December 19, 2015

Review: Park Hyatt Maldives

Planning & Booking
American Express Centurion Lounge DFW
Emirates A380 First Class Dallas to Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates 777-300ER First Class Dubai to Male
Transfer to Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Park Hyatt Maldives - Resort & Park Villa
Park Hyatt Maldives - Water Villa
Transfer to Male
Singapore Airlines 777-200ER Business Class Male to Singapore
Grand Hyatt Singapore
Singapore Airlines The Private Room Singapore
Singapore Airlines 777-300ER First Class Singapore to Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines 777-300ER First Class Hong Kong to San Francisco

Let me start off by saying the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is absolutely paradise.  Getting there isn't easy (but can be a lot of fun) but it is/was absolutely worth it.  We will 100% be back.

Welcome to Hadahaa!

I'm going to break the trip report up into a couple of parts.  We stayed in the base park villa for the first three nights and then moved to a water villa for our last night.  In this post, I'll cover the resort the park villa.  Next up will be a bit more about the resort and my water villa review.  Here we go...

The Dhoni during the day

After our transfer from Male, Natalia invited us to have a seat in the Dhoni (the upside down version) which is essentially the hotel's lobby.  The building is gorgeous and while we didn't take advantage of it as much this trip, we plan to next time we're on the island.  Check-in formalities were processed while we enjoyed another cold towel and some tea.  Natalia confirmed our pre-arranged activities (sunset cruise, dinners, etc...) and soon we were in a buggy getting a tour of the island.  We arrived at our villa (# 34) to find that our bags had all arrived safely and been delivered to our room.  Complimentary snorkel gear had been delivered as well - everything was in great condition and fit perfectly.  

Natalia showed us around before saying goodnight.  We were exhausted after a long travel day so unpacked, toured the villa and outdoor space a bit before heading to bed.

Not a bad place to sleep


The villa was gorgeous - especially at night.  The bed was super comfortable and the A/C worked great.

Looking out at the outdoor shower


Massive outdoor shower/tub

We both thought the bathroom was the real highlight.  Dual closets/sinks and the outdoor shower and tub.  I didn't shower inside once.  

The real real highlight was walking 25 feet outside our door to the beach.

Villa 34

Path to the beach

The beach in the middle of the night (jet lag)

And the best snorkeling either of us have ever done in our lives.

You can almost snorkel from the jetty - water is so clear

We woke up early the next morning excited to watch the sunrise and get in the water.  The island (Hadahaa) is one of only a dozen or so inhabited islands in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll in the southern Maldives.  So no light pollution and nothing but horizon (and a few islands) as far as the eye can see.

After making good use of the in-room Nespresso machine, we headed down to the beach.  WOW!

Maldivian Sunrise

We headed out to the "dawn" jetty for a better view.  And then we made our way back to the beach and into the water for an amazing morning snorkel.

View from the dawn jetty

Emily snorkeling into the sunrise

Dawn Jetty

We developed quite the routine on the island.  It went something like this.  Wakeup, coffee, sunrise, snorkel, coffee, shower, breakfast.  Back to the villa to relax a bit.  Off to one of the pools (we enjoyed the spa pool the most) for a few hours.  

Park Hyatt Maldives Spa

Our favorite spot

Spa pool

Pool all to ourselves

Back to the villa for an afternoon/evening snorkel.  Maybe walk around the island (20 minutes all the way around).  

Views like whoa

Island Dhoni

Main pool

Is this real?

Clean up for dinner.  To the bar for happy hour.  

Happy hour

Happy hour x 2

Happy hour x 3

View from the bar

The bar

Dinner.  Hit the bar for a nightcap and then off to bed.  We did pretty much the same thing everyday and absolutely loved it.  

Sunset over the water villas

The first evening we went on (with one other couple) an hour long sunset cruise on the Dhoni.  An actual boat, not the building where we checked in.  We sat on the "roof" of the boat and headed towards the sunset. Light canap├ęs and fresh coconuts were served while the sunset in the distance.  

Park Hyatt Maldvies Hadahaa from the Dhoni

Getting ready to cruise

Sunset from the Dhoni

So many selfies

Let's talk a little about cost.  While the hotel is one of the most aspirational redemptions in the miles and points world, it's not free.  There are definitely ways to minimize cost though.  I didn't find the resort to be more expensive than say, a high-end resort in Hawaii.  If you're not Hyatt Diamond (we're not) then breakfast will cost you $35 per person AI.  That includes coffee, juice, a couple of items off the menu, and an unlimited buffet.  We ate breakfast everyday and skipped lunch.  That seemed to be the norm as the restaurant was deserted for lunch.  

Emily swinging at the bar

Drinks are pretty standard resort prices.  $10 - $16 for beers/wine/cocktails.  Dinner is expensive.  We ate in the bar one night and the hotel's Island Grill (signature restaurant) two nights.  Dinner for two with wine was in the $200 - $300 each night.  The food and service were both excellent and our feet were literally in the sand.  We did the seafood night at the Island Grill which I would highly recommend.  The buffet was insane - caviar, lobster, and fresh Maldivian tuna.  

Entrance to Island Grill

Fresh tuna

I should note that coffee and water are complimentary in the room.  The restaurant charges for bottled (swing-top) water.  Wifi is complimentary for all guests.

Nightcap view of the main pool

Service at the resort is outstanding.  Natalia checked in with us multiple times per day and gave us updates on the weather, activities, the move to our water villa, and snorkel tips.  Both the GM and his Director of Operations walk the resort constantly - checking on guests and staff.  My only "negative" comment on service would be there's almost too much interaction.  At breakfast, no less than 5 staff members would ask us about our food, the day's plans, etc...

Pondering what to have for breakfast

The staff is also extremely international - we met staff from Maldives, Russia, China, Korea, India, etc...the guests were every bit as international.  For the first couple of days, there were only a handful of American guests on the island.  That ramped up as we got closer to Thanksgiving.

Life is definitely half full

Natalia met us at breakfast the morning of our "move."  She informed us that our water villa would be ready at 2PM and someone would meet us at our villa to help us move.  We spent the morning doing our normal thing and retuned to pack and say goodbye to our park villa.  

Water villa # 43

At literally 2PM, our mover showed up at the villa.  We drove out to the water villa jetty and arrived at villa 43 (villa 51 is the best - at the tip of the jetty) which would be our new home.  

Stay tuned for my full water villa review and final thoughts on the hotel in the next post!

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