Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Ohh, where to begin? How do you write about a place that is simply too beautiful for words? Without a doubt this is the hardest hotel review I’ve ever done. Not because the hotel wasn’t everything we wished for and more, but quite frankly because I don’t think words could do the experience we’ve had at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa justice. I’ve sat here, staring at all the photos from our vacation last week for hours and I don’t really know where to start. But I’ll give it a try!
First things first: I am fairly sure that traveling to the Maldives is always an incredibly experience – no matter where you go. 1196 tiny, picture perfect islands spread out over 26 atolls make up what we know as the Maldives. Most of those islands are actually not inhabited, merely 220 are home to the locals and another 87 are used for touristic purposes. Amongst those 87 islands happens to be Hadahaa, home to the Park Hyatt resort. White sand, unbelievably clear turquoise water, colorful fish for days and palm trees wherever you look. Sounds like paradise? Well, it is! Every corner is picture perfect, the sunsets are out of this world, the locally caught fish (and all food for that matter) is delicious and the villas instantly feel like home.
- Located in one of the most southern atolls, the resort is probably not the easiest to get to. However, as soon as you arrive, every second spent in airplanes is forgotten. We booked our flights through FlyNiki and Etihad to Malé with a stopover in Abu Dhabi which is definitely the most convenient way to reach the Maldives from Vienna. The hotel then takes care of the domestic flights with Maldivian Air directly. There’s no online check-in or even a booking reference. This had me a bit nervous at first but the minute you arrive in Malé Internation Airport, there is a representative from the hotel waiting for you to get you checked-in to the domestic flight and settled in a lounge with wifi and refreshments for the layover. We had about 2 hours in Malé before a 50 minute flight to Kooddoo “airport”. Basically it is a runway with a small building. The baggage claim is a door where a few men unload a trolley with suitcases. So strange but so fun at the same time. Once in Kooddoo, there is another rep from the hotel waiting with a golf cart to take you to the harbor where a private boat awaits. That’s where the true Park Hyatt experience starts. With cold lemongrass-scented towels, homemade iced tea and cookies for the 30 minute ride to Hadahaa island it instantly feels like vacation!
We arrived at the resort late on Saturday night after almost 24 hours of traveling. As it was dark, we didn’t see much, but the warm welcome by the staff was more than promising. Followed by an amazing dinner at “The Dining Room”. This was actually our second trip to the Maldives, and as I mentioned, I think anywhere you go, you’ll be super impressed with the nature and scenery the Indian Ocean has to offer. However, the Park Hyatt was definitely on a whole other level. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a resort that felt so intimate. After the second day, we were greeted by our first names everywhere we went, Freddy (our host) came by at least once per day to see if there was anything she could do for us and the island seemed so familiar, as if we had been there plenty of times before. I absolutely adored that about the place, since we only stayed for a total of 5 nights, which made it so much more special to feel at home right from the start. Obviously a trip to the Maldives is different than most other vacations, in the sense that life kind of stops for a while. There is not much sightseeing to be done and we spent our days between lounging by the pool, exploring the house reef while snorkeling, reading books, watching beautiful sunsets, drinking cocktails and eating amazing food. And it was absolutely perfect!
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE HOTEL:
- The Park Hyatt only has 50 villas – 36 on land and 14 on the ocean – which means that at any given time, there are never more than 100 guests on the island. During our stay, the hotel was at about 80% capacity and we rarely ran into other people. We spent a lot of time by the main pool and if it was really “busy” it meant that there were 2 other couples somewhere in sight. It basically feels like the island is all yours, which is so special!
- Gimme fooooood! Argh, everything was so good! That is probably the reason I gained a kilo or two during our trip. We had the half board with our booking, which is by far the best half board I have ever (!!) experienced. For breakfast there was a beautiful buffet with fresh fruit, pastries, cheese and meat options, cereals of all sorts and everything else you’d know from a hotel buffet. However, on top of that there was a menu to order from (2 dishes per person). My favorite was the Hadahaa homegrown chili egg on avocado and whole wheat toast and the oatmeal. The menu also included specials like poached eggs and kale as a skinny option or quinoa coconut oatmeal. Aside from that you could order unlimited fresh juices (orange, pineapple, grapefruit, watermelon, …) and coffee or tea. For dinner it was the same concept, just 3 courses with appetizers like scallop & tuna ceviche or grilled prawns, spicy thai beef salad or burrata. The mains were all so delicious including the Asian and local dishes like daily reef fish, curries or kung pao chicken. My go-to dessert of the week was homemade chocolate and passion fruit sorbet. So good!
