Luxurious for much less: 5 Maldives motels you’ll be able to e-book for beneath Dh1,000 an evening

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After reopening to tourists in July, the Maldives are trying to lure travelers back to their coastline by offering socially distant stays coupled with cheap room rates.

Across the archipelago, 223 hotels have reopened, meaning travelers can now book more than 24,000 options. As coronavirus restrictions ease, people are slowly venturing back to the sun-kissed hot spot that has been attended by more than 17,000 tourists in the past four months. However, just as the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed travel around the world, demand for tropical vacations in the Maldives remains lower than normal.

To change this, many hotels are reviewing their prices to find better value for money. This means that it might be a good time to consider taking a getaway to the Indian Ocean.

The Maldives has long been a popular destination for honeymooners, luxury travelers, and celebrities. They don’t have the same reputation when it comes to affordability, but that could change if the pandemic drives prices down. And as private guesthouses on inhabited islands reopen on Thursday October 15, the abundance of cheaper accommodations is only likely to increase.

Improved safety measures have been put in place across the country, including mandatory negative Covid-19 PCR tests for all travelers and new hygiene practices in the resorts. These precautions seem to be working. According to the country’s Ministry of Tourism, the virus has not yet been transmitted to the community on the islands. Only one tourist has been admitted to a medical facility since the country’s borders were reopened.

From a romantic getaway in one of the country’s most remote atolls to a family-friendly stay in a bustling marina, here are five island resorts in the Maldives that you can now check-in for for less than Dh1,000 per night.

Kandima Maldives

Kandima Maldives.

Some people consider the Maldives to be a place for lazy days in the sunshine where relaxation is key. And while this can easily be any Maldivian holiday, Kandima Maldives is well worth a look if you’re looking for something quicker.

This stylish resort on remote Dhaalu Atoll offers almost every activity imaginable – from aerial yoga and beach volleyball to a kids’ splash pad, soccer field, and one of the longest swimming pools in the country. The surrounding waters are home to amazing marine life and can be easily spotted on a snorkeling excursion from the purpose-built platform on the edge of the Kandima lagoon.

It’s also a great place to relax, as the expansive spa offers a variety of treatments, a private plunge pool, and a steam room. Elsewhere, the Kula art initiative shows local artists and allows guests to get creative in a studio under their watchful eyes. The island also has an on-site hospital, which is rather comforting during a pandemic. When it comes to dining, there are eight outlets to choose from and a choice of packages, from bed and breakfast to platinum all-inclusive. This allows you to decide how much of your trip to prepay before your visit.

Room rates start at $ 250 ($ 918) per night on a half-board basis in a Sky studio. Domestic air transfers cost $ 350 per person. kandima.com

SAii lagoon Maldives


SAii Lagoon Maldives has reopened to travelers.
SAii Lagoon Maldives has reopened to travelers.

The closest resort on this list to Male International Airport is SAii Lagoon, accessible via a short 15-minute boat ride, making it a great choice for a weekend getaway. As part of Crossroads Maldives – the first leisure destination on several islands in the country – guests have access to the Crossroads Marina, which offers a wide range of water sports, sailing and diving activities.

The rooms and suites in the SAii have a boho atmosphere. The cheapest option is the Sky Room. Each of these spacious suites can accommodate two adults and a child and has an indoor chill-out corner and a private balcony with endless sea views. When it comes to food, guests can visit Miss Olive Oyl, Mr Tomyam or the Cafe del Mar Beach Club. The nearby marina is also home to many restaurants, including a Hard Rock Cafe and the Ministry of Crab, the hugely popular Sri Lankan export. There’s also a shopping street that has everything from authentic Maldivian handicrafts to beachfront boutiques, and even a mini market for last minute things.

Visit the Discovery Center to learn all about conservation activities in the area, or book a spot for a submarine trip or local island adventure to see firsthand what is being done to bring out the unique biodiversity the islands.

