There are some places that are so beautiful and idyllic that words do it no justice. The Park Hyatt Hadahaa in the Maldives is one of those places. I spent a wonderful three nights at this paradise during my two week trip to the Maldives. The island of Hadahaa is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen and is a beach that other beaches aspire to.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend all the money and would rather see the Maldives from another side (aka cheaper), make sure to read my guide on why I think the Maldives is the world’s ultimate budget beach destination!
Park Hyatt Hadahaa vs the St Regis Vommuli
Earlier this year, I had been planning a trip to the Maldives and specifically how I would use points to pay for the entire trip (flights included). I was debating between the Park Hyatt Hadahaa and the St. Regis Vommuli as I have plenty of points in the Hyatt and Marriott programs. Both resorts were of the highest caliber with some of the fanciest furnishings around so it was a hard decision. But after reading numerous reviews of the St Regis, it was clear that while the architectural design of the resort was out of this world, the natural beauty of the island and surrounding reefs are in Park Hyatt’s favor.
All the reviews said the beach and natural beauty of Hadahaa was out of this world. That’s all I needed to hear because that’s the real reason to visit the Maldives. I’m beyond happy that I made the choice!
Getting to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa
The Park Hyatt is located in the southern atoll of Huvadhoo. It’s a relatively long process to get to the southern atoll as it is far from the capital. Thankfully, local flights in the Maldives are a treat in themselves as you will be completely mesmerized by the aerial view of all the beautiful islands. From Male, it is a 1 hour flight to Kooddoo, and another 30 minute speedboat ride to the island of Hadahaa, which is in its entirety the Park Hyatt resort. The flight from Male to Kooddoo is either direct, or may include a stopover in another island. Try and get the direct flight to save on time.
A lot of blogs and reviews complain about how it’s a long process to get to the resort. I can’t understand some of these people. The Maldives is a huge collection of islands and if they didn’t want such a “hassle”, pick a resort that’s close to Male. There are hundreds.
The Southern Atolls are less touristy and more unspoiled in its charm (although quickly changing). Hadahaa was in fact the first island in this entire atoll to have a hotel only 10 years ago. Good things come to those that wait and I think a 1hr + 30 minute speed boat ride is a very small price to pay for paradise. I mean I spent like 20+ hours getting to Male, what’s another 2?
Here is the rundown of the entire check-in process, from landing at Male International Airport to checking into our room.
Meeting the Park Hyatt representative at Male Airport
Male International Airport is where everyone will fly into before transferring to the nearby resorts. After clearing customs, the main airport lobby is littered with small booths that belong to different resorts. Some of the bigger resorts like the Four Seasons even have their own air con offices to help you check in.
We actually stayed three nights in Thoddoo, a beautiful local island before coming to the Park Hyatt. When our speedboat arrived at the Male airport from Thoddoo, a representative from the Park Hyatt knew we were coming and met us on the spot. Our flight to Kooddoo was scheduled for 11am and we had a few hours to kill.
He promptly brought us to the Moonima domestic lounge which the Park Hyatt pays for (also is a part of Priority Pass). He then took our passports and luggage, taking care of the entire check in process for us while we had our breakfast in the lounge.
Half hour before departure, he returned with our passports and boarding passes. The flight from Male through the southern atolls is beautiful. So many beautiful turquoise rings and the hour passed by quickly.
Upon arrival in Kooddoo, another representative met us, taking our bags and transporting them to the speedboat. We were even served some light refreshments on the boat. Half hour later, we had finally arrived in paradise.
Arrival at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa
Upon arrival at the resort, it’s immediately clear I made the right decision. The resort is absolutely stunning (more details on this later) the moment you set foot on the jetty. We were personally greeted by numerous employees of the hotel including senior management and escorted to the main arrival space where we took care of paperwork formalities.
The main arrival space is inspired by the traditional Maldivian dhoni boats, used in the past for inter atoll navigation. Traditional dhoni craftsmen were used to design the wooden structure and it was turned upside down to provide a sheltered reception area. Very cool.
Our personal host gave us a tour of the resort before finally checking us into our room in the Park Villas. As with most ultra high end resorts, our host was there for us for the rest of our stay. They all have dedicated numbers for us to call with any request our heart desired. Mostly, we just used them to transfer our dive equipment between our room and the dive shop.
