Review: Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru

Review: Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru

NAME: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
LOCATION: Maldives
DATE: April 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru is a gorgeous property with recently renovated villas, solid dining options (including a great beach club), and friendly service.
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EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

After visiting Cheval Blanc Maldives Randheli and Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, we decided to check out one last property while in the Maldives — Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru. Four Seasons has quite the presence in the Maldives, between the two main resorts (Landaa Giraavaru and Kuda Huraa), the private island (Private Island at Voavah), and the yacht (Four Seasons Explorer).

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is an excellent property. The resort has a private seaplane, villas were recently renovated (and are gorgeous), the food & beverage outlets were excellent (especially the beach club), and the service was friendly. If you’re a Four Seasons loyalist, you’ll no doubt love this resort.

That being said, the Maldives is a hyper-competitive luxury hotel market, and the competition is really strong. Independently this is an awesome hotel, but it’s not quite to the level of Cheval Blanc, for example.

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru basics

The Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru has 103 accommodations, including both overwater and beach villas. The resort is located in the the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, so it’s popular with snorkelers and divers.

The Four Seasons initially opened in 2006, but was largely renovated in 2015. Some renovations are still ongoing — all the water villas have been renovated, while this year renovations are being finished up for the beach villas. The Four Seasons has four restaurants, two shared pools, a spa, a gym, and a tennis court.

For context, below is a map that gives you a sense of the layout of the resort.

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru map

How to book the Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru

For our dates in April, the nightly rate for a base room at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru started at ~$2,500. Obviously the pandemic has greatly impacted pricing at luxury resorts, so rates are all over the place. In the off season this hotel is cheaper, and there are also some promotions that can potentially lower the rate. The pricing is in line with what other top properties in the Maldives are charging.

The best way to book any Four Seasons hotel is through a travel advisor affiliated with the Four Seasons Preferred Partner program. When booking through Preferred Partner you pay the same rate you’ll find directly on Four Seasons’ website, but you’ll receive extra perks, including the following:

  • A room upgrade, subject to availability
  • Complimentary daily breakfast
  • A hotel credit to use during your stay

Four Seasons Preferred Partner is generally combinable with promotions being offered directly through Four Seasons, including advance purchase rates, free night offers, and more. Note that booking Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner is better than booking through programs like Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. Why?

  • With Preferred Partner you have the option of room service breakfast in place of restaurant breakfast
  • Upgrades are prioritized for Preferred Partner bookings, given that it’s Four Seasons’ own proprietary program (and the value of an upgrade can be significant)
  • You can combine Preferred Partner perks with virtually any rate on Four Seasons’ website (other programs don’t allow you to stack promotions in the same way)

You can’t beat getting all of these extra perks just for booking through an eligible travel advisor. Ford is happy to help anyone book Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner, and can be reached at [email protected] He and his team don’t charge any booking fees for Four Seasons properties.

Full disclosure — Ford got a travel agent rate for our stay. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

How to get to Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru is located in the Baa Atoll, roughly a 30 minute seaplane ride north of Velana International Airport (MLE) and the capital city of Male.

You have a choice of seaplanes, as you can either fly with Trans Maldivian on a “standard” shared 15-seat Twin Otter, which might stop at other resorts. Alternatively, Four Seasons has its own specially branded Twin Otter, which is still operated by Trans Maldivian Airways. This has only eight seats, so it’s significantly more comfortable.

Here’s the current seaplane pricing, which is of course subject to change:

  • Flying the Four Seasons seaplane costs $710-960++ per person one-way, depending on the season
  • Flying the “regular” Trans Maldivian Airways seaplane costs $360-410++ per person one-way, depending on the season

The premium for flying the Four Seasons plane makes sense when you consider that the plane carries only a bit more than half as many people. Also note that many rates at the Four Seasons include transfers, and in many cases that’s a significantly better value. So that’s something to be on the lookout for, and it’s also something your travel advisor could help crunch the numbers on.

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru airport lounge

We arrived at Male Airport after taking the yacht transfer from the Waldorf Astoria. We were greeted by staff from the Four Seasons, who first escorted us to the Four Seasons’ main terminal lounge. Four Seasons has two lounges at the airport — one is for boat transfers (since the other Four Seasons property can be accessed by boat), while the other is for seaplane transfers.

