Waldorf Astoria Maldives: Transfer Costs, Breakfast, Upgrades, And More

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels
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The Waldorf Astoria Maldives will be opening as of July 1, 2019, and looks spectacular. Based on their current pricing, this will by far be the most expensive Hilton property in the world.

A few days ago I wrote about how the hotel started accepting reservations, and specifically, how they also started accepting points reservations. The hotel costs 120,000 Honors points per night, which is higher than Hilton’s previous highest cost of 95,000 points per night for a standard room.

Personally I think that’s fair, since this hotel is in a different league than anything else Hilton has. This of course assumes that they don’t jack up the cost of other properties to 120,000 points per night in the near future.

Anyway, I know many of us (myself included) have booked points stays here, so I wanted to provide some updates based on what the hotel has told me in an email.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives transfer costs

One of the things that’s convenient about the Waldorf Astoria Maldives is that it can be reached by speedboat from Male Airport, so you don’t have to take a connecting flight, which sure is convenient.

Initially Hilton’s website suggested that the roundtrip transfer cost $370 plus a 23.2% tax and service charge. As it turns out, that was a mistake, and the hotel is actually charging $350 one-way plus a 23.2% tax and service charge for transfers between the airport and hotel.

So a roundtrip boat transfer for the 30 minute ride will cost $862.40. WOW.

It’s pretty amazing that a roundtrip boat transfer costs more than what other hotels charge for a combination of flights and boat transfers.

In fairness, this pricing isn’t that far off from what other hotels are charging. The One & Only Reethi Rah charges $300++ for boat transfers in each direction, and that hotel is a similar distance. So this is more, but not that much more.

I still think it’s reasonable to dispute the cost if you were quoted $370++ roundtrip at the time of booking.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives upgrade costs

Points redemptions at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives book into a beach villa with pool. If you’re interested in upgrading your room, the costs are as follows (at least for my dates):

  • $200 + 23.2% for an upgrade to a Grand Beach Villa
  • $400 + $23.2% for an upgrade to an Overwater Villa

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Beach Villa

Those costs are roughly in line with what I see as being the difference on paid stays between the room types for most nights:

  • The Beach Villa sells for $1,833 per night
  • The Grand Beach Villa sells for $2,033 per night (so it’s “only” $170 more, meaning the upgrade is $30 higher than the rate difference)
  • The Overwater Villa sells for $2,233 per night

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Overwater Villa

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Overwater Villa

To compare the room descriptions:

  • The Beach Villa is described as being 2,518 square feet, and featuring a spacious villa, pool, beach access, and a pavilion
  • The Grand Beach Villa is described as being 2,967 square feet, and featuring an indoor/outdoor living space, pool, and beach access
  • The Overwater Villa is described as being 3,045 square feet, and featuring an ocean terrace, pool, and pavilion

Personally I’d probably split my time between the base room and the overwater villa, since I think both are unique in their own way.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Diamond breakfast & benefits

There was some speculation about whether the hotel would even offer Diamond members free breakfast, given that a few hotels have gotten out of having to offer this. The hotel has confirmed that Diamond members will be entitled to breakfast at their all day dining restaurant, Tasting Table. So that’s great news.

Tasting Table, Waldorf Astoria Maldives

Otherwise the hotel has said that they’re working on property specific Diamond benefits, and hope to have more details soon. It would be great if they had some sort of a Diamond happy hour, as other properties do.

Redeeming free weekend night rewards here

One more thing to note. While the hotel is priced higher than any other Hilton property on points (they’re charging 120,000 points per night for a standard room, rather than the previous highest cost of 95,000 points per room), you can still redeem weekend night rewards at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives.

So that’s fantastic news, since it potentially increases the value of these certificates even more. As far as cards that earn free night certificates go:

Credit CardHow to Earn a Hilton Honors Weekend Night Reward
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass CardOne weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year
Hilton Honors American Express Business CardOne weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year, plus a second weekend night reward after you spend $60,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire CardOne weekend night reward shortly after you get the card, and an anniversary weekend night reward every year upon your account renewal with no spend requirement, plus an additional weekend night reward after you spend $60,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year

This hotel will be very expensive

The Maldives is extremely expensive to begin with, and I don’t think that’s unreasonable. It’s so remote, and the cost of building everything, staffing hotels, getting food and drinks to the individual resorts, etc., must be astronomical.

So I’m much less offended by high prices at a secluded resort in the Maldives than a several hundred room Ritz-Carlton that operates like a factory.

That being said, it’s clear that the Waldorf Astoria Maldives will be very expensive even by Maldives standards. It’s not just the rooms that are really expensive, but I’d expect food and drinks, massages, etc., to all be really expensive as well.