- Snorkeling in the Maldives is an absolute must. I loved that the hotel supplied the gear to all guests free of charge. The last time we traveled to the Maldives, we had to pay a rental fee for the equipment, which quickly adds up when you want to go out to explore the reef daily. At Hadahaa we saw reef sharks, little Nemos, parrot fish and I even spotted a sting ray close to the beach once.
- I loved that the hotel made sure to put great emphasis on sustainability. No plastic water bottles or straws were served and we were educated really well on how we could make a difference. Last year, the Park Hyatt Maldived Hadahaa was honored with both the “Maldives Leading Green Resort” and “Indian Ocean Leading Green Resort” awards. During check-in, we were kindly asked to keep the villa as shaded as possible throughout the day to save energy and use less air conditioning. Also, for the bathroom and shower, no small hotel toiletries were placed in the room, instead the hotel offered big ceramic bottles that were refilled by housekeeping with products that are environmentally friendly and don’t harm the natural stones used for the outdoor showers.
- In all honesty, I didn’t expect to find much of a gym on a small island. However, the hotel had a fitness room which had everything I needed. A treadmill, weights and a mat for abs is all it takes to make me happy. Also, complimentary sunrise and sunset yoga was offered, which of course I had to try. On Tuesday at 7am I took part of the sunrise yoga by the pool, which was so blissful and relaxing. Only two other ladies were there aside from myself, so it was more or less a private lesson. Such a perfect start to the day!
- The staff was so friendly, personal and caring. From the beginning to the end, we felt so well taken care of, and love chatting with our waiter during the meals. Another nice touch was the fruit, small drinks or scoops of ice cream that were brought at regular intervals as little snacks in the sun, as well as unlimited water and ice to keep hydrated by the pool. The water supply in the rooms were restocked twice daily.
- Needless to say, the Vidhun Spa at the resort was pure bliss. We had a 60-minute couples massage that was the most relaxing massage I’ve had in a long time. Not to mention the setting. At the Vidhun Spa, they don’t offer just any treatment rooms, but instead they have 5 treatment villas which come with an outdoor jacuzzi, cabana (where you could even order a healthy post-treatment lunch), and personal changing rooms that are all yours throughout the treatment.
- Personal recommendation: Try the passion fruit caipirinha at sunset. You won’t regret it!
- Unfortunately, this time around I don’t have any feedback to give about the hair dryer even though it is usually my pet peeve. I did see one in the closet, however, I didn’t used it once during the stay. A visit to the Maldives is all about bare feet in the sand and wavy hair, right? I am sure it would have been just as great as the rest of the hotel, though!
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
- Let’s get one thing straight: it was paradise. The end! There really is nothing to complain about. However, you guys know I always try to give you the real deal and to be super honest in my travel diaries, and there are 2 things I wanted to mention in my Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa hotel review. The hotel is situated only 40km north of the equator. In other words, the sun is just about as intense as it gets on this earth. Sunscreen all day every day. We were both in such a rush while packing that we forgot ours at home. No big deal since the hotel had a nice boutique with a huge array of suncare products, including Banana Boat which I love. The only thing was the price. You guys, we paid 52$ for sunscreen. No joke! And guess what, we had to restock 3 times since we went through a bottle about every other day. In comparison to the amazing food and beverages at the resort, which cost around 30$ for fresh fish or 14$ for a cocktail, I feel like this was way out of proportion and kind of took advantage of the guests desperate situation. Sunscreen is 100% necessary in the Maldives, no matter how tan you are, so we had no other option than to pay for it. We got over it fairly quickly and just accepted it, but just wanted to share this in order for you to pack as much sunscreen as your suitcase can carry 🙂
- The only other thing I can possibly think of to mention is that due to the super hot temperatures and humidity, the air condition has to run all night and it is not the quietest I’ve ever come across. Be sure to bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.
All in all, our stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I wouldn’t want to trade it for the world. It really is something you have to see for yourself in order to fully understand the magnitude of the beauty there. At the end of a vacation, I usually look forward to waking up in my own bed again, but as we got on the boat and pulled away from the island with the staff waving on the jetty, I got so overwhelmed with emotions that I actually started to cry. And I am typically not the overly emotional type. At that moment, I think it truly hit me how special the past few days really were and how rare it is to experience something like that. I feel beyond blessed for all the memories and the incredible hospitality of the Park Hyatt.
*a big thanks to Park Hyatt for having us!