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Are the Maldives Worth It? Short Answer: Absolutely Yes

by on November 10, 2013 · 83 comments

in Hilton, Maldives

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If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you probably know by now that I’m currently in the Maldives at the Conrad on Rangali Island. I’m staying on pre-devaluation Hilton points and also two free nights from the sign-up bonus on the Citi Hilton Reserve card.

Bottom line: Yes, this place is far away and expensive, but it is absolutely magical. I paid an extra ~$500 a night to upgrade to an over-water bungalow that has a spa treatment room and I’m very happy I did so.

Can't beat the view from my spa suite.

Can’t beat the view from my spa suite.

I don’t want to spoil my detailed hotel reviews that are coming, but bottom line is that I now understand what the hype is about.
The internet here is painstakingly slow, so I’m going to keep this post short.

To follow me on this trip (I’m also off to India and Dubai later this week) so make sure to check out my pictures and videos so far on Instagram and Twitter. Apologies in advance if they are over the top- hard to take low-key pics here!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Dexter

    If your post is the short answer, Hopefully the “long answer” factors the corrupt government, millitary overthrow of democratically elected president, a highly dubious current electoral process “overseen” by the military, the country’s dubious civil rights record, treatment of forign workers … that your trip is supporting.

    I know, what a complete downer. We’re not *really* supposed to have a social conscience when we travel in the 21st century.

    Just because tourists bypass the over crowded capital island of Male and its many political and social problems en route to their five star resorts, should not alleviate them for silently supporting a corrupt, terror-wielding regime through the numerous taxes and fees paid to the govenrnment by tourists and hotels alike.

    I have been to the Maldives. The island hotels are amazing. But i won’t be back until democracy is restored to the people.

    Sorry for the rant. I do enjoy the blog. Safe travels.

  • thepointsguy

    I’ve heard about some of the issues, but frankly no country is perfect- not even the US. Barring gross human rights violations/actual safety issues I won’t let political drama keep me from visiting a country

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    I know of a country that gets more tourism dollars than any other country in the world (I’m pretty certain). Its previous president was elected under dubious circumstances, it has a dubious civil rights record, it mistreats many of its foreign workers, it illegally spies on not only its citizens but others around the world including foreign leaders, and many of its citizens are convinced that it illegally attacked another country without any justification whatsoever. It also has a very dubious history of installing corrupt dictators around the world.

    I’m talking of course about the United States of America.

  • Mihir

    You are going to India ? ? ? My home country it is :D . I would have loved to host you in Mumbai and show you around. However, I wont be back until 6th Dec.

  • Charles

    Awesome. Looking forward to your report on the Maldives to help plan my trip next year – staying at the Conrad on Pre-Deval points as well! As part of your post, can you include some thoughts on if it is easy to move from one hotel to another? I am thinking about doing a few nights at the Conrad and then a few at the Park Hyatt using Chase transfer + 2 Free nights from the card. Is it possible/feasible to move from one to another? Thanks!!

  • Varun

    I am presently in India and would like to be of any help to you!

  • Jerry

    such countries live thanks to tourism, if you avoid them, they will never open up to democracy or to market economy

    i remember Vietnam back to the early 90′s when you i had to keep track of my moves and every single hotel had to report my stays and make copies of my passport

    airport employees were corrupted and it was so easy to pay them to skip the line and get extra luggage allowance

    it was a poor countries and some places were absolutely not safe

    10 years later thanks to tourism, the government realized that efforts had to be made to become attractive compared to Thailand or many other Asian countries

    moreover, tourism creates jobs

    in conclusion, Maldives is not the perfect place on earth, but you avoid it, it can only become worst

  • FFlyerCDG

    Absolutely Yes ? For sure !
    But… Making the right choice when it comes to the hotel is essential !
    Stayed recently a week in the One&Only Reethi Rha… Great hotel except that it has been built on an artificial reef and wildlife is inexistent. That was totally disappointing compared to what I experienced years ago in a more basic property where it was possible to swim with hundreds of colored fishes just on the edge of the beach around the hotel.
    Thanks for the blog and safe travels !!

  • jack

    I don’t know who these blogs are aimed at anymore. Irrational exuberance is the phrase the Fed chair once used. There’s no reason on Earth to go to the Maldives except because “you can” and it’s the “hot” destination for all the bloggers to pimp. “I just paid $500 a night extra for the over water bungalow” doesn’t seem to be aiming for the “big travel for little money” market anymore.
    As for the US trasher, maybe you’d like to move to the Maldives, I hear you get great discounts as a citizen.