We were first briefly escorted to the former lounge, while our check-in process was taken care of. The lounge is on the small side, but is comfortable, and has air conditioning, drinks, and snacks.

Four Seasons Maldives airport lounge
Four Seasons Maldives airport lounge

Within a few minutes we were driven to the seaplane lounge, ahead of our departure to the resort. The Four Seasons’ seaplane lounge is much more spacious, with lots of natural light. The lounge had a selection of drinks and snacks, as well as bathrooms and a shower.

Four Seasons Maldives seaplane lounge
Four Seasons Maldives seaplane lounge
Four Seasons Maldives seaplane lounge

We only had about 10 minutes in the lounge before our flight to the resort was departing.

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru seaplane transfer

Four Seasons has a pretty epic Maldives seaplane, which is even nicer than the Cheval Blanc one. For one, what’s not to love about the livery of this plane?! Four Seasons calls this the “flying triggerfish.”

Four Seasons Maldives seaplane
Four Seasons Maldives seaplane

The plane is also comfortable, as it has just eight seats, spread across four rows in a 1-1 configuration. It’s amazing how much more comfortable this is than your typical Trans Maldivian seaplane.

Four Seasons Maldives seaplane
Four Seasons Maldives seaplane
Four Seasons Maldives seaplane

The plane even had updated cockpit displays, beyond what I’ve otherwise seen on any Trans Maldivian seaplanes.

Four Seasons Maldives seaplane cockpit view

Our flight to the resort took just 30 minutes, and during the flight we were offered cold towels and bottled water by the employee in the cabin (who is responsible for luggage and helping with the arrivals and departure process).

Seaplane view departing Male

Below you can see Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru — there are dozens of overwater villas on a zig-zag dock, and then the rest of the resort is on one main island.

Seaplane view approaching the Four Seasons Maldives

At most resorts, seaplanes just “dock” directly at the hotel, but that’s not the case here, presumably due to the shallow water around the resort. Instead the Four Seasons has a separate dock several hundred meters from land, so the plane arrives there, and then you take a boat to the resort.

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru arrival boat
Four Seasons Maldives seaplane arrival

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru arrival

Once on the island, we were greeted by quite a few staff, and escorted to the open-air lobby via a long path.

Four Seasons Maldives arrival dock
Four Seasons Maldives arrival path

The arrivals experience was different than at the other resorts we stayed at in the Maldives, where we were appointed a single butler or concierge for the entirety of our stay, and they processed check-in at our villa.

At the Four Seasons there’s no personal butler or concierge (though Four Seasons does have an excellent app for communicating with the front desk), and check-in was processed in the lobby rather than in the room.

The lobby had a formal reception desk, but we were just invited to have a seat in the comfortable open-air space, and were also offered fresh coconut water and cold towels.

Four Seasons Maldives reception
Four Seasons Maldives reception seating
Four Seasons Maldives fresh coconut on arrival

The lobby also has bottled water, iced tea, coffee, and hot tea.

Four Seasons Maldives reception coffee & drinks

The second floor of the lobby has a game area, with pool tables and plenty of seating.

Four Seasons Maldives lobby
Four Seasons Maldives lobby

Within about 10 minutes we were driven to our villa.

Four Seasons Maldives path outside reception

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru sunrise water villa with pool

We were assigned a sunrise water villa with pool, which is the entry level overwater villa (the sunset water villa with pool is more premium, and then there are both sunrise and sunset family villas, which are larger). To access the overwater villas, you first take the main path winding through the resort, and then you get onto the long jetty, which has 40 villas.

Four Seasons Maldives path

We were assigned villa 313, roughly halfway down the jetty.

Four Seasons Maldives view from jetty
Four Seasons Maldives overwater villas
Four Seasons Maldives water villa exterior

Waiting outside the villa were two bicycles. In addition to having the room number on the back, they also had our initials on the front.

