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Holiday Inn Maldives Review. A budget Maldives option

The Holiday Inn Maldives is a good option for families, and for people looking to go to the Maldives on a budget. This resort is one of the cheapest in the Maldives, but this shows in the quality of the product offered. I’m not saying that it's a bad resort (it is not) – just that it's not the same as resorts that cost 3x as much.

As the resort is a private island, there a lot of facilities and this is an in-depth review. I have included lots of photos and some video walk throughs - to give you a really good feeling of what to expect when you visit.

What I Liked

  • The 1 bed beach villa was spacious and private
  • The main pool and beach area was very well kept
  • Plenty of games and activities
  • Kids club had separate pool and children’s games
  • The nightly rate charged is at an excellent price
  • Breakfast was fresh, high quality and varied

What could be improved

  • At check-in, I was made to wait for 1 hour, as they tried to overcharge me
  • Activities were very expensive
  • Wi-fi was slow
  • Housekeeping was done every 2 days
  • Food was overpriced and not great
  • Only 2 restaurants

Maldives Location Guide

The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean, south of Sri Lanka. Holidays to the Maldives, are on many people’s bucket list – and for good reason. There are something like 200 luxury resorts here.

Each resort is usually located on a private island, which brings a wonderful level of luxury. The Indian ocean is calm, and the water is crystal clear. A private island brings a level of isolation and calm that is difficult to replicate anywhere else.

The downside to the Maldives is the expense. When you visit, expect to get hosed at every step. The flights are expensive, the transfers to islands cost extra, and the food costs on each island are extortionate. But hey, who said paradise was free?!

Transfer to the resort

The Holiday Inn is located on Kandooma Island, which is a 45-minute speedboat ride from Male International Airport. I was greeted in the arrivals hall, and then escorted to the speedboat terminal. The terminal is right outside the entrance of the airport.

The price of the transfer is $229 per adult. My daughter is 3, so her ticket was free. The boat itself was pretty basic, and complimentary water was offered.

Check In

At check-in we were provided with welcome drinks and a big smile. However from there it quickly went downhill..

The staff came up to me and gave me a bill that was $100 more than the price on the confirmation. The price on my confirmation was $828 for 5 nights B&B (which is an excellent price - more on that below). I showed the lady my confirmation and assumed that would clear everything up – sadly I was wrong. It was 1 hour until we were able to go to our room, and I had to deal with a litany of nonsense.

  • The lady at reception said that my number of $828 did not include taxes (it did)
  • She passed my confirmation to someone else who once again said that my confirmation did not include taxes. He did not even look at my confirmation!
  • The guy then looked at my confirmation, and said that my confirmation was wrong and that his system was right
  • He then printed out 3-page document with around 50 lines of expenses which he said would ‘clear things up’ (it did not)
  • The lady then said she would speak to reservations about ‘the confusion’


After 1 hour, I said that I had had a long day, and that my 3 year old daughter was very tired. At that point, they gave us the key to our room.

I went to reception the day after, and they said that they would honour my $828 rate. I always knew they would honour my rate, but the service was pretty disgraceful for a few reasons:

  • The front desk staff should know that they need to honour the price on the confirmation
  • After a long flight, we were made to sit for 1 hour while the staff at reception messed around. They should have offered us some complimentary refreshments
  • The attitude of the staff was not helpful. They repeated told me that I was wrong
  • This situation can be easily solved with better training

Rate paid

I am lucky enough to have stayed at many amazing 5* hotels, but am still a big fan of the Holiday Inn brand. Why? Holiday Inn is a family friendly brand where kids eat free, and I find that there is a lot of consistency between different hotels. They do not have many luxury hotels, but I don’t expect luxury at the Holiday Inn!

Long story short, a combination of good experiences at Holiday Inns, excellent Tripadvisor reviews and the low price meant that I had high expectations of the resort. In all honesty, the expectations were not met.

I booked a B&B rate for $828 for 5 nights, with my wife and my daughter. This is an amazing price to stay in the Maldives. During my 5 days at the resort, it become clear that they had cut corners in many areas

  • The Wi-fi was bad
  • Housekeeping was done every 2 days
  • The decoration and furniture was basic
  • Food was very expensive – the cheapest main meals were ~$25
  • Expensive activities. $40 + taxes + Service Charge for a yoga class


I am in 2 minds about this. On one hand the hotel offers a low nightly rate, and allows people to experience the Maldives. On the flip side, it is disappointing that basics like Wi Fi and daily housekeeping are not provided.

