The surprising reason some hotels have their own time zone
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
You know how, when you take a trip to a tropical island, you switch over to island time?
It’s what happens when the service moves a little slower, or you show up a few minutes late to your dinner reservation — but it’s all OK, because you’re moving according to a slower, more relaxed clock. Usually, island time is a much-needed respite from the frenzy of daily life. You’re on vacation, after all, so you should stop and smell the piña coladas.
But some hotels give a whole new meaning to “Island Time” — so much so, they’re quite literally on their own time zone.
One thing’s for sure: You’re definitely going to want to adjust your clocks.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
At Turneffe Island Resort, about 30 miles off the coast of Belize City, a whole extra hour is included with your stay, according to Travel + Leisure. The private island is remote enough to permit the resort to operate according to its own time zone, which gives travelers an extra hour of sunning, snorkeling or diving. The resort is one hour ahead of the capital.
Since most hotels in the Maldives are also on their own private islands — and often miles away from mainland Malé — they frequently operate according to their own rules.
For example, during a recent trip to the Maldives, I stayed at the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort, which is an hour ahead of Maldives Time (MHT). They’re only about 70 miles apart.
The Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa also operates an hour ahead. “To enhance your experience … we have moved our clocks on Villingili Island one hour ahead … [so] you can enjoy an additional hour of daylight,” the resort’s website says.
This is true of many private island resorts in the Maldives. The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort operates on a dedicated “Island Time” so travelers to take advantage of “an extra hour of daylight each day to fully indulge” at the resort. “For all transfers to and from Velana International Airport (MLE) to our resort, our dedicated St. Regis Butlers and professional hosts are well informed of the time conversion and will coordinate all details of your transfers accordingly.”
At least in the Maldives, it’s not hard to find a butler who can remind you to update your clock.
Some resorts have more practical reasons for operating on their own time zones. In fact, in 2015, the entire Mexican state of Quintana Roo (home to Cancun and Cozumel) switched from Central Standard to Eastern Standard Time, following years of pressure from the local government and resort owners. The reasons for the transition were largely economic. According to ABC News, hoteliers expected the extra hour of daylight to translate to travelers spending more time (and money) in restaurants and on excursions, and reduce the use of electricity.
Syncing the time zone to major markets on the East Coast of the U.S. was also meant to boost flights.
So, the next time you decide to switch to Island Time, you may actually need to reset your clocks. Or, better yet, ditch the watch, phone and laptop altogether and simply wake up with the sun (and the breakfast buffet).
Feature image courtesy of Turneffe Island Resort Belize.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees