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Review: the JW Marriott Maldives resort, a high quality and very family friendly choice

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This is our review of the JW Marriott Maldives, the next instalment of a series looking at selected Marriott Bonvoy resorts in the Maldives.

The first review in this series, looking at the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo resort, is here. A review of W Maldives will follow in a couple of weeks.

Flights (for me), food, accommodation and activities were provided by Marriott. I paid for flights for my husband and daughter, as they would have got grumpy if left behind for 10 days ….

As I travelled with my child this review has a family slant, particularly as the JW Marriott Maldives is very well equipped for families.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort

The JW Marriott Maldives is about a 90 minute sea plane journey from Malé, the capital city, in the Shiviyani Atoll. Like many resorts in the Maldives, the JW Marriott takes up the whole of a small island and can only be accessed via sea plane. Sea plane transfers are not usually included in your stay and cost approximately $500 per person.

The resort website is here.

Due to length the review has been split into two parts, both published today. Part 2 of our JW Marriott Maldives review is here.

Transfer lounge

If you are early for your transfer, JW Marriott Maldives offers guests the use of a lounge at Malé’s sea plane terminal. The lounge is the MACL VIP Business lounge and whilst it is shared with a couple of other 5* resorts, the capacity in the lounge is restricted so it shouldn’t ever be too busy.

The lounge was great, with two large rooms, enough seating for close to 100 guests, immaculate toilet facilities and a decent selection of food.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort
MACL lounge kids area

There was a kids section in one corner, with reading nooks, a bouncy cushion seat and a fun pegboard-type thing. Food included some grilled meat skewers and curry, sandwiches, pastries and some tasty fried cauliflower bites.

Arrival at JW Marriott Maldives

When disembarking from the sea plane, all guests are welcomed in the traditional way that royalty are welcomed in the Maldives, with a line of staff singing and playing Maldivian drums. It was an impressive start to a stay, unlike anything I have experienced before, and I enjoyed the honouring of Maldivian culture.

We were greeted by Kaushaur, our butler (or thakaru as they are termed in the Maldives), who guided us onto a golf buggy and quickly took us to our room whilst pointing out a few spots on the way, including the main restaurant and kids club.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort
The reception or library area

There is a reception area, which looks welcoming and smart, but the JW Marriott prefers to do check-in in your room with your butler assisting with the paperwork. I thought this was an excellent touch and a good use of the staff.

Villas at JW Marriott Maldives

I stayed in a Duplex Beach Pool villa, situated on the resort island, rather than in an overwater villa (although I did visit one later, pictures below).

Younger children are not allowed to stay in the overwater villas due to safety concerns. I personally would have found an overwater villa stay stressful with a little one and would not have booked one anyway, but I’m sure there are less uptight readers out there who may wish to know this!

Duplex Beach Pool villa

The Duplex Beach Pool villa is very large. It can effectively house a family of six with a master bedroom, a second bedroom and a mezzanine lounge that can be converted to a third bedroom.

First impressions were very good. The villa door opens onto a hallway with a useful console for wallets, keys and the like.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort

The hall leads directly into the large master bedroom and looked out to the pool and outside area.

Tucked into a cupboard on the right of the hall was a well-considered little kitchenette area with a sink, kettle and coffee maker and the mini-bar.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort
Mini kitchen

I thought this was very neat design; the cups, glasses and so on were easy to find and use but everything could just be closed away out of sight. You get plastic water bottles though – I would have much preferred to see glass. I understand the JW Marriott Maldives has an in-resort bottling plant coming soon so this should be a short-term issue.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort

The room is large enough to accommodate a small dining table to one side of the bed and a seating area at the bottom of the room, with a chaise longue, coffee table and plush stool.

The colours were calming pale pastels with a touch of dark woods.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort

The welcome snacks were delicious including some sort-of homemade Ferrero Rocher and coconut and white chocolate balls, stored in a glass jar, with plenty for all the villa guests. These were replenished every day, as was the fruit bowl.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort

The bed was a vast king, incredibly comfortable and with simple white linens. The bedside tables were a decent size and had multiple power points, both USB and three pin plugs. Funky, angular lights hung either side of the bed and had a pleasant warm glow but there were also reading lights in the bedhead.

A flight of stairs at the back of the bedroom leads up to a mezzanine lounge, complete with huge sofabed, a large TV and its own minibar. Windows run along the back wall looking directly out to the sea. There is a small shower room and fully stocked bathroom next to the lounge.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort
Upstairs lounge

Back downstairs, there is a very large and luxurious bathroom. A large marble bath is the focus point of the room, looking out to windows to the garden, with a large sink to either side of the bath. In the centre of the room is a large seat, with storage for wet towels or similar inside.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort

Self-contained toilet and shower rooms flank either side of the room, both of which were a decent size. It was very well designed, but the bath in heavy black marble didn’t quite seem to fit the rest of the villa’s soft, pale aesthetic. Not, of course, that it had a negative impact on my stay!

