Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi {MDV}

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Last edit by: Traveler Dave
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Welcome to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi Wiki!
Notes: All prices are in US Dollars and are exclusive of taxes unless specified (by ++)

EXTRA CHARGES TO BE AWARE OF:
• A compulsory Christmas Eve Gala Dinner supplement of US$488++ per adult and US$150++ per child applies for stays on 24 December 2019
• A compulsory New Year's Eve Dinner supplement of US$800++ per adult and US$150++ per child applies for stays on 31 December 2019


Charge Section
1. Yacht transfer: At a mere 22.8km from Male, Ithaafushi originally started charging $378++ per person return but then (and even before the resort opened) went up to $350++ per person PER WAY. That's practically double the price; $1724.80 all up for 2 passengers and almost as much as a single night's stay in a base villa!
• See the story of the resort not allowing guests' own transfer arrangements and leaving a valued Diamond member out in the cold just ONE DAY before check-in! Or read about it here on the forum
Then read probably the best rebuttal to this ridiculous and hypocritical policy

Note that the resort has backtracked from its previous policy (set way before they opened and which all other resorts have) of allowing third party transfers, since they figured they could fleece guests for even more money by literally forcing every guest to take their yacht for the return transfer, not letting third party boats dock nor give them tender from the lagoon boundary (like what happened to BLTraveler above)

• Then, in true Ithaafushi prices-all-over-the-place style, they changed the price knocking $50 off each way, but only for some guests. And we still don't know who this applies to and who it doesn't apply to

2. Should you be unlucky enough to have to pay for breakfast, watch out for the $35 you'll have to fork out for a single egg!
3. A 106,000 dollar bottle of wine: Click here for a picture of the wine menu. Keep reading the next couple of pages to see reactions
4. $135 shisha! Check out this post
5. $64 for a bowl of noodles. Click here for the menu
6. Nearly a thousand dollars for a couple to sit in a bamboo cage on a pole at the restaurant Terra with nothing to look at after sunset
7. Compulsory Christmas Eve Gala Dinner supplement (see above)
8. Compulsory New Year's Eve Dinner supplement (see above)
...and a few corporate-greed-bashing posts for good measure and entertainment value: Click here and here
9. Ridiculously over-priced dinners - we're talking fifty bucks shy of $1000++ per person here (and some even more expensive than that) - at supposedly private and secluded locations. Click here for the list. Click here and here for comments and opinions
...and another corporate-greed-bashing post here


Cost cutting:
• True Waldorf Service Cost Cutting: Check out
this post
• Yasmeen's Set Menu: Check out the many reductions in offerings between the old and new menus in
this post



Tax Information
• 10% Service Charge (levied by resort. For info on this and how it's distributed, see this post)
• 12% T-GST (Tourist Goods & Services Tax, levied by the Maldivian government, current as of Oct 1, 2014)
• Total tax is 23.2%, not 22% as one would think. Example; $100 + 10% = $110, then add 12% on to $110 for a total of $123.20
• • Tip: To work out prices before the 23.2% taxes, multiply by 0.81169, i.e; 123.2 * 0.81169 = 100
• A Green Tax of $6pp/pn (levied by the Maldivian government) has been introduced starting from 1 November 2015. Points/Redemption bookings are exempt from the tax for up to two guests per room
Note: The $8pp/pn Bed Tax (previously levied by the Maldivian government) was abolished on Dec 1, 2014

Transfers To and From Resort
• How: Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi is located in South Malι Atoll, 23km southwest of Malι and Velana International Airport [MLE] (also known as Malι International Airport, previously known as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport)
Private yacht transfer: $350++ per person per way ($1724.80 return inclusive of taxes for 2 passengers). If the yacht is not available, a speedboat will be provided by the resort. If this happens, you may be refunded the yacht transfer fee. See this post for more info
• Doing the dirty: Original quoted price was either $370++ or $378++ per person return but they thought that was too cheap and basically doubled it. Also note that the quoted transfer time on their website is 30 minutes but actual travel time is 40-50 minutes under normal sea conditions
• See this post for a detailed review of the yacht transfer (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• More sneaky business? Probably. Departure from Male to the resort was pretty much straight away but now we could wait up to 90 minutes to depart! Check out this post for a hypothesis