  • Jumus

    Brillaint post, extremely sacrastic and right the the point. Beautiful….love it, put Dexter in his place..

  • Social Justice

    How nice that you can be above political drama. What a privileged place to be in… I bet people in the Maldvies wish they could be above the political drama that plague their daily lives.

  • LR

    I totally agree Jack. Way to “maximize points” by paying an *extra* $500/night. I mean he should just start writing a luxury travel blog, since he’s so out of tune with the points world now. Clearly, I’m still a reader, but the best content is behind him.

  • John

    Too bad we can’t all shill credit cards to pay $500 a night extra for a over the water bungalow…

  • Deepak Valecha

    Meet up in India & ill show you around!

  • Scott

    $500 plus a ton of points to sleep over the water….ok.

  • Scott

    My boyfriend and I spent 5 nights at the Conrad Rangali Island. Its the best vacation we have taken in the 3 years of traveling on points we have done. This includes Thailand, the Seychelles, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Europe, and Japan. We are both diamond and were able to book in advance 5 nights at 200,000 points. Free breakfast, 2 free dinners, and 1 free excursion along with afternoon tea and complimentary happy hour all for being Diamond. Have a great time!!

  • Jake

    At that loin your only limited to travel in about 10 countries. The isa NOT being one of them.

  • http://thuchuynh.com thuc

    I’ve been wondering about Maldives vs Bora Bora and will be interested to know your thoughts about it. It seems to be more affordable to go to Bora Bora from the US

  • astaffaagas

    Don’t listen to the haterzTM

    Your blog is goot.

  • EH

    I agree. It would be great to see a post of BB vs Maldives

  • Ed Carney

    Not my fight.

  • andrew10412

    Scott – I am assuming you are a gay couple? I only ask because my husband and I just got married and were thinking about the maldives for our honeymoon. Didn’t end up going there on our honeymoon due to the so-so reviews from gay travelers in the area. What was your experience like?

    We ended up going to HK – Peninsula, Thailand – Trisara, Cambodia – Amansara, and the Mandarin Oriental in BKK. Highly recommend all 4.

  • Scott

    Hey Andrew,

    You are correct! My boyfriend and I were a little concerned especially traveling through Dubai to get to the Maldives as well.

    Our experience could not have been better!! We were cautious to not display affection in Dubai or Male Airport but as far as the resort, the staff were totally comfortable and incredibly friendly. They even though we were celebrating our honeymoon and gave us a free romatic dinner at one of the restaurants. A lot of the staff were from all over the world and not just Maldivian natives. I can only speak for the Conrad Rangali Island because that is the only place that we went to but I would assume its the same at all the resorts.

    Since that trip we have also been to Dubai and were put at ease when we saw openly gay couples holding hands in the mall so we have relaxed some with travels through Dubai and Muslim countries like the Maldives.

  • Jb

    Hate to break it to you, but those guys holding hands in the mall aren’t gay. It’s part of the culture in many Muslim countries for men to hold hands.

  • Andrew

    I don’t think I will be applyingn for any credits cards on this site anymore or really supporting the blog at all. $500 addl for an overwater spa
    Suite-, India, Dubai. He clearly doesn’t need my referall fees. Not enough credit cards and sign up bonuses to live this lavishly.

  • Jake J.

    You mad bro?

  • Jake J.

    He’s traveling and telling us about it. Who cares what he’s spending? 90% of content on this site is about maximizing value. The very first thing he said was how its an expensive place. We read posts every day about redeeming for business and first class and you want to get all butthurt because he’s dropping $500/night on an upgrade?

  • IneedObamaCare

    Bora Bora is much much prettier and has better human rights record. I say no to the Maldives

  • IneedObamaCare

    Exactly +1000. To keep up with the bloggers. What a waste of miles. Not to mention that repressive government !

  • IneedObamaCare

    Nothing to do with TPG. The suggestion is erroneous, even though he is a good blogger.

  • Andrew

    U just used the word Butthurt??? I remember when I was in middle school.

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    So TPG splurges once in awhile to upgrade himself to a nicer room. Big deal! I’m happy for him that he has put together a fantastic website that gives us all of this info (for free) that helps us to save money so we can splurge once in a while. I think he is making it clear that if you happen to stay at the same hotel, it’s worth the extra money for the upgrade. For all I care, TPG can spend every night in a $10,000 suite, as long as he’s helping us find fantastic travel deals.

    By the way, I’m not a US hater. I was just pointing out the hypocrisy of what Dexter was saying about the Maldives. There are lots of wonderful places in the world, but the US is still the best. If there were other places that were better, then I would live there.

