Photos by Ready Set Jet Set
Hello from the Maldives – this was my first time to Maldives and I can’t believe I got to visit this destination on my bucket list! It’s about a 27 hour travel trip from Austin to Maldives so we wanted to extend our stay to 2 weeks and stayed 10 days at the new hotel, Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa. Le Méridien Maldives just opened in September 2021 and Ready Set Jet Set spotted the five-night award stays starting at 120,000 points (24,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, worth $192, based on TPG’s valuation) on The Points Guy so we picked this tropical getaway for the Thanksgiving holiday!
Maldives is a chain of 1192 islands located south-west of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. Some of the islands are so small that many of the world’s maps do not show the Maldives. Fun fact: the biggest land animal on Maldives is a goat.
What’s the travel process from the states to Maldives?
We traveled Nov 17 – Dec 1, 2021 before the Omicron variant was announced so I’m not sure if the travel process has changed. A PCR report was required 48-hours in advance and Maldives Traveller Health Declaration (screenshot this QR code on your phone). We are vaccinated so quarantine was not required.
At each gate stop at the airports, we had to show:
- Vaccination card
- Boarding passes
- PCR test – printed
- Maldives Traveller Health Declaration
How to get from Male International Airport to Le Meridian Maldives?
You have to take a flight by Trans Maldivian Airways and it’s 35-minute seaplane transfer. Le Meridien charges $420 USD ($426 after taxes) per person for round-trip transfers from Malé airport (MLE). This charge is billed directly to your room.
What was the check-in process like?
The staff greeted us at the dock and helped carry our luggage from the seaplane to the front desk concierge. At check-in, they gave us an overview of our stay, dining options, activities, and a tour on the buggy around the property.
Are there meal plans?
Yes! Meals plans are optional but I wanted to not have to think about pricing on this vacation. You can choose from half-board (~$100/day) and full-board (~$150/day with alcohol). We chose the half-board that included breakfast buffet ($30) and 3-course dinner (see pricing below). Both plans require a minimum of 4 days and additional meals/drinks are available with additional surcharges.
For reference, dinner al carte items:
- Prawn caesar salad – $40
- Lobster bisque – $25
- Australian 120 days prime beef – $80
- Rack of lamb – $70
- Catch of the day – $55
- Lava cake – $20
So you can see it easily adds up so we opted for the half-board plan.
Is the wifi free?
Yes – the wifi is free and surprisingly fast and consistent considering you’re in the middle of the ocean.
What’s the Marriott deal?
Stay for 5, Pay for 4: Receive a free night when you redeem for five consecutive nights.
Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa
Le Meridian Maldives lobby
What makes Le Méridien Maldives special and any other resort in Maldives is that each resort is on it’s own private island and private beach – this means no one can come onto the beach or island. Le Méridien Maldives is nestled in north Lamdives on Thilamaafushi Island in Lhaviyani Atoll.
Overwater bungalow balcony
There are 154 rooms on property and you can choose from two different room types: villas on the beach or overwater. All rooms come with free wifi, minibar, air conditioning, hair dryer, eco-friendly toiletries, and a flat screen TV. Check the website for room rate as they change through the seasons.
On the beach:
- Beach bungalow – 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Lagoon access
- Beach villa – 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, beachfront access
- Beach garden pool villa – 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Beach front access, Private pool
- Beach pool villa – 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Beach front access, Private pool
- Lagoon villa – 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sunrise view, Lagoon view, Lagoon access
- 2 bedroom beach pool – 2 Bedroom Villa, Bedroom 1: 1 King, Bedroom 2: 1 King, Beach front access
- Sunrise overwater villa – 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sunrise view, Ocean view
- Sunset overwater villa – 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sunset view, Ocean view
- Sunset overwater pool – 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sunset view, Ocean view, Private pool
- 2 bedroom overwater pool – 2 Bedroom Villa, Bedroom 1: 1 King, Bedroom 2: 1 King, Ocean view
- Thilamaafushi villa – 3 Bedroom Villa, Bedroom 1: 1 King, Bedroom 2: 1 King, Bedroom 3: 1 King
We stayed in the Sunset Overwater Pool – it’s located on the western side of the resort so we enjoyed the sunset every evening. Loved having our own private pool too! Room service does come every day to change out towels, bedding, and more.
There are three restaurants on property with drinks and snacks available at Waves Cafe, Latitude coffee shop, and the adult-only pools.
Turquoise is the main restaurant where you can order breakfast and dinner. We had the breakfast buffet every morning here and I enjoyed trying each of the different food stalls – American, omelette station, crepe/waffle station, Indian station, and noodle station. We also had some of our 3-course dinners here and at Velaa.
Velaa Bar + Grill
Open for lunch and dinner, we had lunch at Velaa a couple of times. Reservations are required for dinner but we were able to do walk-ins. I enjoyed the menu at Velaa over Turquoise because of the local catch of the day and steak.
Tabemasu Japanese Restaurant
Tabemasu is the high-end Japanese/French dining option here at Le Meridien that sits on the ocean. We had the 7-course teppanyaki omakase menu and it was delicious!
Drone shot by Ready Set Jet Set
There are two outdoor swimming pools – Velaa, the main pool, and Riviera, the adult’s only pool, both with poolside bars. The pools are not heated.
I had one of the best spa treatments here, the Chakra art experience. The treatment rooms have doors that open up so you can see the ocean and there’s a window on the floor so you can see fish swimming around when you look down!
The Chakra Art comes to life started with an energy balancing herbal tea and a “welcome” foot massage. Following a gentle exfoliation, a rhythmical and deeply relaxing warm-oil massage helps to remove stagnant energy and activate the “Prana,” or life force, which stimulates the Chakras and your body’s vital energy. You are then enveloped in warm line sheets and your mind is transported with a soothing head-and-neck massage. You will be refreshed with cool towels and the journey will conclude with a full body moisturizing massage to ensure that you leave the spa fully replenished, inspired and vibrant.
Other spa treatments include body scrubs and wraps, couple’s massage, facials, hair and scalp treatments.
You can borrow snorkeling equipment and rent various watersports equipment from the watersports center near the main pool from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. We went snorkeling around the spa center and discovered there’s quite a bit of coral underneath the building so you can see a lot of different kinds of fish. We also swam from our bungalow out to the house reef and snorkeled around the coral – the reef was beautiful with so many fish!
Glass bottom canoe / stand-up paddle board / kayaking
Glass bottom canoe and stand-up paddle board (SUP) are complimentary!
Sunset dolphin cruise – $80
This was a 120-minute cruise, they took us on a boat out to the middle of the ocean where we say pods of dolphins swimming and jumping through the water. Complimentary soft drinks, Champagne, and beer!
- Jet ski (60 minutes for $250 and 90 minutes for $350)
- Speed boat excursion (60 minutes for $300 and 90 minutes for $450)
- Sunset handline fishing (90 to 120 minute for $80)
- Snorkeling tour (90 to 120 minutes for $70)
- Windsurf rental (60 minutes for $45)
- Catamaran short course (180 minutes for $235)
Outdoor movie night
Outdoor movie night is currently every Thursday at 7pm by the hub.
Complimentary sunrise and sunset yoga throughout the week – I enjoyed the sunset yoga on the beach!
There is a marine hub on property where you learn about the coral reef and marine lives.
The fitness center is located on the second floor of Waves and it’s open 24 hours, 7 days a week. I did do a quick workout here and enjoyed the view of the ocean.
The Kids Club
Le Meridien Maldives does have a kids club on property with a dedicated pool area and playground.