Yesterday I told you about how we got to the Maldives. Today, I’ll be telling you about our experience while we were there! Because of our canceled flight, we ended up losing a night at the Sheraton Maldives, but we arrived at about 7:30 AM, only about 8 hours later than our originally scheduled flight. We spent the first part of the day walking around the small island the resort was on getting an idea of where everything is. You could walk from one end where the dive center and airport boat shuttle were to the other in about 15 minutes.
We stayed in one of the Sheraton Maldive’s Club Water Bungalows. Each bungalow had a nice living space, large bathroom, and a patio with a large lounge chair. The views from the patio were pretty incredible. After we had our bearings we went to the water sports center to get snorkel gear, which was free as long as you returned it before you checked out. Our water bungalow had direct stair access into a lagoon. We saw eels, thousands of fish, crabs and a couple black-tip reef sharks in the small lagoon behind our bungalow.
The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa had very friendly staff. Everyone would say “hello” or “good morning” when you walked by. One thing Mallory and I noticed, which we later tied to the Maldives being 100% Sunni Muslim, was that everyone working at the resort save a few employees that were not Maldivian, were all men.
For being on such a small island, the resort offered a number of different dining options. There was a buffet called “Feast” open for breakfast and dinner. A casual al fresco restaurant called “Sand Coast” was open for lunch and dinner. Baan Thai- a Thai restaurant and Sea Salt – the resort’s fine dining option both opened for dinner only. There were also a couple bars that sold food and drinks throughout most of the day. Also, since we were staying in one of the Club Water Bungalows we had access to the SPG Lounge for breakfast and refreshments throughout the day.
If you ever have the chance to go to the Maldives, make sure you are prepared to spend some money. I think it may be because the islands are so remote, but food was expensive! It is a good thing I used AAdvantage miles for most of our flights and breakfast was included in our hotel rate because it was nearly impossible to have a meal for two people for less than $100. We ended up trying all of the restaurants during our stay. My favorite meal had to be at Sea Salt, the fine dining restaurant. The menu consisted of a la carte or two tasting menu options: land or sea. I had the land tasting menu with the wine pairing. During our stay we also found out that the entire menu from the Sand Coast restaurant could be ordered for room service, so we opted for that a couple times after spending the mornings diving. Mallory’s favorite dish she had was a Baby roast chicken over sweet potatoes.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with the food at the resort. Our lunches from Sand Coast and room service were good, but for the most part the breakfasts and dinners weren’t very good, especially for how much they cost. I would be interested to hear about others’ experiences with the food either at the Sheraton Maldives or other resorts in the Maldives.
At the “washing machine”
By far, my favorite part of our trip to the Maldives was the diving. The Sheraton Full Moon Resort had a dive center on the island with over 30 dive sites within a half hour boat ride. There is a mandatory orientation dive before you can join any boat dives, but after that you can join as many boat dives as you would like for the duration of your stay. They provide divers insurance for either $8 per day or $16 per week.
Including the orientation dive, Mallory and I did 5 dives during our trip. Each one was completely different from all of the others and there was so much to see. The style of diving was a little different than how we learned: everything was metric and since there was a fairly strong current at all dive sites we drifted from start to finish and then the boat came to pick us up at the end of the dive. There was a guide with us on each of the dives who would point out cool things to look at. We saw turtles, sharks, sting rays, some really big fish including a few blue fin tunas.
The pictures I have don’t do any of the sites justice, but there will be a whole gallery of just diving pictures from the trip.
Since we had to check out of the hotel at 4:00 PM and our flight didn’t leave until 11:00 PM we decided to get on an earlier airport shuttle and check out the capital city. When we got to the airport the Sheraton representatives hooked us up with a local guide who walked us around to see the highlights of the city. Including the president’s office, home, the fish market, the vegetable market, and some of the mosques. Our first culture shock experience of the trip was walking around Malé when the call to prayer went off because we didn’t realize what it was until our guide explained to us. Another interesting thing we noticed when we ate dinner in a restaurant is the men go upstairs to eat, while the women and children sit downstairs. We did some souvenir shopping and then headed back to the airport where we relaxed in the comfortable, but underwhelming Leeli business class lounge until our flight to Hong Kong left.
We are now about halfway through our journey around the world. Up next: Hong Kong.
Have you had any experiences with the food at The Sheraton or other resorts in the Maldives?