeling. We haven’t gotten around to visiting all Maldivian resorts but have collected some impressions on a lot of other hotels – particularly with Anne-Marie’s help. The Lux and Atmosphere resorts are also general crowd pleasers. A great foody but budget friendly resort is the Constance Resort. They have one of the most well stocked wine-cellars in the Maldives and a great all-inclusive offer. The Six Senses Resort is an ideal honeymoon resort. It’s generally known to be a great brand and all about privacy with a focus on giving their visitors that wellness and relaxation holiday feeling.
“The Soneva Javi would be a great place to visit if you have an unlimited budget. This is one of those resorts that you see in celebrity Instagram feeds with a slide at the end of the suite and you just think, “Wow”. There’s an over-water cinema, a star gazing room and a generally quirky atmosphere. All round, it’s just the ultimate luxurious paradise.”
The ideal Maldivian holiday
As you can see, there are so many different things to think about and consider when booking your trip to the Maldives. There is no “one-size-fits-all” ideal Maldivian holiday but with the help of a trusty travel guide like Travel Counsellors’ Anne-Marie Banks asking the right questions, you can find the package that is best suited to you.