By David Ngo
Nov 3, 2021
NO ONE GOES TO THE MALDIVES for a budget-friendly holiday, but sometimes even travelers prepared to shell out big bucks on a private pool villa wind up with sticker shock. While you might expect room rates to err on the pricey side, what often breaks the bank on a Maldives sojourn is the seaplane transfers. For resorts out of boat-range of the capital, Mali, there’s no other way to get from the international airport to paradise. Meaning you might be looking at US$270 to US$450 per person for roundtrip flights—or as much as US$900 per person at some of the luxury spots in the far corners of the archipelago.
That’s why we’re so excited about the new Accor high-flying value-add. The hotel group is offering complimentary domestic seaplane transfers at five of its resorts sprinkled throughout the Maldives. With the ‘For the love of barefoot luxury’ promotion from Accor, travelers get free domestic transportation for two, plus all sorts of extras like daily breakfast and a flexible cancellation policy on bookings now through December 16, 2021, on stays of five nights or more. The return transfers alone can save a couple US$1,200, which makes that dream-island getaway feel a whole lot more attainable. Here are the plush pads where you can take advantage of this offer.
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo
“Elegant” truly doesn’t do justice to describe classically stylish private villas at this remote haven at the southernmost edge of the Maldives—think of all the dreamy views you’ll get from the seaplane before you even land in luxury paradise. If you are serious about escaping the pressures of everyday life and parking on a desert island, this boutique-size, 21-key exclusive haven from Accor is the place to live out that fantasy. It feels like it’s about a million miles from everything—in a very good way.
Nestled in the unspoiled Noonu Atoll towards the north of the Maldives, this oasis sports its own coral reef, pristine beaches, and a laid-back vibe. While most resorts in the Maldives cater to couples, this family-friendly space is welcoming to travelers of all ages. The Little Birds Club has plenty of activities for small ones, leaving mom and dad free to enjoy the spa or sip a cocktail in undisturbed bliss.
Pullman Maldives Maamutaa
When it comes to spoiling yourself, it’s hard to top the indulgence of this all-inclusive resort. In addition to some seriously delicious food and drink at three different restaurants, guests can take advantage of all kinds of other perks, from non-motorized water sports to a sunset cruise. The 122 villas and suites are all suitably spectacular, but for something truly special, book an underwater Aqua Villa, where you can quite literally sleep with the fishes (with floor-to-ceiling windows through which to view them).
Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort
With gorgeous overwater and beach villas, this resort is just right for anyone seeking serenity. This is one of the few resorts in the Maldives whose properties travelers can fly into directly via seaplane, without taking a speedboat to the private pier. Spend the afternoons lounging by the central pool by Alita Restaurant, then adjourn to Gastrobar in the evening for a sundowner.
Surrounded by the azure waters of the Shaviyani Atoll, this feather in the Accor cap boasts its own private 600-hectare lagoon, one of the largest in the nation. That means guests staying in the 120 private villas can gaze all the way out beyond the Maldives horizon without seeing any signs of human civilization (perhaps aside from the occasional seaplane overhead). Choose from a Beach Villa situated in the mangroves by the alabaster sands, a Tented Jungle Villa ensconced in foliage, or Water Villa perched directly over the sea.