Four Seasons Maldives bikes

Standard villas at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru have 969 square feet of interior space, so they’re a good size. That being said, they’re definitely more junior suites than full suites, in the sense that there’s no door separating the living room from the bedroom.

The living room had a couch and a chair, as well as a dining table with two chairs. There was a TV near the center of the room, and a minibar along the far wall.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa living room
Four Seasons Maldives water villa living room

The minibar was well stocked, and had complimentary coffee and tea, plus a variety of drinks and snacks for purchase.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa minibar
Four Seasons Maldives water villa minibar
Four Seasons Maldives water villa minibar
Four Seasons Maldives water villa minibar

There was also a welcome amenity consisting of a fruit plate, some sweet and savory snacks, and a bottle of Duval Leroy Brut.

Four Seasons Maldives welcome amenity

The bedroom featured your typical Four Seasons king bed (which is so comfortable), plus a couple of chairs at the foot of the bed.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa bedroom

There was yet another TV along by the center of the room.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa bedroom

Next to the bed were three sets of doors that could be opened to access the closet and bathroom.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa bedroom

There was a large closet area, and then beyond that was the bathroom.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa closet

The bathroom was also large, and had double sinks, a vanity, a walk-in shower, a soaking tub, and a toilet and bidet.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa bathroom
Four Seasons Maldives water villa bathroom
Four Seasons Maldives water villa vanity
Four Seasons Maldives water villa shower

I love how the toilet area had a glass floor, in part, so that you can see the ocean from there.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa toilet & bidet

There was also an outdoor shower on the side of the villa closest to the jetty.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa outdoor shower

Wi-Fi in the room was fast and free, and I also appreciated that the air conditioning worked really well.

The outdoor space of the villa was even more impressive than the indoor space. There was a huge infinity-edge pool that extended out over the ocean, which was super cool visually.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa outdoor pool

Most of the seating was covered, which is great, since it means you can enjoy this space during the day. The outdoor space had a swinging couch and a chair, and a dining table with two chairs and a bench.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa outdoor space
Four Seasons Maldives water villa outdoor space
Four Seasons Maldives water villa outdoor space

At the top of the spiral staircase was a loft area, which could be a fun place to hang out with a view of the entire outdoor space.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa outdoor loft

There was also a cool net you could relax in, with lots of pillows.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa outdoor space

The outdoor space also had a couple of sun beds, as well as cushions in the shade.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa outdoor space
Four Seasons Maldives water villa outdoor space

There were also stairs going directly into the ocean — the water around the villa was shallow and clear, and there was a seawall that also made it very calm.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa ocean access

Even though we were staying on the “sunrise” side, the sunset views were still pretty epic.

Four Seasons Maldives water villa view at sunset

The room was refreshed twice per day, and as is typical at Four Seasons, the housekeeping attention to detail was incredible. Four Seasons properties pretty consistently put cleaning cloths next to computer screens and sunglasses, though this resort has the cutest ones I’ve ever seen.

Four Seasons Maldives housekeeping attention to detail
Four Seasons Maldives housekeeping attention to detail

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru amenities & facilities

In the Maldives you’re more or less “stuck” on the private island resort you choose to book, so what are the amenities like? While guests tend to spend a lot of time in their own villas (given that they’re often over the water, and usually have amazing outdoor spaces), the resort still has plenty else to offer.

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru pools

The Four Seasons Maldives has three shared pools. The main pool is near reception, and it’s 50 meters (or around 164 square feet), and was allegedly the first Olympic-sized pool in the Maldives. The pool has plenty of seating and even a swim-up bar, though I don’t think I ever saw anyone use it (which is standard in the Maldives).

Four Seasons Maldives main pool
Four Seasons Maldives main pool
Four Seasons Maldives main pool
Four Seasons Maldives main pool bar

Immediately next to the main pool is a 20 meter (66 foot) saltwater pool.

Four Seasons Maldives saltwater pool
Four Seasons Maldives saltwater pool

The resort also has Blu Beach Club (which I’ll talk more about below, when I discuss dining), and this has yet another pool that’s right on the beach.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club pool

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru beach

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru has a legitimately large beach, which many properties in the Maldives lack. The water was calm and clear, the sand was powdery soft, and it was just generally great to be able to do some beach walking.