So that’s something to keep in mind, regardless of whether you’ve never been to the Maldives, or may have been to another resort in the Maldives before. If I had to guess, I’d say that meals will cost $200-300 for two people without excessive drinking, and massages will likely cost $250+ per hour.

If you’re looking for a better value Maldives trip with Hilton points, consider the Conrad Maldives. They let you book overwater villas for 95,000 points per night, and while everything there is still expensive, I expect it’s a lot less expensive than the Waldorf Astoria.

Bottom line

The Waldorf Astoria Maldives will be one of the most expensive hotels in the Maldives. Since the hotel isn’t yet open we don’t know to what extent that’s warranted.

It’s exciting that it’s possible to redeem points here, though we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out just how much everything here will cost, and also just how good the hotel will actually be.

What’s your take on the Waldorf Astoria Maldives based on what we know so far?

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  1. Is the breakfast a continental one with egg salad etc costing extra or the same buffet breakfast as everyone else?

  2. Is that $862 per person or per room (i.e. for 2 people)?

    I hope youre disputing the increase in price if the website was different when you booked.

  3. Was deciding between this and the Conrad on a points booking. The cost of the transfer is just significantly more and if food prices wind up in the same basket, I think I’ll save the extra 100k points from a 5 night booking and enjoy an overwater villa at the Conrad. I get the point that the WA is supposed to be ultra lux/exclusive, but there’s a point where it just becomes too much. To each their own though.

  4. Realistically, the cost difference for 5 nights between the 2 is 125000 points so 475000 at the Conrad vs 600000 at the Waldorf. For that much, I think the cost difference in points is rather insignificant. Both aren’t going to come cheap when it comes to any expense (food, spa etc) and you aren’t spending real money to stay there other than boat transfers, food and activities. There’s no resort fee as far as I can tell. Considering that 5 night stay would cost you upwards of $16000. Dropping a 1/4 of that for the same experience is a good value.

  5. Traveling the world and staying at nice hotels does in fact open the mind to a better understanding how to appreciate life and opens doors to infinite possibilities.

  6. @ Sean — Sorry, wasn’t disputing that, my point is that I think the Conrad Maldives will be much cheaper for everything else. Most people going to the Maldives want to spend at least some time in an overwater villa, so that’s $500 per night cheaper at the Conrad, since you don’t need to upgrade to that. I’d also guess that most activities, food, drinks, etc., will be at least 50% more expensive at the Waldorf Astoria.

    So I’m not trying to suggest people shouldn’t go to the Waldorf, but rather that many people would probably save hundreds of dollars per day, in addition to the points, if staying at the Conrad.

  7. If they boat transfer is this expensive, what’s the upside of that?
    Might as well go with Park Hyatt and get a better sea.

  8. I’ve been planning for a while a trip to Conrad Maldives water villa. I’m a bit short of the points required for 4 night with 5th night free. But I could easily remedy that by upgrading my Apsire to Ascend and get the bonus. Should I try to do this now at 95,000 per night. Any risk that they will raise point requirement later?

  9. @sung .I cant say for certain but I’m fairly confident that the Conrad Rangali Maldives will be the first to move up to the 120000 category ( Or somewhere in between 95-120K ) . As SAii Lagoon Maldives is maxing out at 95000 points and is half the price of the Conrad I think its inevitable there will be an increase at the Conrad soon maybe maxing out at 120K with low season at 95K . Unlike other chains where they have an annual review and announce changes, Hilton just seem to be changing maximum requirements throughout the year as it suits them . I would be looking at securing at 95K asap

  10. FYI Lucky, I heard back from the hotel that they’re honoring the $370++ transfers roundtrip. Not sure if you had to book with that language in the confirmation (I did), but at the very least they are honoring it for existing bookings that raise the question over email.

    And a bit nitpicky here, but the upgrade rates I was quoted matched the standard rate differences exactly… I think they do in your writeup too.

  11. Please don’t tell me that boat transfer fee is PER PERSON. Cause Maldives or not, that would be outrageous.

    I’m also not a fan of this trend of hotels including outdoor space in the square footage of the rooms. 2500 sqft room sounds huge until you realize 1500 of that is outdoor space.

  12. Hmmm…. the talk was that Hilton Honors is a subpar program because Hilton does not offer ‘aspirational’ (read: expensive) properties. And now that they have one that is quite expensive (in a long list of such properties that already in the pipeline [1]), including the cost of getting there, it is funny to see the reaction. Everyone ought to be jumping up and down at the news!

    [1] “Hilton Worldwide Is Set To Become A Force In the Luxury Hotel Market” Forbes Magazine, Dec 6 2018.

