Maldivian Domestic Lounge, Flight, and Boat Transfer to the Park Hyatt Maldives

Passengers arriving in the Maldives often have a bit of a ‘black box’ getting between the airport and their resort.

With the ‘better’ properties either they’ll be taken directly from the airport by boat or seaplane to their resort, or they’ll need to take a domestic flight first to a farther out domestic airport before making the journey to their island home. In either case, these properties meet you on arrival once you clear customs and guide you the rest of the way.

That can actually be frustrating for the super-intense planner, although with questions to your resort they will try to reassure you. For properties that require a domestic flight, you’re somewhat at the mercy of the domestic airline whose flight schedules are far from fixed. But the resort is on top of it.

This section of my Maldives and Malaysia trip report talks about getting from customs at the Male airport to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa — domestic lounge, flight, arrival, and boat ride.

Previous installments

On arrival in Male I was faced with a jam packed immigration hall. Even the fast track cards we were given were little help, they meant a shorter but still long line and fast track was moving slowly.

Baggage is directly in front of you once clearing immigration, you collect that and walk it through customs where everything including your carry on gets x-rayed. Don’t bring in any contraband… alcohol, drugs, or porn…!

That process tends to be quick though and there should be someone waiting for you with your hotel’s name on a sign immediately upon exiting customs.

Male Domestic Lounge

Our Park Hyatt representative was there, and walked us the familiar (we’ve done it 3 times now in 27 months) short distance outside from international arrivals over to the domestic terminal. He escorted us straight inside the lounge (whose key benefits are internet and air conditioning) and took care of our flight check-in and checked bags. (He also tagged our bags with our villa number, so that was the last we’d touch our bags until they were delivered to our room.)

The lounge has plenty of reasonably comfortable furniture, is large enough and with enough seating although it can get crowded.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

Besides a comfortable place to sit amenities are limited. There’s food but it’s never been appetizing enough to me to try any of it. I’ve just taken water and called it good (definitely stay hydrated!).

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

There’s a bathroom and even a shower, although I’d rather wait to get to the resort to shower because the final flight to Male probably hasn’t been that long and the shower room isn’t really appealing.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

Internet access in the lounge requires a code that’s uniquely generated for you. It’s valid for two hours.

Our local host took our passports, and returned a short while later with them and our boarding passes. This is how it worked on our last trip, too. The first time the host brought us to the checkin counter while our baggage was weighted and we had to get on the scales, too but that procedure doesn’t appear to be in place any longer.

The Park Hyatt Hadahaa used to use the Kaadedhdhoo airport, which was an hour’s boat ride away from the resort. About 18 months ago a new closer airport (half the distance away) opened on Kooddoo and that’s what the resort now uses.

There are several daily flights to each, although some make a 20 minute enroute stop. Last year we strongly requested a non-stop flight to Kaadedhdhoo rather than the one-stop to the closer airport. It would be the same overall travel time (less flying time, more boat time). The resort accommodated us, although it’s not standard practice.

This time we were given boarding passes for a non-stop Kooddoo flight, which was great. All flights were delayed, though, due to rough weather earlier in the morning. Delays just stacked throughout the day and we’d be waiting a bit more than an extra hour.

The delay was long enough that I had to get a second internet code from the front desk to stay online, catch up, and keep myself focused on something to pass the time. I was feeling pretty jetlagged despite getting some rest the night before.

Male – Kooddoo Flight

Our flight was finally called, and that meant proceeding through security for which there is no line and takes only a couple of seconds. Then we were “airside” in the sparse gate area.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

We had about 20 minutes to wait, and I entertained myself musing over the exotic flight schedules board.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

It was time to board, boarding happens pretty quickly, and then a short walk straight out to our aircraft.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

These are one-cabin aircraft. It always seems that resort guests are placed in the front of the aircraft, locals (paying local fares) in the back.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

The flight was uneventful. No announcements were made during the flight, and it was pitch black outside. I only knew it was time to land when the flight attendant buckled in. Then he got on the PA system and We touched down just about 2 minutes later.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

From the Kooddoo Airport to the Park Hyatt by Boat

We walked into the baggage hall and there was a Park Hyatt representative waiting there for us. He took our baggage tags, guided us to a waiting golf cart, and went back inside to collect our luggage.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

It was a short ride out to the dock, where our bags were placed inside the boat and we were greeted onboard.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

The boat itself is comfortable enough, the forward seats are used for luggage and then there’s seating on each side and in the back of the boat closest the water. We sat inside. The seas were going to be rough, and the ride was going to take a little longer than usual.

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

    Journey to Park Hyatt Maldives

In fact, the seas were very rough and I held on tight! We bounced around, took some waves fast, I never felt danger, it was more like what I would call an old school Disney “E ticket.”

In the past the ride has been smoother, so I wasn’t entirely expecting this, though I’ve always stayed during the high season which is dry and waters calmer.

Eventually we made the resort, where the GM and several staff members greeted us and then sent us in a golf cart to our villa for check-in formalities.

When We Finally Got to the Park Hyatt

We left the Premier Inn around 7am local time in Abu Dhabi.

Our flight was scheduled to arrive from Abu Dhabi at 2:30pm. We were about 15 minutes behind schedule, and it was 3:40pm by the time we exited immigration. We had been scheduled for a 5:20pm Kooddoo flight, and it was delayed until 6:30pm.

The flight is about an hour. The boat ride normally 30 minutes, but especially rough seas made it 50. And the resort is an hour ahead of Male and even Kooddoo — the Park Hyatt is on its own time, which maximizes daylight hours and gives you a sunset around 7pm which is lovely. That means we were arriving about 9:20pm local time.