Four Seasons Maldives beach
Four Seasons Maldives beach
Four Seasons Maldives beach
Four Seasons Maldives beach

The water is so shallow that during low tide there’s a sandbar you can walk to (past the sign you see below) without going more than knee-deep into the water.

Four Seasons Maldives beach

The resort also has all kinds of water sports, including both non-motorized and motorized options.

Four Seasons Maldives water sports

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru gym & tennis court

The Four Seasons has a 24/7 gym located near reception. It has a good variety of equipment, and we enjoyed using this around the middle of the day when it was otherwise hottest.

Four Seasons Maldives gym
Four Seasons Maldives gym
Four Seasons Maldives gym
Four Seasons Maldives gym
Four Seasons Maldives gym
Four Seasons Maldives gym

The resort also has a grass tennis court, which can be reserved. We were going to play the last morning, but unfortunately that got rained out.

Four Seasons Maldives tennis court

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru spa

The Four Seasons has the AyruMa Spa, open daily from 10AM until 9PM. You can find the treatment menu here. We didn’t end up getting any treatments (as we were only at the resort for three nights), but it’s an impressive spa complex, as it consists of three acres.

Treatments go beyond your typical massage and facial options, as the spa also does everything from acupuncture, to alignment rituals, to yoga therapy. The spa also has both treatments on land and over water.

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru restaurants & bars

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru has four main food & beverage outlets. Some have bars attached to them, and I’ll talk about those with each individual venue.

Let me briefly summarize the dining options, and then below I’ll cover each outlet in more detail:

  • Blu Beach Club is an all-day restaurant and beach club, serving Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner
  • Cafe Landaa is also an all-day restaurant, and it serves Asian food for lunch and dinner
  • Al Barakat is a dinner restaurant, and it serves Middle Eastern food
  • Fuego Grill is a dinner restaurant, serving seafood specialties

For what it’s worth, there’s a 10% service charge added to all on-property purchases, and then there’s no further option to tip. So I appreciate that there’s not a service charge and then a further request for a tip.

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru Blu Beach Club

Blu Beach Club was without a doubt my favorite venue at the Four Seasons, and I think this was my single favorite dining “concept” at any of the properties we stayed at in the Maldives. This is essentially a fun Beach Club where you can have food or drinks all day.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club

The beach club has a main open-air dining room where you can enjoy food or drinks any hour of the day.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club

Beyond that, there are all kinds of other seating options, from cabanas, to a seating area with sand.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club pool

Guests can either have an a la carte breakfast at Blu Beach Club, or they can enjoy a buffet at Cafe Landaa. Below you can find the breakfast menu at Blu Beach Club.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club breakfast menu

There were a variety of drinks, ranging from freshly squeezed juices to iced lattes.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club breakfast

We were brought a bread basket with some pastries, muffins, and croissants.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club breakfast

We ate here two mornings, and we tried several options, including the fruit plate, the homemade granola with berries and yogurt, the avocado coast, the Maldivian breakfast, and the raspberry french toast. The food here was unbelievably good.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club breakfast
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club breakfast
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club breakfast
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club breakfast
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club breakfast

We also had lunch here one afternoon. You can order either off the more traditional Italian menu, or you can order off more of a beach menu, depending on what you’re in the mood for.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club lunch menu
Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club lunch menu

I’m a sucker for a good pizza, and Blu Beach Club has a proper pizza oven here, so I ordered a pizza margherita. It was excellent.

Four Seasons Maldives Blu Beach Club lunch

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru Cafe Landaa

Cafe Landaa is the other all-day dining restaurant, so we had breakfast there one morning. This restaurant is located near reception, and is fully covered but open air.

Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru exterior
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru seating
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru seating

Breakfast here consists of an endless buffet, with everything from custom prepared fresh fruit, to pastries, to yogurt and cereal, to cold cuts and cheese, to various Asian and Western dishes. I’ll let the pictures speak mostly for themselves.

Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru breakfast buffet

The breakfast was great, though personally I still preferred Blu Beach House for the ambiance, views, and food in general.