Alternative transfers to the WA and alternative destinations / resorts
• See this post for a success story in booking a very reasonably-priced transfer

• Transfer to / from Conrad Maldives Rangali Island: A private seaplane transfer from the Waldorf to the Conrad, taking approximately 25 minutes, is approximately USD 8,125++


Resort Information / F&B / Spa / Activities
• WA Ithaafushi is made up of three islands (95% man-made)
• The resort has 11 restaurants / bars
• There are 2 standalone OWVs (Over Water Villas) and 121 villas in total
• Click here (Hilton's website) or here (dedicated website) to visit the resort on the web
• The kids club (one of the biggest in the Maldives) is for children between 4 to 11 years. Click here for detailed information and here for the schedule. Click here, here and here for basic reviews and comprehensive sets of pictures (All courtesy of Traveler Dave)
• Click here to visit the resort's listing on TripAdvisor
• Tennis courts: See this post
• For a new map of the resort click here
> For the old map of the resort click here * Note that this map is orientated north and so the SUNRISE and SUNSET written on it are incorrect. Also note that you receive a black and white map when you arrive and this is not as good nor as detailed as the one posted here. For comments on the quality of the map, click here
• Snorkelling spots and other info 3e4sd:Link to post: (Courtesy of AirForceFlyer)
• Scuba Diving pics :Link to post: (Courtesy of Traveler Dave)
• Activities Brochure (prices as of July 2019)
• Spa pics and review :Link to post: (Courtesy of Traveler Dave)
• Wellness Programme :Link to post: (Courtesy of AirForceFlyer)

Resort Information - Menus
• Some restaurant menus are available in PDF format on the resort's website. Click here to visit the relevant page on their website
• For pictures of most of the menus: Part 1 and Part 2
• Dining Programme / restaurant opening times: See this post and the post below it
• IVD (In Villa Dining) menus: See this post
• Yasmeen - Menu version discussion here
• The Ledge - See this post. Note that this menu changes daily but there are probably only 2 for each day and 14 in total (7 for lunch and 7 for dinner)

Miscellaneous Information
• Villa pool depth: See this post
• Best snorkelling spots: See this post and this post
• Complimentary water (in villa): See this post
• Walking / getting around the resort: See this post
• Sunset / Sunrise at the resort: See this post and this post
• Power outlet configuration: See this post


Elite member benefits:

Hilton Honors GOLD MEMBERS:


  • Full breakfast at Tasting Table
  • In-villa VIP welcome Champagne, sweet and savoury amenities
  • Complimentary daily afternoon delights (see here for pic) with a fine selection of beverages crafted by mixologist and sommelier from 16:00 to 17:00 at Peacock Alley
  • 50% special offer on selected beverages at Nava Beach Club from 22:00 to 23:30
Hilton Honors DIAMOND MEMBERS:



  • Full breakfast at Tasting Table
  • In-villa VIP welcome Champagne, sweet and savoury amenities
  • [Diamond only benefit] With a selected 60-minute massage, enjoy a complimentary additional 30-minute at Waldorf Astoria Spa
  • Complimentary daily afternoon delights (see here for pic) with a fine selection of beverages crafted by mixologist and sommelier from 16:00 to 17:00 at Peacock Alley
  • 50% special offer on selected beverages at Nava Beach Club from 22:00 to 23:30

Accommodation:
At opening the resort defined Beach Villas as the lowest category of accommodation (only this category bookable with points). The next highest category was Reef Villas then above that, the Overwater Villas. Note: villas on the Private Island do not count.
This will change in 2020. Quote from the resort "Please be informed that for next year we have changed our villa category. Kindly note that the Reef Villa will be our base category, next will be the Overwater Villa and then the Beach Villa. Basically the Beach Villa will be a higher category compared to reef Villa and Overwater Villa."
See this post for the conversation related to this. Pricing has changed as well to reflect this. See below for 2020 pricing.
Note that as of August 2019 the BV is still available to book on points in 2020. This may change, however.