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort

Toiletries were branded Aromatherapy Associates London. On each sink unit sat a neat perspex box of additional toiletries and hurrah, these were all paper packaged (I hate seeing plastic covered toiletries in hotels).

Running from the master bedroom is a corridor lined with cupboards, making for a huge amount of storage. The corridor leads to a second twin bedroom with its own ensuite.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort
Second bedroom, with a selection of toys laid out for kids

The room is quite a bit smaller than the master bedroom but would make for a good room for kids or even a second adult couple as it had its own external door. The styling was quite simple and whilst the whole villa was luxuriously understated, I did feel this room lacked character and felt a bit like an afterthought design-wise.

The pool and garden area was sizeable. The pool was larger than usual for a plunge pool with wide shallow steps at each end, perfect for children.

Review JW Marriott Maldives resort

There was a shaded seating area, two sun loungers and outside shower. You could directly access the beach along a short pathway and each villa also has two sun loungers on the beach. The sand slopes into the water and remains mostly sandy for several metres so it’s easy to paddle or swim out (not all Maldivian beaches are so easy underfoot).

Overwater villas

Whilst I didn’t stay in an overwater villa, I did get a tour of them and was able to take some pictures.

Overwater villa – Hotel’s photography due to poor weather

This is the duplex overwater one bedroom villa. It had exactly the same interior layout as my beach duplex, but without the second bedroom at the back and had a very different pool set-up.

Overwater villa – Hotel’s photography due to poor weather

You can also book a one bedroom villa. This is also very similar to the duplex but without the mezzanine lounge above, meaning the ceilings are much higher.

This is the end of Part 1. In Part 2, I take an extensive look at the food and drink options as well as the family focused side of the resort – click here.

You can learn more about the resort on its website here.

Comments (14)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • JP-MCO says:

    Is this at the old Viceroy? Villa design looks very similar.

    • MT says:

      You are spot on, it is. Obviously refurbished and some additions but it is not a new build, it’s a conversion

  • JRC says:

    Nice review but I really don’t understand the comments about plastic in the context of where you are. I mean you’ve literally travelled 5,000 miles by plane then on a sea plane for a further 90 mins to a 100% man-made resort which must be incredibly environmentally unfriendly to build and maintain (ie EVERYTHING likely has to be brought in via plane or boat) and what concerns you is some plastic water bottles and wrapping on toiletries. I’m no eco warrior but I think global warming from CO2 emissions is much more worrying for your child’s future than plastic use/misuse- it was 40C in the UK last year!!

    • MT says:

      While you are correct, considering the location and ocean wildlife specifically in the Maldives plastic isn’t just from a global warming point of view buy more that these items if they get into the ocean do untold damage and injury to the marine life.

      Hundreds of plastic bottles a week it would only take a small percentage to end up in thr sea to create a lot of harm, whereas glass bottles and do not present the same danger or likelihood of ending up there.

    • Charlie says:

      Yes, that comment jumped out at me too!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It’s about minimising our impact. Obviously travelling has an environmental impact but if we can cut wasteful plastics then why not?

      I don’t like paper straws and actually think it was too far but more than happy without plastic wrapping (which generally isn’t recyclable), plastic cutlery, cups etc

      I’m guessing the comment is about being more thoughtful with the plastic usage

      • dougzz99 says:

        But in context the difference between commenting on some plastic wrap, and the journey and location highlights the underlying problem. I’m all about the environment so long as there’s no impact on me or my immediate needs.

        • dst87 says:

          But that’s a good place to start, surely? NOT using single use plastics for these items has zero impact on the user, so it’s all the more frustrating when those small improvement AREN’T made.

          • Thegasman says:

            Paper packaging often has a larger carbon footprint than plastic as it’s heavier, bulkier & less durable. If it’s coated paper to provide some water resistance (as would be the case with bathroom products in a hotel) then there’s no mainstream recycling options & it will take many years to breakdown in the environment.

            The obsession with abandoning plastic for paper is almost invariably ill informed green washing.

    • Rizz says:


    • Stephan says:

      +1 I would like more information on the green house emissions of these if HFP are really concerned about the environment. Also curious to get thoughts/article on the net off emissions by BA and others as it seems quite bogus.

  • MT says:

    Was the 90 minute seaplane journey with a stop, typically it is about an hour, so certainly further than some properties but not aware of it taking 90 minutes unless you had stops on the way.

  • Lyle says:

    I’m surprised that the seaplane flight took 90 minutes, the trip is only 120 nautical miles and a Twin Otter cruises around 180 knots so it should only take about a 40-45 flight, did you stop at other resorts on the way?

  • Mark says:

    Coupled with the business class flights from manchester or dublin for £1600 !

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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