Cafe Landaa serves all kinds of Asian dishes throughout the day, and then in the evenings there are sometimes themed nights. We happened to eat there on a night where they had an Indian buffet. Ford and I love Indian food, so that sure worked for us. This entire space transforms beautifully at night, especially with the number of torches used to light out up the outdoors.

Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru dinner buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru dinner buffet setting

The dinner buffet was simply unreal.

Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru dinner buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru dinner buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru dinner buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru dinner buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru dinner buffet
Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru dinner buffet

There was even some live entertainment, which added to the fun.

Four Seasons Maldives Cafe Giraavaru dinner entertainment

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru Al Barakat

Al Barakat is the resort’s Middle Eastern restaurant, with flavors from Lebanon, Morocco, and Armenia. The restaurant is located over water near the arrivals jetty.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat

The restaurant has a bar area near the entrance, where you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat evening drinks

Then there’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating in the restaurant, depending on your preference.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat seating
Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat seating
Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat seating
Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat seating

We started our meal with a couple of cocktails in the bar area, which were tasty, and were served with some snacks.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat evening drinks

We eventually headed up to our table, where we were presented with a delicious-sounding set menu. We’re just not huge fans of lamb chops, so they were happy to substitute prawns for that.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat dinner menu

The meal started with some carrots and cucumbers with a dip.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat dinner

Next we were offered a variety of cold mezze, including moutabel, hummus soujouk, muhammara, quinoa itch, tabbouleh, and labneh.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat dinner

Next we were offered a selection of hot mezze, including sambousek and jawanih.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat dinner

Next up were the mains, which included shish tawouk, kofta, grilled halloumi, and prawns.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat dinner

Lastly we were offered a wild cherry yogurt gelato with halva crumble, along with some tea.

Four Seasons Maldives Al Barakat dinner

What an amazing meal!

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru Fuego Grill & Seabar

Fuego Grill is the resort’s beachfront restaurant, which has at most a dozen or so tables.

Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill
Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill
Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill

The restaurant is all about fresh seafood, so as you arrive you’re shown the daily selection.

Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill

Below you can find the Fuego Grill dinner menu.

Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill dinner menu

At the start of the meal we were offered a variety of bread with beetroot dip as well as olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill dinner

To start, I ordered the tuna crudo sampler, while Ford ordered the kale and feta cheese salad.

Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill dinner
Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill dinner

Then for the main, I had the Fuego Grill plate, while Ford had the reef fish filet.

Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill dinner
Four Seasons Maldives Fuego Grill dinner

In addition to the restaurant, there’s also Seabar, which is the bar located right next to Fuego Grill. This can be a great place to catch the sunset.

Four Seasons Maldives Seabar
Four Seasons Maldives Seabar
Four Seasons Maldives Seabar

The best part? Every evening at 10PM there’s a shark feeding, so it’s cool to be able to see all the reef sharks up close.

Four Seasons Maldives Seabar shark feeding

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru service

How was service at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru?

  • Individually I found employees to be friendly and personable; they were all eager to help and take care of guests
  • I did find it a bit strange how the hotel doesn’t appoint a concierge or butler to individual guests, unlike most of the other luxury properties in the Maldives, as it really is nice to have one point of contact
  • Furthermore, I’m not sure if the managers were just traveling, but there was no obvious manager checking on guests during our stay; contrast that to both Cheval Blanc and Waldorf Astoria, where a manager made an appearance at just about every meal

So service at the Four Seasons was good, but it didn’t feel quite as cohesive or well organized as at Cheval Blanc, for example.

Bottom line

Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru is an all-around excellent hotel. It has an incredibly comfortable private seaplane, great villas that were recently renovated, good food & beverage outlets (in particular Blu Beach Bar), and fantastic snorkeling (based on what I’ve heard), and the service you’d expect from a Four Seasons.

I can’t imagine going to Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru and being disappointed. At the same time, the Maldives has become one of the most competitive hotel markets in the world, and Four Seasons has a lot of competition.

