Maldives Trip Review, the Hotel Jen, Male

There are dozens upon dozens of 5 star luxurious resorts in the Maldives. It just so happens that all of them are also a speedboat or seaplane ride away from the main island. With a dirth of options for luxury on the capital island itself, it was nice to see that the Hotel Jen by Shangri-La takes pride in providing an excellent 5 star experience in decidedly less luxurious surroundings.

Our $46,000 vacation to the Maldives for only $1,818

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.

Yacht Time #YachtLife

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.

How We Booked

We booked our room using our free night. At a rate of $152/night, it was on the pricier side for Male hotels. We knew that we could find cheaper, but we also wanted to make sure that we started the Maldives out the right way.

Using our free night certificate from brought our out of pocket down to only $42.

How to get to the hotel

Once you get to the airport, you’ll pass through customs and immigration into the main waiting area. Look for the Tourist Counters where almost every hotel has a stand. We found the one with the hotel Jen but there was no one there… but luckily, someone was nice enough from the Holiday Inn stand next door to give them a call. A short 5 minute wait and our representative was there.

You can look for your hotel Jen transfer here

We made the walk over to the jetty where the Hotel Jen speedboat was waiting to take us to the property! The ride is included in the cost of your hotel room.

Ferry Transfer Hotel Jen Male

When it came time for us to leave, the hotel Jen coordinated with our next hotel to make sure that there was no delay in moving from property to property.

Hotel Jen’s Double Room

We booked a double bed room which, I find when in a tropical place, is a must. The idea that air-con sometimes blows heavy or light and body heat being what it is, I like being able to adjust my own temperature without disturbing Ben.

Double Bed Room Hotel Jen Male

The hotel was crisp, clean, and modern. Plug ins were available in the center console with adaperts available at the front desk.

The bathroom was spacious with a big soaking tub, free amenities (like toothbrush, comb, etc), and a nice remind that if you want a spa service, it’s 15% off for hotel guests!

Toiletries Available in Hotel Jen

A large, spacious closet with iron, ironing board, AND umbrella were in the room. I appreciate the umbrella, as rain storms come at a moment’s notice.

Closet in Hotel Jen Male

Coffee was also free, but you had to call down to the front desk to ask for it. Bottled water will be replenished as well simply by asking. This seemed to be the norm for most of the hotels, which was a great relief!

Hotel Jen Male Water/Coffee

The “I’m Staying with Jen” pillow will be stolen by anyone named Jen or friends with someone named Jen I’m sure.

Sofa Hotel Jen Male

The view, while not sexy by any means, was pretty standard for the hotel. There are ocean view rooms but they were all full for our stay. Just check out the “construction??”

View from the room

View from the room

Day Trips

I love that this hotel offers a variety of day trips. If you want to come to the Maldives on the cheap but still enjoy the bungalows and overwater excitement that those resorts afford, you can book day tours from the hotel.

Day trip Price List Hotel Jen Male

There are plenty of packages depending on your budget and what you’d like to include. Some have food and drinks included, while some are just access to the beaches.

Check out this one, the Embudhoo Village, for only $65USD, including transfer, lunch, 1 bottle of water, beach, pool, and a shower. WHAT! That’s a steal.

Day Trips from Hotel Jen Male

How about the Cinnamon Dhonveli? At $130 Net it includes Lunch, beverages, transfer, beach, etc, etc,

Day trip available from Hotel Jen Male

There are literally dozes of options and you can gauge your level of spend and desire to have more activities. I think this is a fantastic way to experience both the local and exotic in the Maldives.

Around the Area

The Hotel Jen is located just a block off from the main drag and the water front. It’s an easy 5-10 minute walk from the hotel to some great local restaurants. You can also go to the fish and fruit market that we mentioned in our previous post about a Day in the life in Male. If you’re looking for something truly authentic, it doesn’t get much more real than that!

Bringing Home Fish from the Fish Market in Male


Skip it. They charge a ridiculous amount, I believe t was $18 pp, for a basic buffet. We’ve already established that there are bakeries on every corner and a quick google search and 5 minute walk will get you much better food at a much better price.

Final Thoughts

The Maldives have a plethora of luxury hotels and over the top destinations, but the main island doesn’t have much in the way of the fancy destinations. The Hotel Jen was clean, crisp, conveniently located with good wifi, cold air con, and being able to use our free night was a win.

Has anyone stayed here or anywhere else on the island that they’d recommend?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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  1. Great article (as usual 😊). Minor edit:
    “With a “dirth”of options for luxury on the capital”..


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    • I appreciate that 😉

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