The Two Million Mile Honeymoon Luxury Travel at Budget Rates

Holiday Inn Resort Maldives – Beach View Villa

The Conrad Maldives and the Park Hyatt Maldives are two of the most talked about resorts in the miles & points travel world, but there is also a third (seldom talked about) resort in the Maldives that can be booked on points. The Holiday Inn Resort in the Maldives doesn’t provide nearly the luxury that the other two do, but it’s a great resort that’s both cheaper and easier to get to than the other two are.

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Holiday Inn Resort Maldives

Planning, Costs & Arrival

In the peak January season standard villas start at about $400 per night, but we booked our 5 nights for 35k IHG points per night. We bought these points during one of IHG’s regular sales where you can acquire points at roughly half a cent per point, meaning that we effectively paid $175 per night to stay here instead of the $400+ sticker price.

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Beach Villa

 While not as costly as the other two resorts, the out of pocket costs for this resort are the airport transfer, food and activities.

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I spent most of my money on sunset beers

Airport Transfers - At $229 per person transfers to the Holiday Inn are less than half the price of transfers to either the Conrad or Park Hyatt. The Holiday Inn is located about 20 miles from the International Airport which is far enough away to feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere but close enough that the transfer is very easy.

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The Resort is a 20 Mile Speedboat Ride from the Airport

As soon as we arrived at the airport we easily found the Holiday Inn booth and the attendant took our luggage and walked us straight to the boat which was waiting directly outside the airport. A few minutes later we were off and 40 minutes after that we arrived at the resort. A very easy transfer.

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Holiday Inn Arrival Jetty

As soon as we docked at the arrival jetty we were picked up by an attendant in a golf cart who took us to the lobby for a quick check in before continuing on to our Beach Villa.

Food - Other than the pair of welcome cocktails on the first night there is no complimentary food or drinks for anyone at the Holiday Inn, no matter what status you have with IHG.

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Very Strong Welcome Cocktails

Food and drink prices were less than either the Hyatt or Conrad but still pretty steep. A bottle of beer was $8.50 (after taxes) and a San Miguel draft was $6. As far as food, there were three restaurants. There is a fine dining restaurant, a buffet, and an a la carte restaurant by the pool. The fine dining restaurant didn’t have much in the way of vegetarian food, and the buffets were large and expensive (about $90 per person) so we ate all of our dinners at the a la carte place.

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Dhara’s Vegetarian Thali

The prices were high but not terrible. For example, after taxes a burger and fries was about $33, a personal pizza was $28, fish was $40 and steaks started at $45. Oh, and unlike at the Park Hyatt the water was free.

Activities - We spent exactly zero dollars on activities at the Holiday Inn. We spent our time relaxing, walking the beaches, swimming, and snorkeling on the the tiny bit of coral they have.

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Main Beach

Compared to the other resorts the Holiday Inn doesn’t have much in terms of a House Reef. There are one or two spots close to the beach that have a little coral where some fish congregate, but other than that you need to take a boat to a snorkeling excursion.

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There is a small amount of coral and fish near the overwater bungalows

They have several paid excursions a day along with a daily free snorkeling trip that was pretty nice. I went once, and enjoyed it, but after having an amazing reef at your doorstep at the Park Hyatt taking a boat with a dozen other people on a planned snorkeling trip just isn’t very enticing.

Beach View Villa - The standard villas at the Holiday Inn are smaller than the ones at the other resorts but they’re still plenty spacious and are decorated in a soothing blue and white nautical color scheme.

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All the standard villas are arranged in pairs

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Beach View Villa

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Beach View Villa

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Beach View Villa

One unique thing about the villa is that the entire bathroom, including the toilet is outside. I thought it was an interesting design, and quite liked it.

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Outdoor Bathroom

The other interesting thing about the villa was that in addition to the complimentary drinking water, tea, coffee and milk, there was an orange juicer and a stack of oranges that they would replace daily. I enjoyed making my own fresh squeezed juice every morning and enjoying it on the deck.

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Orange Juicer

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Beach View Deck

Around the Resort - The private island that the Holiday Inn is located on is not quite as stunning as the Conrad or Park Hyatt but it’s still beautiful. It is a bigger resort that the other two with more guests, and although it wasn’t as quiet or secluded as the other two it never felt the least bit crowded. There were more than enough lounge chairs and cabanas, and I never saw the bars or restaurants more than a quarter full, and this is the peak season.

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This second story bar above the fine dining restaurant was aptly names The Deck

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It was generally empty and a great place for sundown drinks before dinner

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The Beach Bar was also great for that

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Beach Bar

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Sunset From the Beach

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View From the Poolside Restaurant

The Holiday Inn Resort Maldives was beautiful and we had a great time there but it just doesn’t have the same jaw-dropping look of paradise, or the ridiculous level of luxury that the other two resorts have. In my opinion, if you’re gonna put in the considerable effort to travel all the way to the Maldives from North America, it makes sense to go to the nicest possible resort that points can buy, and that resort is the Conrad Maldives.

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But the Holiday Inn is Still Pretty Great

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