Le Meridien Maldives Villa Selection: Which is Best?

41

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 (this room type now requires a small upgrade fee)

Overwater Villa Upgrades

Le Meridien offers Sunrise and Sunset Overwater Villas for an upgrade fee over the award cost of a standard room:

  • Sunrise Villa Upgrade Cost: $50 per night or 10,000 points per night
  • Sunset Villa Upgrade Cost: $150 per night or 30,000 points per night

In each case, you must pay the standard room rate (e.g. 30K, 35K, or 40K points per night) plus the upgrade fee shown above.

In my opinion, the Sunrise Villa upgrade cost is a way better deal.  In either case, if you choose to do the upgrade, I recommend paying cash rather than points for the upgrade.

Sunrise Villa vs. Sunset Villa (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 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 (the upgrade price has since increased to 30K points or $150 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 even though they now charge an upgrade fee for the Sunrise Overwater Villa.  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.

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.

  • Beach Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, Beach front access +20K or $100
  • Lagoon Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, Sunrise view +30K or $150
  • 2 Bedroom Beach Villa with Pool +144K or $720

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

One other upgrade that I’d recommend for some is the Lagoon Villa.  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 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.  One option is bookable as a standard room while others are bookable with extra points or cash 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
5 3 votes
Post Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

41 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
S Traveler

It looks like the Sunrise Overwater Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa is no longer considered a standard room award. It’s 45k pts and the Beach Bungalow, 1 Bedroom Villa, Lagoon access is 35k pts.

Still not a bad redemption while award charts are still in place!

Neal Rau

Great review! We’re going in Feb – sounds like west side of sunrise over water villas are best for snorkeling from the room. Thanks

Josh

Maybe it depends on *what* sunset OVW you have? Like how far down the line? We’re at 230, and it really doesn’t seem to be that much more choppy than the rooms on the direct opposite side.

They showed us both upon check in, we were actually in 233 on the sunrise side. It was the first room in the last set of rooms, which meant you didn’t have an immediate neighbor to your right because of the separation of the housekeeping hut, but because of the curve, you could kind of see all of the other rooms’ decks from yours. (If that made sense). Did that bother you at all, Greg?

230 sunset is nice but I agree less afternoon sun might be enjoyable. We can see an island or two from our room so it isn’t quite as uninterrupted ocean as Nick’s was.

Ben

Hi @Greg and ,
Wonderful review! I have one overwater and one villa reservation for the end of November. Looking forward to that…
Have you done PCR test prior to going back? If yes, how much they charged you? Last year I paid $150 pp at the Conrad…

Yyz_traveller

We just did the pcr test at the clinic on the island . It’s billed to the room at $120++ per person

Points Traveler

Were you guys concerned about a positive covid test. Does the hotel make you quarantine on the property. I imagine that could get very expensive. We have a trip booked to St Regis Maldives in October and that worries me.

Nick Reyes

Sure, somewhat concerned. I didn’t ask about how quarantine would work — I assumed it would be expensive and hoped I wouldn’t find out. I guess the part that made that at least a little less stressful is that I had gotten tested on Saturday the 4th before leaving the US and then again on Wednesday the 8th in Dubai. My test in the Maldives was on Sunday the 12th. So that was my third test in just over a week — I figured my chances were decent of not testing positive….but yeah, it would really suck for that to happen. International travel certainly comes with a lot of potential stress these days.

I also bought a 6-pack of Abbott home tests, so I’ve tested myself twice since returning to be on the safe side for my family’s sake.

Points Traveler

Thanks for the quick reply. We were lucky enough to get the booster vaccine when some were left over at the end of the day. That relieves our concern somewhat, but I think I will contact St Regis and check with them. Thanks for all of the great info.

