Here I review the Park Hyatt Hadahaa Maldives — my total relaxation place where I’ve gone each of the past four years.
- Introduction, overview, and costs
- Star Alliance first class and business class lounges, LAX
- Etihad First Class, Los Angles – Abu Dhabi.. the 3rd Longest Flight in the World!
- Premier Inn, Abu Dhabi International Airport
- Etihad’s new business class lounge, Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Business Class, Abu Dhabi – Male
- Male Domestic Lounge and Maldivian, Male – Kooddoo, plus boat transfer to the Park Hyatt
This was my fourth visit in four years to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa Maldives. I simply do not go back to the same place like this but it’s the place where I truly relax – and relax quickly.
I’m constantly plugged in. I am always online. I work wherever I go, both my day job and everything miles and points related.
So when I travel for pleasure I first of all want to be in a time zone where the daytime doesn’t line up with the US East Coast. I get up in the morning early, at the end of the business day, and answer emails and catch up quickly on the previous business day. Then I have the whole day ahead of me to enjoy without having to respond to folks.
In order to really disconnect though I need to wash the world away, something i can do when I first have to take a fourteen hour flight and then a four hour connection… a domestic flight… and a boat ride. I’m so far away, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, where I don’t know anyone and where there are very few people (not only are there just 50 villas and the resort comprises the entire island, but many people tend to stay in their villas during the day).
It’s absolutely beautiful. I could watch the fish in the water endlessly. I’ve always enjoyed the staff and found them very accommodating. The food is good. What more could I want?
Hence my previous reviews:
- Here’s why the Park Hyatt Maldives is My Favorite Resort in the World (2014)
- Return to the Maldives (2013)
- Park Hyatt Maldives Part I, Part II, and Part III (2012)
4 Villa Types
The property has four room types among its 50 rooms.
- Park Villa. This is the base room, what you’re booked into on an award. The rooms themselves are identical across the property, it’s really about location and whether or not there’s a pool. You get a big bedroom, a large bathroom, and an enclosed outdoor area with shower.
- Pool Villa. This is the same as a base villa, but with a private pool. Some people think, given the resort’s 2 lovely pools and the amazing ocean, they’d never want a pool. I think, for when you want to relax in private, that sitting by the pool is quite enjoyable.
- Water Villa. The base villa has a small deck instead of an enclosed outdoor area. There is no pool. The room is on stilts over the water.
- Sunset Water Villa. These are exactly the same as water villas, but they’re the villas farthest out on the pier with greatest privacy (as fewer people walk by).
There’s been talk for years of building a special larger water villa at the end of the pier but it’s a project that hasn’t yet come to fruition.
The room type you want is going to be a personal choice. I had a base villa at the end of my stay last year, as a place to freshen up post-checkout. The room itself is fine. It’s the perfect base to sleep, while enjoying the resort and the island.
A pool villa, to me, is perfect for someone who prefers to spend time secluded in their villa while enjoying the outdoors.
I’ve managed to upgrade to a water villa on each of my stays. I love the walk along the pier, especially late at night and in the early mornings.
And I love sitting out on my deck, looking out at the ocean. And going straight from my deck down into the ocean.
My Water Villa
There’s a large bedroom, and a comfortable day bed couch. There are two nightstands, shelving, and a television. In four visits I’ve never turned on the television.
The bedroom has dual sinks and a tub, as well as ample closet space. The toilet room is separate as is the shower room, which has a skylight.
At check-in there were several treats waiting for us.
(Click to enlarge)
The hotel purifies and bottles its own water. It’s part of their commitment to sustainability in a remote location, where trash comes at an especially high cost (they refill toileteries in the same permanent container each day rather than using Park Hyatt standard plastic bottles as well).
They’ll bring you as much water as you’d like, both sparkling and still, and they know my preference for quite a bit of water (they’ll have 6 to 8 bottles in my room at a given time) and all still.
Water is complimentary in the room, and charged in the restaurant (where it used to be a flat fee per person, now it’s charged by the bottle and whether you come out ahead or behind compared to the old pricing depends on how much water you drink there).
When the property first opened as a Hyatt (it converted from Alila Villas), everyone received complimentary breakfast. Supposedly you got 3 items off the menu plus starters, but I never saw anyone charged who ordered more.
Under the last General Manager (who coincidentally had opened the property with Alila), they stopped giving complimentary breakfast on award stays. However Diamond members continued to receive this, as it is a Gold Passport benefit.
That General Manager also formalized the benefit of upgrading Diamonds to a pool villa from a base villa, if available at check-in.
Everyone at the resort receives free internet, which I find to be perfectly functional most of the time although slow occasionally.
Diamonds receive a complimentary cocktail and canapes between 6pm and 8pm each evening. One of the highlights of my day, each day, is to walk out to the beach… enjoy the cocktail of my choice while sitting and watching the sun go down behind the villas.
Diamonds also receive a 20% discount on cocktails and wine from 7pm to midnight.
The resort has two restaurants — the main dining room, where breakfast and lunch are served, and the dinner-only Island Grill.