  • Jake J.

    I rolled through a few options but could not think of a better word to accurately describe the vibe of the recent commentary. After review, I stand by it:-)

  • Cliff

    For all the complaining, I gotta say that the Conrad Maldives is (was, pre-devaluation), the highest AXON dollar per point redemption available of any Hilton property.

    Looking forward to the rest of the blog post, as I’m debating whether to make the trip myself on pre-deval points. Airfare is the biggest question!

  • andrew10412

    Thanks Scott. Good to know!

    Happy travels!

  • John

    So what you are saying is that you are too dumb to look stuff up using google and need someone to spoonfeed you information?

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    How do you think I found The Points Guy in the first place? LOL.

    Thanks to TPG, I found out about status matches and matched my Delta Diamond Medallion status to American Executive Platinum. I could not have used Google to find that, because I didn’t even know about status matches.

    Also, he sent out an alert about ridiculously cheap fares to Hawaii, so I got a round trip from New York to Maui for $397 on AA earlier this year. I was in first class all the way, which would not have happened because Delta doesn’t upgrade their elite flyers to Hawaii.

    None of this would’ve happened if it were not for TPG, and I could not have found any of that on Google. So he saved me both time and money.

  • crash025

    How do you fly there? I tried doing a search for ORD-GAN and Male, Maldives.. however there are no ticketable paths to go there.

  • Jake J.

    Sorry to see you go Andrew! Keep in mind TPG worked on Wall St. prior to being a travel blogger. I’m sure he did just fine.

  • travelhack

    Hey TPG. You are beginning to sound like you are so much better than everyone else the more I foliow your blogs. I’ve used a few of your links before but never again. You come across as a douchbag who just use the sheep followers to fund your trips. The average reader and most people who read your blogs, are looking for ways to save money. I’m sure I’m not alone as the only person who doesn’t care for your lavish spending and amazing trips. For someone who travels a lot, you have no substance, no culture and are really starting to rub me the wrong way. Your ‘look at me now’ attitude is getting old fast. Really, I can’t think of one of your “destination” blogs that offered me insight on something I would consider doing in terms of culture, savings or just anything about the place being visited that doesn’t involve looking like a pretentious and superficial American who thinks they have it all.

  • thepointsguy

    I got here for $24 using points and got 6 nights “free” using credit card signup bonus nights and then I spent $500 a night to get a $1500 a night room. while that may seem ultra fancy to some, it’s about the cheapest way possible to do the Maldives and stay in an incredible / unforgettable bungalow. If you have no interest in the Maldives, there are plenty of other destinations (like India and Dubai) that I’m going to so you can skip over these posts and wait for
    Tips on other cities. But I still stand by that this place is incredible

  • thepointsguy

    Live this lavishly? All flights and hotels are on miles/points/credit card perks. When you see what I actually spent to get here, even paying he $500 a night upgrade will keep this trip cheaper than what many people pay for Carribbean getaways

  • thepointsguy

    It isn’t for everyone- if you are looking for a run of the mill room/beach vacation, the Maldives aren’t for you. However if you want to go somewhere on a trip of a lifetime and you like to snorkel/spend time in the water, an overwater bungalow is incredible. Different strokes for different folks!

  • thepointsguy

    Spending $500 a night for a $1500/$2000 room isn’t that bad when most flights were paid
    For using miles! The total cost of this trip is still cheaper than what most people pay for Mexico/carribbean trips In overcrowded resorts

  • thepointsguy

    I’ve never claimed to be a budget/frugal traveler. I like to travel nicely and to unique locations for a fraction of
    The cost. I personally don’t see the point of traveling halfway around the world and then staying at a dump just to penny pinch. But to each their own!

  • thepointsguy

    The concept of miles and points are that you can use them
    To save money- whether you want to go to Orlando or the Maldives. As a scuba diver, this place is one of the best in the world and I like being outdoors/in the water. If you don’t like that, it doesn’t mean that you still can’t learn tips that’ll save you money going to other destinations.

  • thepointsguy

    And there’s no political drama in the US?

  • Vishal

    Deepak, Varuna: Don’t bother offering. I was at Conrad the same time he was/is. I sent him a tweet inviting to meet up for happy hour. He didn’t even bother to respond.

  • Vishal

    I’m not made of money either. But I will say, I’m doing a Dubai-Maldives-India trip currently also. It’s mostly miles/points paid. After all the money saved, splurging a little to upgrade the room isn’t a crazy idea. It’s just not for everyone. We chose not to.

