Before entering the world of Points and Miles, I knew the Maldives existed, but I paid no attention to the destination as it seemed out of reach. After diligently collecting points for 11 months, I booked this trip in November 2022!
The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort was a wonderful stay and lived up to all of our expectations; let’s take a look at my review of the resort so you know what to expect before your next stay.
This booking was initially made with a mass of Marriott Bonvoy points, but I jumped at the opportunity when availability presented itself at a favorable industry rate. Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points still offers great value at this property. For example, when looking at bookings for September 2024, most days offer over 2 cents CAD per point in value.
Interestingly, you can find nights here under 100,000 points per night, which makes them eligible for booking with an 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy Free Night Certificate by topping up your free night with up to 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can acquire 85,000 free night certificates by holding the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card (US) or the Ritz Carlton card issued by Chase. Note that you can’t apply for the Ritz credit card anymore; you must product switch from a Chase-issued Marriott card if you are interested.
Arrival at Male International was relatively easy as we were on the first flight of the day. We enjoyed a solid experience on Gulf Air business class, and being the first flight, we avoided what can be a chaotic immigration process at times when landing at Velana International Airport.
As soon as we collected our baggage, we proceeded through glass sliding doors and were met by an airport butler holding an iPad with the St Regis Logo.
He offered us the option to leave any suitcases behind at the airport, which we took him up on, as each passenger is only allowed to have 30kg of luggage total when you board the seaplane. As we tied this trip in with a visit to Oktoberfest in Munich, we didn’t need our pants and sweaters for the beach. The cost was around $30 USD for the five days of storage at the airport.
Once that task was completed, the butler helped us weigh our luggage with the Trans Maldivian Airways desk and brought us to a St Regis-branded Land Cruiser.
The SUV is outfitted with wifi should you need it, but we use Google Fi, which includes unlimited data abroad. The interior is not extravagant (it’s still a Toyota!), but a private transfer is always a plus compared to the shared busses most resorts use.
Our butler was quite chatty on the way to the seaplane terminal, making many recommendations for activities and places to eat at the St Regis Maldives. During the ride, he excused himself from the conversation a few times to make arrangements for our seaplane transfer.
After the seaplane arrangements were completed, the airport butler showed us a custom-made video by our resort butler on an iPad, welcoming us to the St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort by name. It was an amazing detail that went above and beyond our expectations.
After arriving at the seaplane terminal, we took the elevator and waited for our seaplane transfer in the St Regis lounge called The Great Room.
Inside, there’s ample seating, a children’s play area, meeting spaces, and an outdoor balcony overlooking the seaplane boarding area.
We didn’t spend long here as the seaplane was quickly ready for departure. Before leaving the lounge, we were given our boarding passes and offered earplugs, which I highly recommend accepting.
After a quick safety demonstration in the boarding lounge, we walked out to our seaplane! We had seats directly behind the pilots, which was very cool, and I highly recommend them if you can choose.
We arrived after 45 minutes in the air, with some fantastic views, and one stop at another resort.
Waving staff greeted us as we exited the seaplane and were directed to a table with fresh coconut water. After a few minutes of sipping and enjoying the view, our butler introduced himself and invited us for a resort tour.
Once we arrived at the villa, he took a deposit for activities and dining charges of $2,500 USD. All payments for room charges and seaplane transfer were completed three weeks ago. The seaplane transportation costs $808 USD per person for the round trip. Compared to other resorts in the area, such as the W Maldives, the seaplane cost is more expensive but an unavoidable cost of visiting the Maldives.
If you are looking to reduce seaplane costs, consider charging it to a card that allows redeeming points against travel purchases, such as the Scotiabank Gold American Express card.
This St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is located near the southern point of inhabited islands on the Dhaalu Atoll.
This limits the ability to do some activities, such as whale shark exploration. According to our butler, they are more commonly found in the northern waters, which means a long boat ride from the St Regis Maldives Vommuli resort.
Room – Two Bedroom Ocean Villa
As we wanted to experience two different room types, we booked our first two nights in a Two Bedroom Ocean Villa, followed by three nights in an Overwater Sunrise Bungalow.
