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Maldives on a Budget: Day Trip to the 5 Star Adaaran Prestige Vadoo Resort

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If you’re like me, when you think of the Maldives, you think of over-water luxury bungalows, crystal clear waters full of sea life, personal butlers, exclusivity and a sky-high price tag to match.

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I’d pretty much resigned myself to the fact that the incredible stunning water and perfect beaches of the Maldives would have to wait until I either:
a) won a blogging contest (very unlikely)
b) won the lottery (more unlikely) or
c) my body was old and wrinkled and I’d saved a lot of money over the many years of my very long life (probably the most unlikely)

Since the odds of any of these things actually happening anytime in the near future were rather slim, you can imagine how excited I was to discover that a trip to the Maldives was not only possible, but also affordable, by visiting one of the local islands.

Even better? We could still get a taste of the Maldives resort island experience on a day trip from our local island, without an exorbitant cost.

From Maafushi, our home base, there were day trips offered to islands ranging from 3-5 stars. The price generally included “admission” to the island, return transport via speedboat, and some combination of food and drink.

The island we chose was the 5 star Adaaran Prestige Vadoo Maldives. For $100 US each, our package included round trip speedboat transfer, “admission” to the island, with access to the beach chairs and pool, towels, snorkelling gear, “unlimited” drinks, and a lunch that included appetizer, entree and dessert.

After a 30 minute speedboat transfer, we arrived at the gates of the resort, and were offered cool towels, a welcome drink and a short orientation. We were given towels and wristbands that signified our status as day-trippers. The island was small, but stunningly beautiful and all but deserted. It really did look like that vacation brochure paradise that I’d always dreamt about.

We parked ourselves on a comfy reclining chair, under a big beach umbrella, and gazed out at a truly astonishing view. Ok, so the drink menu was pretty pathetic, and didn’t include any tropical drinks or cocktails, but the privacy of the beach and the pristine sea more than made up for that.

Or did it?

The rainclouds I spotted in the distance were at first incredibly dramatic and beautiful, but as they drew closer and the wind picked up, they became a little menacing. We waited on the beach, hoping they’d pass us by, but they wound up squarely on top of us, and we had to make a dash for shelter.

That’s when everything went downhill. And I got a taste of how truly boring a resort island is when you can’t access it’s natural beauty properly.

We tried to be upbeat about the turn in weather, after all, it wasn’t the resort’s fault, and decided to have lunch to wait out the rain. The meal was okay, but pretty humdrum. Definitely not 5 star quality. My salad consisted of 1 leaf broken into a few pieces, the pasta sauce was sweet with overcooked shrimp, and the ice cream, was well, ice cream.

No coffee or tea was offered at the end of the meal. Pretty stingy if you ask me.

Unfortunately, the day didn’t get any better after that. It continued to rain and we were confined to the initial lounge we’d first entered. Did I mention that we were only allowed to get drinks at the beach bar? Kind of a problem, when we couldn’t go to the beach because of the pouring rain.

We spent the next 4 hours penned up in the lounge, shivering from the rain and staring out of wet windows. Management had no back-up plan for day-trippers that were rained off the beach, and nothing was offered to our group to make up for the inability to access the beach bar. When I complained and made them aware of the issue, they offered us a pot of coffee, but did not extend the offer to any of the other 10 people in our group.

 
At the very end of the day, the skies finally cleared, and we were able to see a feeding that the resort does every night. This was probably the best part of the whole excursion, but I have my doubts about this practice as well. Sure, it’s great to see sharks, manta rays and huge fish up close, but this isn’t SeaWorld, it’s the Maldives, and these are wild animals. Anyways…

Let’s just say that by the time the speedboat returned to pick us up, I was desperate to get off the gilded cage called Adaaran Prestige Vadoo Maldives and back to Maafushi.

Should you Visit a Resort Island in the Maldives?
In short, no. At least not the Addaran Prestige Vadoo Maldives.