In total, we paid $525 per person for the round trip airplane + speedboat transfer. This is a separate cost to the actual room and must be paid beforehand. It is steep, but domestic flights within the Maldives on Maldivian Airlines are not cheap. Roundtrip flights from Male to Kooddoo booked directly with Maldivian airlines are near $500 so the resort is not trying to take advantage of you when it comes to this cost.
The Rooms at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa
Featuring only 50 villas, the minimalist style interiors of the accommodation are designed with the utmost comfort and luxury in mind, whether nestled within the island’s tropical foliage, only steps from the ocean, or elevated above the water.
All villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows, and every comfort you would expect. 37 of the villas are on land with beachside views, while 13 are overwater villas accessible by a long wooden jetty, with some villas having the added luxury of a plunge pool. The resort is framed by one of the archipelago’s most unspoilt house reefs, providing easy access for exploration of the underwater marvels of the Indian Ocean.
I stayed in the Park Villa room as this is the de-facto room available for those booking with Hyatt points (more info on this at the end of the post), and upgraded my last night to the Park Sunset Water Villas to experience the overwater life.
- Park Villa: The standard villa room on land with access to the beach
- Park Pool Villa: Slightly large room villa room with your own personal pool and beach access
- Park Deluxe Pool Villa: Much larger version of the pool villa
- Park Water Villa: The infamous overwater bungalows
- Park Water Sunset Villa: The creme de la creme. These are water villas with their own personal infinity pools. They are also located further into the ocean affording you better views (and better sunsets)
- Park Family Villa: Two bedroom villa with a pool, also the largest rooms in the resort at 300 m2
For the land based villas (the first three), you can walk to the main resort from the beach that encircles the island, or the inland route. We always elected to walk the beach because it was just so beautiful. For water based villas, there is a long jetty that links directly with the main resort.
Staying at the Park Villa
During my holiday, I stayed in a Park Pool Villa, located on the island’s sunrise side. The villa had a spacious bedroom (with a king bed, an armchair and a writing desk) at its center and featured floor-to-ceiling windows with doors that lead out to a private deck fitted with a small plunge pool (not all beach villas have this feature though). The villa’s highlight was the bathroom, which had an outdoor, enclosed terrace with rain shower and terrazzo bathtub. The design of the villa was kept clean and simple, with the focus being the framing of views while maintaining privacy.
Our villa #29, like the other land based villas, all have direct access to the beach. The deluxe and pool villas are actually right on the beach, with beach views. The standard Park Villas mostly do not have beach views, as they are surrounded by the island’s flora. From my villa however, there is a very short 10m path through the foliage that affords me direct access to the beach.
We spent many mornings waking up for the sunset, walking to the beach, and circling the island.
The entire island is the resort and as such, you can expect to do a lot of walking around the island. The owners made sure to keep as much of the local vegetation as possible which you can really feel.
Staying at The Park Sunset Water Villa
For the last night, we decided to upgrade to the Park Water Villa. To our surprise, we were actually upgraded one more notch to the beautiful sunset villas! There are a total of 13 overwater villas with the regular water villas being rooms 38 to 44, and sunset water villas being rooms 45 to 51. Although each room is amazing, I think the general consensus is the higher the number the better because you are further out into the ocean giving you more privacy.
I thought the Park Villas were nice, and they absolutely are but good god the sunset water villas are absolutely insane. As soon as you enter the beautiful room, you can’t help but be wowed all around. The room itself is similar in design as the regular Park Villas but the floor to ceiling windows means you can see the crystal blue water all around you. Our villa #48 was the 4th from the last villa and it was absolutely incredible.
As this is on the water and is surrounded by a fantastic house reef, there is direct access to the ocean from the villa for snorkeling at any time. I very much enjoyed my early morning snorkeling before heading to the plunge pool.
Each sunset villa is adorned with a spacious outdoor deck with lounge chairs. The real difference maker is the private plunge pool that these sunset villas have (the regular water villas do not have this). In the back, each villa has a private access to the reefs nearby so you can snorkel from the comfort of your own room. Each room also has a large Terrazzo bath with direct views of the ocean. Unlike the land based Park Villas, there is no outdoor shower in the water villas.
