Park Hyatt Hadahaa Review

100   Recommended

February 6, 2013 by
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We checked in for a 5 night stay last week on GP points. We had hoped for an upgrade to a Park Pool Villa, and seeing that the property was at 100% we agreed to the the additional USD $200++ per night, and requested Villa 19 for privacy and ocean view. I would recommend paying for the upgrade if you want one, the hotel sits at 100% from NYE to Lunar New Year to Easter and so on.

Check In

Transfers

I have spoken previously about the issue with the transfers, and these were agreed to be settled at check out (although I settlted them the day after we checked in). All guests are told that the hotel will handle the flight and speedboat transfers, and that Q2 do not publish their schedules until the day before. I decided to check the flight times between MLE and GKK onwww.maldivian.aeroto have an idea of when our connection would be (which were 100% accurate). As it stood, we had a 50 minute connection.

We landed in MLE off PG, and passed through a very easy immigration and customs process where we met a rep with a Hyatt sign (not Park Hyatt). He walked us to the domestic terminal which would have been a 5 min walk and carried all of our luggage on a trolley. As I suspected our connecting flight was departing in 10 mins as we had arrived late, however he was confident it wouldn't be an issue. It was clear this was because the rep has a good relationship with Q2. Had we missed the flight, we would have had to wait 6 hours. On the day of departure we were told that 6 arriving guests would miss that flight and have to wait for the 11:30PM flight.

The Q2 check in sign for GKK had closed, but he spoke to agents who checked our bags and issues our boarding passes. The sign changed to boarding and he offered for us to have a drink in the Q2 lounge, but we just wanted to get on the flight. Note that most international size carry on luggage will not fit on a Dash-8 so as with QantasLink I removed my laptop, iPad and travel documents to carry on board with me. I still locked my carry on bag. Also, when I took my Louis Vuitton metal necklace off to go through the metal detector I noticed the security agent checking to make sure it was not a crucifix. My husband has a crucifix tattoo and I instructed him to wear a shirt that covers it.

The flight made one stop and we arrived at a tiny, new airport by which time it was dark. We were taken by golf cart to the marina, and offered to sit in an an unlit wooden tent structure. I wasn't game enough to sit in the dark so I just waited in the light until the delivered the bags to the speedboat. Note that getting on and off the boat is very difficult. I was wearing jeans and consider myself quite fit, but it's a long step from the jetty onto the boat, and imagine it's much harder if your older or have back issues.

We were given cold towels and there were glass botles of water and provided with life jackets. We were told it would be 25 mins, but I'm certain it was around 40 mins. I really didn't want to take the transfer at night, but we had no choice. My husband got scared at some points at the sea can be quite rough. We took motion sickness tablets, and were glad that we did.


Arrival and Check in

As others have noted, the GM and the management team meet every arrival and departure. I had some previous communication with him via another PH GM and he made sure to look after us. We were taken from the Dusk jetty directly to our villa 19 and check in was performed in room. There was a bottle of Champagne on ice, a delightful card (the first time any hotel has ever referred to us correctly as Mr x and Mr xx as opposed to Mr and Mrs x) and the Guest Service Officer gave us a room orientation. He took our passports and brought them back a few moments later and our luggage was delivered.

We sat on the beach chairs and drank the Champagne and the desserts that were provided in the room. Below you will see photos of villa 19 that I took specifically for FT. We specifically wanted the pool, however it was rather cold. We ended up using the main pool which was never that busy. We had rocks in the sand outside our villa so the best part of the beach is in front of the main pool which I recommend. Use SPF50+ sunscreen, pack a baseball cap otherwise you will burn otherwise. Despite the beautiful view the glare requires sunglasses. Also, we requested a villa for privacy and the trees provided that, but we had little direct view of the ocean from the living room.

Room

Villa 19

The villas have screens which act as blockouts. Each villa can see into the villa next to it. With the situation of Villa 19, we kept the blackouts for privacy from Villa 18, however Villa 20 was around the corner so this was not an issue.

The villas are beautifully built of wood. I had stayed at Bora Bora and far prefer this to the standard thatched roof villa.

The villa has a brilliant TV and AV surround system, with a high tech setup media centre that can play anything via bluetooth. Arrival music is cued for when you check in which is a nice touch. The in villa iPad was cool, but the previous guest left all of their email, facebook & iMessage login details. I would not recommend doing anything personal on it. There is another LCD display that rotates activities of the day.

The bathroom is beautiful, indoor and outdoor shower, large outside bathtub and some very high quality products. We left the aircon running at all times. It would have been nice to just let cross ventilation, but with the insects it would not be possible. We used the daybed on the first day, but after that an army, and I mean army of ants were all over it heading to a tree behind out villa.

Dining

From the breakfast menu you can pick as much as you want. Breakfast is served until 11:30AM. They serve a 3 platters of fruit, pastries and a local tuna dish before your mains (pictured below). We have to say that the breakfast is not up to PH standard. It looks great, but the taste is average and we got bored of choices after then 2nd day. They have just appointed a new F&B Manager so hopefully that changes. I recommend the local Maldivian dishes which are amazing.

