Although we were visiting four local islands in Maldives (Maafushi, Fulidhoo, Ukulhas and Thoddoo), we were really interested in going on a day trip to a Maldives Resort. We wanted to know what it would be like to in so here’s our Maldives Resort vs Maldives Local Islands
Originally, we only wanted to visit local islands so we could see what it would be like to visit the Maldives on a budget. I knew there was an option to visit a resort for the day and when we got to our third island called Ukulhas, I felt it was time to see what it was like to go to the other side, to see what the Maldives is famous for, the luxurious resorts.
It would be wrong to visit a Maldives resort and not get that boardwalk shot!
What was there to see at a Maldives Resort that was going to be different than staying on a local island?
One of the benefits of visiting a Maldives Resort is that you can drink alcohol on them. If you’re visiting a local island in Maldives, alcohol is strictly banned because it’s a Muslim country.
But, how would a resort compare to the local islands? I felt like I had got a bit of a grasp on the local island side, now it was time to see what a resort would be like. I had a thousand questions in my head – what would the vibe be like? The other tourists, the locals working there? I wanted to know about it all.
As we were staying on Ukulhas, the Maldives first eco-friendly island, we had an option to visit a resort called Ellaidhoo Chaaya Resort run by the Sri Lankan chain, Cinnamon Hotels.
Our lovely host, Afzal from our awesome guesthouse, Holiday Haven (the name says it all, and it certainly was a haven), sorted it all out for us at the last minute.
Before I knew it, we packed up some stuff and of course our drone and floatie, and headed onto a fisherman’s boat for a one hour bumpy and wet ride across the ocean to the resort.
Afzal really looked after us on the boat and made sure our drone and cameras stayed dry during the ride. Once we arrived at the resort, we were greeted by a host who took us to one of the many bars on the island. From there, we were given wrist bands to put on so the workers knew that we were day guests.
What Do You Actually Get For $150 At A Maldives Resort?
Steve and Azfal completely soaked on our return trip back from the resort thanks to the rough sea that day.
We had to pay $150 for the speedboat return ride as as well as another $75 each for an all inclusive deal so it worked out as $150 each. So what did the all inclusive deal mean? It basically meant all alcoholic drinks (only wine during meal times) and a buffet lunch at one of the two restaurants.
The only things we would have to pay for were pressed juice and wifi. I didn’t need wifi as I bought a SIM at the airport for $32 which included 15gb for 2 weeks.
I have heard some resorts claim they are all inclusive but will only let you have two alcoholic drinks so make sure you check with them before you visit. We could have stayed there all day but the sea was rough so we couldn’t leave it too late and we spent about five hours there in the end.
What was it like when we arrived at Ellaidhoo Chaaya Resort?
Once we arrived, it didn’t take long before Steve wanted to head to the pool bar. Yes they have a pool. When we arrived at the bar, we were in awe. It looked like how we all thought the resorts look like with a boardwalk that went around in the circle which led you out to the overwater bungalows (although they did look like they needed a bit of TLC).
The swimming pool being the main focal point just made it extra special. We met some Americans staying in the overwater villas and they said they were really nice inside.
We got ourselves a drink and sat down with a pinch me moment that we were experiencing that Maldives dream and a perfect opportunity to blow up our Sunny Life floatie and get our drone out to capture the beauty of the pool.
It was funny because we’d got our drone out loads on the islands and the locals didn’t even batter an eyelid. I thought we would have local kids running over but no one cared because using drones in Maldives is a given.
On the other side, when we got our drone out at the resort, we got so much attention from the other tourists that everyone kept coming over to take a look at the footage and all eyes were on us. The irony hey?
I managed to get the whole pool to myself during lunch time!
After the drone action, we headed to the one restaurant we were allowed to eat at for lunch. The restaurant was huge, and there was so much food on offer that we didn’t really know where to start. Because we arrived late after getting some drone footage, a lot of the food had gone and to be honest, I wasn’t overly fussed by it (it looked better than it was.)
The resort buffet style restaurant
The desserts however were good and having a buffet of various desserts like nutella mouse, strawberry ice cream and chocolate cake, I piled it all up on my plate. I went for the chicken and mushroom pie purely because we’d been eating fish and rice for the last 10 days.
Piling up the desserts at the buffet bar
What was the vibe like at Ellaidhoo Chaaya Resort?
Having that, ‘I’m at a resort’ moment!
Before I start about the vibe, just to remind you I’m backpacking around Maldives and in the mindset of really wanting to experience the local vibe, do some awesome adventurous stuff and immerse myself into the culture. If I was here on a two week holiday out of work or better, on my honeymoon, my mindset would be completely different.
From what I could see, a resort seemed a bit like a package holiday but in a beautiful setting. When we arrived at the pool, everyone was quiet and they actually looked a bit bored.
Kids were screaming in the restaurant and to be honest, the guests didn’t look like they were having a blast. Everyone kept to themselves but I can understand that if you’re on holiday and taking a break from work then maybe you just want to chill and do nothing, like seriously nothing, and this is a great place to do exactly that.
I really noticed the difference having spent the last 10 days interacting with the amazingly lovely local people, expats and other tourists on the local islands. I thought, gosh, if only you guys stayed on the local islands and saw how amazing this country really is.
The resort obviously had its perks. There were tennis courts, games rooms and a whole lot more to keep you entertained here if you wanted to be entertained. By the end of the day we were really enjoying it as being able to order whatever drinks we wanted was awesome and we didn’t want to go.
Because it was all inclusive, I didn’t notice anyone hammering the drinks and getting smashed. The place was actually pretty chilled out.
What we found weird was because we had immersed ourselves into the local islands, being aware that you know, we couldn’t drink, had to have whatever food was given to us and made sure we both dressed appropriately, and then coming to a resort was like going back to the Western world but just for a few hours. It was weird but interesting to see the difference.
Some British tourists asked us about the drone and when we told them that we were staying on the local islands, they just looked at us with a puzzled face. Maybe they weren’t aware that anyone can visit the local islands now, or maybe they thought we were mad, but to me, I was happy we were staying with the locals.
This is the beauty about the local islands, you can experience the Maldives in an amazing way on a budget, and have the best of both worlds with visiting a resort whenever you like. The fact that we spent $150 each to spend the day at a resort instead of paying $1000+ for a night, it’s a great insight into seeing what they are really like.
When our time was up, Afzal picked us up at the jetty and we embarked on a very wet but fun journey back to Ukulhas.
The journey back was the most fun I’d had all day! When we arrived back, he dropped us back to the beach which was the best beach I’ve seen on the local islands so far so we could watch the sunset. I was glad to be back on Ukulhas.
Watching the sunset back on local island, Ulkulhas Island
If you’re visiting the Maldives on a budget like us then splash out and spend the day at a Maldives resort. It’s a must do and I’m more than glad we did it because it was a fantastic insight into what resort life is like. Obviously we only visited for the day and I know resorts definitely vary in price and level of luxury, but this is a review on what we experienced.
Have you been to Maldives? Let me know what your experience was like in the comments below.
Read More Maldives Posts
We’ve written about all of the islands we visited in Maldives so check out our other posts below!