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 Jul 6, 19, 2:06 am
  #1411  
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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OK folks I am tuning out for now, there's a few more FT'ers arriving in the next week or so it's best I do not spoil it too much for them. And plus I am going to relax, relax and relax.

Anyone want to check out my IG (not much there yet)

https://www.instagram.com/alan_l_chu/
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Old Jul 6, 19, 10:59 am
  #1412  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by Kilian Zoll View Post
The fact that you can see the next door villa makes this look a bit like a suburban residential street instead of a Maldives resort. Hopefully the greenery behind will grow tall enough to provide proper partition between the villas.
Good God, the MaldivesWillFreak when she sees that’s....
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Old Jul 6, 19, 5:46 pm
  #1413  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 97
Originally Posted by Splotly View Post


Good God, the MaldivesWillFreak when she sees that’s....
Rip
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Old Jul 6, 19, 7:40 pm
  #1414  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 2,632
When will we be getting updates from the other FTers there?
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Old Jul 6, 19, 8:59 pm
  #1415  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LAS
Programs: Hilton Diamond, IHG Spire Ambassador, Radisson Gold, Hyatt Discoverist
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Originally Posted by iluvdoco View Post
When will we be getting updates from the other FTers there?

I'll start with some tidbits and odds and ends. Things I have seen and heard since arriving. I'll post some proper reviews with photos later.

  • If you look at the map above, you can see an island in the bottom left with Amber and Glow and the villas numbered in the 200s. The villas on this island are not yet opened, they will open August 1. The restaurants and facilities are open.
  • The resort was 80% full earlier this week but yesterday a staff member told me it is currently at 35% occupancy. They expect to be busier in August. I guess a lot of people stayed for about 5 nights July 1-5 and a lot of the first visitors were Hilton corporate folks.
  • I'm hearing more American voices around than I'm used to at Conrad, they may be Hilton people who are visiting/working here for the opening but also staying here and dining in the evening.
  • They have cabanas along the beach near Nava Beach Club that can be rented for $100 for the day which includes an $80 credit at Nava Beach Club
  • I was informed that all guests get a complimentary one hour photo shoot from the professional photographers on site at Shutterfly including ten (digital?) photos. The iPad in my room that has info about the resort says complimentary 45 minute photo shoot with one 5 x 7 photo.
  • The King Beach Villas (available for standard points award) are 208, 216, 220, 213, 601, 605, 609, 612, 613, 618, 622, 623, 625, and 628.
  • If you look at the map above, it says Sunrise at top of map and sunset at bottom of map. I'm not an astronomer but I think that's inaccurate. If I were drawing the map, I would draw a line above the circled three to the top right part of the map and write "Sunrise" there. And I would write Sunset more or less above the Spa and Wellness Center on the left side of the map
  • The beach villas are quite impressive, particularly with the huge deck and the amount of outdoor space with a swinging bench, day bed, four person table, two person table loungers in the pool, and two other chairs. There's outdoor seating for 14 people. I think giving people a view of the beach and ocean from their decks is preferable to the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island set up where you can't see the beach or water from your beach villa or deck, though I appreciate that it's a little less private, in that it's very possible that someone out in the water or walking along the beach could see you on your deck. I think I only saw one guy briefly walk by yesterday.
  • I'm seeing and hearing more sea planes and seeing and hearing more shipping/boating traffic than I expected.
  • If you look at the map above, note that Terra appears very close to and may overlook the block of employee staff quarters. I won't be dining there and having seen the "nests" in person I don't feel like I'm missing out
  • My dinner bill last night itemized the price of items, gave a subtotal then listed "Tip . . . . $0.00," the amount of tax, the amount of service charge, and then it gave a "grand total" before providing the lines to fill in room number, gratuity amount, and signature. I don't think I've ever seen a hotel print "Tip $0.00" on my dinner bill before. This strongly suggests that the resort does not consider the "service charge" to be a tip for staff. You may have just paid a $20 service charge on your meal, but you haven't tipped, that's the message I got. It makes me wonder where the service charge goes.
  • There are supposedly 11 restaurants but only 4 or so are open for dinner each night, so you have to plan accordingly, which is a little tricky as the resort doesn't yet publish a schedule of which restaurants are open each night. You're kind of expected to ask your concierge every morning what's open for dinner tonight.
  • I understand that dinner reservations are essential except at Tasting Table, Peacock Alley (which only does Tapas in the evening) and Nava Beach Club (which is a casual place serving pizzas and whatnot until 5 p.m. and then after that it's drinks only but you can also order room service to there)
  • There's more interaction with your "personal concierge" than at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. My experience there was that I would see him or her only when I arrived and when I checked out and then occasionally talk on the phone to make dinner reservations and/or perhaps spontaneously bump into them when out and about at the resort. Here, your personal concierge arrives whenever you call the buggy.