We generally skipped lunch sharing snacks we brought with us, and had dinner after the Sundowner and canapplatter which we had on the beach next to the bar each night. The cocktails are great, and free pour so very strong for us Aussies, and the female bartender was definitely the star of the hotel. She appeared to be the only local female staff member.

Also, Happy Hour is between 3-5PM at the bar for 2 for 1 drinks. We generally ordered two rounds twice a day and is a great way to save on drink costs.

We tried the Island Grille and the dish I wanted on the iPad was not on offer. They are clearly going for a high end restaurant feel, and we ended up ordering a trio of entrees (appetizers) and the lamb chops and a steak. Disappointing as I really wanted to try local food. The food was very good, and you eat with your shoes off on the sand, but I didn't feel like a 5 star dinner with fussy service... in fact I wanted a relaxed experience.

In villa dining at night is simply not possible. The room is not set up for it, and you can't eat outside at night. We decided to order entrees and mains at the bar and eat them on the beach. This was a great way to combine the sundowner and canapes with our food. We actually enjoyed the bar food the best and can recommend the Chicken Lollypops with Blue Cheese Dip, Vegetarian Spring Rolls and Satays. The best main, without doubt, is the Maldavian Chicken or Tuna Curry which we had several times.

On Saturdays the GM has a welcome reception with complimentary canapes and cocktails and the beach. It was a nice gesture, but I couldn't help but feel that the staff were forced to perform the show. One staff member informed me that the lead role is always performed by a woman, and given that only men were performing it was clear this was not truly traditional. All the staff of the hotel attend and are clearly briefed to talk to each guest. It was a good insight into the local and international staff. Interestingly, Maldivian law requires at least 51% of local employment, and most of the PH's staff are from local islands.

After the reception we had the beach BBQ which for USD $95 each was good value. You can have unlimited wine for USD $28 each but we opted for cocktails. The chefs will make you a salad, and BBQ prawns, lobster, lamb, beef or chicken and there is a huge table of desserts. FYI, most of out other meals ran from USD $175 - $285.

Location

Hadahaa

The island is beautiful, takes about 15 mins to walk around and even at 100% doesn't feel full. Beware, people do walk around the island, often, and almost every single person looks into the villas. At one point I caught a woman watching me showering outdoors..... so if you choose an uninterrupted view like villas 1-6, be prepared!

The beauty of Hadahaa is quite breathtaking, and makes up for the difficulty of getting to the resort.

Back of house is on the inside of the resort and I noticed a large structure that served as a Mosque. Apparently an Imam visits from a local island every Friday.

On a daily basis we had a late breakfast then sat on the beach chairs, swam in the ocean, then moved back to the pool in the shade. Do not spend too much time in the sun, it was clear that many people had been severely sunburnt on their first day and has to spend their entire vacation in the shade.

I snorkelled on the main beach and was impressed by how much you can see. On my last day I did a guided snorkel (of which I was the only guest) and I can highly recommend it for USD $55. I have snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef, Sharm el Shiekh and can say that this house reef is exceptional. I saw lobsters, reef sharks and a great number of fish. It is without doubt one of the best water adventures I have undertaken and highly recommend the tour.

Service

The dedicated Guest Service Officer is a nice idea in theory, however we saw ours once during the whole stay. In fact, when we had the room orientation he made no mention of the Diamond complimentary sundowner drink per guest and canapes. I knew this from FT and the front desk confirmed it. This is really the only Diamond benefit. Given that all guests get free wifi, free breakfast and upgrades are rare you won't feel as special as you do at other Park Hyatts.

The hotel provides one large glass bottle of sparkling and still water as well as replenish dessert every day. Room service was not consistently timed from day to day.

The main points to note are that you cannot leave any amount of food out, you are on a jungle island. There are ants and geckos everywhere. Rinse your cups of coffee, rinse chip or chocolate packets and put them in the trash on the paths outside the villa. Place towels under the glass bathroom door to stop ants and geckos coming in.

Overall

Overall, we had a great stay and words or photos do not do the scenery justice. The hotel is lacking in parts such as our invisible guest service officer, having my credit card incorrectly decline because of the bank that they use, and some overly fussy service in the restaurants when you just want to relax, and food not as good as it should be, but these are to be expected of a newly rebranded property. The arrival and departure transfer arrangements are unacceptable, and need to be improved. We had our flights for departure 'confirmed' at 9:30PM the night prior which when you have to leave at 11:45AM is simply unacceptable. Noone paying that much would tolerate such a lack of information, especially when you are told that you will know by 6PM.

We did try to split the stay with an overwater villa, but the hotel was at 100%. It would have been nice, but I must say that I don't feel like I missed out. I never, and I mean never, saw anyone swimming near those villas and I never discovered why, perhaps the coral and the reef make it difficult.

The PH Hadahaa is difficult to get to, but for its natural beauty it is the jewel in the Hyatt crown. Arrive, relax, forget about your work, leave your cell phones off and enjoy the resort as you will never experience anything like it ever again.

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