How does this compare to the other two properties I stayed at? If money is no object, I definitely think Cheval Blanc is a step up from both Four Seasons and Waldorf Astoria, based on design, the general intimacy of the property, the attentiveness of service, etc. Between the Four Seasons and Waldorf Astoria, I’d choose the former if paying cash, but of course the benefit of the latter is that it can also be booked with points.

If you’ve stayed at a Four Seasons property in the Maldives, what was your experience like?

EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

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  1. Jimmy K New Member

    Hi Ben. Long time devoted reader here. Just wanted to say thank you for your reviews recently. As a boy growing up, I remember spending hours perusing holiday brochures and dreaming of one day going to a place like the Maldives with turquoise seas and private huts. Now as a thirty-something, who is never going to afford a trip even close to the Maldives anyway, I must say that while I can see the attraction...

    Hi Ben. Long time devoted reader here. Just wanted to say thank you for your reviews recently. As a boy growing up, I remember spending hours perusing holiday brochures and dreaming of one day going to a place like the Maldives with turquoise seas and private huts. Now as a thirty-something, who is never going to afford a trip even close to the Maldives anyway, I must say that while I can see the attraction for some, it just doesn't appeal at all and I can't imagine travelling half way round the globe only to be 'stuck' on an island where you can't take a stroll through a town, or pop to a local shop for basic supplies, or try to interact with the locals, learn a bit of the local language etc. And seeing those eye-watering prices merely makes me think about so much one could do elsewhere for the price of one dinner in the Maldives.
    BUT, crucially, the amazing quality of your write-ups and the ability to escape to another world through your travels for a while each day amongst the bustle of life is priceless. Your reviews always evoke in me that wanderlust I had as a child, which I've been unable to satisfy for a couple of years now, so thank you. :)

  2. Mr. Obvious Guest

    It's great to see how the other half might live and vacation, but how about a thread for the rest of us that might be something like 'The Maldives on a Budget'? Sorry, but I can't justify $20K+ for a vacation for the wife and I.

  3. Beachfan Guest

    You make no mention of snorkeling and diving, one of the major reasons I went, as well as many others.

    All the hotels close to Male have crap diving. So that’s a huge negative against the Waldorf, but you painted it as a positive.

    Even if you don’t do those activities, the reef quality is extremely important to mention.

    1. Tomtom23 Guest

      You're right, and you have to question the value of travelling from the US to the Maldives to not touch the ocean, pay through the nose for fancy food and sit by a pool. The ocean and associated activities must be the main reason 99% of people go to the Maldives, even if only to enjoy and swim in it.

  4. TheBestBlackBrent Gold

    Another 5 star sponsored review for the Four Seasons, they are surely getting their marketing money's worth!

    1. Daniel from Finland Guest

      Wasn't this 4.5 stars initially when published? Or maybe I mix it up with something else.

  5. JetSetGo Guest

    Was deciding between Cheval Blanc and this Four Seasons few years ago. So happy that we went to Cheval Blanc. This Four Seasons, while nice, really pale in comparison to CB (not unlike the Four Seasons Paris vs CB Paris). The finishes here look so pedestrian. Given both resorts charge similar price range, why anyone would choose this Four Seasons over Cheval Blanc Randheli is beyond me. Thanks for the review so I can take this Four Seasons off my to go list!

    1. Tomtom23 Guest

      @JetSetGo
      As its beyond you I'll help you out.
      People might pick the FS for many reasons, but most commonly, as its less pretentious than Cheval.
      Not everyone wants a formal 9 course tasting menu every evening whilst on vacation.

  6. glenn t Diamond

    Ben, I know that you are smitten with the Maldives, even before the glowing record-breaking long review here, but does this really speak to the majority of your readership?
    I don't think so, and maybe it's time to rein in all things Maldives.

    1. ArnoldB Guest

      Well the Maldives are an aspirational goal for many I guess. But agree that some more "out there"/exotic/less travelled places would be cool next, after we've now had Maldives, Dubai, Paris, Italy etc

  7. Mark Guest

    My tops

    Velaa
    Soneva Jani
    Cheval
    four seasons Landau

    No need to go outside these 4

  8. TravelCat2 Member

    Ben, what's been your experience with noise from nearby villas when staying in an over-water villa? These appear to be subject to a lot of noise from your neighbors?

