Relaxation In The Maldives: Introduction

Filed Under: Cathay Pacific, Hotels

When I actually take a “vacation” I’m usually pretty active, in the sense that I’d rather visit a city than relax by a beach. I get bored easily, and for that matter hate sand and the ocean.

I had been to the Maldives once before a few years back. My impression was that while it was picturesque, it was a bit too boring for me. The Maldives largely consists of a bunch of atolls, so at most resorts you’re pretty secluded and a captive of the resort, given that many resorts have their own islands. At that point I kind of put the Maldives in the “been there, done that” category.

However, due to a combination of circumstances I decided to return to the Maldives, this time staying at the Park Hyatt Maldives:

  • I had some friends that were planning on visiting around the same time, so I figured if I was going to visit the Maldives, I might as well not do it alone
  • Earlier in the year Hyatt made some award category changes, whereby the Park Hyatt Maldives was increasing from a Category 6 to Category 7 property, raising the cost of a free night redemption from 25,000 to 30,000 points per night
  • Shortly thereafter Hyatt announced a limited time promotion for a 20% refund on redeemed points, meaning the cost went down even further, to just 20,000 points per night

In other words, I was paying 20,000 points per night for my stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives, while a similar redemption in the future would cost 50% more. That was a deal that was too good to pass up. Looking at the points rate purely in comparison to the cash rate (~$1,200+ per night), this hotel remains an exceptional value on points.


Since I was going all the way to the Maldives I decided to book six nights there, since I wanted a chance to recover, relax, etc.


The tricky part was planning flights. I booked my flights in reverse order, and booked the return first. Cathay Pacific publishes fantastic paid business class fares out of Male, so for ~$1,450 I was able to book a one-way business class ticket from Male to Hong Kong to Newark, which was a nice way to earn AAdvantage miles while trying out Cathay Pacific’s business class product.


If you want to fly roundtrip, the roundtrip fare is less than double of the one-way fare, so is an even better value.


The outbound was a bit trickier. Originally I was hoping to get creative with the outbound, though I had a last minute commitment in New York two days before I was set to check into the Park Hyatt Maldives, which threw off my plan a bit.

In the end I decided to book New York to Hong Kong to Colombo using American AAdvantage miles. The booking in Cathay Pacific first class cost just 67,500 AAdvantage miles. From Hong Kong to Colombo I could have flown Cathay Pacific nonstop, but instead I decided to fly SriLankan through Bangkok, so I’d be able to review a new product.


Why did I fly into Colombo? Because on the American AAdvantage award chart, Colombo is considered “Asia 2″ (which from the US costs 67,500 miles in one-way first class), while Male is considered “Middle East” (which from the US costs 90,000 miles in one-way first class).


I’d save 22,500 miles by doing that, and then could book a separate paid ticket for the hour-long flight from Colombo to Male. That ticket cost me ~$150, and then I paid $100 for an upgrade to business class.


As far as the flights within the Maldives goes, that was arrange by the hotel directly. The Park Hyatt Maldives is located on one of the southernmost atolls, so is several hundred miles from Male Airport. The transfer to the hotel costs $510 roundtrip, which includes the flight and then boat transfer to the resort. The flight schedules are only published a day before departure.

In the end my overall routing looked as follows:

04/03 CX841 New York to Hong Kong departing 10:00AM arriving 2:00PM (+1 day)
04/04 UL423 Hong Kong to Bangkok departing 6:15PM arriving 8:05PM
04/04 UL423 Bangkok to Colombo departing 9:05PM arriving 10:55PM
04/05 UL105 Colombo to Male departing 12:30AM arriving 1:25AM
04/05 Q2275 Male to Kooddoo departing 7:40AM arriving 8:45AM
04/11 Q2261 Kooddoo to Male departing 6:20PM arriving 8:00PM
04/11 CX602 Male to Hong Kong departing 10:00PM arriving 7:45AM (+1 day)
04/12 CX890 Hong Kong to Newark departing 5:45PM arriving 9:40PM


Despite spending six days in the Maldives, this was an exhausting trip. Getting to the Maldives isn’t easy, especially when you decide to make an extra connection or two, like I did. But overall I came away from the trip with a different impression of the Maldives than I was expecting.

Stay tuned for the full report. In the meantime, any questions/comments are welcome, as always. Thanks for reading!

  1. The Maldives…yawn. How many times can you re-tread the thing? Maybe re-brand to One Maldives At a Time?

  2. @Eric

    Maybe you’re some globetrotting superflyer, but some of us haven’t flown a kazillion miles and actually want to read about far flung destinations we may not have considered. As for your pointless comment… yawn.

  3. Finally at long last ! Having been waiting for this report!! Can’t wait to hear your published impressions!

    Travel safe..

  4. I want to know what you did from 1:30am to 7:40am in Male.

    The good thing is it looks like you got to Hyatt Maldives at ~9am. That’s kinda nice, but did they have your room ready?

  5. I really would love to fly CX based on what I’ve heard but I am United Gold well on my way to platinum so it’s really not possible for me to ever fly CX in the premium cabins long haul. My dad however (also United 1K and Delta Medallion Gold which he inherited from the northwest era) flew CX from Shanghai to HK to Manila and loved it, despite being in economy. He randomly ended up on the A340 (Shanghai) and the 77W. (Manila) and liked the modern aircraft and the service which United really doesn’t have

  6. @ Ben — As noted above I got a room at a really crappy hotel. My room was ready about an hour after arriving at the Park Hyatt, so that was nice.

  7. I wish the complainers would stop complaining. I’m in the process of booking a trip to PH Maldives and I appreciate the info.

  8. I don’t think I’ll ever go to the Maldives (but you never know), but I really like reading about it. Living vicariously, and all that. It also makes me think about what I’d like in a quiet resort getaway in general, which we’ve never done. I will say that I would LOVE to read some trip reports on places to go if you can’t (or don’t want to spent the time/money to) go to the Maldives, but want as similar an experience as possible.

  9. You were there at the same time I was! Knew from the photos that were being tagged there on Instagram at the same time I was tagging photos there. Also think I saw you across the pool one day (I was in the bar area). Been waiting to see you cover it!

  10. I just applied for the Hyatt card that gives two free nights in any category after $1,000 of spend in three months…do you think it will be easy to convert those into free nights at the Park Hyatt you are staying at? Wondering if it would be like using miles for a flight where they only have a couple of rooms available for those using free nights.

  11. @ Ken K — There are no blackout dates, so as long as a standard room is available you can use your certificates there.

  12. Hi. Has anyone been to the Maldives and/or Conrad end of November (Thanksgiving week)? I am thinking of going this year but am reading conflicting things about the monsoon rains. Any experiences/thoughts? Thanks very much

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