  • Andrew

    Yes Bryan… Live this lavishly….
    It seems as though you have a never ending supply of points and your always on the road to very high end places. Certainly all of this travel can’t be on sign up bonuses and minimum spend bonuses. You have almost every credit card of value out there. If you’re questioning wether $500 additional per night is not lavish you’re clearly mistaken and you always try and justify it… Well that flight would of been $1800 but I redeemed X and got a Value of Y. I’m paying $500 extra but it normally would cost $1500-$2000. Those numbers are completely irrelevant when you never would have paid $2K for the room in the first place….at least I don’t think you would have because in my opinion $1500-$2000 is living lavishly as is $1800 for a plane ticket that isn’t all the way around the globe. You go on to further justify to your readers…. I’m paying less then what it would cost for a trip to the Caribbean…so that’s interesting…. The guy going to the Caribbean isn’t using points but you are. like I have said and other readers – enjoy your lavish travels, I am going to start reading other blogs where the bloggers actually say thank you once in a while. Where there’s complete disclosure on referral fees.

  • Andrew

    Nice edit… Worked on Wall St from Investment Banker. I believe he was a recruiter. A position like that isn’t nearly as lucrative as other positions on the st. After all, he left it to start a blog….

  • Andrew

    I understand. Fact of the matter is I have a ton more money then TPG but it’s the way he goes about things. Arguing with me that he isn’t living lavishly… Then is he roughing if…
    Then he justifies it…. “”” Umm yea,hi,people call me TPG and um I’m spending the same amount of money as someone traveling to the Caribbean would spend. As we know that is obviously just a guess. He doesn’t seem appreciative to his readers… I once emailed and asked a quick question and he sends me a link to another site where they book my travel for me w my points…. Points Pros or something. So lame… I just think he’s lame. I barely come to this site anymore- half of the stuff is boring and just making sure there’s something new despite how irrelevant the content is.

  • Jake J.

    Andrew! Glad you’re back. You’re right I believe he was a recruiter. My point was more than I’m sure Morgan Stanely gave ole TPG the means to travel. Just seems like we’re slamming success and/or personal experiences here a bit. So many travel blogs out there that are on the frugal-only end. I just don’t see the need for readers to blast it instead of moving on. Seems a bit silly.

  • thepointsguy

    Hey I never got that Tweet- I would have definitely responded! I actually met up with TPG readers today, but as you know internet is spotty here so it must have gotten lost in the shuffle. Hope you enjoyed your stay.

  • thepointsguy

    I flew the long way- Eva via Taipei and then to Singapore, then Singapore to Male on Singapore Airlines- 60k united miles and $24 one way

  • Zach

    I tried to call Conrad to find out what my options were for points and cash at this property and the agent I spoke to said it wasn’t possible. Any tips on how to get that done? Or did I just get an uninformed agent.

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    I don’t recall TPG mentioning anywhere that he would meet anybody for happy hour. I can’t speak for him, but if the gentleman wants to have some private time on vacation, I don’t think he is obligated to meet anybody, just because a people post that they want to meet him.

  • Jake J.

    Andrew would you like to use the ton more money you have to go to the Maldives with me? I have a pretty solid Star Alliance and One World bank. I mean maybe you just want to pay straight cash though. I’ll use my miles and then we can split whatever budget hotel they have. I bet they have a nice Holiday Inn somewhere we can redeem Priority Club for! I like to snorkel.

  • Andrew

    No I’m good. In fact your tone is very creepy, sort of like a sex offender. Always using my name. Exclamation points, etc. My 1K status w 400,000 plus miles and SPG Platinum will not be spending anytime with you. Perhaps TPG might be of interest in a circle jerk with u. Get a life and leave me alone

  • Vishal

    I never said he was obligated to meet anyone. A simple response is all I was expecting. It is moot though since TPG states he never received the invite.

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    Again, I don’t speak for him. but I don’t believe he’s obligated to respond to your tweet, either. I’m sure that no matter how remote the outpost anywhere in the world, there’s bound to be someone who reads this blog…if he responded to and met with everyone who reads his blog, he would never have any downtime for vacation.

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    It just so happens that there are some people who like to splurge when they’re on vacation. Let the man live a little – he deserves it, and he is showing you how he can do the same. If it’s possible to get a $2000 suite for $500, that is something I definitely would want to know about and take advantage of.

    Do you expect everyone to travel the same way you do? If the way he travels isn’t the way you would travel, then don’t travel that way. Problem solved.