  9. Alonzo Diamond

    Interesting that they are only 4 restaurants. With an average stay of about 5 days, I could see that getting boring imo.

    1. Tomtom23 Guest

      You don't have to eat the same item each visit...
      Add in the theme nights and room service and four is plenty unless you're there for a month.

  10. Creditcrunch Diamond

    The atmospheric resorts are the cheaper all-inclusive resorts.

  11. Scott Guest

    Seems like a bad idea for them to feeding wildlife like that. Or is it essentially a tank where they’re confined?

  12. Anthony Diamond

    Again - does anyone have an idea of which Maldives resort is the liveliest? It's sad seeing these beautiful beach clubs, pools, etc with no customers. I enjoy chatting with other guests at luxury resorts.

    1. The Joe Guest

      Going to depend on who's there at the time and how social you are to begin with. We had breakfast with a couple at St. Regis, met a few couples and a family (and had dinner with one of the couples) at the W.A, and had decent conversation with people at the Conrad, whilst looking at Mantas from the jetty. Of course, if it were just me I might not end up conversing with anyone,...

      Going to depend on who's there at the time and how social you are to begin with. We had breakfast with a couple at St. Regis, met a few couples and a family (and had dinner with one of the couples) at the W.A, and had decent conversation with people at the Conrad, whilst looking at Mantas from the jetty. Of course, if it were just me I might not end up conversing with anyone, but my wife is pretty social (just the other day I walked back to the Emirates bar on the A380 to find her at a table chatting with another passenger).

      The only resort we didn't really meet anyone was the Park Hyatt, but that property is quite intimate to begin with relative to the others.

    2. JetSetGo Guest

      It really depends on you in terms of meeting people. We met a couple at Cheval Blanc whom later on we met up again at Lake Como for lunch. I think a big percentage of people who go to Maldives are on honeymoons so understandably that they want to be alone. I find small resorts such as Deplar Farm in Iceland forces you to meet other travelers during dinner time (one large communal table) which...

      It really depends on you in terms of meeting people. We met a couple at Cheval Blanc whom later on we met up again at Lake Como for lunch. I think a big percentage of people who go to Maldives are on honeymoons so understandably that they want to be alone. I find small resorts such as Deplar Farm in Iceland forces you to meet other travelers during dinner time (one large communal table) which is helpful in terms of meeting new people and sharing travel experiences. Other resorts such as Explora in South America group several travelers into groups for various tours is also a good way to meet people. We have met people we still keep in touch from Explora Rapa Nui.

    3. MJS Guest

      I am in the opposite camp. I chose the Maldives, and a villa with its own pool so that I didn't have to interact with other guests. Other than the boat cruises and snorkeling excursions, I don't think I said one word to another guest. I'd imagine most of the other guests at our resort felt the same way. Saw very little cross guess interactions.

  13. Daniel Guest

    Hey Ben
    Have you tried any of the more local resorts that are not part of the international hotel chains?
    I would say most people try and find resorts that have a full board or all inclusive plan. From your last reviews you seem to have to pay for all you meals and alcohol. Did you feel it was very expensive?

  14. Dom Guest

    Hi Ben,

    How do these resorts compare to the St Regis Maldives?

    Maybe you could do a post ranking Maldive resorts and the best way to book them like you do with first class products?

    1. The Joe Guest

      Cant speak for Ben, but of the ones I've been to: PH>W.A>or=Conrad>St. Regis. These opinions are subjective and based on personal experience.

  15. Daniel from Finland Guest

    I have to say that this hotel, especially the room, pales in comparison with the two others. I'm surprised they charge similar prices. It's a very nice hotel, yes, absolutely. But far from Cheval and Waldorf.

    1. Luis Diamond

      Agreed. It doesn't look like it's even remotely in the same class as the others.

  16. Marko Guest

    Ben - can you expand more on the lack of butler service at the FS? Did it have a noticeable impact on your stay?

    I found that the FS service and chat service in the app always super-efficient, so I never minded the lack of butler service. Although I get that some
    People prefer just having one point of contact.