Dining room at night
Dining room at breakfast
Entrance to the Island Grill
View through the bushes out to the water at the Island Grill
View through the bushes out to the water at the Island Grill
They also offer room service, of course. And they can accommodate special meals most anywhere on the resort. For instance, two years ago I had a private dinner on the jetty. And last year we had a private dinner set up for a friend’s birthday. That turns out to be not much of a premium compared to a meal in the restaurant, or at least wasn’t on those past stays.
Breakfast is a real highlight. You receive a tower of three starters (fruit, pastries, and a local tuna dish) and order what you wish off the menu. They serve illy coffee and it’s the perfect way to start off a morning, along with fresh squeezed juice. Service can be a bit slow, but I like a long leisurely breakfast.
I much enjoy Island Grill as well, though I think I also like that I generally stay on property 5-6 nights at a time. Over the course of 10-14 days I’d be bored of the food choices.
Some sleep in, eat breakfast late, and skip lunch. I like an early start to my day, and found that my wife and I would each order one item from room service at lunch (that bill came to a bit under $60 each day).
Island Grill is nice in the evenings, I recommend reservations especially when the resort is crowded if you have a preference for a seat looking out through the bushes at the ocean.
My favorite activity is just to relax, sitting on my deck. You can go straight into the water and snorkle.
The diving here is supposed to be fantastic (I prefer to snorkle, I have a certain claustrophobia with diving).
The resort’s two main pools are beside the main restaurant and bar at the front of the resort, and tucked away beside the spa.
The spa is fantastic, some of the best treatments I’ve had ever, although much more expensive than it was two and three years ago (similar pricing perhaps to what you’ll see at nicer resorts in the Caribbean, whereas just two years ago I was paying only ~ $60 per spa hour with a 3-day package).
You can do fishing excursions (catch fish, and they’ll cook it up for you) or a remote private island picnic. The more remote the excursion, the more expensive, and while I’ve thought I’d want to take a boat to the equator that’s beyond my budget.
There’s a yoga room, they do have classes, and there are board games out at the bar by the beach.
But this isn’t a high octane environment by any stretch.
Arrival and Departure
You arrive by boat and have a grand view of the resort if during the day, or at night you’ll simply see its lights off in the distance.
The resort’s “time zone” is an hour ahead of Male and the local island you arrive at when you get off your domestic flight. So it can often be quite late when you finally ‘make it’.
Check-in formalities are often handled at the Dhoni, provided the waters aren’t too rough and they’re able to bring you into the resort via the main jetty. We came in late at night this time and were taken directly to our villa instead.
Check-out you take care of by dropping by the resort’s office which is behind the main dining room, and is one of the few air conditioned spots on the island (besides your villa and the spa).
You’ll usually be taken back out of the resort via the Dhoni, though, as well on the way to the boat which will bring you back to the airport.
Since you gain an hour on the way back to the airport you’ll arrive for your domestic flight before you depart the resort.
5 Reasons You May Not Like the Park Hyatt Hadahaa Maldives
This is really my favorite place to go in the world. But it will not be for everyone. Here are 5 things to consider before choosing this resort.
- Distance to the Maldives. You can get a beach vacation much closer to home. The most efficient way to get there is generally going to be via the Middle East, which is a substantial flight on its own. I usually fly Eithad via Abu Dhabi with an airport overnight enroute (I like that break) but you can get there more quickly through other gateways. There are limited flights to the Maldives, and you’re limited by schedule.
- Distance to the Resort Once You Arrive in the Maldives. Even if you want to go to the Maldives, this resort is among the more difficult to get to. Many properties can be reached by boat from the airport in Male, or via a short seaplane flight. The Park Hyatt Maldives requires waiting for a scheduled domestic flight (about an hour, although some flights make a stop along the way and so are an hour and a half) and then you take a speed boat from the island where you arrive to the resort. To me, the resort’s seclusion is part of its appeal (and pulling up to the resort after all that feels even more like paradise), but it does take a lot to get there.
- Cost. In many ways the resort is less expensive than you might expect, but it’s certainly not cheap. You can travel equally far to Bali and find accommodation, activities, and meals much less expensive. You’re in the middle of the Indian Ocean, truly remote. Most things have to be brought in. Taxes on alcohol in this Islamic country are high. And it’s a top shelf resort. That combines for high prices. I will share copies of resort menus in an upcoming post.
- Air conditioning in the villas. This is one of the biggest things I wish they’d fix – and I think they have to start from scratch, with better systems, rather than implementing tweaks. The overwater villas especially get hot as the sun beats down on the glass walls, and this is doubly so during the rainy season with high winds. It seems like the villas used to cool down to 66 or 68 degrees overnight, and then would heat up to as much as 78 during the day. On my past two visits it hasn’t seemed to get below about 72.
- Just Too Low Key for Some People. Especially if you don’t want to dive or even snorkle, the activities you’re going to have are going to be especially low key. There is no nightlife. There are few people. That’s great for relaxing, but not everyone wants to relax that way. People that call Bora Bora ‘boring boring’ aren’t likely to enjoy a resort where there’s little chance to get off the island.
That said, it’s hard to imagine a better value aspirational use of points (you’ll regularly get better than 3 cents per Hyatt point even now that Hyatt has moved this resort up to category 7). Fortunately I booked it this year while it was still category 6 — and during Hyatt’s 20% redemption rebate offer.