Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi {MDV}

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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 Jun 13, 19, 4:18 pm
  #1036  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: Bonvoy Plat
Posts: 151
Originally Posted by WorldTravl View Post
From everything so far, the Grand Villas in each category doesn't have any advantages over the normal ones. They all looked scattered. Something that I find weird is the set up of several 2,3 bedroom beach villas. About 4 of them are placed right next to the arrival pier, which is odd because that area is the least private.
I suppose the resort could be thinking that people staying in the 2-3 bedroom villas are likely families with kids who may value privacy less than couples on a romantic getaway.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 6:04 am
  #1037  
 
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For those who might be considering a speed boat transfer as an alternative to the $1800 + Waldorf yacht transfer for two.

I received an offer from the website Getmyboat. The fee for a one way transfer is $150 plus $11 service fee for a total of $161.00 USD.
My contact is Musthafa Moosa who provided contact details including a What's app number and e-mail. He has been very responsive to questions and concerns.

I booked a one way from the airport to the resort. I plan to wait to book the return since our trip is not to November. The refund policy allows a 100% refund up to 5 days prior to the trip.
It all comes down to cost vs benefit. Is it worth the extra anxiety of a missed or disrupted transfer after flying for 14 hours for a significant cost savings that could be used for food and activities at the resort? Time and reviews will tell the answer.

Below is some information and a picture of the boat. I was concerned about the "20-24 tourist at a time" comment thinking that the trip was shared but Musthafa stated that the trip was personalized and only for the two of us.

Mr. Moosa stated "As you have requested, The new Waldorf-Astoria trip can be organized by a
gulf speed boat, which will be accommodated 20 - 24 tourist at a time which
will be accompanied by a captain and 2 crews. Each trip will be 1 hour and
the boat will provide a water bottle for each tourist. I will attach the
boat picture which will be used for this trip. Our sea's and weather are
normal all round year and our speed boats are maintained weekly for any
emergency situation".
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Last edited by Moflav; Jun 14, 19 at 7:26 am Reason: Adding a price change
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Old Jun 14, 19, 6:15 am
  #1038  
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Originally Posted by sydneyflyer12 View Post
I suppose the resort could be thinking that people staying in the 2-3 bedroom villas are likely families with kids who may value privacy less than couples on a romantic getaway.
And/ or are larger Middle Eastern families who are likely to be less difficult about details when booking and less into outdoor walking outside of air conditioning.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 11:51 am
  #1039  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Originally Posted by htran88 View Post
atoll transfers hasn't gotten back to me after reaching out to them twice...anyone know of a better company?
Not sure if this is the same company, but I snapped a shot at the MLE ferry harbor last week:

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Old Jun 14, 19, 12:17 pm
  #1040  
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I don’t want to come across as negative, but attempting to save money by using a different yacht provider to the hotel sounds like the kind of thing which inevitably is going to end up being a horrible mistake for someone. For one thing, I’d read their terms of delayed flights very carefully.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 12:49 pm
  #1041  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete View Post
I don’t want to come across as negative, but attempting to save money by using a different yacht provider to the hotel sounds like the kind of thing which inevitably is going to end up being a horrible mistake for someone. For one thing, I’d read their terms of delayed flights very carefully.
It's the departure flight I'd be most concerned about.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 1:14 pm
  #1042  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete View Post
I don’t want to come across as negative, but attempting to save money by using a different yacht provider to the hotel sounds like the kind of thing which inevitably is going to end up being a horrible mistake for someone. For one thing, I’d read their terms of delayed flights very carefully.
I am hoping for the transfer to get cheaper. What makes me somewhat mad is that it is 700RT + 23.2%. I would be fine paying 700 inclusive of tax and service charge. Heck! I would pay 700 inclusive of tax. But for them to add a "service charge" on top of it, seems to take it a little to far. I understand this is for their employees but seriously they are getting quality labor for cheap.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 1:40 pm
  #1043  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,359
It's a service.....for which they are required, by Hilton, to add a service charge to. If they only added service charges to some of their services, for which their staff have to perform work to do, then the staff would revolt and half of them would quit immediately and the other half would go on strike.....then you'd have no-one to captain the boat to go pick you up.

