How to not go broke eating at the St Regis Maldives
Mention the Maldives and images of pristine turquoise blue waters come to mind. Overwater bungalows with direct jump-in access to the water and romantic sunsets are commonplace in this island paradise.
While it’s on almost everyone’s wish list, getting there can be a challenge. Flights are often ridiculously expensive and once you DO get to the islands, a barrage of expensive hotels with overpriced meals await. Never mind the flight distance involved, those expensive factors are enough to turn some people off and have them looking for cheaper destinations.
Getting to paradise and back doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We booked a ridiculous, normally unattainable luxury vacation valued at almost $46,000 for a grand total of $1,818… for two people!
Considering that’s usually the price of a regular coach class ticket to the Maldives, that’s one heck of a steal.
In the series of posts to follow, we’re going to walk you through all the experiences that we enjoyed on this trip. While most people would consider this once-in-a-lifetime, with just a little legwork and dedication you can have a luxury getaway to make Instagram followers drool with envy.
Our $46,000 vacation to the Maldives for only $1,818
- Part 1 – Introduction and Planning
- Part 2 – Flights to London and Hamilton
- Part 3 – Refined Luxury London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
- Part 4a – The House Lounge, London Heathrow
- Part 4b – Etihad First Class Apartment LHR-AUH
- Part 4c – Etihad First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi
- Part 4d – A340 Etihad to Male, Flight Review
- Part 5 – A day in the life of Male, Capital City
- Part 6 – St Regis Airport Lounge
- Part 7 – The St Regis Hotel Arrival Experience
- Part 8 – Overwater Villa, $3000/night for FREE
- Part 9 – Things to do at the St Regis Maldives
- Part 10 – Free Breakfast at the St Regis Maldives
- Part 11 – How to not go broke eating in the Maldives
- Part 12 – Snorkeling at the St Regis Maldives
- Part 13 – Male Airport VIP experience
- Part 14 – Emirates First Class Male to Dubai
- Part 15 – Dubai Transit Hotel – Amazing Value
- Part 16 – Emirates First Class Dubai to Los Angeles
- Part 17 – Conclusion and Giveaway
The Maldives can be a trip of a lifetime, but the nightmare sometimes comes to a lot of travelers when you see the prices of the food items on the menus at the restaurants. A basic meal can start at $30 for a sandwich and then you add the mandatory tax and tip on top and it can get pricey, fast.
As we started to do the math we were wondering what we could do to save money. Luckily, we’ve got some money savings tips so you don’t break the bank just trying to stay fed!
The breakfast at the hotel is luxurious, opulent, and hugely varied. As a platinum or better member you get free breakfast as your amenity. All you can eat really does mean all you can eat, so get your fill.
We wrote a post detailing all the breakfast options before, so we won’t rehash that here, but I would recommend giving it a read to see the options that abound.
Money Saving Tip
Chances are you’re going to be jetlagged and you’ll won’t be able to sleep as much as you think you’ll be able to. We were up every morning at 615 no matter if we wanted to or not.
Breakfast is every day from 0700-1030 and as long as you place your order before 1030 you won’t be charged for anything.
With that said, we sat down every morning at 0659 sharp and ordered immediately. It was such a gorgeous place to have breakfast that we found ourselves sitting there reading books and working on the blog. Sometime around 0900 we ordered another latte and enjoyed the calm ocean breeze.
At 1025 the waiter would come by and ask if you’d like anything else from the kitchen since it was about to close. We took that as our opportunity to order a second helping of amazing food. Make another trip to the buffet and you can sit at the restaurant all the way until noon.
There are a few restaurants on the island, but one of the best ones was Crust. They serve wood fired pizzas that are not only the most affordable lunch on the island, they come with the best view and taste amazing.
Options raise a simple margherita to options like Maldivian lobster and prawns. At a 12 inch pizza they’re plenty to share between two people, especially if you order it around 230 right before they close at 3pm. Remember, you just had a second breakfast at 1030 for free so you shouldn’t be TOO hungry.
The most expensive option on the menu is $29 so you won’t go broke on these pizzas.
By now you’ve filled up on a double free breakfast, an inexpensive and tasty pizza, so how much dinner do you really need?
There are three restaurants on the island that offer nightly options. Orientale (offering Indian, Chinese, and Japanese fare), Alba (offering Italian) and Decanter (offering unique experiences with wine pairings) You can also go to Crate, a special experience that comes in at $250 per person and is way beyond overpriced.
Since we’re talking here about ways to save money, let’s focus on Orientale and Alba.
By this point we were stuffed and full from all the other food so we shared a meal at the restaurant. The options were endless and honestly, the portion sizes were pretty good. One night we got the Saag Paneer (to share) and the other a completely forgettable dinner from Alba. Both meals didn’t pass $40 for the both of us. Water, is of course, free.
For an island that charges you’re a fortune for food, the options for free snacks were easy if you just know where to look.
First, don’t forget that you can bring your own snacks to the island. We didn’t know what to expect so we packed a little bit of everything from beef jerky to nuts, protein bars, and cookies. Turns out that we only touched that stash once the entire trip.
The St Regis lounge in the airport also offers some drinks in the mini fridges. You can pack a few of them in your bags and take them with you to the island (stow them in your fridge when you get to your room and you’ve saved dozens of $$).
Whale Bar, the hotels main bar, offers free snacks for the asking. When you sit down, even if it’s just to share a pot of tea ($7) and watch the yacht float by, you can get unlimited free snacks. For our stay they included feta cheese, olives, peanuts, and potato chips. When the waiter comes by if you simply ask for more, he’ll refill your plate, free of charge!
Remember that gorgeous welcome basket of fruit in the room? Your butler will bring you more of whatever fruit you want at any time of day. That means free apples, dragon fruit, oranges, pears, and bananas, all for the asking, UNLIMITED.
Feeling parched? A quick call to your butler and he’ll fetch you two cold coconuts, pre drilled and with a compostable straw. Every day there is a staff of people with the sole purpose of climbing the hundreds of trees on the island to look for coconuts.
If you’re lucky enough to be at the hotel on a Tuesday, there is a manager and guest reception from 5-6 pm. You can treat yourself to a mixed drink, champagne, wine, and lite bites. Again, if it’s free, its me!
If you’re looking for a little more protein, don’t forget the milk that comes in your room for the coffee. A simple call to your butler and he will bring more milk for you, also for free!
Celebrating a special occasion? We let them know it was my birthday and they delivered a cake to the room. It was pretty big so it lasted us three nights! So much for dessert at the restaurants!
Between the bar snacks, the fruit, the coconuts, the free water and milk, manager’s reception, complete breakfast and snacks from the lounge, you won’t go hungry and you won’t go broke!