Pictures of the villa from ground level do it zero justice. Thankfully, I brought my drone with me to fully capture the ridiculous beauty of these water villas. The views, water color, and architectural design of this villa is just one of a kind. I’m not sure how you can get any better than this!
Also, it turns out drones are not allowed at the resort, which I didn’t know about until I left. Totally understandable as outdoor showers are supposed to be totally private and a drone would invade said privacy. I only flew it around my water villa and to take high aerial shots.
And a drone video for good measure:
This is the ultimate in luxury experiences. We didn’t leave our water villa until dinner opting to enjoy the views over a bottle of wine from our plunge pool. The sunset is also an amazing experience here. We actually skipped breakfast the next day so we can spend more time in our pool. Looking back on it, we should have just upgraded all our nights!
If you’re debating between the sunset pool water villas and the regular water villas, splurge and go for the sunset pool villas!
The Beach And House Reef
In my mind, this is the highlight of the Park Hyatt. Sure the resort is stunningly minimalistic, and the overwater villas are the stuff dreams are made of but the natural beauty is where the Park Hyatt truly excels. They were the first resort in the Southern Atoll (roughly 10 years ago), and they were damn smart about choosing perhaps the most stunning island in the area.
The water is mesmerizing to the senses. The water is so impossibly clear and dramatic in color that I had to close my eyes a few times to make sure it was real. I’ve been to many amazing beaches in the world but the intense colors of Hadahaa Island blew me away. The island has a perfect circular shape, and the lush palm tree heavy center is encircled by crystal clear water and blindingly white powdery sand. If a nice beach is what you’re looking for, stop your search now because you won’t find anything better than the Park Hyatt Hadahaa.
This is without a doubt, one of the most amazing beaches I’ve ever seen. I wish I had a better way with words, so I will just leave you with many pictures.
A resort to yourself
In addition, the resort is perfect for those looking to get away from the crowds and really enjoy paradise. The resort was “at capacity” when we were there in mid November. I was dreading it a bit as I was expecting swarms of obnoxious drinkers, screaming kids, and the whole lot. I was horribly mistaken. Even at capacity with about 100 guests, you still feel like you have the place to yourself.
At times, I was the only person on the beach and there were never more than a few people at the main pool. At an 8am breakfast, there was maybe 15 people eating at the restaurant. In fact, it was so peaceful and recluse that I frequently asked myself “Where the hell is everyone?”
If you’re looking for a livelier scene with lots of people to interact with, this is probably not the place for you. It is however, perfect for couples, honeymooners, and even families looking to relax and take in the best of what mother nature has to offer.
An amazing house reef
The coral reefs around the Park Hyatt Hadahaa are top notch. It’s great for snorkelers and divers alike. In fact, when the owners were constructing the overwater villas, they specifically made sure their designs did not interfere with the surrounding coral life which is an amazing feat. You can access the snorkeling directly in front of the beach and the resort rents out masks and fins free of charge.
Sadly, the coral reefs experienced some serious coral bleaching in 2016 and the colors are mostly washed out now. There is still abundant fish life in and around the reefs but the corals are not as vibrant as before. If you can freedive, the reefs below 10m are still in quite healthy condition. I haven’t been to any other high end resort in the Maldives, but I was quite impressed with the amount of fish life at the house reef. I saw numerous eagle rays, many white tip sharks and dolphins regularly come close to the island.
The resort has two gorgeous pool areas, which is great as our park villa did not have a private pool. The hotel’s main freshwater swimming pool is a large infinity pool at the resort’s center with great views of the turquoise sea. It’s located right next to the beach so we would regularly go from the pool, directly to the white sand beaches and the ocean. The pool must be at least 40m in length with plenty of space for everyone to enjoy. From this pool area, you can directly access the beach club, where you find some sun loungers set in the shade of some palm trees on a wide stretch of sugar white beach on the island’s western tip. The hotel also features a tranquility pool, which is located within the shaded garden pavilions of The Vidhun Spa.
Normally, I don’t care much for pools as I much prefer swimming in the ocean but this pool was so inviting and so devoid of people that I couldn’t help but lounge in the area.
