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  • Writer's pictureNick Burgess

The Maldives - The Most Exclusive Vacation Destination In The World Is Also The Most Expensive

Updated: May 18, 2022

Maldives - The Aspirational Trip for Millionaires

As we roll into the back part of 2021, people are sick and tired of staying cooped up in their homes. It's been nearly 20 months of partial (or full) quarantine to attempt to avoid COVID infection. The population at large is starting to develop cabin fever, and it shows. Google Trend data shows a steady uptick in searches for "travel" related topics as the months wear on.

The TSA is also screening nearly 2 million passengers a day at this point in the pandemic, which is more than double this time last year but still shy of 2019's numbers. People are ready to travel, probably including you who is reading this article right now. Chances are also pretty good that you have paid off those credit cards, have some cash in the bank and some credit card points that are burning a hole in your pocket. So if you are ready to take that pent-up travel energy out on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, where better to go than the most exclusive, most expensive vacation destination on the planet? Welcome to The Maldives.

What Are The Maldives?

The Maldives is a collection of Asian islands located in the Indian Ocean. They're incredibly small islands, and I mean TINY. "The Maldives" is actually a collection is 1,192 individual islands, but vacationing there typically refers to a small handful of islands. And these islands are the definition of "remote."

It's one of the longest flights in the world from New York, clocking in at an eye-watering 18 hours and 40 minutes, with a quick stop in Dubai or Moscow. And flights aren't even as expensive as you think they might be for a lap around the world. A round-trip ticket can be found for as low as $700 from New York to Velana, which makes this cheaper than flying to certain European locations. Once you get there, however, you're not really done flying, and you haven't even started spending your hard-earned dollars yet.

Is The Maldives Expensive?

Yes, the Maldives is VERY expensive once you get there. Once you land, you have a seaplane, a hotel and a LOT of food and booze to account for, all of which is much more expensive than you think.

The Maldives airport is remarkably small for being an increasingly popular vacation destination. Due to the nature of the islands, they don't have much room to expand the airport, which means getting in and out can be a hassle. There's also the experience of the hotel transfer. Normally, I'd skip this step since you're hopping on a shuttle or a hot bus to take a 45 minute sweaty ride to the airport. In The Maldives, however, is a little different.

Like I said, it's a lot of islands, so you're not exactly going to encounter interstate roadways where you can rent a car for cheap. You're at the mercy of the airport transfer system, which gets pricey fast. According to The Points Guy U.K, you're going to encounter the monopoly that is Trans Maldivian Airways, which owns all of the seaplanes that transfer customers to their hotels and back to the airport. There is also boat service that can take you, but those journeys can take longer than anticipated. So if you opt for seaplane, here's what it could cost you:

So yes, this one is going to hurt. And keep an eye on all of the resorts up there. Google any of them and you will find some of the most stunning, eye-catching resorts on the planet. Let's take a look at a few.

W Maldives

overhead villa shot of the W Maldives
An overhead shot of the W, courtesy of Marriott

These villas cost anywhere from $700 per night up to $1,100 per night during the fall, but you get stunning over-water views of the crystal clear ocean.

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli

the st. regis maldives vommuli resort
Courtesy of The St. Regis

These are on the higher end of the price range. Starting at $950 per night in the off-season, these get as high as $2,200 per night during peak times. Better save those rewards credits.

Raffles Maldives Meradhoo

an overhead shot of the raffles maldives meradhoo villa in the maldives
Courtesy of Conde Nast

This bad boy is in the same price range as the St. Regis, but includes free breakfast and apparently massages while you wait? Sounds good to me.

Apart from that last example, keep in mind that food and drink are not included typically in your stay. The blog "Journalist On The Run" estimates that food at these resorts (including bottled water) will run you north of $50 per person per meal, so plan accordingly.

The Bottom Line

I always conclude these pieces by giving my own take on if I would want to pay for this or whatever. In this case, I could not type "yes" fast enough. The Maldives is extremely high on my bucket list, and is somewhere I've always wanted to go. Do I want to fold myself into a pretzel on a plane for 18 hours, only to have to pony up $600 for another plane to take us to our hotel? Not at all! Do I want to shell out $300 per day on food? No! But there's something about The Maldives. It's like the Hamptons I covered a few weeks ago, just more mystical and warmer. I cannot wait to visit.


Would you shell out for a once-in-a-lifetime beach trip to The Maldives? Let me know in the comments below! And don't forget to sign up for my email list so you can get these in your inbox as soon as they post!

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