Park Hyatt Maldives

100   Recommended

September 18, 2014 by EXPERT
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I recently stayed at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa, and I had an amazing stay. If you’re preferences are more towards resort travel locations than big city luxury, then you’ll probably agree that this is the jewel property of Hyatt. Many details of the property have already been discussed, so I’ll just include some summary and link information here.

Location

A map of the property is tough to find, the only URL I know of ishttp://www.purelymaldives.co.uk/reso...ldives-hadahaa (if that doesn’t work, use the site’s home page to navigate as the site may have reorganized its pages/URLs). Some have noted that the island villas offer more privacy than the water villas, but I'll note that the water villas don't lack privacy even if the island villas offer more. The water villas are constructed (oriented) to provide great privacy. If you will do a lot of snorkeling, than you’ll most certainly prefer the water villas. The water villas are situated so that each is no further than a 10-15m swim to the drop-off, where the 1-3m shallow reef steeply slopes down to 30m+ and you can gaze into blue water. On the other hand, if you’re a pool person or maybe a beach person, you’ll likely prefer an island villa.

Dining

The dining is pretty good. Of course they'll customize any dish (I'm picky with my fruits, and the fruit platter was customized to include only the ones I liked; my wife likes an Indian dish not on the menu, but since he had the ingredients the chef was happy to make it). The quality is great, all fresh items. I don’t like a lot of salt – I never use table salt – and I’ll have to note that often the food was too salty for my tastes, so if your taste is similar remember to specify no or low salt preference when ordering. The quantity provided is not bad given the quality, but not great given the price. The price, given the captive location, is to be expected. I greatly prefer Asian dishes over Western dishes, and the menus had a nice selection for me – sure it could offer more selection but I’ll assume other properties have far less varied menus. Menus are available by email request to the property. I can’t comment on the spa, bars/nightlife, or excursions – I didn’t experience any of these.

Internet

The internet is almost useless due to its speed, which I’ll describe as 1990s dial up speed (33k-133k). I like to read my sports page each day, and I would walk away from the computer while multiple pages loaded in parallel over a few minutes. VOIP or watching video (I watch live sports with a Vulkano or Slingbox) is out of the question. Doing a few emails (using a web site versus access a mail server) is ok. I understand the slow internet is more a service provider issue than a property issue, and I was told that the hotel is changing service providers and upgrading it's on-site equipment to improve internet speed.

Service

I’m not really one to focus on service, I usually make other property attributes my priority (e.g. location, room type/features, etc.). The fact that I took notice of how great the service is makes a statement – I’ve never experienced such customer intimacy at a property. Everyone knows your name (there’s only 51 guest rooms, and throughout my stay the house was at about 50%), everyone is willing (or even trying) to customize the product for you, and requests are responded to super quickly. We actually made relationships with specific staff – I can’t say I remember doing that before (other than a one-off here or there).

Travel

As posted earlier travel from MLE requires a one hour flight MLE-KDM-MLE and a one hour boat ride KDM-resort-KDM. The KDM flights are on Maldivian Air (Q2), and scheduled as both nonstop or direct with stop (just a land and offload, no transfer, no option to step off the plane). Equipment is a 2+2 propeller plane, I’ll guess a DeHavilland Dash-8 but I’m not certain. I requested exit row (Row 4) at the counter for each of my flights and it was available. The nonstop flight is probably about an hour, but the direct flight is about 90 minutes. My MLE-KDM flight took of about 30 minutes late, and this seemed normal (not a delay, it’s just “island time” type life). The boat ride is comfortable enough, although by no means a “yacht”. We had significant rain during our arriving boat trip, yet in the boat we had zero impact, not a drop hit us. If you’re concerned about your luggage/gear getting wet while in-transit between MLE and the property, my tip is to bring a couple of heavy duty Glad-type 30 gallon garbage bags (I always travel with one or two anyway when my business travel requires small commuter equipment with no space for a 22” carry on). Previous posts reference VIP lounges at MLE. The lounge offered on arrival is curb-side, and it’s not much of a lounge. It offers a couple of beverage options, maybe a packaged snack, some seating, some reading materials, and internet access (which isn’t all that fast). Yes, it’s nicer than the gate area, especially if you have multiple hours of layover, but otherwise it’s not much of a lounge. There are two lounges air-side, one of which I used for my departing travel, but I think my access was provided because I was traveling up front on my international flight (MLE-KUL on MH).

Diving/Snorkeling

The in-house dive op, Blue Journeys, is great. The facility itself has an informal feel, which I loved. If I needed to check on my equipment, access the rinse tub, etc., I could just walk to the spot. The staff is all great, from the dive shop to the boats to the dive masters. Again, requests are happily responded to, even the dive program may be altered to meet requests. For example, a guest couple there before me loved a specific thila site for its coral, and a repeat visit to the site was scheduled for them (my second day I think). I didn’t love the site (while loving all I like seeing pelagic or macro life over coral), and in subsequent dive days the AM boat diving program was changed from channel then thila dives to two channel dives. The dive boat is large and comfortable. I typically prefer speed over comfort in a boat, disliking large boats for their larger groups, but during my stay we never had more than five divers, and typically we had two dive masters. The house reef is great. I enjoyed freediving the house reef almost as much as my boat dives. The best reef is located between the water villa peers and either boat pier. The experienced diver/snorkeler will easily see sharks, turtles, and eagle rays (more likely off in the blue). One time in the water, from my water villa, my wife allowed me only 20 minutes to snorkel while she was getting ready for dinner (I had already done two AM dives and snorkeled part of the afternoon – I never get enough), so I set my watch and kept watch. I saw six sharks in 15 minutes. If the water is calm, it’s even common to see juvenile sharks in the shallows as you walk the piers. Check out scubaboard.com for greater detail on diving versus property information.

Gold Passport

There’s plenty of discussion in past posts regarding GP and Diamond amenities. As noted, with breakfast included in the room for all guests, there’s no formal differentiation provided for Diamond-level guests – all guests receive great service and stay experience. But as I noted, I feel that I received very special treatment, and many “extras” – was this due to my Diamond status or not? Maybe Diamond guests receive informal differentiation versus stated/written offers? I had booked a water villa for the first part of my stay, and I wasn’t required to later downgrade to a island villa – was this because of my Diamond status or because the house was never full? Not only did I have a great villa, I had THE BEST villa, Villa 51 at the end of the pier – was this because of my Diamond status, my advance correspondence with front office staff, or random? I had a couple of very special and unique dining experiences – were these due to my Diamond status, or just not-as-unique-as-I-think service, or the relationships created with staff? I received in room extras (French Champagne, snack plate) – were these due to my Diamond status, or do all water villa guests (or even all guests) receive these? On this topic I think my experience provides no further information on the question, and the answer remains “all guests are treated wonderfully, and Diamonds will leave with a memorable (more memorable) stay.” Again, I had an amazing stay and vacation. I earlier posted that if I had a problem with my stay, I’d be writing the GM and including a cc: to Chicago – I’d do that with any Hyatt property. Similarly, I feel compelled to do the same when my experience exceeds expectations, and I’ll note I’ve already written such a letter.

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