The Restaurants and Food
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is home to two excellent restaurants: the main dining room and the resort’s signature restaurant, The Island Grill. The latter serves regionally inspired dishes and features an open kitchen’s where guests can watch the chefs at work, with tables and swing chairs set on a blanket of fine white sand. The resort’s other restaurant, the Dining room, is located along the main pool and serves all day dining, including the breakfast, which is composed of lovely buffet spread complemented by an à la carte menu of local and western inspired dishes.
Free breakfast for Hyatt Globalists
If you’re a Hyatt Globalist level member, you will receive a free breakfast every day for two people. This is a significant savings as the breakfast here is $38 per person (before tax and service charge). Their breakfasts are also incredibly delicious and filling meaning you could potentially skip lunch.
Cost of food and drinks
As you’d expect with these high end resorts on private islands, it is not cheap. Not only do they have to fly everything in, but they also need to provide room and board for the chefs making your food.
For dinner, main dishes are $40-50 and appetizers $20-30. Drinks are not overly pricey with cocktails being $14-16, beers $8-10, and wine $12-15. There is also a mandatory tax and service charge added to the bill totaling 20% of so. Some seafood dishes at The Island Grill cost much more and we splurged one night by getting the surf and turf for 2 which was $140.
We normally ate the breakfast and as I am not a Hyatt Globalist level member, we paid the $38 per person (before tax and tip). This was so much food that we ended up skipping lunch as you don’t really work up much of an appetite lounging the entire day.
We would then have 2 cocktails for the sunset and dinner with wine. We ate dinner at the main dining hall which offers eclectic dishes from all over the world as well as the Island Grill. I preferred the island grill as there were more seafood options available.
All in all, we did not eat or drink that much but we still spent at least $100 a night per person. In total for 3 nights, we spent around $700 for food and drinks (tax and tip included) which I think was on the low end of what people typically spend. Overall, I found the food to be very tasty. I tried to stick to mostly local options as I became a big fan of the local mashuni, tuna curries, and fresh seafood.
Some nights, the resort had themed dinner like the traditional Maldivian seafood buffet on Wednesdays at the Island Grill ($150 per person), and a beachside party with the staff on Saturdays with complimentary cocktails. And of course, you can go all out by booking a private romantic dinner on the beach but be prepared to pay up for that.
For those that know they want to eat all 3 meals and drink heavily, the premium all inclusive package may be your best bet. It costs $250 per person per night but if you know you are going to be drinking 5+ drinks a day and eating all three meals, this is definitely worth it.
Scuba Diving with Blue Journeys
One of the other selling points of the Park Hyatt for me was the scuba diving. The southern part of the Maldives is widely considered to be the best diving in the Maldives. On my Maldives liveaboard trip, the dive guides regularly said their favorite part of the country is the Southern Atolls.
I scheduled a two dive boat day trip with the water sports activity center at the resort, Blue Journeys. They were incredibly hospitable and professionally run shop with top notch gear and crew. They also offer numerous other water activities like fishing, snorkeling, sunset cruises, island hopping etc.
Diving in the Southern Atolls
The resort typically uses a Maldivian style boat called a dhoni, which is a large (roughly 20m in length) beautiful teak boat used throughout the Maldives to facilitate dives. The dhoni is comfortable, and has many conveniences (large benches, table sitting area for surface time snacks, a head, a front deck, a ladder), but it’s rather slow. For me, I prefer speed over comfort, and on two of my days the dhoni wasn’t available and the resort used one of their commuting speed boats (cruising at about 30 knots).
The resort dives the many channels to the east, where black tip, white tip, nurse and leopard sharks are very common, along with turtles, stingrays and eagle rays, eels, lionfish, large napoleon, and even dolphin. This part of Maldives has huge populations of spinner dolphins, and in addition to them playing for us around the boat I twice saw them while in the water (once snorkeling, once beginning a dive). I was told that manta sightings happen but are rare (and I was diving in early November with an inside>outside current while mantas in a channel would come with an outside>inside current).
It was just the two of us on the boat the day we went so we had our private boat with 4 staff! I told them to take us to their favorite dive sites for this time of year. It seems that large channel dives are the big attraction here as the strong currents bring in big pelagic life. We spent the day diving around the Dhandhoo channel which is about a 1 hour ride from the resort.
