Old Jul 7, 19, 6:22 am
  #1434  
jphripjah
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LAS
Programs: Hilton Diamond, IHG Spire Ambassador, Radisson Gold, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 2,851
I figured I would do a quick review of one of the most talked about aspects of staying at Waldrof Astoria Ithaafushi, the yacht transfer. One of the reasons we’ve talked about it so much is that the cost is $350++ per person each way, which is higher than many poster here familiar with then Maldives believe is warranted for a boat transfer under one hour in duration.


My girlfriend and I landed at Male airport, and all passengers got off the plane and walked across the tarmac to immigration. Immigration lines weren’t long at all (under 5 minutes) but it’s not a bad idea to walk fast across the tarmac to get ahead of other passengers on your plane.


We were greeted by a guy holding a Waldorf Astoria sign who offered to take our luggage and told us we he was waiting for two other guests from a flight that had just landed. He gushed over me being a Diamond member and offered us a Wifi hotspot password. There didn’t appear to be free public wifi in the arrivals area.


The WA staff guy apologized that they don’t have a Waldorf Astoria lounge and said that in 2023 when the new airport opens they will use the “Aston Martin lounge.” He said that they are working on getting temporary lounge space until then.


He directed us to the airport’s “Coffee Club” restaurant and said we were welcome to have a coffee, which I assume WA would have paid for.


As we only had a few minutes to wait we sat down in the regular terminal waiting area and about 5 minutes later we were told the other passengers, two Chinese ladies, had arrived and it was time to go to the yacht. The yacht pulls up RIGHT outside the airport terminal, I’ve walked further to get a taxi at some airports. There were more WA staff out by the yacht, one of whom also gushed about my Diamond status.



Total elapsed time from us walking into the arrivals hall and us getting on the yacht and the yacht departing was roughly 25 minutes. The yacht ride is billed as 40 minutes long but actually look a bit over 50 minutes to arrive at the resort. So door to door, from stepping into the arrivals hall to arriving at the resort, was under 75 minutes.




This is much shorter than our two prior experiences with Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, where it took 1.5 - 2 hours from entering arrivals hall to taking off in the seaplane, including the drive to the seaplane terminal, and then the flight takes an hour (or an hour and a half if the plane stops at another resort en route).


WA has four yachts transferring passengers back and forth, day and night. I expect the departures from resort to Male airport will also be more seamless than at Conrad, where guests sometimes complain about being checked out earlier than necessary and then waiting at reception for the seaplane arrival, or of having to rush through the airport if they’re on a seaplane that arrives at the airport too close to their departure time.


Anyway, the yacht is nice, I’m not a boat guy, so I don’t know how nice it is. My “personal concierge” was on the yacht, the personal concierge for the two Chinese ladies ( a Mandarin speaker) was not.

My concierge — after effusively gushing about my Diamond status — offered us something to drink from the galley/bar he was manning. I asked what they had, and he said Coke, Sprite, and espresso. So I’m guessing there’s no alcohol available on the yacht. I asked him if he had ice for the Coke on this luxury yacht, he confirmed that of course he did, and then a minute later sheepishly admitted that there was no ice.


There was a plate out with mini sandwiches (tuna or cheese) and fruit.




The concierge explained that they don’t consolidate guests from different flights on the same yacht, when your fight arrives your yacht departs. But then he said something about consolidating guests when their flights arrive a few minutes apart. I don’t think the two Chinese ladies were on our flight, I think they were on a flight from Singapore or Beijing that landed at about the same time.


He also explained that they have hired and are training “yacht lady concierges” so that in the future the resort personal concierges won’t do the yacht trips, the yacht concierges will take care of you on the yacht and then hand you off to your personal concierge when you arrive at the resort.


The yacht ride isn’t terribly scenic. Male is kind of ugly, like most port cities. You pass a lot of under construction resorts. We could only see out the front or back of the yacht because the curtains on the side windows were pulled down the whole time, maybe to keep the yacht cooler. It looks like there’s a toilet on board though I didn’t use it.




We could sit outside by the back of the yacht or walk up to the top where the “captain” drives it.





After about 22 minutes we passed Vadhoo resort on the right and the ugly backside of the still under construction Curio and Hard Rock resorts on the right.

After a little over 50 minutes at sea we arrived at Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi, greeted by five or staff members waving to us as the boat approached. Not waving in a casual or friendly or natural way, but overenthusiastic waving and smiling for a prolonged duration like the way North Korean citizens might wave at a passing motorcade of Kim Jong Un, if they know what’s good for them.





Then we stepped off the yacht and all the staff standing on the deck burst into applause as if they’ve never seen anyone pay $350+ for a fifty minute boat ride before.

The end.
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