My trip also involved a 5-day stay at the Conrad Maldives.

The Resort

The Holiday Inn Maldives is located on a private Island (like all of the resorts in the Maldives). It has the following facilities:

  • 2 swimming pools
  • 2 bars
  • 2 restaurants
  • Kids club with separate pool
  • Gym
  • Spa
  • Football pitch
  • Volleyball court
  • Tennis court
  • Aquatics centre


The majority of facilities are congregated around the reception area. The island itself is pretty large – it took me 25 minutes to walk around the island. From the photos above, you will see that some of the sports facilities are not well maintained – especially the football pitch and volleyball court.

There is a buggy service available, to help residents to get around. I did not use it, as my room was 2 minutes from the main pool.

The best feature of the resort is the stunning view and calm blue waters, i.e. the reason why you came to the Maldives!

I uploaded a 1 minute video on Instagram (below). It shows a walk through from reception to the main pool and beach area. It gives you a real feel for the resort.

 


The best view on the island comes from the sunset bar. There is a large terrace that overlooks the sea, and also a lookout tower. The short video below shows you the view from both the terrace and the lookout tower. 


Beach Villa

As an IHG Platinum member, I was upgraded to a better villa. I was assigned room 12, which is right next to the restaurants and the main pool. I believe that villas 1-20 are reserved for IHG status members.

I really liked the 1 bed villa. The decoration was functional, but it contained everything that I needed. There was an outside seating area downstairs, and the main room was upstairs, which contained:

  • Small bedroom
  • Small Balcony
  • Outside shower area
  • TV
  • French Press
  • Tea making facilities


Some fresh fruit was also provided upon arrival

Below is a 2 minute walk through of my villa. If you are considering a stay at this hotel, then I definitely recommend to take a look.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Check out my my walk through of our villa at the Holiday Inn Maldives

A post shared by Entrepreneur (@soulfultravelguy) on

Overwater Villa

The overwater villas are small in number (maybe 20), and located on the far side of the island. It is about 10 minutes to walk to reception from there.

I didn't stay in an overwater villa, but I did walk round and snap some photos. To be honest, they did not look especially large or luxurious, and the outdoor decks had zero privacy.

The food. Breakfast

The breakfast buffet was good – I would describe it as 4*/5* quality. It consisted of western and local options:

  • Cook to order eggs
  • Western options: Eggs, bacon, mushrooms, sausages
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Fresh fruit
  • Yoghurt
  • Cereals
  • Pastries
  • Desserts: Bread and butter pudding, apple crumble etc.
  • Local options. Chapati & curry. Fried rice


I liked the fact that they had a range of local options, in addition to standard western fare. You have the option to eat curries, dim sum and Asian dishes.

I had the breakfast buffet for 5 days, so I have a fairly good view of most dishes. I enjoyed the food, but by the 4th day, I found the buffet to be lacking variety. Twice a week, I don’t eat meat or eggs, and I found myself struggling on these days. The veg fried rice was served with egg on top!

I had French press coffee each morning, and enjoyed it. It was not amazing but solid – a little bitter.

The food. Main Restaurant

There are only 2 restaurants at the Holiday Inn - the main restaurant by the pool and the fine dining restaurant (the Kitchen). The food is decent, but massively overpriced. This is typical of resorts in the Maldives, but it is disappointing that there are no other options. It would be nice if they had a bakery with some sandwiches or cakes in the day time.

The lowest priced dish was $23 for the Margherita pizza. Note that there is 25% added on for service charge and taxes – the price of food quickly adds up. We tried a few dishes during our time there:

  • Arabic salad
  • Fish and chips
  • Chicken skewers
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Indian thali


All of the food was well made and enjoyable, but nothing was spectacular. After 5 days of eating there, I was certainly happy to eat something different. The menu reminded me of a London pub menu – the food was a similar quality but double the price!

Holiday Inn globally allows kids to eat free when with an adult. This offer is excellently observed by the hotel. There is a special kids menu with starter, main and dessert.

The food. Fine Dining Restaurant

There is a Fine Dining Restaurant called the Kitchen, which has a terrace with a terrific uninterrupted sea view. I did not eat here during my stay, but I did take some photos of the restaurant and the menu. You can see these photos in the slideshow above

Infinity pool and beach

The infinity pool leads out to the main beach area. It is certainly very pleasant, as can be seen from the images in the slideshow. This area also contains a number of activities including aquatics centre, beach volleyball, pool table, table tennis and some other outdoor games.