The entrance to the villa was somewhat hidden in the trees, and the view of the villa was more spectacular from the ocean side.
The villa had a great location on the resort, and it was easy to access the house reef from our deck, which has far more sea life than the lagoon. For reference, we stayed in Villa 205.
The two-bedroom villa was extravagant, and the amount of space we had was incomparable to any hotel we had stayed in before. It was particularly magical to have direct ocean access and a second level to watch the waves come in.
The second bedroom is on the upper level and features two queen beds, an outdoor wraparound deck, and a full bathroom with a tub and shower.
The amenities of the wine fridge, mini bar, lifejackets, and sun hats were the same as the main bedroom on the lower level.
The stairs to get down to the main bedroom are on the “exterior” of the villa, so a keycard is required to access either room.
The villa gave the impression it was set up for a younger family, where the kids could be self-sufficient upstairs while parents could enjoy some quiet time on the main level.
Upon entering the main bedroom, you’re greeted with a side table and a large desk.
Beyond the desk on the opposite wall is the same minibar as the upper level, but with the inclusion of alcohol.
A bar cart was also available, containing a wide selection of bottled spirits for purchase.
Moving to the sitting area, we found a bottle of champagne and some sweet treats waiting for us!
The sitting area was elegantly appointed, and the ocean view and the crashing waves made this villa extra special.
The king-size bed was the main focal point of the room. The bedside tables were oversized and included universal plugs for electronics. The entire room, from the temperature to the lights and TV, is controlled by an iPad, also located on the bedside.
The ensuite ran the entire length of the villa and included a tub, beauty table, shower, and water closet.
The vanity features double sinks with high quality and expertly placed amenities.
The closet was at the end of the ensuite and had sandals neatly arranged and ready for use.
Leaving the closet and walking through the hallway with the desk and artwork gave an excellent view of the room.
Moving to the exterior amenities, we were treated to an oversized deck, a private pool, many seating options, and direct ocean access.
Venturing into the ocean gives a great view of the villa and its overall size. It was a surreal moment that we had the whole place to ourselves.
The only issue with ocean access rather than lagoon access is lots of dead coral and other debris washing up first thing in the morning. The debris makes for a challenging walk, and water shoes become essential. The lone positive is that occasionally, you get something fascinating to look at! The staff did a great job of cleaning up the beach, as all the debris was gone by about 2:00 pm.
Room – Overwater Sunrise Bungalow
We were lucky and able to have our pick of multiple room types spread across two bookings. We figured it would be a shame to visit the Maldives and not experience the magic of an overwater bungalow.
We checked into Villa 505 and had a sunrise view, which was perfect as most other evenings were spent at the Whale Bar, which had the best view of the sunset on the resort.
Arriving at our home for the next three nights, we got the iconic crystal blue water view.
All villas have complimentary numbered bicycles available to explore the island.
The interior amenities were essentially the same between both villas. We had a similar sitting area and workspace as you walked into the overwater room.
Behind the workspace was an identical mini bar to what was in the two-bedroom unit.
The closet in this unit was significantly smaller but was easily large enough for both of us. Also in the closet was a vanity table.
The sitting area and bedroom were beside each other, providing great lagoon views. The glass behind the rocking chair opened like a sliding door, allowing incredible views of the perfect blue water.
The bathroom was accessible via the bedroom and the closet, and it had a vanity identical to what we experienced in the larger villa. There was also a tub, which was in a better location than the 2-bedroom unit.
The rest of the bathroom featured identical amenities including a walk-in shower and water closet. The main difference in amenities is that the robes were noticeably different. In the two-bedroom villa, the robes featured a faux fur lining; these were more basic bathrobes.
Our outdoor space in this villa was so inviting we spent as much time as possible on the deck.
These lounge chairs had an umbrella, so they were more inviting than those in the two-bedroom villa. They also had perfectly folded towels waiting for us, whereas the two-bedroom unit did not. Next to the chairs is some netting meant to relax in, but when we tried it out, it proved rather difficult to stand up! If you’re looking for some entertainment or want to see if you’re more physically fit than me, give it a go! 😜
On the opposite side of the deck is a day bed and the stairs to access the lagoon.