Prices - Accommodation (2020):

***** March 2020 Figures *****
• Beach Villa USD 2630
• Overwater Villa USD 2430
• Reef Villa USD 1930


Prices - Accommodation (2019):

***** July 2019 Figures *****
• 2 Bedroom Beach Villa with Pool USD 3850
• 2 Bedroom Over Water Villa with Pool USD 4350

***** October 2019 Figures *****
• Beach Villa USD 2100
• Grand Beach Villa USD 2300
• Reef Villa USD 2300
• Grand Reef Villa USD 2500
• Overwater Villa USD 2500
• Grand Overwater Villa USD 2700


***** Upgrade Costs - Jul 2019 *****
• Two Bedroom Beach - US 2000
• Two Bedroom Grand Beach - US 2200
• Two Bedroom Reef - US 2200
• Two Bedroom Overwater - US 2400

***** Upgrade Costs - Oct 2019 *****
• Reef Villa USD 200
• OWV USD 400


Villa Types and Abbreviations used in this thread (listed in order from most basic to most luxurious)

-- BVs (Beach Villas) --

BV (Beach Villa)
GBV (Grand Beach Villa)

-- RVs (Reef Villas) --

RV (Reef Villa, the Garden Villa category shown in the pre-opening promo video)
GRV (Grand Reef Villa, also a type of Garden Villa shown in the pre-opening promo video)

-- OWVs (Over Water Villas) --

OV (Overwater Villa)
GOV (Grand Overwater Villa)
SMR (Stella Maris Residences)

-- Occupancy Information --
See this post for maximum occupancy of each villa type

Villa Selection
• See this post and this post
• Privacy - Beach Villas: For pics, info and opinions, see the following posts; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


Travel & Safety Information
• The Maldives is listed in Category 1 (the highest category) on the
WHO Zika virus classification table. However, don't let that scare you because as of April 13, 2017 there has only been one confirmed case of Zika in the Maldives
• Click here for information related to the single Zika infection in the Maldives (reported in January of that year)


Contact
• General Enquiries: [email protected]
• Reservations Department: [email protected]
• Tel: +960-4000-300


Weather:
Note: since the resort is close to Mahibadhoo (where there is a weather station), I have added this info from the Conrad Maldives thread as both resorts are close by and the weather will be the same as far as forecasts go (MaldivesFreak)
• General info on weather in the Maldives: Link 1 Link 2 (Maldivian government website)
• Recommended Android weather app: eWeather HD. See this post for detailed info on the app, settings, tips and general weather info (Courtesy of MaldivesFreak)
• Want to get an idea about the weather in the month of August? Click here to read a post from a FT member that spends 2 weeks at Rangali during this month (Courtesy of Splotly)


Pictures - Resort under construction:
• January, 2018 :Link to post:
• June, 2018 :Link to post:
• Approx October, 2018 :Link to post:
• January, 2019 :Link to post:

Pictures & Videos - Post-opening:
• General pics of the resort (July, 2019) :Link to post: (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• The Stella Maris exclusive! :Link to post with links to videos: (Courtesy of alanslegal)
• Breakfast buffet at Tasting Table - Post #1 :Link to post: (Courtesy of alanslegal)
• Breakfast buffet at Tasting Table - Post #2 :Link to post: (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• Breakfast buffet at Tasting Table - Post #3 :Link to post: (Courtesy of Traveler Dave)
• Breakfast buffet at Tasting Table - Post #4 :Link to post: (Courtesy of Another Getaway)
• IVD(in villa dining) :Link to post: (Courtesy of Stivelio)
• Terra (views from all 7 'cages') :Link to post: (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• Terra and Family Pool :Link to post with link to video: (Courtesy of alanslegal)
• Reef Villa with sunset view :Link to post: (Courtesy of Stivelio)
• Views in the direction of Male (night & day pics) :Link to post 1: (Courtesy of wekxbrainx) :Link to post 2: (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• Bicycle tour :Link to post:

