Le Meridien Maldives Villa Selection: Which is Best?

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The all new Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa is an incredible steal when booked with points.  It also happens to be an awesome resort regardless of price (see: Le Meridien Maldives first impressions: Wow!).  The resort is currently a category 5 Marriott which means that standard rooms can be booked for 30K (off-peak), 35K or 40K (peak) points per night.

In order to book rooms that cheaply, a standard room must be available.  Le Meridien Maldives classifies two room types as standard rooms:

  • Beach Bungalow, 1 Bedroom Villa, Lagoon access
  • Sunrise Overwater Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa

Sunrise Villa vs. Sunset Villa “upgrade” (West Jetty)

On this map, I’ve highlighted in yellow the standard rooms at this resort:

As you can see above, there are two separate jetties which are referred to as the west jetty (on the left, above) and the east jetty.  On our recent trip to Le Meridien Maldives, Nick and I each booked a sunrise overwater villa.  They hadn’t yet opened the east jetty to guests, so both of our rooms were on the west jetty.  I was assigned room 233 which is a sunrise overwater villa near the end of the jetty.  Nick received a free “upgrade” to a sunset overwater villa near the start of the jetty (room 208).  If he had booked this sunset villa from the get-go, he would have had to pay an additional 20K points per night.  We both agreed, though, that in several ways my villa was better.  Here’s why we preferred my base villa over his upgraded villa:

  1. The surf was much calmer.  One of the joys of an overwater villa is that it is possible to swim in the ocean directly from your deck.  And I could!  For Nick, this was more of a hypothetical possibility.  The surf was so strong on the sunset side of the west jetty that he was never able to swim from his deck.
  2. My room was closer to great snorkeling.  Take a look at the resort map above.  Little snorkel mask icons identify where you can snorkel the reef.  That area was close to my room (especially so since I had a room near the end of the jetty), but very far from Nick’s.
  3. Sunrise rooms get afternoon shade.  I loved laying in the shade on one of my deck’s chaise lounge chairs each afternoon while listening to the gentle ripple of water below.  I also worked on the blog one afternoon from the deck.  Nick could do that only in the morning because the afternoon sun was too hot and bright on his side.
  4. The view was arguably better on the sunrise side.  From my room, I had a view of the ocean and the island.  Nick had mostly an unbroken view of the ocean.  Personally, I’d happily go with either one, but Nick preferred my view over his.

All of that said, there are reasons some may prefer the sunset view:

  1. If watching the sunset from your own villa is important to you, then obviously this is a plus.
  2. Due to the strong currents, the sunset side was more private.  There were never people swimming outside of Nick’s villa (or if they were swimming there, they got swept out to sea by the strong current before anyone noticed).  This is important if you want to shower or bathe without lowering the blinds between the bathroom and the ocean view.  There were rarely people swimming on the sunrise side, either, but that may have been due to the fact that the resort had very low occupancy while we were there.
Sunrise view from my villa
Sunset view from Nick’s villa
View from my shower. If people had been swimming nearby I’d have wanted to lower the blinds. The sunset side has the advantage of more privacy in this regard.

West Jetty vs. East Jetty

The yellow highlights, above, show the location of the snorkel reef and its proximity to the west jetty sunrise overwater villas.

At the time of our stay, the east jetty wasn’t yet open.  We were told that the villas were ready, but that they were waiting for an influx of guests before opening that side.  It’s hard to say definitively which jetty is better since we didn’t experience the east jetty.  I’m sure that both are great.  That said, if you want to snorkel the reef directly from your room, there is a best answer: go for a sunrise room as far towards the end of the west jetty as you can get.  Of course, you don’t get to pick your room, but you can email the resort with this preference and they’re likely to honor the request as best they can.  A few months before your stay, expect to get an email from the resort with information about airport transfers and activities.  That’s a good time to reply with this request.

Beach Bungalow vs. Overwater Villa

I absolutely loved the overwater villa experience and so I would pick it over a beach bungalow every time.  That said, we met a guest who had tried both villa types and he preferred the beach bungalow.  He loved having direct access to the beach.  He also liked that the beach bungalow offers a private outdoor shower in the back of the unit.  Another consideration: If you travel with very young kids, an overwater villa isn’t an option since kids under 4 aren’t allowed in overwater villas at Le Meridien Maldives.

Beach bungalow layout. Image courtesy of Marriott’s website.

Other Room Types Bookable with Points

Le Meridien Maldives offers a number of additional room types, many of which are available with additional points.  Here are the room types I found that were bookable with points.  With each, I’ve noted the point-upgrade price.  For example, “+10K” means that this room type costs an additional 10K points per night over a standard room.

  • Lagoon Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, Sunrise view +10K
  • Beach Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, Beach front access +20K
  • Sunset Overwater Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa +20K
  • Sunset Overwater Pool Villa +50K
  • 2 Bedroom Beach Villa with Pool +144K

With respect to overwater villas, there aren’t any upgrade options that interest me.  I discussed sunset overwater villas at length above.  I preferred my non-upgraded sunrise villa, so I certainly wouldn’t upgrade to the sunset side.  If having a pool is very important to you, I could see why the sunset overwater pool upgrade might interest some, but 50K per night is a lot and, personally, I prefer to swim in the ocean.  That 2 bedroom beach villa with pool upgrade could make sense for a family, but the upgrade price (144K points per night!) is huge.

Lagoon Villa

The one upgrade that I’d recommend for some is the Lagoon Villa.  It costs only 10K points per night to upgrade to one of these and they appear to offer the best of both worlds.  These are a kind of hybrid between a beach villa and an overwater villa.  At high tide, lagoon villas become overwater villas as shown in this side-view photo:

Additionally, the room layout appears to be the same as an overwater villa’s:

Lagoon Villa layout. Image courtesy of Marriott’s website.

Personally, I’d still prefer a base level sunrise overwater bungalow on the west jetty because of its proximity to the reef, but those who also want to spend time on the beach may prefer the lagoon villa option.

Summary

Le Meridien Maldives offers many room types that are bookable with points.  Two options are bookable as standard rooms while others are bookable with extra points for the upgrade.  Among the points options available, here are my favorites, in order:

  • Sunrise Overwater Villa: Ask for a room on the west jetty as far towards the end as possible.  This is best for those who would like to snorkel the reef from their room.  Price: This is a standard room which currently costs 30K off-peak, 35K standard, or 40K peak.
  • Lagoon Villa: This is like a hybrid between a beach villa and an overwater villa. In fact, it appears to be an overwater villa during high tide.  This is best for those who like the idea of an overwater villa but also value private beach time.  This is a 10K per night upgrade over standard room pricing.
  • Beach Bungalow, Lagoon access:  This one isn’t for me, but if the beach is your jam and/or you value showering and bathing in a private outdoor courtyard, then this might be for you.  This is a standard room which currently costs 30K off-peak, 35K standard, or 40K peak.  If you want to be closer to the reef for snorkeling, then consider upgrading to a Beach Villa for 20K additional points per night.
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