Despite only an hour’s time difference between Abu Dhabi and Male, and another hour’s difference to the resort, this was a full day’s journey.. about 12 hours “door-to-door.” And that’s after taking a 14 hour flight to Abu Dhabi and overnighting. So it’s a true journey, albeit one made as comfortable as possible by first class, lounges, and ground assistance throughout. Many don’t think of the Maldives as worth it. I do. The next installment of the trip report will – hopefully – help to explain why.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Bet you were glad you had the shorter boat ride! I arrived at close to 3AM, if I was paying $$, it would’ve been extravagant, but it was totally worth the points to wake up there!

    They were nice and let me take a regular room that first night and I upgraded to an OWB (for $) the rest of the stay. I also went to the Hilton – the food was much, much better at the the Hilton Rangali, but I only dream of returning to the Hyatt.

  2. very interesting. whats the price of a typical meal & other expenses at the resort please?

  3. I’ll be visiting in August for 5 nights and had planned on bringing a special celebratory bottle for my wife and I (nothing expensive, just meaningful). Understanding that it may be confiscated, is there any other penalty for attempting to bring in booze?

    Do the employees all come out to greet you even when arriving at night? Or is that just a daytime thing?

    Bummer its not a seaplane transfer. I’ve never been on one and was hoping this would be it

  4. I like view from the Wing the most over any others, because I.really appreciate Gary reply anyone comments seriously although Gary is a big man! But the down side is the blog I lost mobile version after the recently transmission

  5. @Brian – I cannot speak to the penalty if they catch you bringing in alcohol (in terms of likely outcome). I wouldn’t go there. There will be employees greeting you on arrival at night, as mine was.

  6. My wife and I will be visiting Park Hyatt Maldives for the first time in a couple of weeks. Also a lot of first for flights, first time in First Class on CX and TG and Business with PG. [Routing: UA (Y) DFW-ORD, CX (F) ORD-HKG-(J)MLE, PG (J) MLE-BKK, TG (F) BKK-CDG, LH (J) CDG-MUC, LH (F) MUC-YYZ, AC (J) YYZ-DFW]. We are excited about this trip.

    Did you reserve excursions in advance to save 10%? If so, do you have to paid in full for excursions prior to arrival. Any specific excursions you would recommend for a husband and wife who do not scuba dive?

    Also, God forbid I have any medical problems while there but I do have a medical issue that can sometimes flare-up and have already emailed the Hyatt Medical staff about it and will take an arsenal of medications with me. Do you have any idea how the medical facilities are at Hyatt or the Maldives if ever absolutely necessary?

  7. Thank you so much for your posts. Because of your travels to the Maldives, we have planned our vacation as similar as yours so we know what to expect. Keep on posting great content.

  8. We did PH Maldives in Aug 2013 and it was nothing short of wonderful. We arrived into Male from KUL after 11:00pm so had to spend overnite in Male.Found a nice small place and the owner…a German fellow was great. He arranged for his employee to meet us at the airport,take us across on the fairy to town, get a cab to hotel, kept track of our am departure to PH and got us back to the airport.
    Medical care at PH(Sri Lanken Dr) came thru for my wife who had picked up some stomach bug/parasite in KUL and had been self medicating from our extensive traveling array to no improvement. The Dr prescibed several new meds and visited our OWB 3 separate times all for $20 US.Wife was impressed with Dr(and she is an RN) and showed immediate improvement on the new meds.

  9. Hello Gary, I am using window phone, do you think we can get mobile site again?

  10. @Stephen I didn’t pre-book anything honestly I didn’t want to lock myself in, my whole goal there is to chill out. I can’t speak to the medical facilities unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be).

  11. Hi Gary
    Instead of making the whole trip to the resort in one day try spending the night in Male City. We spent the night at the Le Vieux Nice Inn in Male City during our trip in Feb (no choice since the sea planes only fly during the day and our Singapore flt arrived at @10 pm). It is a 5 min ride in the hotel van from the airport. It was great modern, very clean rooms, very good service not fancy but nice for Male City. We paid @ $120 for the night and that included a breakfast (it looked good, but we waited to eat at the Conrad lounge) and the hotel van ride to and from the airport. By doing this we arrived at the Conrad refreshed and made the most of our first day at the resort. Also next time you go you should give the Conrad a try, just the ease of taking the @ 40 min sea plane ride to the resort is worth it.
    Have a great day

  12. Gary – when you went last year you mentioned they were offering a 3 day couples spa package for approx. $700. According to the spa menu that package is now closer to $1400. Was that some on-resort special or have the prices increased that much in the last year? I was looking forward to doing that in December when we get there but $1400 is a little steep!

    I’m looking forward to your latest report, hopefully they had real cream for the coffee. 🙂

  13. Anyone know whether you can save on local travel costs by splitting your trip between the Conrad and Park Hyatt? For example, is there a way to travel directly from one to the other? thanks!

  14. did the trip to PH Maldives in March 2014 from DXB. quite the trip, similar to yours. stayed 2 nights in pool water villa and 2 in villa 49. both had their perks. loved the scuba and fishing excursions. enjoy your stay! 🙂

  15. Gary- I there any way we can pay the “local” airfare from Male to the other islands?

  16. Hi great report as usual! The previous page on EY F lounge and AUH-mle is not loading for me on android or iPad. It sassy page doesn’t exist, all the other sections are loading fine however.

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