Part 8 – The St Regis Maldives Overwater Villa, $12,000 value, for free
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
As soon as we got off of the Seaplane from Male Airport we knew this was going to be a stay very different from all the rest.
The staff was all waiting at the dock to give us a welcome to the island. There was a light rain and the staff walked us up to the waiting area with large umbrellas.
Waiting for us in the arrival lounge were two coconuts, a fresh welcome after a hot, sweltering, airport arrival.
Our butler Abad met us with a golf cart in order to take us to our Overwater Villa (remember Abad, from the welcome video?!).
Immediately to the right of the entrance was the minibar, coffee station, and sweets. Althought the Maldives is a Muslim country, there was plenty of ridiculously overpriced alcohol for your consumption, in private, in your villa.
The bottled water was replenished daily, but all of the sodas or juices came with a significant charge. All the coffee you could want is included free, and you’re more than welcome to ask for more. They’ll replenish it throughout the stay along with the milk (which I ordered quite a bit of … since it was a great cheap source for some protein and a healthy snack).
The work desk was ridiculously large, especially because I can’t imagine someone coming to this island paradise to sit down and do work.
In front of the desk, a large sofa and seating area. The fruit is replenished as often as you like for free and there was also a nice, cold, bottle of champagne waiting for us (a birthday celebration!).
A large Bang and Olufson TV is in the middle of the living area. The rotating base allows you to watch from the bathroom, bed, or living room. It’s all up to you.
The bed was large and relaxing, one of the most comfortable and softest I’ve ever slept in. Ever. Period.
Just off to the left of the bed was the bathroom suite. I’m calling it a bathroom suite because this bathroom was larger than the majority of hotel rooms that I’ve stayed in. Easily 300 square feet.
A ridiculously large soaking tub with their own TV overlooked the water and the outdoor deck.
A double sink ensured that we were never fighting over getting ready in the morning.
Drying towel racks and even a place to sit to put on your clothes flank the sides of the room.
The shower is separate from the toilet, and both of them are enclosed in their own space.
The closet was more of a wardrobe and hallway than a closet. Inside of the closet was yet ANOTHER desk with a makeup mirror and a large work area.
There was also a place for each of the luggage to be opened. How dare we assume that a couple would only travel with one piece of luggage, right?
Proper hangers adorned the space. You can have two items pressed an cleaned daily, so we made sure to use that each and every day with our shirts. How dare we be seen around the resort in wrinkled linen shirts? We also had a place to store our excess of Etihad amenity kits. Let’s just say that the flight attendants were overly generous.
Why spend time in the room when the true treasure lies right outside? Just outside the living area lies a table and chairs for you to take your meals or drinks while relaxing and enjoying the warm ocean breeze.
Feeling like more of a sun tan vacation mode? Two loungers and a shade umbrella are placed on the sunniest part of the deck.
There was a little plunge pool on the back of the deck too, but it didn’t get a ton of sun. Because of that, you could really only use it a couple hours a day. Don’t worry though, the resort had PLENTY of places to go for a swim, like just down the ladder and into the sea.
As you finish your snorkeling adventure you can come back up and have a fresh water wash off with the shower facility right there.
I really love the hammock style lounge areas on the patio. It’s a mesh-type fabric which is really durable. As you can see, Ben really took full advantage of the “relax” feature. He’s wearing his Bluffworks Blazer and making it look good, I might add.
How we booked
As you can see – this suite is NOT cheap. For the nights that we were there, the room price BEFORE taxes and service fees was $3,277.50 a night. For the entire stay you’re looking at around $4,000 a night each night for three nights. OR… you can get it for free, like we did 🙂
Now, those who are keen and have sharp eyes will note that the points stay lists the “garden suite” and not the overwater Villa. So how, you ask, did we get the overwater villa?
There are two ways.
1) Get lucky with your points. We were able to book the room for a paltry 20,000 more a night making it 80k a night not 60k at time of booking. It might be possible for a slight points upgrade to move yourself up to the room.
2) Call the hotel ahead of time. It may be possible to secure the room for a cash supplement before you arrive. I spoke to many people who were charged anywhere from $250-500 a night extra for the luxury. If possible, I would consider booking the garden suite (which is JUST AS amazing by the way) and then asking for an upgrade for the last 1-2 nights of your stay on the island. That way you get to experience a little bit of each.
By paying with points, we avoided the taxes AND the service fees. That’s a massive savings over the normal prices this hotel charges.
Impressions of the Suite
Here’s the thing about the suite. It’s amazing. Like, beyond amazing. I don’t think we’ve ever stayed in anything quite like it before, and I’m not sure that we will stay in anything like it again.
The garden suite is just as amazing as the overwater villa in size and scope, so if you can’t get the overwater villa, don’t worry too much. You might be able to get it for a couple nights of your stay. If you can, splurge, it will be something that you never forget.
Is it expensive on the island? Yes. We’ve got a post coming up soon on ways for you to save money on food while you’re here.
Are there things to do so you don’t get bored? Yes. We’ve also got a post talking about all the ways to keep yourself occupied OR just relax while you’re here.
I’m glad that we went to the Maldives. Who knows if it is going to look the same in a few years or a decade… but I will say one thing. If you’re going to go all the way there, and you’re going to use points, make it a five night stay. Remember that the fifth night is free when you use points, so make your vacation last and get some serious relax time.