Room rates start at $ 170 ($ 624) per night in a Sky Room with breakfast included. Speedboat transfers start at $ 148; saiiresorts.com

Sun Siyam Vilu Reef


A beach villa on Sun Siyam Vilu Reef.
A beach villa on Sun Siyam Vilu Reef.

The five-star Sun Siyam Vilu Reef reopened this month and offers a 40 percent discount on stays of four nights or longer, bringing prices down to less than Dh 1,000 per night.

This resort is located in the South Nilandhe Atoll and is home to some of the best coral reefs in the country. Everyone who checks in receives free snorkeling equipment to make the most of the idyllic location. The cheapest rooms are the resort’s beachfront villas, just steps from the lagoon. Each can accommodate up to four people with a king-size bed and an alcove day bed. There is also an outdoor rain shower and a private deck with sun beds and space for al fresco dining.

There are five different restaurants throughout the resort, including a unique seafood and Indian specialty restaurant. After sunset, enjoy live music and Boduberu drum performances, or watch a movie under the stars in the open-air cinema – popcorn and drinks included. The spa offers a range of treatments as well as a hydrotherapy room. And if you want to pick up the pace, book a day trip island hopping or head to the water sports center. If you book the opening offer, which runs until the end of October, you will receive a 25 percent discount on all pre-booked spa treatments, an upgrade to the next suite category if available, and a free floating breakfast per booking.

Beach villas start at $ 245 ($ 899) per night. Children under 12 stay and eat for free. Transfer is by a 35-minute seaplane, which incurs an additional fee. sunsiyam.com

Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort


The Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort.  Courtesy of Mercure / Accor
The Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort. Courtesy of Mercure / Accor

The Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort in Gaafu Alifu Atoll is part of the Accor Hotel Group and is an all-villa resort where you can check-in and receive change of 1,000 Dh per night. For this price range you can book a stay in a beach villa, which is located on the pristine coast and is surrounded by ancient coconut trees. Each villa also has a secluded outdoor bathtub and rainforest shower. There are a variety of dining packages and two restaurants to choose from – you can opt for international cuisine at Alitas or head to the gastro bar, which sits over the water and offers some of the best sunset views of the resort.

There isn’t an endless list of things to do here, but it’s a good place if you just want to sit back and relax, and the surrounding waters are abundant with marine life for snorkeling, swimming, or diving. If you want to increase the budget a bit, you can also book an overwater villa for a little over Dh 1,000 per night.

Beach villas start at $ 246.50 (Dh905) per night from bed and breakfast, with domestic air transfers costing $ 360 per person; accor.com

Maldives summer island


Summer Island Maldives welcomes tourists.  Courtesy Summer Island
Summer Island Maldives welcomes tourists. Courtesy Summer Island

The locally owned summer island of Maldives is located on Ziyaraifushi Island, which is just a 15-minute seaplane ride from Male and is great for a getaway. The four-star resort has spacious beach rooms with outdoor bathrooms and small patio areas. The whole island offers a relaxed atmosphere. Spend your days at the resort’s infinity pool, which is a bit smaller but has stunning ocean views and comfy loungers and bean bags to pass the day. There is also an overwater bar and a bar, both of which have regular happy hour and entertainment.

Yoga fans will love the dedicated yoga and Pilates area, and there is a large overwater spa with open-air treatment rooms. There are many activities available in the waters around the island, including diving and snorkeling. The hotel can arrange this for you. Underneath the waves, you can also discover the marine life that has found a home in the largest submerged 3D-printed reef in the world.

The category of the room you book determines which of the restaurants you can dine in. The overwater restaurant is reserved for those staying in the premium categories. But even if you book the best price, you can enjoy international cuisine in the resort’s typical restaurant or enjoy a relaxing sundowner in the beach bar.

Half board in a superior beach room costs from USD 160 (USD 587) per night. Speedboat transfers start at $ 150 per person; summerislandmaldives.com

Updated: October 11, 2020, 5:23 pm

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