    As far as funding his trips with his followers, I’ve never given the guy a red cent, yet I’ve benefited greatly from his information.

  • no2rain

    Unless you have visited the Conrad Maldives you just do not understand how good life can be. Walk out the front door (I prefer the land villas) into the ocan and snorkle with the fish within 50 feet.

    Have visited the Conrad nee Hilton Maldives Rangali Island three times over the last 10 years. Except for the massive devaluation of points it would be very high on my bucket list for another visit but unless things change it will be too expensive to return.

    Enjoy the holiday and the very best staff in the world. Is spite of politics, there is no better place.

    If Karim Shadlou is still the General Manager please give him my regards.

    Alan Nichols

  • Andrew

    “All of this happened because of TPG.” TPG I love you! Cute!

  • Andrew

    trip of a lifetime? How’s that work… You said you’re going to Bora Bora next time. Most would consider that the trip of a lifetime. You have been to Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives… You go on a lot of trips of a lifetime!

  • Andrew

    Dude in the video you said the sea plane flight was over $500… Clearly that’s not on “Miles/Points/Credit card perks.”

  • Andrew

    Then don’t respond to what I say. “we’re” not slamming anything. I am simply commenting on stories as I see fit.

  • Andrew

    Where are you staying for the 6 nights?

  • Dizzy

    Figured out how to get a <24 hr layover on an award ticket between Batumi and Bali (the most obvious connection, obviously ;) Can't wait though I am hoping to find more info on day trips to the Maldives, seems like bathing beaches are limited to hotel islands. PS- Also going to Dubai in a week (mileage run) it would be fun to meet up! I'm checking out a cultural tour at the Sheikh Mohhamed center which looks pretty good and a different perspective. I appreciate your blog because even if I'm a severely (I tend to couch surf more days than pay for ANY sort of accomodation) budget traveler, I've learned a lot here and gotten much inspiration.

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    By the way, Travelhack, you might want to check out this blog…this might be better suited to your travel style. It’s all about how to travel spending the minimal amount possible, sleeping in hostels, camping on the beach, etc.

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/features/travel/columns/frugal_traveler/index.html

  • Stephan

    Andrew, you come off as pretty envious and petty – sad when you have to tell others that you have more cash yourself. Pretty lame as well my friend.

  • Stephan

    Someone learned to use a thesaurus today…spare me the contrived social conscience.

  • Andrew

    Is this your thing? Reading stories form 3-4 days ago and go through and read all the comments? Good thing your staying busy, loser.

  • Jake J.

    I’ve been busy but I’m back! I saw one of your responses got deleted. Weird, right? Terribly sorry if you thought my tazing of you was creepy. I like trolling people who like to judge travel bloggers from their frugal travel throne. The good news it that I doubt TPG will be changing his travel plans around ole Andrew. Don’t go look at the pics of TPG enjoying the Park Hyatt Goa! You’ll hate them! HE MIGHT HAVE UPGRADED!

  • Andrew

    R u dating him? Or just really want his load down your mouth queen?

  • Jake J.

    I’ve actually never met TPG but I’m sure he’s a fun dude. I’m dating a unfortunate young lady that enjoys a good overwater bungalow every now and then. I wasn’t really here to defend TPG but more troll you since I detected a comment section d-bag like you see on the walls of CNN or FoxNews. People usually display their lack of intellect, perspective, or class in the comments section and this has been no different. I like how easy it was to draw you offsides. Didn’t even have to go Peyton Manning hard count. Once you make the leap it lessens the credibility of your all prior opinions that had some validity. So no need to call various people here losers or to get a life. It’s you we feel sorry for. Take care Andrew, and stay classy!

  • Jimmy McNulty

    TPG, as the saying goes: Never argue with a fool. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    You’ve got a lot of fools that read your blog, unfortunately.

    Cheers.

  • Vicky C

    Wow, some people just cannot contain their jealousy!

  • EYang

    Moral equivalency…it might make you feel bette.r but that doesnt make it true. I love how some people quickly try and draw a parallel between any despot nation and the US as if they were equally bad.

  • EYang

    I wonder, where exactly do you go for vacation? And what device are you replying on? I certainly hope it’s not an iphone because you know those are all made on the backs of sweatshop workers at Foxconn.

  • EYang

    Yet here you guys are, supporting the shill. What does that make you? You can always just click away to another site. No one forces you to read his blog. Sue the guy for wanting to travel in style.

  • EYang

    Simple answer: dont read his blog if you dont like it.

  • James Coleman

    If you only go to politically just countries you wont go very far.

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