I uploaded a 1 minute video walk through of the beach and pool area, so you can get a feel for just how nice it is. You can view this below. For all my disappointment with the wi-fi and lack of food variety, there is no doubting that the beach area is stunning.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This is a 1 minute walk through of the beach area at the Holiday Inn Maldives

A post shared by Entrepreneur (@soulfultravelguy) on

Activities

There are lots of complimentary activities:

  • Daily Aqua aerobics classes
  • Snorkelling
  • Table Tennis
  • Pool
  • Volleyball
  • Football
  • Tennis

My wife did aqua aerobics each day and she loved it! It was fun and a great way to interact with the other guests.

There are also lots of chargeable activities - which are overpriced. Yoga classes are priced at $40 (before taxes and service charges). Most of the guests I spoke to did not do any of the chargeable activities, as they were massively overpriced.

Family friendliness

In my view the very best thing about the holiday inn brand is the family friendliness. This resort was no different:

  • Kids club open from 8am to 8pm. They take kids above the age of 4, and will look after them for you
  • Kids eat free when with an adult
  • Separate kids pool with slide


The kids club also has a few activities like computer games, soft play area and pool of balls.

Elite Member recognition

IHG structure their loyalty program different to the other hotel chains (Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott etc.). They provide weak benefits to elite members, but they make it easier to earn free nights. Their regular accelerate promotion provides personalised targets to members, often with generous bonuses. For this reason, the chain is excellent for light stayers.

As an IHG platinum, I got the following benefits:

  • Room upgrade to one near the pool area and beach
  • Voucher for free drink
  • Some fruit


These benefits are weak, but I knew that coming in.

Conclusion

I am in 2 minds about this place. The rate charged by the hotel is excellent for the Maldives, and it enables more people to enjoy the beauty of the Maldives. But I mustn’t disguise the fact that the hotel fell short in a few areas - poor wi-fi, no daily housekeeping and not enough food options. Also, the reception staff at check-in were ridiculous – trying to overcharge me.

Overall though, I had a really nice break at the Holiday Inn with my family. But would I come here again? Probably not

Elite Benefits

I have 2 sets of status with IHG

  • Platinum IHG status
  • Intercontinental Ambassador status


Elite benefits with IHG are the weakest of all the major chains, but this hotel managed to undershoot even those low expectations. I always felt like the hotel was doing the minimum possible with regards to elite recognition.

As an Ambassador, I am entitled to the following:

  • Guaranteed 1 level upgrade
  • Early check-in
  • Late check-out at 4pm
  • Fresh fruit and water each day


I got the room upgrade from a King Room to a Terrace suite. However, they gave me the very worst Suite with a severely blocked sea view.

For the first 2 days, I booked a club room with lounge benefits. The last 3 days were booked on points, without club lounge access. I had access to lounge benefits until 4pm on the 3rd day. During my discussions with lounge staff, it was made clear that if tried to enter the lounge at 4.05pm, I would have been denied entry!

On the 3rd day, I was told that I had to move rooms, as I no longer had lounge access. I requested to stay in the same room, but without lounge benefits, as I was travelling with my daughter. This request was accepted, but I should not have had to ask.

I did speak to the lounge staff and explain my frustrations. The lady asked why I cared as I had booked the room with points, and was staying for free – oh dear! I explained to her that I did not get the points for free, but that I stay at IHG hotels throughout the year. I had to save up for 2 years to get enough points.

James

I have been to the Holiday Inn Maldives and I had an amaing holiday. I think that you are being too harsh. From your photos, the resort looks amazing!

November 14, 2019

Vin.G

Hi James. I am just giving the most accurate trip report that I can. If readers haven't been to the resort, I give them the information and let them decide if they want to visit. I do think that resorts should offer daily housekeeping as a minimum - and that is why I was diapoointed in the Holiday Inn

November 14, 2019

Luann

It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it! I could not resist commenting. Very well written! I will immediately grab your rss as I can’t find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me know so that I may subscribe. Thanks. http://Ford.com/

December 30, 2019

Vin.G

Hello Luann. You can subscribe to my email list at http://eepurl.com/gCI13P. I also post all of my articles to Twitter at https://twitter.com/GuySoulful and instagram at https://www.instagram.com/soulfultravelguy/

March 3, 2020

John

I've been to the Holiday Inn a couple of times. We enjoyed the resort, but you can see where they save money

April 12, 2020

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