Last edited by jphripjah; Jul 9, 19 at 5:56 am
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Old Jul 6, 19, 9:13 pm
  #1416  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 2,632
Originally Posted by jphripjah View Post
I'll start with some tidbits and odds and ends. Things I have seen and heard since arriving. I'll post some proper reviews with photos later.
Fantastic summary! Thank you.

A little surprised Terra is situated so closely to the staff buildings, and does not have a better sunset orientation.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 9:29 pm
  #1417  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 631

In room dining on our RV deck
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Old Jul 6, 19, 9:36 pm
  #1418  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Originally Posted by Splotly View Post
Good God, the MaldivesWillFreak when she sees that’s....
He, thank you very much!
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Old Jul 6, 19, 9:43 pm
  #1419  
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@jphripjah and @stvielio and anyone else here at the resort; we will be at Peacock Alley for afternoon tea later, likely wearing grey t shirt and pink florally shorts .... come pop by and say hi (and talk about this resort and what not) ... otherwise it is all good
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Old Jul 6, 19, 9:49 pm
  #1420  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by Stivelio View Post
In room dining on our RV deck
What are those lights in the distance?
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Old Jul 6, 19, 10:24 pm
  #1421  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 97
@stvielio I like the Maldives because of its nice clear water .I am wondering if you think that the extent of clear shallow water near the reef villas is just right or maybe too small.


Thanks!
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Old Jul 6, 19, 11:53 pm
  #1422  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LAS
Programs: Hilton Diamond, IHG Spire Ambassador, Radisson Gold, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 2,907
I just experienced the breakfast and while I am not a "foodie" I can't see how any reasonable person would be disappointed by the breakfast offering. It's a good sized buffet with menu items cooked to order as well, 8 types cheese, 12 kinds of fruit, a large assortment of pastries, and plenty of bacon, potatoes, noodles, and salad, all served in pleasant surroundings close to the clear blue/green of the lagoon.

You can sit inside in pleasant full air conditioned environment or outside by the beach. It's better than Atoll Market at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, in that it's more upscale and you're not in the midst of the water sports area.

Actually, the first thing I noticed was the size of the plates. They are huge. It's a well known strategy in Las Vegas buffets that if you stock the buffet with smaller plates, people eat less and waste less food. These plates were at least 12 inches in diameter.


It's a very nice set up, here are some photos, keep in mind I'm a terrible photographer.




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Old Jul 7, 19, 3:00 am
  #1423  
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Stella Maris residence

Ok folks,

We managed to get a sneaky visit to one of the two freestanding Stella Maris Residence today, still under construction, but here's us arriving. The unedited residence tour will be later shortly so sorry for the teaser

https://youtu.be/T3NXJud-x1g
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Old Jul 7, 19, 3:02 am
  #1424  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 97
Originally Posted by jphripjah View Post
  • If you look at the map above, it says Sunrise at top of map and sunset at bottom of map. I'm not an astronomer but I think that's inaccurate. If I were drawing the map, I would draw a line above the circled three to the top right part of the map and write "Sunrise" there. And I would write Sunset more or less above the Spa and Wellness Center on the left side of the map
So they ....ed up by nearly 90 degrees...?

And also, for the stayers, what is your food and excursions budget for the trip excluding the upgrade?

Im thinking roughly 3k (2k for food and 1k for excursions) but looking at the menu I’m not sure if that’s going to be enough for a couple for 5 nights. What do you think of my budget?

Last edited by NightFury1; Jul 7, 19 at 3:13 am
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Old Jul 7, 19, 3:54 am
  #1425  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Originally Posted by jphripjah View Post
  • My dinner bill last night itemized the price of items, gave a subtotal then listed "Tip . . . . $0.00," the amount of tax, the amount of service charge, and then it gave a "grand total" before providing the lines to fill in room number, gratuity amount, and signature. I don't think I've ever seen a hotel print "Tip $0.00" on my dinner bill before. This strongly suggests that the resort does not consider the "service charge" to be a tip for staff. You may have just paid a $20 service charge on your meal, but you haven't tipped, that's the message I got. It makes me wonder where the service charge goes.
This is exactly what I would not want to expect at a resort of this level. This type of subdued pressure on patrons makes people uncomfortable. However, with these American conglomerates (btw I'm American), it doesn't surprise me. They need to change their greedy ways. With this alone, and I've never been to the Maldives, it is converse to everything I've ever read about the Maldives. Kind of disappointing actually, if they are not really subsidizing the servers with these fees.
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