December 13, 2015

Review: Transfer to Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

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

We cleared immigration and waited around 20 minutes for our bags.  Maldives is a dry country and you can be fined/arrested for bringing in liquor (hotels are exempted).  There was a Dutch couple on our flight that had a few bottles of wine with the.  Not sure if they were unaware or if they were seasoned Maldives vets.  Either way, it was entertaining to watch them first try and hide the wine then approach the customs desk and ask them what they should do.  We didn't wait around long enough to see the outcome but moral of the story is - don't try this at home.  It's not worth getting arrested.

After a fairly long wait, our bags came out and we were on our way out of the international terminal.  We met the Park Hyatt's representative in the arrivals hall (no sign but he somehow spotted us) where he grabbed our trolley and helped us make the walk to the domestic terminal.  We were thankful we did this during the day as we would make the transfer (without assistance) at night on the way back with limited time to make our connecting flight to Singapore.

Maldivian Check-In
he Park Hyatt's representative took our passports as we approached the Maldivian check-in desk.  He handled everything (the Park Hyatt books these tickets for each guest) while we stood around looking like tourists.  After maybe 5 minutes, boarding passes spit out of the machine and our bags were tagged to Kooddoo which is pretty fun to say.  We were escorted up the stairs to the domestic lounge where we had about 90 minutes to kill before our flight.

The lounge was insanely crowded and I didn't take any pictures.  The internet worked, there was water and serviceable restrooms.  20 minutes before our scheduled departure, we were picked up from the lounge and escorted through security to our gate.

Maldivian Q-300

Time to fly

Boarding was called and we were on the plane a few minutes later.  Given the relative luxury of the previous flights, this was a lot different.  But neither of us were complaining.  After boarding was complete, the door was shut pulled up, the travel prayer played, and we were up in the air watching the sunset over Male.

Buh Bye Male

The flight felt shorter than an hour to me - I think both of us dozed off for a bit.  We landed in Kooddoo and pulled up to what is essentially a 1 room airport.

Airport transport

There was yet another Park Hyatt representative waiting for us in the "arrivals" hall.  We picked up our bags and handed them off to another representative who would take them to the speedboat.  There was another couple headed to the resort along with a couple of employees.  We piled in to a couple of golf carts for the 3 minute "drive" to the dock.  

Park Hyatt Speedboat

The Park Hyatt is located in the Southern Maldives which has only been opened to tourism for the last 7 or 8 years.  It's more remote and there are a small number of resorts.  Perhaps that explains the "sharing" of resources - there were two boats when we approached the docks with representatives from multiple hotels.

We boarded the speedboat and were offered cold towels and bottled (swing top) water.  We were informed the was were calm and the transfer would take 30 minutes.  We each put on our lifejackets and rocketed out of the port of Kooddoo on our way to Hadahaa.

We both loved the speedboat ride.  I could see why people wouldn't enjoy this part of the transfer - especially at night.  But it was among the highlights of the trip for me.  The boat is fast and you're literally in the middle of nowhere staring up at the stars.  We could have been in a movie if we weren't wearing such sweet lifejackets.

Arrivals during the day

The Park Hyatt has their own timezone (1 hour ahead of Male and 2 hours ahead of Dubai) to maximize daylight for guests.  We approached the dock around 8PM local time.  12 hours door to door from Dubai.

We were sad the boat ride was over but very excited for our Park Hyatt adventure to begin.  We were helped off the boat where we met our "host" Natalia who would take great care of us during our stay.

I will probably say this 10 times over the next few posts - part of the draw (for me) of this property is the remoteness.  12 hours from Dubai and 24+ hours from Denver is a long way to travel to get to a beach.  But as you'll in the next post, it was/is totally worth it.

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