    Growing organically Conrad and Waldorf now have 63 properties that are open for business with 38 more in the pipeline, likely to open in the next five years, says Martin Rinck, Hilton’s global head of luxury.
    Cut ans paste the title of the article in your search engine. A very interesting piece, with a nice historical perspective on why Hilton is just now playing catch-up in the luxury hotel business..and scoring big.

  13. BTW, the room cash rates vary dramatically by season.

    For the time of the year I booked my 5-night award stay (straddling New Year day), the $ cost of the introductory villa is $3,296 (yielding, with taxes and fees, a redemption value of 4.2cpp) vs. @Lucky’s $2,122 for the same introductory villa, but likely booked for an earlier stay than mine.

  14. is there anything preventing entrepreneurial individuals unaffiliated with the hotel from taking people on their own boat to the hotel? why do waldorf astoria guests have to reserve the round trip boat transfer thru waldorf astoria?

  15. Hey DCS… been reading your posts for years (with amusement sometimes, in a good way)

    On the flyer talk thread on this hotel there are some entitled people demanding, threatening legal action even already! They claim an email stating transfer cost is a “contract” and they’ll have em for breach of contract. Generally being somewhat cheap, making noise, already giving point redeemers a bad name.

    I’ve been flamed badly for saying cmon guys don’t do this, and branded a troll from hell, which maybe has an element of truth. I was a tad aggressive actually 😉 but cos I’m sick of entitled cheapos making noise and insisting programs give them outsized value always and on their terms.

    People jumping up and down, shouting at hotels to give them free stuff just isn’t sustainable and frankly it’s rude. I appreciate the opportunity to do what we do, and am a huge fan of the Conrad Maldives, and mostly Hilton in general.

    My main point is the WA Maldives will say “you know what? You’re never happy, point redemptions are 600k… take it or leave it”

    And I wouldn’t blame em one bit.

    Thoughts? I’m genuinely interested. I wouldn’t be surprised either if you join the camp of I’m wrong and ready for that!


  16. @Andy – You just succinctly stated why I avoid FT like the plague. It’s a real zoo, where folk thrive on bitching about practically everything under the sun. I have not posted or ready any threads (except when following a specific link) there in many years.

    We have a good thing going playing the mile/point game; the antics at FT that you just described could spoil it for us!

  17. Thanks DCS. I was feeling like I was the insane one for a brief moment.

    What a shame we have to deal with idiots who think they are the only ones that matter.

    All the best to ya

  18. @Greg. Yes, absolutely. Used 2 WE free nights, tagged onto a 5th night free redemption for a 7-night stay there last year. And Gold Elites got free full buffet breakfast for 2.

  19. Thank you, Tracy. My plan is to do exactly the same, 5+2 with my wife. I was thinking about the new Astoria but with the recent boat ride increase I don’t trust them anymore. What is the best time to go and are there any additional benefits for diamonds besides the breakfast?

  20. FYI, When I was at the Conrad this past December, they were in the middle of an entire resort renovation. At the time, the regular beach villas have been renovated. They were in the process of doing half of the Deluxe Beach Villas. After those are done, they will work on the water villas. I won’t be surprised that the rates and points redemptions will increase by next year.

  21. @Jr – Just get over obsessing with me, will you? It will traumatize your little brain if I should decide to take you head on. Just go away.

  22. If it’s basically $1000 per person for a 30 minute boat, then I’d much rather just stay at the Park Hyatt, or Conrad, not that big of a difference. Hell, the St. Regis is probably still better and since both are so outrageously expensive, might as well just go there instead.

  23. Hi All
    could anyone send me a copy of the former approximately 400 dollars round trip per person (not single way )

  24. Hi All again
    could anyone send me a copy of the former approximately 370++ dollars round trip per person (roundtrip instead of single way )

  25. Hi! We’ve just booked the Waldorf on points too and emailed them to ask about arranging our own transfer where they said yes!! We then found an option of $580 return per speed boat (6pax) from https://www.atolltransfer.com/private-speed. This is going to save a ton of money. I was wondering if you’ve heard of this transfer option?

  26. to Faye
    True it’ll save a lot of money if atolltransfer costs are flat rates per speed boat , not per passenger
    Have you pursued this option ?
    Has Anybody else ?I’m surprised to read so few info about competition transfer costs

  27. I’m seeing the option to book two room types in January 2021 for a 10 night stay for 120k points each. One is the reef villa and the other is called the ocean villa. One thing to note is there is no picture for the ocean villa and the cash price is exactly the same as the over water villa. I think it’s the same one. I’m also not able to find any reviews for the ocean villa online. Can anyone shed further light?

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