The Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is one of the most expensive and exclusive luxury hotels in the world. In this extensive review, we’ll show you what to expect of staying at the unique resort in the Indian Ocean!
When looking for unique luxury resorts, the Maldives sure are heaven. There are plenty of amazing resorts and new ones are opening year by year. The Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is one of the island’s newest resort as it only opened in 2019.
The Hilton luxury resort usually comes with rates between 1.500 and 2.000 US-Dollar per night for the base level category, but can also be booked with Hilton points from time to time, which represents a better deal.
It’s worth noting that the property is built on a reef and is no natural island. At the same time, the location allows for a yacht instead of plane transfer as the hotel is located in the Malé Atoll.
When staying at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, it’s mandatory to book the resort’s transfer service, which is charged at around 700 US-Dollar per person for a return yacht transfer. This obviously is highly overpriced, but the whole service is pretty professional as you are picked up immediately after exiting the security area.
The yacht is also pretty amazing and it often takes less than 30 minutes after arrival until you are on your way – much better than the transfer times for water planes. While the transfer per se is shared from time to time, this is only arranged if flight times are matching, so you don’t have to wait too long.
During the ride, you can either lounge on the deck (there are a couple different yachts with varying design) or even catch up some sleep in a bedroom. There’s also showers available.
Furthermore, while you are on the way, you may enjoy all kinds of drinks from champagne to coffee and fresh juices free of charge. Some smaller snacks are also available, so the luxury experience definitely starts right. The ride as such takes between 60 and 90 minutes per way.
I had booked a Water Villa with points at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives and this is also what I got. And oh boy, this room is incredible.
The villas are massive and look fascinating enough from the outside already as they are basically looking like a large house rather than what you would expect as a hotel room.
Upon entering, you’ll find yourself in sort-of an outdoor foyer with a first sitting spot as well as space for the two bicycles you can use during your stay.
While I’ll speak about the rest of the deck in a minute, let’s first get into the interior of the villas. Upon entering, you’ll find yourself in the bedroom and living room area.
The whole design with very high ceilings is pretty fascinating and really beautiful, so you will definitely feel pretty homely during your stay.
As you would expect at a property like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, the bed is incredibly comfortable as I’m already used to from properties like the Waldorf Astoria Beijing. It also comes with two massive nightstands and offers direct views of the ocean.
Next to the bed, you can find a working desk, which sadly is located in somewhat of a dark corner – yet, you are not on the Maldives for working.
Opposite of the bed and closer to the window, there are two comfortable armchairs and a small table. From here, you can enjoy mesmerizing views of the oceans.
A nice welcome gift was already waiting for my arrival here, as well.
While on one side, you can find a large flat-screen television, including a sound system, the other side comes with a minibar (chargeable) and a coffee machine (complimentary).
Obviously, the villas at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi do offer much more than just that, for example a large dressing room in-between the bedroom and the bathroom. This part of the room not only comes with plenty of space to store your stuff, but also a glass floor, which allows for some fascinating fish watching.
The bathroom is not any worse, it’s plenty spacious and also offers brilliant views of the ocean.
In the middle of the bathroom, there’s a large space to put your stuff and where you can find some towels, while on the back wall, there’s a double sink.
One of the obvious highlights is the amazing free-standing and round shaped bathtub right by the window.
Yet, I also very much enjoyed the massive indoor shower with great water pressure.
The toilet sure is also located in a separate room and there’s also an outdoor shower, which you can also open up in the direction of the water (if you want to trade privacy against views).
While I could obviously go into much more detail regarding the interior of the villa, we should also talk about the outdoor area as the deck is just incredible.
I still struggle to find the right words for the whole experience as the pool alone is so massive that you can’t really believe that this is actually private.
That alone is a bit crazy already, but the lap pool is just one of many more highlights of the outdoor area at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi.
Looking for other highlights? How about the massive swing on one side of the deck?
Or maybe the swing on the other side of the deck, which is even located below a roof, so you can even use it when it’s raining. Then a couple of loungers with different views are also to be found here.
There are plenty of other seating spots, among others one large dining table, where you can have incredible meals via in-room-dining.
Yet another spot, where I just loved hanging out are the hammocks in the very front of the deck – what an incredible spot.
Obviously, you can also enjoy direct ocean access from the villas at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi.
I can’t really put into words how much I loved the villas at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, they were even more mesmerizing than the fascinating rooms I enjoyed at properties like the Ponta dos Ganchos Resort in Brazil or the Conrad Koh Samui in Thailand.
I wasn’t really sure of what to expect of breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, but was very positively surprise in the end. The restaurant comes with indoor, outdoor and even beach seating, so there should be something for everyone.
The breakfast service per se consist of both, à la carte services and a massive buffet.
While I’m usually not that much of a buffet fan (I really loved the à la carte service at The Legian Bali, for example), the Waldorf absolutely made an impression in that regard.
The buffet is incredibly extensive and comes with very high quality items. Even the hot items were always kept at the right temperature and were incredible flavorful.