Obviously, I can only speak for our experience at the Adaaran, because it’s the only resort day trip we participated in, but for me, it was a complete waste of $100.

I’m not saying it wasn’t amazingly beautiful. It was. The beach was pristine, the water incredible and the over-water bungalows amazing. At least from a distance. Because we weren’t allowed to even get near one, which I understand.

The problem is, that the beach is pristine, the water is incredible, and I couldn’t get close to an over-water bungalow on Maafushi either.

The rain, while disappointing, wasn’t the biggest problem. No, our visit to Adaaran Prestige was disappointing because of the total lack of preparedness on the part of the resort for it’s day guests. Sure, we didn’t pay a 5 star price, but we still should’ve been treated as viable customers, not second class citizens.

Pretty short sighted.

Because I might not be willing to pay for a 5 star resort in the Maldives today, but I might in the future. And I definitely won’t choose this one.

Visiting a Resort Island on a Daytrip
If you do choose to visit a resort island (and there may be others that provide great value), you can sign up for one through any of the hotels or home stays on your local island. We did a lot of comparison shopping and prices were pretty standard across the board. Make sure you find out exactly what’s included in your package, and what all-inclusive actually means.

We were told we had all-inclusive drinks, and so I started imagining fruity tropical smoothies and fresh coconuts, but instead, we had unlimited drinks from a list of beverages I hardly wanted to drink at all. like Tonic Water with Quinine in it and orange juice out of a bottle.

Orange juice in the Maldives? Of all the drinks in the world, you had to choose this one…?

PIN IT
The Best Things We Ate on our Trip Around the World-2

Have you visited a resort in the Maldives on a day trip? What was your experience like? Would you recommend it? Was it worth the money?

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27 Comments Post a comment
  1. Not on my wish list, but I could do with a trip anywhere! πŸ™‚

    May 31, 2016
    • I think you might be the only person I know who doesn’t have Maldives on their wish list! Pourquoi? It’s pretty isolated solitude…right up your alley, I’d think. :p

      June 1, 2016
      • Basil has successfully converted me into a mountain person. I still love the sea! Hehe! πŸ™‚

        June 1, 2016
  2. TravelDevoted #

    So the other islands are more affordable? I keep seeing pictures of the Maldives and just assumed they were all out of reach for me.

    May 31, 2016
    • Me too! But yes, you can visit any of the local islands independently and affordably. The local ferry is only $2 from Male to Maafushi for example. I wouldn’t put them in backpacker cost category, but you can definitely do it mid-range. I’ve got quite a few posts about our time on Maafushi – you can find them all under the “Maldives” tag, or look under the category on the Asia menu at the top. Lots of info there… you should definitely visit if you get a chance. I can’t wait to go back myself! πŸ˜€

      June 1, 2016
  3. Kind of sad that they did not use the day trip visitors to impress and so gain perhaps later on people who want to use the resort for a week or two…
    Though it started nice for you it must be really a downer that there was zero preparation for something like rain :/

    June 1, 2016
    • Extremely short-sighted I think…and my impression while I was there, was that the local islands were having a serious impact on tourism in the Maldives. After trying out both, I can see why – the resort was beautiful, but no more beautiful than Maafushi…and on Maafushi, I didn’t feel trapped, and could eat for under $10. The food was much better too. Haha. The funniest thing we saw was the sign on Adaaran saying “explore local island.” I can only imagine how much they charge for that!!

      June 1, 2016
  4. Oh wow, Maldives has always been one of those places that I dream of visiting one day before I die, but I’m so sorry to hear that you had a disappointing experience. That was terrible service for a 5-star resort!! Makes it difficult for visitors to know what places to trust…at the least, your post will be helpful for those tourists who are looking to visit.

    June 2, 2016
    • Yes, it was extremely disappointing! Especially after staying on the local island and having such a wonderful time and getting so much value. The thing is that these luxury resorts have always charged insane amounts of money with the argument that goods/services etc…are expensive, but after taking public ferries and eating like the locals, I know that’s not true. The public ferry only costs $2, and you can take a speedboat for $20, so I’m not sure how these resorts get away with charging $150-200 for a 30 minute ride!!!

