Maldives but at what cost?

This is a repost of one of my more popular posts. Hope you enjoy the read?

View of the beach from a villa on Meeru (Maldives)
View of the beach from a villa on Meeru (Maldives)

Now, imagine waking up without the hustle and bustle of modern life around you and instead waking to the sounds of exotic birds chirping in the trees and the sound of the Indian Ocean gently lapping the shore. Does this sound like your idea of heaven? Yes, no? Well for me and the Wife, its certainly a bloody good representation of heaven if such a place existed.

In this article I will showcase the islands I have been lucky enough to visit and then why it might be difficult ever to go there again!

We have been very very lucky for the last ten years or so having visited the Maldives seven times. We loved it so much that we went the same island four times! Our list thus far is as follows:

1,2,3 and 4 – Maayafushi

Maayafushi as seen on approach in the Maldivian Air Taxi
Maayafushi as seen on approach in the Maldivian Air Taxi

Maayafushi was our first taste of what the Maldives had to offer and it was amazing! Small and friendly and the option to remove your shoes and not put them back on again until you left was unique to us.

The staff became personal friends and it was great to travel back and be welcomed by them by name!

We fell in love with Maaya and went back again and again until sadly all UK tour operators pulled out from this great little island. Why did they drop it? Not really sure but I’m guessing it was down to the prices that the resort were charging for rooms and of course profit margins are king for the tour operators and hence they pulled away. We were gutted to be honest along with a quite a few others (I had a Maaya UK forum running at the time). The only way for us Brits to go back here is to either travel with the Italian operator who offers this island or try and sort it yourself using Expedia.

Here are some of our videos from Maayafushi:

5 – Kuredu

Kuredu standing in front of our Beach Villa
Kuredu standing in front of our Beach Villa

Ah Kuredu! Our first taste of a different island from Maayafushi. Kuredu is four or five times the size of Maaya with over 300 rooms compared to the 70 or so we were used to.

We started off in a standard beach villa which to be honest was a little disappointing due to its worn out look, some call it rustic? We managed to get a decent upgrade to a Sangu Jacuzzi Beach Villa which were amazing to say the least. The room upgrade included a move to the Sangu restaurant which again was amazing even if the Chef asked me if I had been “Diving or Snorkelling today Sir?” every single time we ate.

Highlight for me was the opportunity to swim with a Turtle which just happened to appear one afternoon while I was Snorkelling. Here is a very blurry picture of said Turtle…

Turtle that joined me for a swim.
Turtle that joined me for a swim.

The good news is that Kuredu is still offered by some of the big operators (Kuoni and Thomson) to name but a few. Prices are expensive (more on that later) and there is alot of different accommodation to choose from.

I would go back to Kuredu no worries as it was an amazing island and one that is still very popular.

6 – Dhonveli

One of my favourite photos from Dhonveli
One of my favourite photos from Dhonveli

Flew over Dhonveli on the way to Kuredu but didn’t realise it until we actually got there!

This island was different again from the others we had been, its large and the beaches were not the best but it had a great lagoon and our Water Villa was fantastic.

Dhonveli is a resort that boasts a surfing club and you can spend your days watching the surfers riding the waves at Pasta Point.

Transfer is via speedboat which was a change from the Maldivian Air Taxi service we previously had used.

We rated this island highly and like Kuredu is offered still by all the major UK tour operators. Price of course is high now and like I said earlier, more on that shortly.

7 – Meeru

The Asian Wok on Meeru
The Asian Wok on Meeru

Wow, Meeru, amazing!

We went here shortly after my return from a lengthy spell away from home and it was just what we needed.

Meeru is an extremely well run island with fantastic surrounds. Our room was 10 second walk from the sea and we had great weather too!

Very popular with British tourists which congregate on the Meeru Forum which can be found here http://www.meeru.co.uk

The island management look after their staff as well as their guests here with facilities that some other islands could only dream of. Everyday the staff can be found playing Football on their amazing artificial pitch which I’m led to believe was brought in from Italy at huge cost. I thrived on the staff versus guests games that I played in even if we did get hooped on both occasions!

Meeru V International XI
Meeru V International XI

Have a nosey as these vids which go some way to showcasing this great island.


Now Meeru is an island I would have no hesitation in returning to however (here comes the rant) the prices are now through the roof!

When we first sampled Maayafushi in the beginning (circa 2003) it was well within price range. We are talking two people, all inclusive for no more that £3000. OK, so that sounds like a lot of money, it is yes but unless you have experienced these islands you will never know how much its worth every damm penny! Prices increase every year since and I fully expected that but the odd £100 quid each here and there is acceptable but in the last 12 months we have seen these 100’s turn into 1000’s!

If you paid £4000 for your holiday in the Maldives, you might now see that some operators will charge you over £5500 for exactly the same thing! OK so there are still good deals to be had and I’m not saying that its impossible to get a good price but there has been a massive mark up over this short period of time.

People will still pay the price on offer because some of us know how unique and amazing these islands actually are but there are some of us now that would not go back.

Finding that extra £1000 here and there is tough and I have seen instances of people waiting over 2 years to save up the funds, where they would of had no problem getting it together in half the time. Its tough to save this kind of cash and no I’m not minted and I don’t have money to burn, we save bloody hard for our holidays and we make sacrifices along the way for it!

Why the massive price increase then?

From what I have read in forums and on social media it seems to come down the the influx of visitors from Russia and China. Visitors to the Maldives from these two countries have increased dramatically over the last few years. We all know that there is new found wealth for individuals from these two countries as their economies thrive. Individuals have great earning potential and that new found wealth has got to go somewhere?

I’m now guessing that some resorts are choosing to capitalise on this and start to really ramp up their prices because they know damm well that they will still get the guests flocking in?

I’m not saying that this is the only reason for the increase, there are undoubtedly other factors that we simply don’t know of?

This is a transcript of an email from one of the Maldivian island resorts-

Please be informed that as of Monday, April 28, 2014, TUI UK
will no longer operate a flight to the Maldives.
The last flight from Male’ will depart on Monday, April 28, 2014.
Hence, TUI UK will stop selling holidays to the Maldives for dates after that.
However, the following Tour Operators from the UK, will still be selling
holidays to Maldives;
Hayes & Jarvis
Kuoni UK
Cosmos Holidays
Thomas Cook UK
Stellar Travel Services

TUI are a big operator and is this a snub from one of Europe’s biggest tour operators?

This all remains to be seen and I will be following this to see if any others stop services to the Maldives.

As I said, there are still good prices to be had but let me tell you this, you get what you pay for in the Maldives alot of the time. You might think that only paying 3 or so K is a good deal, be aware, there are some crap islands out there! Do your research like you would do anywhere else and make sure its what you want.

Good luck!

 

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