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IHG Maldives options

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  • Guernsey Globetrotter

    @squawk7700 To add to @AndyUK101 ‘s comments above, having just returned from a fabulous stay in SS Laamu, the flight transfers don’t include a seaplane option but what is good is that the SS staff at Male airport meet you and oversee all aspects of the transfers, so it all goes smoothly. On the way back it was also very reassuring to have them take you direct to the BA desk from the domestic terminal to get ehecked-in.

    On the Ambassador benefits front, we also received the prosecco (probably worth a good USD100+ at resort prices). Our GEM (Guest Experience Maker) offered us a choice between the couples massage or a USD100 F&B credit. We chose the former which was very relaxing and would have cost more than USD100. It gave us an enjoyable morning activity and we got to see around the spa facilities. I’d try and book it in advance and have it early in your stay to loosen up after the flight. On check-out I then noticed that we had also received the USD100 F&B credit anyway, so that’s definitely the way to go. Got no upgrade due to occupancy levels but the Lagoon Water Villas are lovely and we didn’t miss having a plunge pool. You may find you prefer to spend your time at the beach anyway, in proximity to Sip-Sip’s pool and swim up bar, once the villa novelty has worn off!

    Finally, having now been, I wouldn’t bother paying the USD120pppn for half board. It doesn’t save you money but actually stops you from doing so on evenings where you may have preferred a lighter informal meal in the Chill Bar as an option.

    If you do choose Laamu I can say with confidence you won’t be disappointed – we loved it and are already planning a return trip next year!

    squawk7700

    Just a mini-review in case anyone digs up this thread in the future.

    Just got back from 5 nights at the IC Maldives, having debated and switched from the Six Senses Laamu with a few weeks notice when availability popped up at the IC.

    All I can say is….wow! Quite simply the best hotel I’ve ever stayed (in 2019 I did around 150 nights in IHG, including multiple IC’s). The caveat of course is that I’m sure I would be saying the same about the SS, based on the many reviews I’ve read.

    Our main reason for switching was:

    a) my wife liked the look of the plunge pool on IC overwater villas (we actually used this more than I expected)
    b) the seaplane transfer looked simpler and less prone to delays compared to the SS domestic flights
    c) we felt that the free soft drinks all day in the IC, plus 2 hours free daily cocktails, would help us to relax a little financially

    Otherwise, we were utterly torn between the two and would now love to try out the SS!

    In the event, we touched down in Male at approx 10:15 local time and stepped on to the pier at the IC at 12:40 following the 40 minute seaplane ride with it’s beautiful views. By 13:00 we were sat in our villa drinking the (free) bottle of Prosecco that had been left chilling for us….it wasn’t clear if this was an Ambassador perk or not. Our minibar was kept filled with complimentary soft drinks throughout our stay, and we enjoyed our morning Nespresso on the terrace.

    Dining:

    Breakfast was fantastic, buffet and a la carte options included. Skipped lunch most days as normally too full from breakfast, instead opting to relax at the Adult Only “Retreat” with an iced coffee and a book. Complimentary afternoon tea was average, but then again it’s never been a favourite of mine – it served to fill a gap until evening dinner.

    Happy hour cocktails were generally pretty good, and once friendly with some of the bar staff they normally allowed us to take a couple of beers back to our room to enjoy in the plunge pool.

    Evening meals were sublime, easily Michelin star quality I would say. The chefs would come out personally to check how we were enjoying the dishes, and (for example) if too spicy would remember for the following evening and adjust tastes as necessary. The Asian cuisine at the Fish Market was (IMO) better than the Mediterranean cuisine in the Lighthouse, but both were fantastic. Main courses averaged $45 USD and house bottles of wine averaged around $70 USD (plus 10% service and 10% tax to everything).

    On one evening we were invited to cocktails with the manager. It wasn’t clear if this was an Ambassador perk or if everyone got an invite….in the event they gifted us a bottle of champagne (list price $200 USD) once they realised it was my wife’s birthday.

    Rooms:

    We had the overwater sunset villa. Brand new rooms, super comfy bed, top quality bathroom products, Bose sound bar, etc. Zero complaints. The only thing I would say is that you can’t actually see the sunset! It happens too far around the corner -> best place for sunset views were from the Lighthouse.

