This post is about the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Yach review and also how I managed to hack and save on the transfer to Ithaafushi island.
You can read my review of the hotel here.
One of the reasons why I always thought of not going to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives was the expensive Yacht transfer. If you visit FlyerTalk, you will read about the reviews and questions on how you can save on it. I mean, it is a crazy price for a 40min ride.
The Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi doesn’t allow external boats to dock due to privacy concerns. This is the email sent when you book your stay at the property. It is also pretty much because they want to control the arrivals, and of course, it is a lucrative transaction for them.
Many resorts in the Maldives allow for other boats to dock and bring customers in, and some companies also provide this service cheaper.
When I looked at the resorts and private transfers, I found a company, Atoll transfer. Be careful to confirm first with the resort because they did offer me a price and said they could take me there, but potentially Waldorf Maldives might have refused.
Another thing is that The Waldorf Astoria is a property that is hard to book, especially in the lowest redemption of 120,000. I mean, I had been looking for days just out of curiosity, and obviously, someone had cancelled because I managed to book a 6-night stay.
However, we had decided that since I was so lucky to find the nights available, we would bite the very expensive bullet and make the transfer.
The cost is approximately $850 per person, and children under five are free. So we had to pay only for three adults the cool price of $2550. Which undoubtedly is a lot of money for a return transfer even though the drive is great!
But since I wanted to stay at a local island and not have actually to go back to Male to get to the Waldorf, I decided to ask about the possibility of them picking us up from another island instead.
Maafushi is only about 15min boat ride away from Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi. You actually pass by the Waldorf on the way to Maafushi, so this made total sense.
‘Hacking’ the Waldorf Astoria Transfer Price
I didn’t set up actually trying to do this, but I emailed them and asked if they could provide a transfer from Maafushi instead of Male.
The resort does have smaller boats, so it is not only the yacht available to pick up guests.
They emailed and said they could provide a transfer for up to 5 people per way for $500 from Maafushi to the resort in their own speedboat.
Of course, I said I was more than happy to accept the offer and confirmed this about three times because the transfer cost to the Waldorf Astoria from Maafushi was very good and reasonable, in my opinion.
After confirming this, however, I emailed again with the details of flights and hotel pick-up from the Maldives. The agent offered me the transfer for $3000!! Which is insane!
To be honest, I have no idea how they make up these prices because I wouldn’t have paid more than $500 for the 15min speedboat ride.
Of course, after replying and going to the original price, they accepted it and honored it.
I have to say, communication-wise, the customer service has been fantastic and prompt.
This is how we managed to reduce the transfer cost to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives but also find a new “hack” trick for it.
I asked if they have many customers who do this, and they said no, but I believe it is worth visiting a local island as well.
If you are also emailing and requesting this, I will negotiate the price because I feel they kind of mind it up in a way.
I would email a couple of times asking because I think they have agents that just come up with prices, and I also would suggest you huggle on that transfer.
I doubt you can on the Male boat transfer to Ithafushi, but I’m sure you can ask for a better price from Maafushi, especially because it takes 15min maximum and is a speedboat.
I found the cost of $500 for the ride reasonable since it is a speedboat, not a yacht that picks you up.
So eventually, we ended up with a great saving of about $600 since we saved on the transfer and skipped the yacht ride.
We decided, however, that we will be using the yacht on the way back, and I have to say, if ever my budget increases to renting a yacht for a week, I am totally doing it!
Review of the Yacht transfer Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi Maldives
As a final goodbye, the staff will be escorting you to the yacht, where you sail into the sunset (if you depart at this time).
The yacht is great to experience for the 40min ride to Male Airport. It is new, of course, since the resort is only about three years old.
There is a deck on the top and a seating area just outside the cabin.
There is a kitchen and three bedrooms with a bathroom. One is used as a storage room.
There were two captains and an attendant that made sure your experience was good.
Sophia had several more gifts and even got to drive the yacht! Bless her. She was so happy.
Once she discovered the bedrooms, though, she went to pretend to be sleeping in them.
I have to say that I got more seasick on the bigger yacht than in the smaller speedboat from Maafushi to Waldorf.
I think they were speeding to make up time, and it was a rough sea.
Sitting outside was windy, but we enjoyed the ride and would happily travel again.
Once we arrived, we had an attendant take us through the airport, check-in, and up to immigration.
One interesting thing is that the resort is actually ahead by one hour from Male, so you, in reality, get an hour extra in the resort on your departure.
Overall it is a nice experience and definitely a nice conclusion to a beautiful holiday. Not sure I can justify the cost of $850 per person return, but by hacking the transfer to the Waldorf, we saved a good amount of money and we’re happy.
You can read more posts here about the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria Maldives King Reef Villa – Part 1
How I earned a Million Hilton Points
Your Guide to Maafushi for the Maldives on a Budget
Kaani Hotel Review Maafushi Island