Maximizing Miles in the Maldives: Cathay First, Eating in Singapore, and a Park Hyatt Water Villa – Park Hyatt Maldives – Part III

  1. Introduction
  2. Positioning flights to San Francisco, Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf, and Some Dim Sum for the Day
  3. Cathay’s New San Francisco Lounge
  4. Cathay Pacific First Class, San Francisco – Hong Kong
  5. The Wing and Cathay Pacific First Class, Hong Kong – Singapore
  6. A Grand Suite at the Grand Hyatt Singapore
  7. Eating in Singapore
  8. Dinner at Waku Ghin, Marina Bay Sands
  9. Singapore Airlines Business Class: Singapore – Male
  10. Transfer to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Maldives
  11. Park Hyatt Maldives – Part I
  12. Park Hyatt Maldives – Part II
  13. Park Hyatt Maldives – Part III
  14. Maldivian, Kaadehdhoo – Male
  15. Singapore Airlines Business Class, Male – Singapore
  16. Cathay Pacific Business Class, Singapore – Hong Kong
  17. Conrad Hong Kong
  18. Cathay Pacific First Class, Hong Kong – Chicago
  19. American’s Chicago Flagship Lounge and the Final Journey Home

The first night on property we sat out on our deck and ordered room service. That’s not an inexpensive proposition. There’s a $15 tray charge in addition to service charge which I think was 15%. And that’s on top of sandwiches which are priced in the $30s. A single steak sandwich delivered by room service was about $55 later in the week, and was a modest amount of sliced meat rather a steak inside a roll. But service is prompt, they also return to pick up trays promptly when called. And you’re in the middle of the Indian Ocean, things are going to be pricey, and it wasn’t orders of magnitude pricier than a high end resort in the Caribbean though certainly much more pleasant.

I was a little bit surprised when I first learned that breakfast wasn’t a buffet, I’m used to resorts offering extensive buffets but I was ultimately very happy with what was offered. The coffee was very good. So was the juice. And the concept is that they bring three small appetizers to your table (they’ll happily replenish those) and then you each order up to three things off the a la carte menu. And that’s complimentary. It’s plenty of food, prepared fresh, thought the menu isn’t that extensive, I found myself repeating my orders come mid-week.

The appetizers came as a tower a la Lufthansa First Class: (One tower was brought for the table each morning)

Maldivian tuna curry

Eggs benedict

Cocottes

German white sausage on pretzel

Bircher muesli

Waffle

Crepe

The first morning we asked for cream and for soy to go with our coffees. The chef came out from the kitchen to speak to us, he said “we only received your request for soy milk yesterday and have been trying to source it from another resort.” Though I had correspondence with the general manager a couple of weeks in advance, the request must have simply been noted in our reservation and then didn’t get noticed until the reservation itself was pulled on our day of checkin. By our third day, though, they had secured soy milk.

One morning I went out to breakfast especially early and brought my laptop, wifi worked just fine and was complimentary at the breakfast restaurant just as it was in the room. My villa’s wifi was a little bit glitch, whenever it didn’t work properly I would unplug the router and plug it back in and it would work just fine again, I never had to ring for support. While I did use the internet for work, I never did turn on the television at all throughout the stay, so I can’t comment on the channels offered. And I actually find catching up on work while on vacation relaxing, I know there’s nothing back home to worry about and I’m not so overwhelmed the day I return that I’d lose my entire sense of relaxation gained on vacation.

Breakfast is served at the all day dining restaurant beside the main pool, which is adjacent to the resort’s main bar as well.

There’s also a dinner-only restaurant which is being rebranded “Island Grill” though I’m told that the menu isn’t being substantially revamped. It serves local fare, and the curries were quite good and surprisingly spicey. And surprisingly, dinner at this restaurant was also somewhat less expensive than eating in the all day restaurant where appetizers run in the $20s, entrees in the $30s and $40s, and desserts around $20 as well.

Here’s the menu page one and page two.

Appetizers

As we sat and ate dinner on our second evening the sun went down and the lit up sky was beautiful.

The Malidivian shrimp curry was excellent.

The squid curry less so.

Dessert

We also had dinner in the all day dining restaurant.

Goat cheese salad

Crab salad

Pasta

Nasi goring

Some of the most delicious ice cream I’ve had, especially the honeycomb and rose petal

One evening we took the resort up on the evening’s daily event, which was a sushi dinner out at “Drift” the small bar area midway through the walkway along the water villas. For US$75++ they had a sushi chef preparing fresh sushi, and were offering that all-you-can-eat and were pouring all you could drink Piper Heidsieck champagne. That was an especially good value because bottles of wine which would be ~ $15 in a US bottle shop were priced around $75 in the restaurants.

While water is free in the room, in restaurants they charge US$3.50 per person, all you can drink, during lunch and dinner at the restaurants.

The property’s general manager is very active, walking around the property, talking to guests, finding things that needed tidying and doing it himself (which seemed to frighten onlooking staff).

As our stay came to and end, we had one last lunch. On the way to the all day dining restaurant I stopped to settle our bill. Everything was in order, I handed over Hyatt Gift Checks, and got a bit of a perplexed look.

The clerk at the desk had never seen them before and didn’t know how to handle them. He made a phone call, got a voice mail, and said he’d need some time to sort it out. Rather than waiting, I told him I would be in the restaurant and could he simply come find me when he had gotten everything taken care of.