The diving is fantastic. We saw black tip, white tip, nurse and leopard sharks, along with turtles, stingrays and eagle rays, eels, lionfish, large napoleon, and even dolphin. This part of Maldives has huge populations of spinner dolphins, and in addition to them playing for us around the boat I twice saw them while in the water (once snorkeling, once beginning a dive). I went in mid November which sadly is not the prime time to view mantas and big schools of sharks as the currents were not in the right state.
If you want to come to the Park Hyatt specifically for diving, I would recommend Feb to May as the outgoing currents during that time draw in oceanic mantas, and large schools of black tips. Will definitely have to go back for that!
Prices of diving at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa
The prices are steep, as you would expect from high end service at a luxury resort. I rented a BCD (which was $10 per dive and not per day), and did two boat dives. I paid $250 after tax and service charge. Prices per dive become cheaper the more you dive, but as I was diving for a week on a Carpe Diem liveaboard shortly after this, I kept it to just the day. Nitrox was offered for for free however which was nice and breakfast is included (which is nice).
Booking a stay at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa
Being the points enthusiast that I am, I booked my entire stay at the Park Hyatt with Hyatt points. I’ve accumulated quite a few Hyatt points from work trips, as well as nice sign on bonuses from their credit card. As well, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfers to the World of Hyatt program at a 1:1 ratio. I think Hyatt points are the most valuable hotel points out there and this is why.
The Park Hyatt Hadahaa is category 6 hotel and costs 25,000 World of Hyatt points a night. That means, I could transfer 25,000 Chase UR points for 1 night at this beautiful resort. This is perhaps one of the best redemption choices in the entire realm of hotel stays. A standard room at the Park Hyatt can cost $750 to $1,000+ a night so you are getting a 3 to 4 cent value per Hyatt point. An incredible deal in my opinion.
If you do not have Hyatt points to spare or do not have loyalty to the Hyatt program, I would recommend booking a stay on booking.com as there are often cheaper rates through them.
Get the Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card
Update 2019: The Chase World of Hyatt Card is offering 50,000 points now after $6k in 6 months.
Currently, the Chase World of Hyatt Card is offering a whopping 60,000 points after spending $6,000 in 6 months.
It offers 4x Hyatt points on purchases with Hyatt, 2x hyatt points on purchases at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships. This means, you’ll likely have close to 70,000 Hyatt points after meeting the requirements which is almost 3 nights at the Park Hyatt! In addition, there is an annual fee of $95 a year but you get a free night every year at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel which more than offsets this in my opinion. Click here to apply for this card now!
Furthermore, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’re better off putting any non Hyatt purchases on this card as it earns 3x on dining and travel. Because Chase points transfer to Hyatt 1 to 1, it beats the 2x earning potential on the Hyatt card.
For more information on how I get so many points and miles, be sure to read my travel hacking guide which explains everything about credit cards and how to take advantage of the system.
Booking with points means you can only book the Park Villa rooms. You cannot pay more Hyatt points to upgrade to other rooms. Thankfully, the hotel allows you to pay to upgrade to their higher end rooms. This is no slight to the standard Park Villas, which are already incredibly amazing and would be the envy of everyone, but I wanted to experience the overwater life which is what the Maldives is famous for. So I upgraded. The cost to upgrade as of 2019 is as follows (expect this to increase slightly every year):
- Park Pool Villa: $259 per night
- Deluxe Park Pool Villa: $505 per night
- Park Water Villa: $505 per night
- Park Sunset Ocean Pool Villa: $752 per night
The last two are the famous overwater style villas. Not cheap by any means, but the standard price to pay for the Park Water Villa is regularly over $1,000 so consider it a discount because you used points. Also, expect to pay these prices for similarly luxurious and high end brands in the Maldives.
In conclusion, I’ve described my stay as much as I can but it’s one of those things that you just know even 5,000 words can never do it justice. Pictures help too but even then I think it does not paint the full picture. Hadahaa Island is a special place and I could only imagine what the owners thought when they first set eyes on the island before building the resort. It is is one of the most naturally stunning places you’ll ever experience. The fact that the Park Hyatt has made an amazingly beautiful resort is only secondary to appreciating the natural beauty of Hadahaa and the Maldives.
Resorts will continue to get fancier and more upscale, but natural beauty like this will only fade as climate change continues. Come to the Maldives for this reason and leave whatever over-inflated hotel standards you have at home.
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