      June 4, 2016
  5. It looks absolutely gorgeous! I want to go!

    June 2, 2016
    • In the looks department, the resort was definitely a winner. Too bad we were treated like second class citizens and that management was so unprepared for unexpected happenings, like the rain. 😦

      June 4, 2016
  6. What a disappointment! I’ve been so happy to read your posts on seeing the Maldives in a less expensive, more local way, so I think I’d go that route anyway! They all look beautiful beyond belief.

    June 3, 2016
    • Yes, I’d definitely recommend visiting a local island over a resort island. Though it was beautiful, I really felt trapped by my surroundings…and when you find out most of the “butlers” are imported from Sri Lanka/Bangladesh and probably working for slave wages, it gets even harder to enjoy the gilded cage. We were so happy when we got back to Maafushi and found a delicious dinner buffet for just $9. πŸ˜‰

      June 4, 2016
  7. even with the rain it looks gorgeous! The sand and water are amazing! Pity the experience didnt match it

    June 5, 2016
    • It was incredibly gorgeous, that’s for sure…but the local islands are just as gorgeous too, making it hard to justify spending so much money on a resort!

      June 11, 2016
  8. Such a well written post about Maldives! First lines made me laugh out loud! – you kinda read my mind and thoughts about Maldives. After reading your post, Maldives had become not only my (impossible) dream destination. Now I can see it… um, less impossible! πŸ™‚ Thank you for the inspiration! πŸ™‚

    June 14, 2016
    • Aww I’m glad the post helped you to realize that it is possible to visit the Maldives without winning the lottery!! And the best part is that we had way more fun on the cheaper local islands than on the 5 star resort, so it’s a happy situation, isn’t it? πŸ˜€

      June 19, 2016
  9. great post, thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    August 18, 2016
  10. Very nice post congrats !
    Next time you come to Maldives you should definitely try to go for a short cruise on board on a wooden vessel. It is very affordable and it is definitely the best way to discover the real Maldives and visit “off the beaten path” places !
    Kind regards

    October 4, 2016
  11. I loved reading this post!! I know what a bummer it is when it rains on a gorgeous island location like that.. The behavior of the resort management towards its day guests sounds horrible! That is really zero customer service even though the guests were just for a day.. Quite rude from their side and sad I think. And the options in unlimited beverage list sounds pathetic :O Wow that was really a kind of rip-off I think. I will be sure to keep this in mind if I visit a local island in the Maldives in the future. Great to know that there are budget options in Maldives and I am going to check out more posts of yours on the topic!

    November 28, 2016
    • When I was there, I just couldn’t help but thing that they really had no understanding of customer service at all…and they were so short-sighted about the potential business these day-trippers could bring in the future. I think there’s big changes happening in Maldives with the advent of the local islands. When we were visiting, the local islands were getting busier and busier, and the resorts were pretty darn empty. After I visited this one, I could totally see why. That said, other resorts might do a far better job for day-trippers…who knows?

      November 29, 2016
      • I was dreaming about the Maldives all day yesterday after going through your posts! Plus it’s been snowing here in Poland, ha ha. I guess one day I will definitely make it to Maldives, before they sink.

        November 29, 2016
  12. Chau Nguyen #

    They just recommended me to have a day trip to Adaaran Vadoo. Its very helpful your post to give me some idea what should I expect if I choose to go there :). Many thanks,

    December 23, 2016
    • Hi Chau, glad the post was useful to you. Truthfully, if the weather is nice, you might have a great time there…but if I had it all over to do again, I think I’d spend the extra money and go on the day trip to the Anantara Resort. Everyone that came back from there was absolutely raving about it…and I can’t say that anyone that visited Adaaran Vadoo felt the same…

      December 24, 2016

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