Travel Guide: Maldives
Mostly known as a honeymoon destination, the Maldives is located in South Asia in the Indian Ocean and consists of over 1,000 islands with 150 resort properties. This luxurious destination has endless, beautiful ocean views, and offers the ultimate peace and relaxation.
While many believe that the Maldives should be reserved for special occasions and yes, the general demographics are couples, we went as a group of 6 girls (for a press trip) and had just or even more fun together than if we had gone with our significant others. Leaving me to really urge those who want to go to the Maldives to just go and not “wait for the right time.” Yes, it can be expensive but it also is dependent on where you stay, which island you are going to, what transportation options are like, and how you want to spend your vacation.
Below is a recap of our trip to the Maldives, with reviews of two properties to consider for your accommodation needs, what to expect in terms of weather, pricing, dining options, and a reminder to be considerate of cultural differences when visiting.
Accommodations: Coco Collection
"Bodu Hithi Island, in North Malé Atoll, is our beautiful Maldivian resort. The rhythm of life here is serene. The essential tropical mood stimulates and refreshes the senses. And the mystery of the House Reef meets the open elegance of pristine palm-fringed beaches. That the Malé International Airport is only 40 minutes away feels unreal."
Between you and me, I honestly preferred our stay at Coco Bodu Hithi mainly because their private villas were so stunning. We had the pleasure to stay at the Coco Residence villas, which had high ceilings, a private pool for each villa, a bedroom with a king-size bed, a separate living room, a massive bathroom with a bathtub and indoor and outdoor shower. That’s just some of the features of the villa, for a full listing of what you can expect, click here.
Simply put, I was astonished to have this entire place to myself for three nights and absolutely loved waking up each morning to watch the sunrise from my private pool deck. The calming sounds of the water and the warmth of the coffee mug was more than enough to get me ready each and every day.
Aside from the beautiful private villa, there are also island and water villas and escape water villas available for guests. Each unique in their own and all of them come with a private pool. You really cannot go wrong with any of the accommodations on this resort.
As far as dining options go, there are five restaurants to choose from, including a buffet option. My favorite restaurants were Stars for breakfast and Tsuki for their fresh sushi. Room service is also an option if you want to just chill in your villa all day.
Of course, you can’t stay without a visit to the spa. The massage I had there was absolutely relaxing, but I’m going to be honest and say that I loved my spa treatment at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu a little more. I’ll explain later. Regardless, you can’t go wrong with a massage anywhere.
"Dhuni Kolhu lies in the stunning southern waters of the Baa Atoll. The 30-minute journey by seaplane from Malé International Airport gives guests a stunning start to their holiday – a bird’s eye view of the azure lagoons and curling atolls. It’s a taste of the natural reality that comes with your Maldives vacation. As you land, you are entering one of the world’s essential havens – a designated UNESCO biosphere reserve and home to incredible marine life and reefs."
We spent two nights at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and within the first night, I noticed a few differences between the resort.
While we didn’t notice the last resort being at full capacity, as it was pretty large and the only time we really saw anyone was at the restaurants, we did see a lot more people upon arriving at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. As soon as we got off the boat and onto the island, there was a line of people just hanging out on the beach. This resort is also slightly more affordable in terms of nightly rates, so that could also attribute to it being more popular.
There are six accommodation types available for guests, including two types of lagoon villas (over the water bungalows). I stayed in the sunset beach villa, which had a private pathway to the beach, an outdoor shower and bathroom, a private terrace with outdoor seating, and a king-size bed. The villa is much smaller than the private residence villa I stayed in at the other resort, but it was just as comfortable. Although I will have to warn you that because you’re in the midst of the lush jungle, there are many more bugs and vocal birds around.
For dining options, there are two bars and two restaurants located on the resort. One is a buffet option and the other offers Asian cuisine. We frequented the buffet often, as island time is real here and so if you’re in a rush or don’t have the time to wait for your food, I would suggest going to the buffet. Food is good for either option.
Now the spa at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu was pure bliss. There are a variety of options to choose from, such as body scrubs to facials to massages, spa rituals, yoga, milk baths, and more. I did a back, head, neck massage combined with a foot massage and walked out of the spa in total relaxation. It was the best decision I made especially considering that I was boarding a very long flight the next morning. I would recommend visiting the spa as much as you can when you’re staying here. You won’t regret it.
Things to Do
Each resort offers a unique array of experiences to choose from and is each known for something special. For example, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu has a turtle recovery center on their island, in which you can learn and interact with the turtles there. At Coco Bodu Hithi, you can adopt a turtle for a small fee, and have it named to whatever your heart desires. You get email updates about your special turtle and the team at Coco Bodu Hithi will always ensure that you know what’s going on with your turtle.
Aside from the spa, we went snorkeling, visited the local island, and went on two sunset cruises during our time in the Maldives. There are plenty more activities to choose from, which vary by resort.
Best Time to Go
So we went in mid-September, which we were told was the tailend of the monsoon season. We did get some rain while we were there, lasting just an hour or so, with our last morning being the worst. However, I wouldn’t be deterred by the weather too much as it’s usually temporary and dependent on exactly which island you’re staying on. Again, there’s 150 resorts and over 1,000 islands in the Maldives so you can pick and choose accordingly.
According to Google though, the best time to go to the Maldives is between November and April, with the high seasons falling between December and March. The monsoon season peaks around June and runs from May to October.
In terms of weather, the Maldives is hot and sunny all year round. It was pretty hot the majority of our trip and we really felt the humidity at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu more than Coco Bodu Hithi.
Lastly, yes there are bugs as it is a tropical destination so bring a lot of bug spray and anti-itch creams. You will need it!
Recommended time in the Maldives: 5-7 days. Anything more than that might bore you.
Determine what you’d really like to do in the Maldives and find accommodations that’ll suit your needs best.
Factor in the cost of transportation from Male to your accommodations. You should know whether you need to take a seaplane or boat, how long it takes to get to your island, and the roundtrip cost. Also check to see if the hotel has its own transportation that they rather you take, but make sure to ask how much it’ll cost.
Bring all meds you think you may need includiing motion sickness pills because you just never know. Sometimes the waters get rough.
Don’t forget sunblock and bug spray!
Both the resorts we stayed on filter their own drinking water. I was totally fine throughout the trip but just mentioning it as a just because.
I flew Emirates economy the entire trip and had my layovers in Dubai. Dubai has a couple of hotels located inside the airport that are worth the money if you have a layover as long as I did (18+ hours). The hotel even has a spa and it’s completely soundproof, which is perfect for a good night’s sleep. The hotel charges by the hour and my 16-hour stay came out to around $215USD, which isn’t bad.
Wifi was available on the resorts, however, the signal was not strong on Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. I also have a T-mobile international plan and the Maldives was covered for me. Be sure to check with your carrier before taking off.
Please note that importing alcohol of any kind is illegal in Male. While you are allowed to enjoy alcohol on the resorts, you are not allowed to have alcohol on you or with you in Male.
Biggest thank you to Coco Collection for hosting us and the amazing Zapwater team for inviting me to this dreamy destination. Please note that this trip was sponsored but all opinions are 100% truthful and honest as always.
Photos by @pret.a.photo and myself