Reviews:
Review by goldelite8
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Old Aug 9, 19, 7:41 am
  #1861  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: KR
Programs: MR Gold, HH Gold, QR Gold
Posts: 186
Originally Posted by NightFury1 View Post
I feel like I've never seen the CMRI not have award availability, and if I have, it's rare. It's like that resort was built to function as a points sink.
Decent availability for BV but not for WV!
noeatbutgo is offline  
Old Aug 9, 19, 8:11 am
  #1862  
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
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Originally Posted by BLTraveler View Post
[MENTION=674967]
Losses form this experience:
-$614 non refundable transfer
- 2 weekend certs unused that will expire
- One full day in the Maldives staring a phone trying to resolve situation.
This is what shi7s me (about the resort). There are people like you who want to and are able to spend $$$ (at the resort) [ie spent $614 + time + 2 weekend certificates] but because of a BS no 3rd party boats policy on a fake premise, they lost a guest and money.

You know there are some people (here) who think if you complain about the yacht cost, it would best if you stayed home because you can't afford yacht ride you are not the guest that the resort wants - I call this a complete fallacy.

I complained about the yacht cost but at the same time, I suggested people to spend up big (July 5th), worry about the cost later. Deciding how I spend my money, that is called choice. I wonder if there is helicpoter pad because one day I might just want to take a helicopter there or will that ruin other guests privacy.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 8:31 am
  #1863  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: SAN
Posts: 717
Originally Posted by Kilian Zoll View Post
Reading some of the bizarre accounts in this thread we are strongly considering to cancel our stay. It is in April next year so we won't touch it for now -- hopefully these issues will be ironed out over the next six months or so. And perhaps they'll lower the insane transfer cost by then as well...
I have read all, and posted many, on this thread. The only real “bizarre accounts” mentioned are the obvious money grab from the WA boat transfer, masked as a “privacy concern”. And the other being the privacy concerns (from people who have never stayed there) between the suites due low foliage growth.

The later will work itself out shortly (though our room already had ample cover. Too much for me). If someone can’t get over the extortionist requirement of the former, simply don’t go. But if you can, go, and you will have an amazing time.

Just my opinion for anyone reading this thread who is considering going/not going to the WA Maldives...in a nut shell....

TD
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Old Aug 9, 19, 8:47 am
  #1864  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Penang, Malaysia
Programs: OZ *G, HHonors Gold, Aclub Plat
Posts: 952
Originally Posted by NYC_1 View Post
A few more ridiculous experiences last night and this morning and we are ready to leave.
Hope you can share details....
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Old Aug 9, 19, 12:52 pm
  #1865  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,352
Originally Posted by NYC_1 View Post
A few more ridiculous experiences last night and this morning and we are ready to leave.
Yes, please do share.


Originally Posted by BLTraveler View Post
I’m surprise Maldivian Laws allow this kind of restriction since it prevents money from getting to the local economy and instead goes to some foreign corporation.
This would be interesting issue to take up with the government. Probably wouldn't get very far but if more resorts start being this anal then you never know.

Originally Posted by BLTraveler View Post
Update to my situation: After Hilton calling and emailing the resort for about ten hours to try and get the resort to process the refund, the Manager sent me a “generous” offer. Since, I already paid $600 for the nonrefundable transfer to the resort, if I just paid Waldorf an additional $1,100 dollars, they would pick me up/drop off in Male.
Which manager was this? Reservations department I guess.

Originally Posted by BLTraveler View Post
- They said they used to allow 3rd party transfers but guests complained about their “privacy”. Pretty sure this is a lie and guests were instead complaining that they paid 300% more for their transfer.
Yeah like they've been open a month and already getting loads of pushback about the transfer then they come up with this pathetic excuse for an excuse. It's an outright lie. And so is their BS policy because as soon as we see a yacht docked off the shore from today onwards, it's going to put their policy into disputable territory. What we need is a pic / video of a guest coming off a yacht. Feel free to upload, people.