Yyz_traveller

I agree 100 % with the review . We are still here at LM since sep 11 on the west pontoon sunrise (west part of the island )OWV almost at the end a few further out of 233 , snorkelling to the reef is the most ideal . The surf is much calmer on the sunrise side . Also depending on the villa some of them sit on very shallow area. Mind you there are days when the weather is somewhat more windy the surf on the sunrise side can be alittle unforgiving . In a week I’ve seen 3 rescues of jet skis coming to rescue a few swimmers in the open water out from the sunrise OWV side . I highly recommend a life jacket even youre a strong swimmer . The best is start from the sunrise villa and towards the reef (5-10 min swim) then swim eastward along the reef towards the welcome centre or island by the loading dock then cut into the beach in front of Veela restaurant . Swimming back to the OWV is against the current and takes double the effort .

We were offered an upgrade to the 2 bedroom beach villa 130 with a pool at the front but declined to move . It would be ideal for a family but with 2 person it doesn’t make sense since you basically get 2 villas with an opened door with identical bedrooms and showers at the back .

Having walked around the island several times , they have tried to keep the beach on the north side as clean as possible , mostly sweeping the seaweed washed ashore . Mind you most of the beach although seem sandy , has lots of broken corals just at the edge washed ashore by the water . The south side is somewhat a little more rugged until it gets cleaned up, including the beaches around the lagoon villas .

The best beach area I find is at the North eastern tip of the island , just in the front of the unfinished 3 bedroom villa. The beach is pure white sandy and goes out quite far . Be careful not to venture too far out although the neighbouring local island looks relatively close. You could also view closeup of the seaplane landing and loading . Oh the other thing about those beach villas on the north eastern side , you may wish to consider other Options unless you don’t mind hearing the seaplane arrivals and departures .

Overall we are happy with villa 239 , there are 2 circular corals about 3 ft in diameter placed there in front of the villa if you don’t feel like heading out to the main reef . Although there is no beach , you can guarantee they is always white sand to wade around at waist level.

Josh

Thanks for the pro tip! These corals provide some convenient access to see some fish

Jeff

For water 1) how much is a bottle? 2) can you drink the water coming out the faucet? 3) In the restaurants, is it bottled water, or served?

Nick Reyes

Bottles of water in your room are complimentary and to my knowledge unlimited. If there was a limit, I guess I didn’t drink enough to find it. I don’t think there was a limit.

I didn’t try to drink the water coming out of the faucet since they replenished the bottled water in the room 2-3 times a day. I never ran out.

In the restaurants they serve water from a bottle also. I just went back through my photos to find a photo of a receipt and it was $5 for a 1 liter bottle of still water. As a Titanium member, I got 20% off of food and drink, so $4 for me (plus 10% service charge and 12% tax, so basically $5 in the end anyway). There was no additional charge for beverages at breakfast (water / juice / specialty coffees).

Josh

Ahh so always $5 charge for water if you get that at the restaurant?

Nick Reyes

I guess? Honestly, I didn’t pay that close attention as we didn’t go through that many bottles in the restaurants.

Jeff

I got a reply from the hotel and they said something similar to Nick:
“Kindly note that we shall be providing 2 bottles of house water per villa per day and if requested we shall be providing additional water.”

Josh

FYI we weren’t charged for plenty of refills of still water at Tabemasu

Josh

Interesting! We’ve tried dinner at each restaurant so far (Turquoise, Vela, and Tabemasu) and the only place we were charged for water was Turquoise. I had just politely inquired if this was just a Turquoise thing and she was kind of surprised the other restaurants didn’t charge it, so ymmv.

Another guest here said they brought their own water bottles from the room instead 😀

Angelo Rivera

Wait! Did you just say children can’t be in an overwater accommodation!? I am already booked in one for November and have a 5 year old with me, they won’t allow me to sign a waiver? I clearly booked the room with age of my child and everything and there is nothing on the website stating any restrictions. I am already fully booked with flight and everything. This should be interesting to see what happens.

Nick Reyes

Greg should have said “young children”. We were told that children 4 and under are not allowed in overwater villas. You should be fine — I believe they will make you sign a waiver.

Angelo Rivera

Still an issue for me, because we are a family of 4 and I have a 3 and 5 year old booked into two separate over water accomodations using Marriott certs. Are you saying a waiver is required for the 5 year old and it is an absolute no for the 3 year old? I would easily be willing to sign waiver for both. Once again I did book the overeater with the age of my child on reservation.

