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?
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