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IHG Maldives options

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  • pbcold

    Has anyone stayed at Laamu and Maamunagau? I’m trying to decide between the two. I am spire ambassador if that is relevant, thank you.

    Guernsey Globetrotter

    Hi @pbcold We are heading – PCR permitting- to Six Senses Laamu (SSL) on Sunday for a 7 night break using a combo of BA Avios (2-4-1 redemption) for flights and IHG points for the resort that would not have been possible without the brilliant advice I have found here on HfP. I did take a look at the IC Maamunagau (ICM) but they didn’t have any points availability.

    With Laamu being SS, Spire Ambassador benefits mean only a possible upgrade from the basic Lagoon Water Villa (which IHG points redeem into) to the Ocean Water Villa (with pool) if available. ICM should give Ambassadors a guaranteed upgrade. Also, I think all the ICM over-water villas have pools if that is important to you.

    I get the impression that SSL is more bare-foot luxury whereas the ICM, which is also newer, looks more polished resort style. We find the sustainability angle that SSL takes quite appealing but it is fair to say that this is also what some travellers seem to take exception to in the more negative reviews, if they are used to a more curated/sanitised 5-star experience.

    F&B looks different between the resorts too. At SS Laamu breakfast is included but that is it. There is a USD120 pppn half board rate (USD146 with service & tax). In our case we will be happy with half board as we will breakfast sumptuously (and late knowing us!) and the free ice cream and sorbet bar (over 40 flavours) will help us survive til dinner time. The IC on the other hand apparently provides Club InterContinental benefits to all guests so as well as breakfast you get pool-side non-alcoholic drinks during the day, an afternoon tea option and also evening aperitif.

    Final difference I noted is that you get the sea-plane experience with ICM whereas at SSL it is just a scheduled local flight from Male plus a short speed boat trip to get to the resort. Neither is likely to be cheap but. as I’m sure you’re aware, expect all extras in the Maldives to be eye-wateringly expensive and you won’t be disappointed!

    pbcold

    Wow! What a fantastic reply; thank you so much GG. I currently have reservations at both but need to free up some points and make a decision and your response has helped hugely. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

    Benilyn

    I’ve been to the IC recently
    Anything you would like to know in particular?

    Spire Amb guarantees you 1 cat upgrade, and also gets you a stocked minibar everyday (soft drinks). As a couple you’ll never be able to get through all of them anyway.

    Depending on how many days you are going for, I’d look to split my stay over 2 room types. We did beach villa and lagoon villa. The lagoon villa is over 2 floors and huge.

    I wouldn’t bother paying for HB/FB as you can easily skip lunch and if you check the menus, it’s about breakeven booking the HB.

    Categories go as:
    OWV
    Lagoon Villa
    Beach Villa

    I would personally recommend it over SS based on looking at pics as it looks a lot newer than SS in pics. I think IC opened not long ago, and that included time in lockdown. Emails can take a few days to get responses but they do reply, I have a massive email chain with them so they are patient.

    Benilyn

    Also if you didn’t know, IC is an all club resort, meaning:
    Breakfast included (buffet and a la carte)
    Afternoon tea (snacks + tea coffees)
    Soft drinks from pool bar all day
    Happy hour – I think 5-6pm – free drinks from pool bar

    pbcold

    Huge thanks Benilyn, this is much appreciated.

    travelwell

    Six senses is a wonderful experience. It is advertised as ‘barefoot luxury’, but don’t let that fool you, it’s still luxurious.
    I think they strike the perfect balance of a luxury resort, impeccable service but still have the eco friendly approach. I loved that they take your shoes off as soon as you get on the speedboat.
    What I liked most was this experience felt very premium and personal, without been stuffy. The Maldives is all about relaxation and reconnection, and I thought a highly luxury, over the top 5 star classic might actually detract from that.

    Guernsey Globetrotter

    Thanks for the info @travelwell – it has really whetted my appetite for our trip!

    Just have to get through tomorrow’s PCR now …

    therooster

    I stayed at the IC Maldives and had an amazing time.
    It is a club hotel, we stayed on points (Amb) we got a room upgrade to sunset Overwater villa.