Anyway, I've got an how you can get it cheaper. Why don't you finish the website for them, you know, the ITHAAFSUHI one, and then they'll give you at least 50% off, maybe even comp the transfer entirely!

Last edited by MaldivesFreak; Jun 14, 19 at 1:45 pm
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Old Jun 14, 19, 2:02 pm
  #1044  
 
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Originally Posted by sam_goh View Post
Not sure if this is the same company, but I snapped a shot at the MLE ferry harbor last week:

Shame they missed the capital letter of the most important word on there, LOL.

Anyway, AFAIK (and as far as transportation services go) they were ferry operators until recently. They've obviously decided to get in on the action thanks to the Waldorf Astoria breaking new ground and making everyone run for cover and think of how to spend their close to $900pp on something worth $900.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 6:09 pm
  #1045  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak View Post
It's a service.....for which they are required, by Hilton, to add a service charge to. If they only added service charges to some of their services, for which their staff have to perform work to do, then the staff would revolt and half of them would quit immediately and the other half would go on strike.....then you'd have no-one to captain the boat to go pick you up.

Anyway, I've got an how you can get it cheaper. Why don't you finish the website for them, you know, the ITHAAFSUHI one, and then they'll give you at least 50% off, maybe even comp the transfer entirely!
I mean like they should drop the actually price down so it is exactly 350 each way, including both tax and service fees. Doing the math 700COST + 23.2% = $862.4pp *10(Just say ten people go in and out so ten rt completed in a day) = $8624 a day*30(1 Month) = 252,720 a month*10%("Service Charge") = 25,272/(4 crew per boat) = $6314 per person a month

Well $6314 a month for a worker in the Maldives is alot (Near $70,000 a year).
Even if there were eight people working on the boat it would be over 3000$ a month. Which is on the high end for resorts in the Maldives.
So where does the money go.... Hmmmmm
I'm only pointing this out to show how sad this "Service charge" is. Services charges should be used for tips, not to support salaries.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 1:16 am
  #1046  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 565
Maldives was replete with corruption going all the way to the president. Not sure about the situation now. Youtube has an interesting documentrary on what was (and possibly still is) going on there.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 1:36 am
  #1047  
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Originally Posted by WorldTravl View Post
I'm only pointing this out to show how sad this "Service charge" is. Services charges should be used for tips, not to support salaries.
Isn't that a bit of a US-centric view of the world? Tipping only exists in the Maldives in as much as American tourists bring it...
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Old Jun 15, 19, 7:30 am
  #1048  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Correction; ...American tourists and American companies bring it...
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Old Jun 15, 19, 10:37 am
  #1049  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Originally Posted by WorldTravl View Post
I am hoping for the transfer to get cheaper. What makes me somewhat mad is that it is 700RT + 23.2%.
They have no reason to lower the price as long as people keep paying it.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 10:59 am
  #1050  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak View Post
Correction; ...American tourists and American companies bring it...
So true. I remember seeing this the first time 6 years ago at Hilton Conrad Dalian and wondering w.t.f it was, actually arguing with the restaurant manager about it. Speaking of this, I completely forgot about these stupid a.s.s service charges. Is there going to be a raping 10%+ service charge on top of the even ridiculous 23.2% Maldives tax? I hadn't budgeted anything over the 23%+ tax on my $2500 food bill being mostly dinner & occasional lunch for a mere 7 days. IIRC, when you calculate the service charge, it's calculated inclusive of the taxes... but I may be mistaken on that part. I emphasize, we don't even pay that % with the service charge in Tokyo.
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Last edited by scwam; Jun 15, 19 at 11:21 am
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