There was going to be an hour boat ride to the domestic airport, a layover, an hour flight, and then three hours or so in the Male airport before our flight to Singapore. And odds on the food in the lounge there wasn’t going to impress. So we needed a bit of food before the journey.

I had the pad thai, which was excellent, spicy, and prepared in traditional thai style baked into an omellette.

After about 40 minutes the clerk came by with a final invoice to sign, having properly applied my gift checks. We finished our meal, settled up, and headed back to our room to do a last check to see if we had left anything behind.

About 25 minutes before our boat departed for the airport, our host came to collect our bags, and the returned to pick us up and drive us to the dock.

The resort staff saw us off

We put on our life jackets, had a seat at the back of the boat, turned back towards resort and looked wistfully on our stay…

This is the only time, while leaving a hotel, that I was thinking about ways to return. Over the coming months both Emirates and Etihad will start service from Washington DC and I suspect I’ll be inclined to use American partner Etihad to fly Washington Dulles – Abu Dhabi – Male, likely with a stopover in Abu Dhabi and a stay at the new Park Hyatt there. That’ll be a much more sane and less arduous routing.

As I said at the beginning of my trip report, this was my first visit to the Maldives, so I can’t compare the Park Hyatt to other properties like the Four Seasons or the One & Only Reethi Rah. But it was a beautiful resort. It could make some improvements. But I cannot imagine a better use of my points, especially as someone that chases aspirational awards, and I’m very much looking forward to coming back.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Did you notice any unrest or protests related to the coup? Not on the resort, but while in the Maldives in general.

  2. Given the prices, with tips, drinks, portion size, etc… what would you say a reasonable daily budget would be?

  3. Gary, How much $$ do you estimate that you saved by using the extra 35,000 points for three dinners for two? You mentioned in Part I that this turned out to not be a great value, so I’m curious what value you did obtain from these points.

  4. WOW !!!

    Now that is a trip report. The next time someone mentions the Maldives, I’m going to have to remind myself: I haven’t actually been there, I’ve just read Gary’s excellent review, and seen his photos. Otherwise, I could easily find myself saying, yeah, I’ve been there, stayed at the Park Hyatt. Oh, wait…..

  5. Looks like a great place. As I read it, however, I could not stop myself from thinking if it was a place that was worthy of the huge hassle and cost of getting and staying there. The “accountant” in me looks at all of this and wonders “hey, it seems to be 20% nicer than, say the best costa rica all-inclusive I’ve ever been to, but it seems to 100% more in cost and hassle. Is it worth it?”

    It may be a stupid question–especially since this is not the point of “aspirational travel”–but it makes me wonder what you think is the “best value (time and money) luxury location” that you’ve been to… Please share that!

  6. @Bluecat that’s all fair, I think it’s probably much more efficient to go to Bali than to the Maldives. But it’s been on the bucket list and I’m glad I went!

  7. @Gary — That’s about what I thought from your post. Not the worst use of points, but certainly not the greatest. I’ll probably stick with it so as to avoid complete sticker shock at checkout!

  8. Do you have to eat at the hotel for all meals or are there local places on the island that you can go to?

  9. Gary, totally understand what you meant by “This is the only time, while leaving a hotel, that I was thinking about ways to return.” — that is exactly how I felt when leaving the Conrad. On your next trip to Maldives, I recommend checking out the Conrad. I have a feeling you might like it a little bit better.

  10. Gary, you mentioned something about breakfast in your first piece in the PH Maldives. If breakfast included, even on award reservations?

  11. that’s good to know. kind of changes the dynamics around if we ever visit. might change by then, but do you know where I can find that or is that something they told you when you got there?

  12. I think I’ll follow your advice for Dulles – Abu – Male next year if we go direct. Otherwise, Can you think of a decent route that would take us through Paris for a few days?

  13. Great trip report. We are on the way to the Park Hyatt Maldives right now, will look out for all the points mentioned in your reports.

    Last year we stayed at the Conrad and the Waldorf Astoria. Am keen to find out how Hyatt compares to them.

    @DBest, we stayed the first night in Male town (our MH flight arrived at around 10pm local time). No signs of unrest or protests.

  14. I completed a 4 day stay here in November 2012. Everything said here in this report is 100% true. The cooked to order breakfast and tuna appetizer in the etagiere was wonderful, and I was really sorry to see the staff waving good bye at the end. Truly a wonderful place.

  15. Hello.

    Sorry that I’m a bit late to join the 2012 comments but I hope you can answer my question. My wife and I are planning a trip to the Park Hyatt Hadaha in October 2015. I have two free nights and 100k points enough for an extra 2 days. I have not had luck getting the points/cash so 25k availability. My question is: how can o go about getting an upgrade once I redeem my points?. I’m interested on a water villa. I would like to pay in advance and get it confirmed as soon as possible but everyone I talk to using the 1800 number say there is nothing I can do but wait at check in. Who did you email when you managed to confirm the upgrades?
    Thanks in advance.

  16. @arturo you will have to email the hotel to arrange the paid upgrade. Book your award right away, the property is about to become category 7 so 30k points per night

  17. Hi Gary. Thanks for the info. I just completed the reservation and found the hotel’s email address. I hope the upgrade fee hasn’t gone up much since your last visit.

    Cheers!

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