6. Transfers & Timing of transfers in the Maldives
Ahh…the topic of transfers. This is one of the critical pieces that is very different in the Maldives than most destinations around the world. Transfer companies, methods and timing is a very difficult piece of your vacation to manage if you are not sure where to start. Don’t worry, we’re here for you :).
There are a few ways to transfer to hotels in the Maldives: boat, plane or sea plane. Depending on the distance from Malé, your hotel may offer a boat transfer. Boat transfers are often less expensive than flights and have more flexibility around hours of operation.
Planes are the next level. Domestic flights operate all over the Maldives and many hotels utilize this option. A domestic flight will take you from Malé to a local airport and then you will be either taken by bus to your hotel on that island (like at the Mercure) or taken by boat to your hotel (like the Residence). Domestic flight transfers range a bit in price, but typically fall somewhere in the 250-500 range).
Sea planes are the “quintessential” transfer in the Maldives and they operate small charters that fly between Malé and stop along the way at various luxury hotels. Some hotels, like Soneva, have their own sea plane that flies only between their properties and Malé, but most operate via Trans-Maldivian or Maldivian Airways. Each hotel has an agreement with one of these seaplane companies and the cost and booking is handled directly via the hotel. The advantage to that, apart from not having to deal with it yourself, is that if you book a brand like Hyatt, that cost goes on your bill, earning you valuable Hyatt points. Sea plane transfers are typically the most expensive, ranging from $450-800 per person.
One thing to note, particularly as it related to sea planes, is if you are planning to visit more than one hotel in the Maldives, whenever possible, try to book hotels that utilize the same transfer service. If you coordinate in advance and get lucky, you may get to skip the flight back to Malé and instead get transferred directly to your next hotel. This is a HUGE advantage, because the transfers back and forth to Malé are time consuming. You can see what hotels are operated by each airline on their websites.