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.
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:
- won a blogging contest (very unlikely)
- won the lottery (more unlikely) or
- 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 was not only possible, but also affordable, by visiting a Maldives local island, like Maafushi.
Even better? We could still get a taste of the Maldives resort island experience on a day trip from our Maldives local island, without an exorbitant cost.
From Maafushi, our home base, there were Maldives resort day tours 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 US$100 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.
Our Adaaran Prestige Vadoo day trip
After a 30 minute speedboat transfer, we arrived at the gates of the resort for our Adaaran Prestige Vadoo day tour, 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 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.
Rained out of Adaaran Prestige Vadoo’s day trip
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 Adaaran Maldives 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. But I digress…
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 the Adaaran Prestige Vadoo day trip and back to the local Maldives island, Maafushi.
Should you take a Maldives resort day tour?
In short, no. At least not the Adaaran Prestige Vadoo day trip.
Obviously, I can only speak for our experience at the Adaaran Prestige Vadoo because it’s the only Maldives resort day tour 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 can’t get close to an over-water bungalow on the Maldives local island of Maafushi either.
The rain, while disappointing, wasn’t the biggest problem. No, our Adaaran Prestige Vadoo day trip was disappointing because of the total lack of preparedness on the part of the resort for it’s day trippers. 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 if you ask me.
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.
Booking a Maldives resort day tour
If you do choose to visit a Maldives resort on a day tour (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 Maldives 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.
Have you taken a Maldives resort day tour? What was your experience like? Was it worth the money?
Did you find this Adaaran Prestige Vadoo’s day trip review helpful? PIN IT!
Is it allowed to walk on the walkway, between the houses, for the guests not staying there? Meaning, did you had full resort facilities (outside only)?
Hi Sorin, when we visited, we were not allowed to access the walkway where the hotel guests were staying. You can stand in front of it, like we did, but not walk between the houses. It may have changed since then (we were there in 2015) … maybe ask before you book if it’s important to you?
Oh drats. I was considering a day pass to this resort, but it looks like even something as basic as their f&b was disappointing :/ Any recommendations about other resorts that might offer a better experience?
Hey Amanda, if you read some of the later comments on the post – it seems like they’ve changed things, and someone had a great experience there. If you’re still concerned, maybe check out the Anantara? It’s a little more expensive I think, but everyone that came back from there was super impressed. It worked on a different system – they just gave a certain credit amount to use as you wish while there, instead of providing specific things I believe…
I visited Adaaran Prestige Vadoo. It was wonderful! Perfect weather in September and just a few other people. I had 9 or 10 beer at the beach bar and 2 oder 3 whisky coke and also wine. The buffet at the beach was wonderful and later we got cake and ice cream. If I would pay this kind of drinks and food at the floating bar in Maafushi (the only possibility to have alcoholic drinks at Maafushi), then I would pay more than 100 dollar. It was a perfect day at a wonderful paradise island. The best day in Maldives!
Woah – it sounds like they’ve changed things a lot since we were there back in 2015. I’m glad they’ve learned better how to deal with daytrippers, because our experience was honestly pretty awful. There was no buffet on the beach, no cake, no ice cream, not even coffee available – I wish I’d had the same experience as you, because the resort was truly beautiful! 🙂
Hello Mrs., Shelley. Wanted to ask your advice I’m travelling to MAAFUSHI on October 5th as a solo traveller. I found an hotel by booking.com a price of 30usd per night. My budget is 800usd for the whole trip 5days and 4night you think its enough?
Thanks in Advance.
Hey Rii sorry for the late reply! I’ve been traveling and it’s difficult to keep up with comments on the road. So you’re probably already there, and have discovered that 800 is plenty of money. Eat the buffet at arena beach for $10 and at hot bites…good value and tasty!!! Are u loving it there?? So beautiful right?!!
Red Nomad OZ
Haha, that’s the kind of experience that REALLY makes you remember a place, huh?! I’ve always wanted to visit the Maldives but like you, thought it’d be too expensive! Now I see what you can get for a mere $100, and I think I’ll wait for the lottery/blog contest/old & wrinkly option instead!! But weirdly, the Maldives still look beautiful in the rain, although I totally get you might not see it that way!
Ohhh, the Maldives was so incredibly beautiful…I was not disappointed at all…except for this day trip to the resort island. Ugh. Such a waste of money…on Maafushi we were spending $100 per day for BOTH of us, and getting a whole lot more, and not even doing it cheap since we were on a babymoon. Just make sure you stay on a local island if you visit!! 🙂
Hi Shelley, I’m visiting Adaaran Vadoo. I’m just staying there for 1 day but concerned about the cost of transfer. I’ll share my experience here after I come back in about 2 weeks time.
Hi Elice, I hope you have a better experience there than we did (meaning hope it doesn’t rain!!) I think you can get there cheaply by shared speedboat (around $20) – just ask around once you get to Male.
Hello you said that you paid $100 to come to the Adaaran Vadoo, did you just come to the resort and paid $100? or did you bought them from some travel sites? Thanks for your post btw! 🙂
Hi Veronica, we arranged our tour on the local island we were staying on – Maafushi – paid to the tour company. The price included speedboat transport to and from Adaaran Vadoo, so I’m not sure how it would work to just show up at the resort.
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,
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…
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!
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?
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.
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 !
Thanks for the info. I do sincerely hope we’ll be able to visit again one day soon. 🙂
francis and anna
great post, thanks for sharing 🙂
Glad you enjoyed. 🙂 Are you visiting Maldives?
francis and anna
Thank you. Yes it is in our bucket list 🙂
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! 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration! 🙂
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? 😀
even with the rain it looks gorgeous! The sand and water are amazing! Pity the experience didnt match it
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!
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.
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. 😉
It looks absolutely gorgeous! I want to go!
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. 🙁
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.
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!!!
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 :/
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!!
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.
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! 😀
Not on my wish list, but I could do with a trip anywhere! 🙂
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
Basil has successfully converted me into a mountain person. I still love the sea! Hehe! 🙂