Sheraton Maldives Is Now Far Less Appealing for Platinum Members
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A dream destination for just about any frequent traveler, a visit to the Maldives can still be tremendously expensive, even if you're redeeming points for your hotel room and miles for the flight.
Airport transfers are always quite pricey, and paid for in cash, and food and drinks are hit with an outrageous markup, to the point where savvy visitors load up their suitcases with granola bars and other non-perishables, to help tide them over between free meals — breakfast, at most resorts, and an evening happy hour at the Sheraton Maldives. Well, at least until last week.
As readers have shared and multiple hotel representatives have confirmed, the Sheraton Maldives permanently closed its Club Lounge about a week ago, even though it's still listed on the property's website:
The hotel has been informing SPG and Marriott Platinum members with confirmed stays of the closure, stating:
"As per SPG policy, Sheraton Club Lounge access may or may not be provided in the resort based on the local policy, and unfortunately as the closure is started before your check-in date, there will be no alternative service provided. Club Water Bungalow with Pool will be available on the website, however club access will not be available for this room. We would like to clarify that the closure of the Lounge is not relating to the merger with Marriott. As per SPG policy, Sheraton Club Lounge is not a mandatory service that should be provided in all Sheratons worldwide. Should it be closed, there will be no replacement service provided. The closure itself is purely the decision of the Sheraton Maldives management and will affect all guests who were previously entitled to Club access."
This is a huge blow to the resort's appeal, in my opinion — I visited earlier this year, and to put it mildly, I did not enjoy my stay.
While I wasn't at all impressed with the Club Lounge's food selection or quality, having an option to grab a free beer and fresh fruit throughout the day added quite a bit of value for SPG and Marriott Platinum members, who were previously guaranteed access to the lounge.
The hotel has confirmed that the Sheraton Club will not reopen, and Platinum members will not be offered alternative food and beverage options, beyond the free breakfast and 20% restaurant discount that had been available before.
I was puzzled, then, to find that Club Water Bungalows are still listed on the property's website, for $190 more per night (depending on the date).
A call to the hotel revealed that Club Water Bungalow guests will now have access to a happy hour at Kakuni Hut, the resort's beach bar. Between the hours of 5:00pm an 7:00pm, eligible guests will get free snacks and drinks there, in addition to breakfast in the main restaurant or via room service. Neither or these replacement services are available to Platinum members who book regular rooms, though.
If you don't need the tiny pool, available exclusively with the Club Water Bungalow, I'd recommend grabbing a regular Water Bungalow and putting the $190 you'll save toward food and drinks at the property's restaurants, instead.
But ultimately my recommendation would be to stay elsewhere. I love the St. Regis, and while it's considerably more expensive to get there — you'll pay $665 per person for a round-trip seaplane from Male, compared with $136 for the Sheraton — both properties will temporarily cost just 60,000 Marriott points per night once the programs combine on August 18.
The Park Hyatt is another fantastic points option, priced at just 25,000 Hyatt points per night. Hyatt's an instant transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, making the Park Hyatt an especially accessible option if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card.