Nick Reyes

Yes, we were told an absolute no for the 3 year old. I asked specifically about this in part because I have young kids and another couple at the St. Regis in Bora Bora had told me that the staff did something to sort of make it safer for a kid. The hotel manager said that they don’t allow kids 4 and under in the overwater villas even with a waiver, so I take it that is correct. I’m not surprised that Marriott.com didn’t note the restriction as I wouldn’t expect that they have that type of thing programmed to that level of specificity on an individual hotel basis. Again, I’d recommend reaching out to them.

For what it’s worth, I’d be concerned about going with a 3 year old in the overwater villa. My 3 year old could almost certainly open the doors on his own. In particular, the door from the bathroom to the back deck needs to be locked with a slider that I didn’t even realize existed until the last day — so the back door from my bathroom was unlocked and slid freely nearly the whole time. I am nearly 100% certain that my 3yr old would be able to open either door (the main sliding doors from the bedroom did require a little force on the handle to unlock, but I think he would be strong enough to do it on his own). The bigger issue though is that there is nothing at all preventing a kid from walking directly off the back deck — there is nothing blocking you from stepping straight off from the net / hammock and there is plenty of room for a kid to fall out between the horizontal bars along the rest of the deck. You’d need to be really careful with young kids especially if they are anywhere near as energetic as mine. I said that if I returned with my kids, I’d bring someone else and have the kids stay in a beach villa. They’d rather be near the sand anyway.

Angelo Rivera

One more nuanced question. Are kids 4 and under not allowed to step foot on the pier that leads to the underwater villas/in an overwater villa or are they specifically not allowed to be sleeping there?

Nick Reyes

I really don’t know.

A B

This is porn.

Frank

Great work Greg and Nick! Loved your live you posted on youtube.
Quick questions:
1) Can you take any photos of the overwater pool villas? Is there a cash upgrade option?
2) Do they give unlimited bottles of water/coffee at the room?
3) Is there a room tour post coming?

Nick Reyes

1) We’re back home already. My understanding of the pool villas is that they are basically the same but rather than the net / hammock part of the deck there is a plunge pool there. Like Greg, I don’t think I’d use that over walking down to the ocean — certainly not enough to justify additional cost. I didn’t ask about a cash upgrade option since I wasn’t interested in paying more for that, but I bet the resort would offer some type of cash upgrade that is close to the difference in price between the two room types.

2) They do provide unlimited bottles of water and coffee pods in the room. They came by a few times a day to replenish both (I had at least two coffees in my room most of the days we were there and didn’t run out of pods; I went through plenty of water and always had more than I needed). They have their own water bottling plant on the island, so the water comes in glass bottles that they fill and bring to the room. Like I said, they must have done that at least 2-3 times per day and likely would have done it more if we asked (another guest there at the same time as us noted in her Instagram story that staff quickly figured out that they drink a lot of water and increased what was provided without any need to ask).

3) Yup, there will be a full review coming.

Niki

Thanks for the in-depth review. I booked a Lagoon villa for November and was worried about the experience, but it looks like I lucked out and will enjoy the best of both worlds, an OWV and beach experience in 1 room! Brilliant!

Nick Reyes

There are also supposedly a lot of turtles in the water between those villas and the spa (or maybe it was the other side of the spa?). We only went snorkeling on that side once, but we did see a ton of fish and lots of clams in pretty shallow water on that side.

Nate

Hi Greg –
Will you or could you do a post on food options as well as activities that are available at the resort. Trying to get an idea of food cost if I ever get to book this incredible trip. Thanks.

Josh

Per flyertalk, the food packages and prices seem to be rapidly evolving as I’m sure you’re seeing too

Dancing Panda

Hi Greg. I’m here now for a week if you need any info.

GBSanDiego

Greggy, u and Nicky seem to have an incredible time, to say the least. When r u guys heading back?

GBSanDiego

LoL….thanks for the details, but just curious if you would go back. Whether with family or whoever.

Glad you guys made it back safely!

Igor

Gray info Greg. Sunrise overwater is definitely the way to go.