    Some hotels unfortunately use the “butler service” just as gimmick (looking at you St. Regis).

  17. Daniel from Finland Guest

    How does moving between hotels work if all they usually offer is transportation to / from the airport? Do you need to go via the airport when changing hotels?

    Or are they willing to ferry you to another hotel island, or, say, Malé, if that's what you want? And at what cost?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Daniel from Finland -- Generally speaking you have to go through Male Airport, at least if you have a budget. Private transfers can always be arranged, but you'll be paying for a plane on your own, and that'll be pricey.

      The exception is that if you book both of the Four Seasons properties, you can take a seaplane directly between them, and there are even some packages that include transfers.

    2. Jens from Germany Guest

      Hi Daniel,

      If traveling between two resorts that are within speed boat distance of each other you can usually inquire with the resort you're traveling to to pick you up at the old resort. We did this a couple of times at different resorts and especially if you're far away from Male you can save considerably. Once it was a sixth of the cost as opposed to transferring through Male.

      Best,
      Jens

  18. Kirk Guest

    I appreciate these reviews, but feel like not having a section on snorkeling for each resort is a pretty big miss, as that is one of the main attractions in being there.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Kirk -- I totally hear you, so my fear of the ocean really doesn't help there, eh? ;-) For what it's worth, I heard that snorkeling here is especially good, so that is one major draw to the hotel.

  19. Jerry Diamond

    It's a shame you stayed here last because it surely looks like a great property, but after a week (or so in the Maldives) I'd imagine luxury fatigue sets in.

    1. Steve Diamond

      Yeah thought the same thing the entire time reading this blog, this four seasons seems like a better play than the waldorf. The Waldorf just seemed way too pricey where you might as well do the Cheval.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Steve -- And to be honest if I were to pay the full cash rate for either property, I'd choose the Four Seasons over the Waldorf Astoria. The big draw of the latter is that points can be redeemed there.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jerry -- Hah, definitely some truth to that. I think it's hard to start at Cheval Blanc and go anywhere else from there, to be honest.

    4. Nick Guest

      Lucky, Anywhere else…including Soneva Jani or Fushi?

    5. mdande7 Gold

      Luxury fatigue might be my favorite new phrase.

  20. RetiredATLATC Diamond

    Great review Ben.

    Personally I'll just stick to Veligandu Island Resort & Spa (North Ari Atoll..all-inclusive package), as I'd go broke drinking and eating at these other places.

    1. The Joe Guest

      What!? I'll be damned if between my TSP, Pension, IRA, and SSA (and of course my wife's pension, 401K, IRA, and SSA) I won't be able to try Cheval Maldives, and Time & Tide Madagascar and Laucala Island.

      --- a fellow ATCer

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Mr. Obvious Guest

It's great to see how the other half might live and vacation, but how about a thread for the rest of us that might be something like 'The Maldives on a Budget'? Sorry, but I can't justify $20K+ for a vacation for the wife and I.

3
Daniel from Finland Guest

I have to say that this hotel, especially the room, pales in comparison with the two others. I'm surprised they charge similar prices. It's a very nice hotel, yes, absolutely. But far from Cheval and Waldorf.

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Jimmy K New Member

Hi Ben. Long time devoted reader here. Just wanted to say thank you for your reviews recently. As a boy growing up, I remember spending hours perusing holiday brochures and dreaming of one day going to a place like the Maldives with turquoise seas and private huts. Now as a thirty-something, who is never going to afford a trip even close to the Maldives anyway, I must say that while I can see the attraction for some, it just doesn't appeal at all and I can't imagine travelling half way round the globe only to be 'stuck' on an island where you can't take a stroll through a town, or pop to a local shop for basic supplies, or try to interact with the locals, learn a bit of the local language etc. And seeing those eye-watering prices merely makes me think about so much one could do elsewhere for the price of one dinner in the Maldives. BUT, crucially, the amazing quality of your write-ups and the ability to escape to another world through your travels for a while each day amongst the bustle of life is priceless. Your reviews always evoke in me that wanderlust I had as a child, which I've been unable to satisfy for a couple of years now, so thank you. :)

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