    Resort:

    We loved riding our bikes around each day switching between the Retreat to the main pool and then across to the beach with a bit of snorkelling at the house reef. Snorkel kits, pedalos and paddle boards are all complimentary. One thing I loved with this place is you were never lacking an opportunity to find a comfortable shady spot – the sun was intense and best avoided unless swimming etc. The resort is dotted with mattresses, bean bags, swings, loungers, etc. It is a rather small island, I’m not sure how it compares to the SS. We agreed that after 7/8 nights one might get a little bit restless – but 5 nights for us wasn’t quite long enough.

    In terms of activities we did one evening dolphin cruise – a boat easily large enough for 30 guests had 8 guests in total. Saw hundreds of spinner dolphins. $100 USD each.

    Also a snorkel tour which was meant to be shared but in the event we were the only two booked, meaning we had a private marine biologist with us. Saw plenty of sharks and rays but unfortunately didn’t get lucky with any sea turtles this time. $70 USD each.

    Staff:

    Impeccable.

    Costs:

    Our final bill was approx $1600 USD. This included 5 evening meals (we did cheat once and just share a pizza) plus the aforementioned activities. I don’t think you could do it much cheaper than this unless you forego any activities and avoid wine at dinner (soft drinks are still free even at dinner). Would be interested to know how this compares to the SS, costs wise?

    Conclusion:

    I wouldn’t hesitate to go here again, and at 120K IHG points I think it may be just about the best redemption in their network (except, perhaps the SS, which is the next aim….).

    MKB

    In March, we did five nights at the Waldorf-Astoria followed by five at the Intercontinental (which is not the best way round to do them, but that’s how the rewards nights fell).

    We had two nights in a Sunset Overwater Pool Villa and then switched to a Lagoon Pool Villa (which was granted without extra charge).

    We particularly liked the second duplex room: it had a lot more space, was spread over two floors and had much more comfortable seating areas. It was also a closer walk to The Retreat. (We didn’t use the bikes as they were very unsteady and had no brakes!)

    Service at the IC was better than at the WA. It was much more friendly and chatty, and they would go out of their way to surprise you.

    With the sumptious breakfast, generous afternoon tea, and further snacks that came with the cocktail “hour”, we only needed dinner on two evenings. A margarita pizza (about 15″ diameter, sufficient for two) was US$35.73 (inclusive of tax/service). Dinner in The Lighthouse came to US$115.81 for two vegetarian mains and one starter. In the event the vegetable paella main-course option was huge and would have been more than enough for us both.

    I really enjoyed the IC but would only recommend if you can get upgraded from the overwater rooms. The only thing that irks is that guests with access to the IHG US credit card can get a fifth night free on points, whereas we couldn’t.

    Toppcat

    Thanks @squawk7700 for such a great review. This thread has definitely whet my appetite for both IHG options in the Maldives!

    pbcold

    Travelling to I/C Maldives two weeks today and extremely grateful for these comments.

    Tom H

    https://www.headforpoints.com/forums/topic/ihg-maldives-options/page/2/#post-345066

    That’s really interesting, we just returned from 7 nights at the WA on redemption and it was amazing, I have a load of IHG points to burn, how does the ic compare to the WA?

    toddy

    Enjoyed reading the reviews above. I’ve just booked 5 nights at the IC for February (a mixture of points & the Ambassador free night cert).

    I have a quick question on the free night cert.
    The total price for the 2 nights is $3670. The room rate is $1480 per night with the balance made up of circa $700 of taxes and others charges. For my free night, do I get $1480 deducted from my bill, or the entire cost of the 2nd night ($1835)?

    Thanks and please keep the reviews/tips coming!

    NorthernLass

    I’ve never paid for any element of the 2nd night, however so far I’ve only used the free nights in the UK so the full charge for each night is shown very clearly on the booking confirmation. I’m not sure how it works in countries where they are allowed to list all the taxes and fees separately.

    squawk7700

    Enjoyed reading the reviews above. I’ve just booked 5 nights at the IC for February (a mixture of points & the Ambassador free night cert).

    I have a quick question on the free night cert.
    The total price for the 2 nights is $3670. The room rate is $1480 per night with the balance made up of circa $700 of taxes and others charges. For my free night, do I get $1480 deducted from my bill, or the entire cost of the 2nd night ($1835)?

    Thanks and please keep the reviews/tips coming!

    I used my free night cert at the IC San Diego a few weeks ago – in the end I paid exactly half of the total (inc taxes/fees). However, they did initially try charging me the “amenity fee” on the free night, which I contested and got waived.

    So, I’d like to think that you will pay exactly half of $3670 (presuming that the room rate was the same for both nights).

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