Originally Posted by BLTraveler View Post
- Waldorf said they will look into contacting guests sooner and adding info to the website clearly stating prices and transfer restriction. Good idea, but hopefully it shows up prominently during the booking process on the website and mobile app.
Look into, huh. That's a professional response. How about, maybe "will definitely be contacting all guests 30 days out"
I would be taking this up with Hilton Corporate if I were you. You are entitled to compensation since you received no email from 30 days out (and past the date where you could cancel your reservation) and no reply, aka: confirmation of denial of entry, for 3 days to your email 8 days before stating you were arranging your own transportation. Sue their ahss back in the States.

Last edited by MaldivesFreak; Aug 9, 19 at 1:11 pm
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Old Aug 9, 19, 1:04 pm
  #1866  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,352
Originally Posted by noeatbutgo View Post
Decent availability for BV but not for WV!
That's because they are going to remove / reinstall the WVs in (early?) February and so have taken them from inventory. They're available to book from early April.


Originally Posted by alanslegal View Post
I wonder if there is helicpoter pad because one day I might just want to take a helicopter there or will that ruin other guests privacy.
Don't worry. I'm sure they'll have an excuse ready, under the pretense of privacy, something like "A helicopter is classed as a drone / vertical flying apparatus and therefore not allowed due to privacy concerns expressed by our propaganda department guests"
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Old Aug 9, 19, 1:55 pm
  #1867  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Programs: DL DM; Hilton Diamond; Marriott LT Plat Premier Elite; Long live SPG... f MAR
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Originally Posted by BLTraveler View Post
Other tidbits:
- They said they used to allow 3rd party transfers but guests complained about their “privacy”. Pretty sure this is a lie and guests were instead complaining that they paid 300% more for their transfer.
- Waldorf said they will look into contacting guests sooner and adding info to the website clearly stating prices and transfer restriction. Good idea, but hopefully it shows up prominently during the booking process on the website and mobile app.
Sounds like they admitted changing their policy. They can't change their policy to a mandatory transfer after you make a reservation, and certainly not after the cancellation policy. That's similar to them changing the wording from one way to return, but still honoring the original pricing (which is much more inline with what the market should sustain).

I arrive within the cancellation window and am in the same situation as you. I will not back down on this. The "resort's private yacht" is a complete ripoff. I'm fine paying top dollar for food and things that will add to the enjoyment of my vacation, the pictures of this yacht (and lack of services) in no way make me want to pay that exorbitant fee. At other times I have used resort's transfers, even though they were overpriced compared to 3rd party options, but they weren't overpriced to the tune of $1k. I'll be interested to see if they contact me at all.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 5:20 pm
  #1868  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: SAN
Posts: 717
Originally Posted by hoyt View Post
The "resort's private yacht" is a complete ripoff. I'm fine paying top dollar for food and things that will add to the enjoyment of my vacation, the pictures of this yacht (and lack of services) in no way make me want to pay that exorbitant fee. At other times I have used resort's transfers, even though they were overpriced compared to 3rd party options, but they weren't overpriced to the tune of $1k. I'll be interested to see if they contact me at all.
I was told by a staff member they use 5 different boats for transfers. I presume it is not 5 of the same make/model. Curious if those that have been can report what boat(s) they were on.

We were on a Majesty 70, Ithaafushi Princess. The boat had a lower deck with 3 bedrooms. A middle deck with a dinning room/sitting room and kitchen. And an upper deck.

TD
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Old Aug 9, 19, 5:37 pm
  #1869  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond, IHG Platinum, SPG Gold
Posts: 79
Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak View Post
What a bunch of tosspots. Put it on your blog and rip the shyte out of them.
I intend on doing so when I return home next week. I flew down to the Maldives an evangelical fan of Hilton only to get kicked in the face when I got here. I’m feeling pretty stupid convincing all my friends and coworkers to stay with Hilton..

If anyone has any photos/video they are willing to let me use in my blog post that would greatly be appreciated. Only photos I have are when I flew over the Waldorf to get to the Conrad. I would love to use pictures of how private the resort is, the arrival pier, and all those other random boats floating off shore. Video of those things would be good also. I will provide credit to anyone. Thanks.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 8:43 pm
  #1870  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by Traveler Dave View Post


I was told by a staff member they use 5 different boats for transfers. I presume it is not 5 of the same make/model. Curious if those that have been can report what boat(s) they were on.

