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 - BE AWARE FOLKS!
• 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
This lamb to the slaughter approach will force a couple to cough up an extra $3176.63, or a family of 4 (2 adults & 2 kids) $3915.83, if you want to celebrate Xmas and New Years here


The following section is a pisstake and a warning all rolled into one. Be prepared to be shocked and fleeced, all at the same time.....

The 'Price-Gouging, Dirty Trick & Sneaky Sneaky' 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

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 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 30, 19, 9:21 am
  #1246  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Programs: HH Diamond, BAEC
Posts: 1,304
I don’t drink wine so just have water but I love Voss. And the Voss is $2 cheaper at the WA than CR, LOL.

Well tomorrow is the big day for the WA opening, I guess we just wait and see what happens.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 9:52 am
  #1247  
 
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Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak View Post
From $15++ to $30++ depending on the location.
An entree is closer to $35++ to $75++ at one of the bars and $45++ to $90++ at the restaurants at CMR. There aren't any entrees anywhere on the resort that I remember in the $15++ to $30++ range. You might be able to find a chicken dish at Ufaa for $29++, but then you have to pay $12++ or so for the steamed white rice that goes with it.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 9:58 am
  #1248  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: SAN
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But
Originally Posted by Michael19887 View Post
I spent a lot of time looking at the menus. I don't think the food costs at WA is that much outrageously higher than our last trip to CMR. Seems to be a $10 or $15 premium for comparable dishes at the WA vs. CMR. I look forwarding to hearing reports if the quality of the food offsets the premium. Beer prices are comparable, and the selection at WA is much better (tons of craft beer options under $20 at WA if that's your thing - no craft beers at CMR). Pool cocktail menu appears the same price within a couple of dollars between the resorts. Wine at WA is ridiculous - who would pay those prices?
Michael

After a closer look I think I agree with you....money out of pocket-wise....

An overpriced meal at Conrad may be $40 with a similar meal being $60 at WA. With a 50% increase, this is obviously excessive for the same food. But it is still just $20.

Of course, after 9 days with 2 adults/1 child that % difference will add up. But financially (money spent) will not be enough for me to notice, especially when you consider the overall trip cost.

My hope is that the food will be amazing and I actually taste the extra $20 per meal. My first trip to Maldives, but have been to 7 resorts in Bora Bora. I found the food generally priced equally to Conrad Maldives (from blog reports). Only 1 of those resorts had food worthy of the prices they were asking. I would have gladly paid $20, per plate, more for every dinner to have been “wowed”. I am in no way a foodie. I just like good food.

On the the flip side, if the food is comparable to the mediocre food I have previously experienced 50% more per meal will blow.

To the chef’s at Waldorf Maldives, please make us appreciate why we are paying so much more for food!

TD



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Last edited by Traveler Dave; Jun 30, 19 at 10:15 am
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Old Jun 30, 19, 10:19 am
  #1249  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: SAN
Posts: 694
Three hours til July 1st in Male.

Anyone think they will release a new/improved website in 3 hours? The current website has slowly been updated over the last 30 days. But still feels very fragmented/incomplete. That could just be my perception as I have been looking at it for several months.

TD
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Old Jun 30, 19, 10:41 am
  #1250  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 91
I took a look at saii lagoon rates. They are really low : 650 for an overwater in high season (Early April). Two bedroom overwater is only 1700. The rooms and lagoon there seem to be very nice. Especially because half of the overwater villas face away from male. The lagoon at the saii/hardrock/crossroads complex looks amazing. Much more of that shallow clear blue water, that you get at the Conrad. I might change, and pay 1300 a night, for two overwater villas . I booked a room at the WA for three people, with 400$ upgrade. Food and activities (for 3) at the WA looks like it's going to cost over 1200$ a day. Which including the upgrade makes my ten night stay $17,000.

Waldorf Astoria

Saii Lagoon (Bottom) Hard Rock (Top)
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Old Jun 30, 19, 10:47 am
  #1251  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 91
Originally Posted by Traveler Dave View Post
Three hours til July 1st in Male.

Anyone think they will release a new/improved website in 3 hours? The current website has slowly been updated over the last 30 days. But still feels very fragmented/incomplete. That could just be my perception as I have been looking at it for several months.

TD
To me it is interesting that they haven't made a new website yet . Saii Lagoon has made theres. They even have 360 tours of rooms!.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 10:47 am
  #1252  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: SAN
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Last edited by Traveler Dave; Jun 30, 19 at 10:54 am
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Old Jun 30, 19, 10:59 am
  #1253  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: SAN
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Old Jun 30, 19, 1:00 pm
  #1254  
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There is some seriously odd pricing in that link. Some surprisingly good deals ($30 for snorkelling for an hour? - Presumably with someone?) but also some odd ones. $180 for two dives, but $2,450 if you want to go private.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 1:03 pm
  #1255  
 
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That photography package is mental. I'll take 500 high res shots of any couple for 2 hours whilst I'm there for $250 if anyone is interested.

Which will probably buy me enough water to stay hydrated for those two hours...
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Old Jun 30, 19, 1:12 pm
  #1256  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Originally Posted by Michael19887 View Post
Wine at WA is ridiculous - who would pay those prices?
Part of the resort's market is people for whom money really isn't an object. So the answer to your question is "people for whom money isn't really an object".

I think it's one of those, "if you're appalled by these prices, you're obviously not in the target demographic" things.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 1:36 pm
  #1257  
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Originally Posted by Wozza2404 View Post
That photography package is mental. I'll take 500 high res shots of any couple for 2 hours whilst I'm there for $250 if anyone is interested.

Which will probably buy me enough water to stay hydrated for those two hours...
I think that’s actually relatively standard pricing for super resorts - I seem to remember the St Regis Bora Bora actually being quite a bit higher actually.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 2:56 pm
  #1258  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete View Post


I think that’s actually relatively standard pricing for super resorts - I seem to remember the St Regis Bora Bora actually being quite a bit higher actually.
We have never done a “picture package” on any of our trips. Thought it seemed odd. But with my daughter getting older I can see why people would do this. We prefer candid vacation shots, but a nice family photo professional done while on holiday does seem like a nice thing to do. Maybe old age is creeping in.

The price is “cheap” in comparison to other resort pricing I have seen. Yes, much more expensive than going to Olin Mills at Sears....but I think the product will be heads above.

TD
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Old Jun 30, 19, 3:06 pm
  #1259  
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The results of these photoshoots (assuming they have a good photographer) are actually pretty spectacular - much better than anyone would do as an amateur unless you're the kind of person who enjoys doing their own post-editing in Photoshop. In Bora Bora I thought it was worthwhile especially for younger American couples who might be on their honeymoon but who in any case had 30+ years of work ahead of them with only a couple of international holidays a year.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 5:46 pm
  #1260  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
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Originally Posted by NightFury1 View Post
Thanks for the menu!

I get that that these prices are inflated but... who would pay this??


I am intrigued on the thought process of getting to this price. Surely they thought "We'd be giving it away at $86,140 and we no one in their right mind would pay $86,150 so lets go $86,144 and see how many takers we get".
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