    The evening drinks was 5-7 and they would make practically anything you asked for, we also found that if you became friendly with the staff & built a rapport they would really go out of the way (free drinks, special meals etc)

    If you have any specific questions let me know, we were there for 11 nights over Christmas

    pbcold

    These comments are all brilliant and what HfP is all about. Thank you They both sound fantastic though which doesn`t help my decision!!

    squawk7700

    I’m booked at the SS in April but have just noticed that rooms have become available at the IC for reward nights on the same dates. I preferred not having to choose, now I have to make a difficult decision…!

    I gather that for both places, transport options are around the same price (domestic flight versus seaplane). I have to admit, the seaplane to the IC sounds more tempting than a stuffy Dash-8 to the SS. Has anyone been able to negotiate the prices at all, or are they very much fixed? I notice certain room rates come with seaplane discounts, so wasn’t sure if there was any flexibility…

    Slight difference in canx terms for reward nights: 72 hrs at IC versus 2 weeks at the SS. With the 96hrs PCR requirement for the Maldives, this could be crucial.

    Question for those that have been to either, how did you find daytime activities? I understand that the SS provides free kayaking and snorkels etc. I was also looking to jump on one of their sunset dolphin boat tours for approx $120 USD per person for 2 hours. Anything comparable at the IC?

    Finally, I presume that evening meals will be similar prices at either hotel? I can find the menus online for the SS but not the IC.

    therooster

    No the prices for seaplane are fixed on reward nights at the IC, although I did find that they didn’t mind the weight being over a couple of KG.
    There is free snorkeling, kayaking, paddle board & pedalo everyday at the IC.

    The food menu can be found here – https://maldives.intercontinental.com/restaurantsandbars

    We found the prices to be okay, it was around $100 for 2 adults main courses & a shared desert. You get water with the meal and bread (which was amazing)

    We had a very special meal onto of the lighthouse roof on Christmas day as a surprise from the hotel it was honestly amazing! We only had to pay for the main course (we had A8 Wagu) but it was a memory that’s for sure

    AndyUK101

    I did 8 nights at SS Laamu on points back in November, the comments above are all accurate

    Spire Ambassador benefits were a welcome fruit basket, some prosecco along with a free basic massage, no upgrade but we actually preferred to be in the lagoon villa rather ocean villa, daily snorkelling around the seagrass is easier from those

    Some free activities like guided snorkeling along with all the advertised paid ones, highlight was the sunset dolphin tour for us along with the reef scuba (if you aren’t qualified, you can still Scuba dive on the house reef, its really close to the building and shallow) both well worth it

    Transfer to the resort was a little delayed due to the weather and no seaplane but otherwise all good

    Not an especially social resort though so make sure you are happy with your partner, you’ll be spending a lot of time together and i we were pretty disappointed with the Zen restaurant, Leaf and the bar food were much nicer

    squawk7700

    Many thanks for the reviews so far – looks like I’ve got a difficult choice to make!

    If the IC automatically comes with “Club” benefits, is there really any benefit in me paying to become Ambassador for $200? I’m already Spire. As far as I can tell it would likely be an upgrade to a sunset view villa – but otherwise the villa is the same?

    If anyone is lucky enough to have been to both then I would be very glad to hear of any opinions as to which they preferred!

    pbcold

    Thank you so much everyone; these responses have been so informative. I have just booked 5 nights in May @ the IC using 2 credit card free night vouchers and 360,000 points which I am extremely pleased about. I am currently staying at the IC Cancun and shall go for a swim in the sea to celebrate. Many thanks.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 4 months ago by .
    therooster

    Many thanks for the reviews so far – looks like I’ve got a difficult choice to make!

    If the IC automatically comes with “Club” benefits, is there really any benefit in me paying to become Ambassador for $200? I’m already Spire. As far as I can tell it would likely be an upgrade to a sunset view villa – but otherwise the villa is the same?

    If anyone is lucky enough to have been to both then I would be very glad to hear of any opinions as to which they preferred!