Generally, the choice of everything was superb, from vegetables to freshly cut fruits to Arabic specialties like hummus.
I also loved that cooks were roaming around to see whether there is anything else you would fancy. For example, when I was looking at the fruits once, I was asked whether there is anything missing. I asked for mango and was brought a whole sliced fruit to my table – amazing.
Speaking of bringing things to the table, the Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi also offers a massive à la carte menu with plenty of options.
I tried all kinds of eggs, from pretty good eggs benedicts to lovely omelets.
Furthermore, I dipped into some sweet options, which were very good as well.
Generally speaking, I really enjoyed the breakfast experience at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi as really everything, from the service to the quality of food and obviously the choice was pretty great.
The dining experience at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is very flexible as you can choose between several different restaurants and in-room-dining each evening (the same is true for lunch). Some, like ultra-luxurious and ultra-expensive, Terra, definitely need advance reservations, others are more flexible.
As the hotel wasn’t that full, the number of restaurants open was a bit lower than usual, but I still always found something I fancied. For example, I really enjoyed the Arabic cuisine at Jasmeen.
Here, you can get a large choice of different cold and warm specialties, all cooked right in front of your eye in a very fitting atmosphere.
Another restaurant I very much enjoyed was Li Long, which is the signature Chinese restaurants.
The Beijing Duck is one of the specialties and it was not worse than the one I had in Beijing a couple of months earlier – incredible!
However, what I really fell in love with, was in-room-dining. I’d consider myself a fan in general and had great room service experiences at properties like the Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai before, but the Waldorf Astoria really sets itself apart in that regard.
The reason for that is not only the choice and quality of food, which is exceptional for in-room-dining, but the atmosphere sitting on the deck of your villa. The full privacy while watching the ocean is just a unique experience, particularly paired with very good food.
I tried a couple of different dishes during the course of my stay and all were very good, there was not a single disappointment and despite the distances from the kitchen, everything was served hot.
Let me also briefly mention the happy hour offered to Hilton Diamond members. You can have some drinks with crackers at the bar free of charge for two hours and I partook twice. It was nice enough, but not an event I would go to every day as there is so much more to do.
All in all, the dining experience at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives was very good. However, keep in mind that the prices are very high for everything, even worse so than for example at the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort.
The funny thing about the Waldorf Astoria Maldives is that the facilities don’t play as much of a role as for other resorts as the villas are so great that you probably spend most of your time there.
However, this is also an area of this review, where I want to be a bit more critical as there is one major weakness at this resort: Everything feels a bit artificial, from the nature to the whole island.
The beaches are just not as great as they are at other Maldives resort and you can ‘feel’ that the beaches are not real, but artificial.
The same is true for the greenery and while they tried really hard to make everything incredible, you don’t really feel like a nature-paradise, but instead like in a plain luxury-paradise. That’s not necessarily bad, but something to be aware of.
That said, there are plenty of beaches you can access at different points of the resort, but one particularly prominent located basically in the middle of the moon-shaped resort.
This is also where you can find plenty loungers, a bar, a lunch restaurant and much more.
Water sports are also available at this spot, some options (like SUP) are complimentary, while other (like renting a boat) come with a charge.
You can also find a couple of community games here, including table tennis, billiard and more.
Right next to this area, the massive pool of the resort can be found. As all villas come with their own private pool, there’s ‘just’ one resort pool.
Yet, this one is really nice and comes with a special shape.
There are some parts of the pool located closer to the beach, offering very nice views of the ocean.
Others are going more into the resort and have a lush jungle feeling.
You can also find plenty of lounging options, many of those very private as they are located on something like ‘half-islands’ within the pool.
As the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is a very large resort, there are plenty of other notable recreation spots, including a well-equipped gym.
This one comes not only with modern equipment, both for cardio and strength training, but also a personal trainer, who will help you and make sure that you have a great training.
Furthermore, there is also a tennis court, which you can rent for free with equipment. Trainer lessons are available as well.
I also very much fell in love with the beautiful yoga pavilion, where some complimentary and other charged classes take place.
Last but not least, I also want to speak about diving and snorkeling a bit. While I didn’t dive during my stay, there are plenty of different offerings by the resort – from expensive boat dives to just renting equipment.
When it comes to snorkeling, I was very positively surprised. The equipment is free of charge and even close to my villa, I found a fascinating reef, where I could have spent hours watching the wildlife. While I somewhat expected snorkeling to be a bit underwhelming here, the opposite was the case.
Overall, the recreation options at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi are endless and I’m sure that you won’t get bored at any point during your stay!
My stay at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi could have hardly been more enjoyable. The villas are incredible in all possible regards and I still dream of waking up at this resort. The breakfast and general dining experience has been amazing, even though expensive. The recreation options are endless as well. The only thing I didn’t love was that everything felt a bit artificial, but if you can live with this, I’m sure you’ll enjoy every minute you spend at this resort!