We were on a Majesty 70, Ithaafushi Princess. The boat had a lower deck with 3 bedrooms. A middle deck with a dinning room/sitting room and kitchen. And an upper deck.

TD
diving in FT for a long time, first time post.
I will be more interested if WA has 5 level of boat fare. Princess or Prince yacht might be $850 RT/each. King/Queen may be more expensive. But I don't really mind to take people/citizen boat for $250 RT/couple if any.
That's the similar yacht service Conrad bora bora charges, we have great time there for a trial honeymoon back in June and lucky to be in one of the only two beach front villa as a diamond upgrade that we saw eagle ray many times and snorkel with them. There is also a wedding held on the beach in front of our villa that we can see from our villa the poor groom only can wear leaf bottom and naked the upper part sitting under strong sun to see traditional Tahitian dance. We are totally forced to join the wedding free of charge unless we close our blind. The same dance we have to pay $240/couple on Tuesday night buffet.
Anyway, Conrad bora bora experience is really nice and we are on the boat for the next March WA Maldive on our 2nd trial honey moon but have seen recent management disrespect to customer, we are thinking to switch to Conrad but OWV seems to only open in early April?? dilemma !!!.

PS. Any married couple knew how many trial honeymoon you should have to really know future partner "potential" before you sign the contract.
Kimomo is online now  
Old Aug 9, 19, 9:22 pm
  #1871  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 2,621
A couple new (and very negative) reviews of the WA are up on TripAdvisor.
iluvdoco is online now  
Old Aug 9, 19, 9:59 pm
  #1872  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond, IHG Platinum, SPG Gold
Posts: 79
Originally Posted by Kimomo View Post
diving in FT for a long time, first time post.
I will be more interested if WA has 5 level of boat fare. Princess or Prince yacht might be $850 RT/each. King/Queen may be more expensive. But I don't really mind to take people/citizen boat for $250 RT/couple if any.
That's the similar yacht service Conrad bora bora charges, we have great time there for a trial honeymoon back in June and lucky to be in one of the only two beach front villa as a diamond upgrade that we saw eagle ray many times and snorkel with them. There is also a wedding held on the beach in front of our villa that we can see from our villa the poor groom only can wear leaf bottom and naked the upper part sitting under strong sun to see traditional Tahitian dance. We are totally forced to join the wedding free of charge unless we close our blind. The same dance we have to pay $240/couple on Tuesday night buffet.
Anyway, Conrad bora bora experience is really nice and we are on the boat for the next March WA Maldive on our 2nd trial honey moon but have seen recent management disrespect to customer, we are thinking to switch to Conrad but OWV seems to only open in early April?? dilemma !!!.

PS. Any married couple knew how many trial honeymoon you should have to really know future partner "potential" before you sign the contract.
In my experience, upgrading from beach villa to superior water or retreat villa has always been at a reasonable fee ($60 to $150 USD). You can book beach villa and ask hotel about upgrade costs. If they do not provide a good deal you can refund reservation (provided you did not pass the refund date).

I’ve been to Conrad Bora and Conrad Maldives. I prefer the Conrad Maldives over Conrad Bora. However IHG Thalasso Bora was the best hotel I’ve been experienced.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 10:35 pm
  #1873  
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Join Date: May 2012
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I think it is very telling that management is quick to respond to positive reviews on Trip Advisor, but seem to ignore the negative ones.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 11:06 pm
  #1874  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
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Originally Posted by gav0106 View Post
I think it is very telling that management is quick to respond to positive reviews on Trip Advisor, but seem to ignore the negative ones.
Seems to be the only thing they are quick to respond to.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 11:09 pm
  #1875  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: SAN
Posts: 717
Originally Posted by gav0106 View Post
I think it is very telling that management is quick to respond to positive reviews on Trip Advisor, but seem to ignore the negative ones.
I find that pretty standard with most businesses in TripAdvisor. Thank the thanks and ignore the bad press

TD
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