29 Aug REVIEW: SHERATON MALDIVES
The Maldives is one of those bucket-list destinations that everyone needs to at least experience once in their life! We decided to visit the Maldives last August and redeemed 60.000 SPG points to spend 3 nights at the Sheraton Maldives. August is shoulder season for the Maldives so you can generally score pretty good deals on flights and hotels. We got there on Turkish airlines which was a great experience for which you can find a separate review here. But for now, let’s see how our experience was at the Sheraton Maldives!
Summary: The Sheraton Maldives exceeded our expectations and proved that it’s not your average Sheraton! For SPG Platinum guests in particular the benefits of Club Lounge access and the possibility of an upgrade provide great value. Its proximity to the airport makes the transfer very easy and significantly cheaper than if you were taking a seaplane. The Water Bungalows offer a very unique experience and in combination with the beautiful hotel grounds, the great service and the very reasonable prices, the Sheraton Maldives allows you to enjoy the Maldives without breaking the bank!
Getting there: Getting from the airport to your hotel in the Maldives can be pretty expensive business. Many of the hotels are on islands (or atolls as they are called there) that are quite far away from the main airport, Male, and hence require transfer by seaplane which can take up to 45’. Thankfully, the Sheraton Maldives is only a short boat ride away (about 10-15’) and costs $135 (€115) return which is significantly cheaper than a seaplane transfer (usually $500-600). We were greeted at arrivals by the hotel and taken to the nearby marina, only a short walk away, to take the Sheraton Maldives’ speedboat. The short transfer is a big advantage not just from a cost perspective but also from a logistics one. If you land or have to catch a flight really early or at night then you most likely won’t be able to take a seaplane and might well have to spend the night in Male, which from what we heard is not a great experience. Being so close to the airport therefore gives you much more flexibility.
The room: We had originally made a booking for a Deluxe Room but upon check-in we were upgraded to a Water Bungalow due to our SPG Platinum status. This is not the typical upgrade offered but August is not high season so we got a little lucky there! As you’ll see from the pictures below (in 360 degrees!) Water Bungalows offer the quintessential Maldivian experience as they are built over the water and are connected to the rest of the resort by bridge. The rooms are beautiful and offer unobstructed views to the ocean both from the main room and the bathroom. They all come with a terrace that has direct access to the water as well as a big lounger. Wifi is free throughout the resort and we were extremely impressed not only with its speed but also its reliability; you can literally stay connected pretty much anywhere on the resort! Last but not least, we, like all SPG Platinum guests, were offered free Club Lounge access as well as free breakfast for two at the main restaurant. More on the Club Lounge further below!
Sheraton Maldives Water Bungalow in 360 degrees!
Sheraton Maldives Water Bungalow with Pool in 360 degrees!
The resort: The Sheraton Maldives occupies an entire island which is quite big; it would take you about 15’ to walk from one end of the resort to the other but you can always call a buggy to pick you up. You will find beautiful sandy beaches on both sides of the island and a main pool. The resort also has an activity/water sports building, a gym, a spa (which is on separate small island connecte by bridge!), 7 restaurants, a kids playground and a Club Lounge. You can get access to the Club Lounge either by being SPG Platinum or by buying it at check-in. Certain room types also come with Club Lounge access. We found the Club Lounge to be a great place to escape from the rest of the resort and to relax. It has a great big pool that is much quieter, and dare we say better, than the main pool. We just wish it was an infinity pool since it’s so close to the ocean! There is also a large, A/C ed, sitting area that also has a pool table that you can enjoy. Above all, though, we really enjoyed the food and the service at the Club Lounge. The breakfast buffet, served from 6-10.30, offers quite a wide variety of items and there’s also an a la carte egg menu that you can order from. Overall, the breakfast in the Club Lounge was more than enough and we never really used the main buffet. Between 17.00-19.00 daily, you will also find a selection of canapes and 1-2 hot items as well as free wine and drinks. Throughout the day, the Club Lounge offers small snacks, coffee/tea, water, sodas and beer.
Sheraton Maldives Club Lounge in 360 degrees!
Food/Service: Aside from the Club Lounge, we also tried 4 out of the 7 restaurants. We had lunch at Kakuni Hut and Anchorage Bar while we tried Baan Thai and Sea Salt for dinner. The first two restaurants are the more casual ones, where you can have a bite to eat while you are enjoying the beach. They offer simple but nice food at pretty reasonable prices for the Maldives. The other two restaurants are the more formal ones. Baan Thai is an indoor restaurant where we had very good Thai food (albeit slightly expensive) while Sea Salt offers fresh fish which you can literally pick from the restaurant’s own fish tank! Overall, everything we tried was very tasty, well presented and came with good service. One thing to remember in the Maldives is that pretty much everything is imported so just don’t expect a lot of local food options. But that’s obviously a Maldives thing rather than a Sheraton one.