Waldorf Astoria Maldives & Hilton Honors — This Should Be Interesting

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels

I’m more and more into Hilton Honors by the day. While they’re not my primary loyalty program, there are a lot of things to love:

I’ve been keeping an eye on new hotel openings, and I think there’s one most anticipated hotel opening in the Hilton Honors portfolio, so in this post I wanted to provide an update on that, and also share some thoughts about what this hotel could mean for points redemptions.

The Waldorf Astoria Maldives

While Hilton already has the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, the brand will be opening two new hotels in the Maldives this year — the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi and the SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives rendering

Waldorf Astoria is Hilton’s highest end brand, and it looks like this hotel will be in a completely different league than any other Hilton property ever.

The hotel is expected to open this spring, though the hotel isn’t yet accepting reservations. Those who have inquired directly with the hotel about the pricing have gotten some insane figures. Apparently the base beach villa will cost $2,100 per night, while a grand overwater villa will go for $2,700 per night.

So when it comes to pricing, this hotel will be in a different league than any other Hilton property. Sure, the Conrad Maldives and Conrad Bora Bora can cost ~$2,000 in festive season, for example, but can also often be had for under $500 per night during promotions.

Of course we don’t know if the prices for the Waldorf Astoria will stick, but it’s clear that they’re hoping this hotel will be able to command a huge premium over other properties.

Naturally this has lots of us into miles & points very interested in this property. I’m also very excited about this property because it’s just a short speedboat ride for Male, so there’s no need for a flight between islands.

While this might take away some of the seclusion, being able to skip those inter-island flights sure is a nice feature.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives rendering

What does the Waldorf Astoria mean for Hilton Honors redemptions?

Like I said, the hotel isn’t bookable yet, so as of now all we can do is speculate. I imagine the demand for redeeming points here will be huge, so I’m certainly ready to pounce once the hotel opens.

Hilton Honors promises no blackout dates, which is to say that as long as a standard room is available for sale, you can redeem points there at the standard rate.

That still leaves a lot of questions, though:

  • Hilton Honors doesn’t formally have award categories, though as of now no hotel retails for over 95,000 points per night for a standard room; will the Waldorf Astoria Maldives conform to that, or will we see higher pricing introduced?
  • We don’t know how the hotel will define a “standard room,” so will they create a sub-category of one villa that’s technically a “standard room,” or how many rooms will be available for redemptions?
  • Will we see some other creative blocks put into place, like this being the first Hilton property to not have standard rooms, or…?

We’ll have to wait and see, as it’s expected that rooms at the hotel will officially go on sale in the coming weeks.

My expectation is that they maintain the 95,000 point per night maximum, though probably only have a couple of rooms in the lowest category, which members can redeem points at… and that’s fair enough.

Or who knows, this hotel seems to be in a different league than any other Hilton family property, so I’ll be curious if the hotel and/or Hilton Honors try to get creative.

What are you expecting from points redemptions at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives?

  1. I’m inclined to believe that the Standard Room rate (likely to be kept at 95k) will be reserved for landside villas (perhaps only those with partial/imperfect views) and that Premium Room award rates will be astronomically high for overwater villas and the more premium accommodations. While it is more convenient than transiting to the Conrad due to avoiding the TMA seaplanes (and the $550 pp fee), I personally would rather get an overwater villa (which is at the Standard Room rate) for 5 nights at the 8.5/10 Conrad than to be stuck landside at the 10/10 Waldorf (or have to pay ~10k USD for 5 nights overwater). The feeling of sleeping over the water and walking down from the large balcony into the warm reef waters is quite special, and the Conrad is really more than sufficient for most things. Plus, Ithaa is pretty darn cool. Just my .02 here!

  2. Hopefully we can get notification when it’s bookable. Currently booked into Conrad but eyeing WA for so long.

  3. 15 miles away as the crow flies and probably an hour boat ride. I wouldn’t say it will impact the diving too much.

  4. Ill keep my stay at the Conrad. Bigger more secluded island and plenty fancy enough. Plus like others have said, booking directly into an overwater Villa is pretty special.

  5. With respect to the diving, it’s been greatly diminished everywhere in the Maldives since 2016. You can try to put lipstick on the pig and move further from Male but it will only be slightly better.
    I will say the boat plane is very special flight and you will be glued to the window if you take it.
    Ive flown over the area where the walldorf is being constructed at low altitude. There are a lot of other islands and resorts being constructed in that area which whale in the short-term impact diving even though it’s 15 miles away from Male.
    I know several of the staff from the Conrad that are looking to transition to the Waldorf. Service will be good. Hotel will be magnificent most likely. The Conrad however has excellent overwater bungalows many of which look towards the sun set. There are pros and cons to each. Male Atoll and sadly Ari Atoll (where Conrad sits) are not great for coral. At Ari, there used to be loads of Mantas and even sometimes whale sharks. Ari Atoll was home to many cleaning stations for larger sea life. Unfortunately when the reefs diminished from bleaching during the higher water temps prevelant in 2016, the sea life little by little seeks elsewhere to clean and inhabit. You may see rays and occasionally the whale shark. But not in schools like in the past. You may see nothing. If you do see one wait for them to come to you and if you have a camera and are lucky enough to catch a shot cherish it. If you don’t have a camera just enjoy the moment it’s something you won’t forget.

  6. @Thanh (and @Ben):

    The cost for the seaplane to Conrad Rangali is now $590 per adult (incl. 12% tax).

    The boat ride to the WA will likely cost dearly as well – nothing comes cheap in the Maldives.

  7. There are Hilton properties that are only bookable with premium room rewards, as well – Ho’olei at Grand Wailea and Beach Village at The Del. In the Maldives, the properties are owned by private individuals or companies, not by the Hilton corporation. Hilton is just a marketing partner, franchisor. The Conrad is owned by four or five Maldivian partners. Not sure about the Waldorf? So, I think it will be totally up to the actual resort owners as to whether or not they will accept points and/or standard room rewards. I know each Hilton property has the power to set its own point levels. The thing working in favor of customers at the Maldives is hardly anyone pays $2000/night for a room. The owners are faced with accepting points or having empty rooms. I think they price rooms at this level because it makes us all feel like we are getting amazing value on our points, but very few actually fork over cash. And the money actually paid to the hotels for points redemptions is directly connected to occupancy rates, so it’s in the hotel’s best interest to keep high occupancy levels for profitability, especially when there are many points bookings. When I was at Conrad Maldives, the staff said, 93 percent of the rooms were booked with points the week I visited.

  8. Ben, I keep seeing this fact about 95k HH points being the ceiling but I’ve never seen the Waldorf in Beverly Hills offer anything less than 150k. I suspect your hunch about a very small number of rooms being allocated will hold true while the rest will be the Wild West in terms of cost.

  9. Donny, i just checked 3 random dates for 3 nights each and each time I found rates at 95,000. Perhaps its just the dates tour checking or you haven’t checked recently? I had no issues at all.

  10. Donny, i just checked 3 random dates for 3 nights each and each time I found rates at 95,000. Perhaps its just the dates tour checking or you haven’t checked recently? I had no issues at all.

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