    Everyroom gets club benefit regardless of if you paid cash, points or status.
    You do get free soft drinks in your mini bar which is topped up. You also get a personal experience with the GM & Resort Manager they show you around the island (this might be for some normal guests but out of 6 who came on our boat we were the only people)

    You do get the upgrade, if you are going to stay at more IC that year I would recommend AMB. You also get buy one get one free for a night (cash only)

    therooster

    You will have a great time pbcold!
    Enjoy and make sure you enjoy the lighthouse

    pbcold

    Thank you therooster….what is the lighthouse?

    flyer68

    I’m sure you’ll have a blast either way. Not that I would fully trust Tripadvisor, but the SS is number one on traveller rankings for Maldives, and the IC is number 61. That would probably indicate some level of difference. Our experience at the SS over Christmas just gone was easily the best we have had at any hotel in the Maldives or elsewhere. The Points Guy has done reviews of both properties over recent months.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 4 months ago by .
    pbcold

    Apologies, therooster – I have re-read your comments. Thanks again.

    therooster

    Thank you therooster….what is the lighthouse?

    It is one of the restaurants there, it has a very European vibe which is something in the Maldives!

    therooster

    I’m sure you’ll have a blast either way. Not that I would fully trust Tripadvisor, but the SS is number one on traveller rankings for Maldives, and the IC is number 61. That would probably indicate some level of difference. Our experience at the SS over Christmas just gone was easily the best we have had at any hotel in the Maldives or elsewhere. The Points Guy has done reviews of both properties over recent months.

    Could that have something to do with how new the IC is? It has 5* on Trip, it would be interesting to know the algorithms!

    squawk7700

    Transfer to the resort was a little delayed due to the weather and no seaplane but otherwise all good

    Andy, I was just looking for a bit more info on the domestic flight. Was the transfer process relatively smooth? I must admit the seaplane to the IC is slightly more tempting as I presume they run slightly more ad-hoc, as opposed to having to wait for a domestic flight which has no published schedule.

    Also, for the return, I presume that they run early mornings? We’re on the BA MLE-LHR which departs at 11:45 and hoping we can make it on time without an overnight in MLE the night before.

    Benilyn

    So the IC sea plane process: you land at MLE, get your luggage then walk out, IC staff meets you to check in your luggage into the sea plane, then you drive to the IC lounge and wait there for your sea plane. I think we waited 30 min max. Then walk to sea plane, a few minutes max. Sea plane journey is about 45mins, you may land a few times at other resorts as other passengers get off. TBH sea plane is ok, but it is very cramped, you will be running on adrenaline / excitement so should be ok (but return leg I felt it a bit). I get the impression that the sea planes run a lot more frequent than the domestic planes (which are also quite cramped having flown them before). Basically don’t expect it to be a 5* experience except for the views. Yes it was v smooth, the IC lounge staff are all over it in regards to your luggage etc.

    Sea planes run from first light so 11.45am will be fine.

    Re being Amb or not, it looks like IC has changed their room cats so maybe email them to ask what you would get upgraded to and see if you want that. Lagoon Villa has very OVW vibes but you can’t jump into the water (no stairs) but the room much bigger (2 floors).

    AndyUK101

    Transfer to the resort was a little delayed due to the weather and no seaplane but otherwise all good

    Andy, I was just looking for a bit more info on the domestic flight. Was the transfer process relatively smooth? I must admit the seaplane to the IC is slightly more tempting as I presume they run slightly more ad-hoc, as opposed to having to wait for a domestic flight which has no published schedule.

    Also, for the return, I presume that they run early mornings? We’re on the BA MLE-LHR which departs at 11:45 and hoping we can make it on time without an overnight in MLE the night before.

    Not that painful really, we landed in some pretty poor weather so the delay was around 3 hours for us but typically around an hour in a small, basic lounge then around an hour on the dash followed by a 20 min speedboat ride, if you are flying BA to Male you’ll be at the resort late afternoon / early evening

    Quite a few guests were on the 11:45 BA flight back and the resort had the timings all worked out, they’ll contact you in advance to confirm everything but from memory, people departed around 6:15

    I’d have liked the seaplane option too but word amongst the other guests was the weight and baggage restrictions were quite strict, not so much on the domestic flight

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