The other option is purchasing an all-inclusive package at a resort that is not an all-inclusive property for all guests. Due to the remote nature of the Maldives, many hotels do offer meal plans for guests to choose from. You will typically see options for bed & breakfast, half board, full board or all-inclusive. Check out this video if you’re wondering what the difference is between these packages.
We do receive a lot of questions about booking full board versus all-inclusive and it’s important to remember that full board typically does not include any beverages. Even if you do not drink alcohol, you may want to look at the cost difference between full board and all-inclusive if you plan to have soda, juice, mocktails or even water at some resorts. There are, of course, exceptions to this. For example, Hard Rock Maldives does include water and sparkling water during meal times only.
That being said, all-inclusive packages at luxury resorts can be a great deal. Most all-inclusive packages at 5 star resorts operate in the same way. Guests will have access to a buffet or a la carte breakfast, a la carte lunch with an allocation of 1 appetizer, 1 entree, 1 dessert and dinner with 1 appetizer, 1 entree and 1 dessert. Alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages are typically included throughout the day, not just at mealtimes for luxury resorts. Alcoholic beverages are often available on a “all-inclusive” list within the menu. For example, Park Hyatt Haadahaa offers an extensive list of all-inclusive premium drinks, including a variety of champagne and wine options for all-inclusive guests.
All-inclusive packages at non-AI resorts also typically include your minibar as well as non-motorized water sports and snorkeling gear.
Even 5 star resorts will have a number of asterisks associated with their package. For example, you will likely find asterisks next to premium dishes like caviar, lobster, certain steak options and similar items. They will often offer you 50% off if you order the speciality items. Typically, 5 star resorts will offer discounts on specialty experiences such as the Cellar Dining Experience at JA Manafaru.
Be weary of any resort that offers all-inclusive packages that do not allow you to order beverages outside of mealtimes or only offer 1 wine by the glass in the reds, rosés and whites category. Many self-classified 5 star properties will also have a number of asterisks on their menus and some will even limit your dining options to the buffet. These are typically true 3-4 star properties masquerading as 5 star and you must read the terms and conditions of the meal plan before booking.