The private pool was much larger in the overwater bungalow. We spent almost an entire afternoon here enjoying the views and relaxing in the fantastic surroundings.
The last feature of the outdoor deck is the spaces on either side of the bungalow. They allow for water views, and you’ll occasionally catch some sea life, but there are more populated areas around the resort. They work better than a glass floor in the bungalows, as in some other resorts.
My only complaint about the overwater bungalow is that the internet was significantly slower than in the two-bed villa. But when you’re in the Maldives, does that matter? 🙂
There are six dining establishments at the St. Regis Maldives, and seven if you count the private dining options. We were lucky to sample the private dining but did not get a chance to try T-Pan, the newest addition to the resort.
Alba – Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Complimentary Breakfast
Alba is the sole restaurant at the St Regis Maldives that serves breakfast daily. As Marriott Bonvoy Titanium elite members, we enjoyed complimentary breakfast rather than paying the standard cost of $80 USD per person daily. As we had four breakfasts, the status added a value of $640 USD or $864 CAD.
The good news for those without Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status or higher is that it can now be easily achieved thanks to the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card. You will need an ITIN or SSN to apply, but if it’s your first US Amex credit card, it’s relatively easy to acquire. If you don’t have an ITIN yet, learn how you can get access to US credit cards as a Canadian.
Breakfast is served from 7:00 am until 10:30 am, so you can’t sleep in too late, but the atmosphere is so relaxing it’s almost as good as a few extra zzz’s. The breakfast selection is vast, and mimosas are served liberally, so even if you do end up paying the $80 USD charge, it’s not for a skimpy meal.
The buffet has a vast selection, ranging from Western options to traditional Asian dishes, even a traditional Maldivian breakfast, which was a highlight for us. If you’d rather not lift a finger during your breakfast, egg dishes are available a la carte and delivered to your table at no extra charge.
There’s also a station for fresh crepes and superfood bowls. The crepe with Nutella and carmelized banana quickly became our breakfast staple!
As mentioned, the drinks are flowing at breakfast if you want them to be. On our first morning, I requested a Grapefruit Mimosa and was brought a Grapefruit juice with Vodka. While it was appreciated, I was looking for something lighter, so I clarified what I was looking for and then received the correct drink.
We were left with two drinks for myself and my wife’s mimosa before any food had been delivered! Note that the mimosas are about 80% Prosecco, so they will catch up to you quickly.
As for coffee and tea, espresso beverages are included in the daily buffet price. Takeaway espresso beverages are also included, which we took advantage of most days.
The staff at breakfast was largely the same every day. By the second day, they were able to recognize us and address us by name, which was a very personal service. We received a special brownie/cake on our anniversary and the last morning after our meal. It was some of the best hospitality I have experienced.
You will also find some hospitality from the local wildlife! A fruitbat dropped the nut he was trying to crack onto our table one morning. They like to hang out in the trees above the outdoor dining area.
For Alba’s dinner service, they offer an Indian and Italian menu. We ate here the first night, as our butler ensured we could sample all the restaurants at least once, except for T-Pan.
The dinner service started with an amuse-bouche, followed by our choices of Malai Brocolli, Garlic Naan, Jeera Rice, and Butter Chicken. The choices for water are still or sparkling, both of which are bottled and priced at $14 USD each. Ensure you hydrate before dining, as the villa bottled water is free!
While it was a delicious meal, we felt this was the least exciting of the dining choices. Don’t feel the need to include this restaurant in your itinerary, as Cargo and Orientale are superior.
Crust & Craft
This is the resort’s beachside lunch spot. Here, you get to dine with your toes in the sand and view of the lagoon. Alba also offers lunch, but I think Crust & Craft is superior.
Their menu has upscale burgers and pizzas, or you can choose your own ingredients for a pizza. We opted for the Egg Bruschetta and Lobster Burger, which were exquisite and unique to this restaurant.
Instead of a Sabrage ceremony our first night, Crust and Craft hosted a cocktail hour. There were a few light bites and complimentary cocktails.
We loved our evening at Cargo. It’s a change of pace from the ocean to more of a jungle setting, which was more inspiring than we thought it would be. The menu is Middle Eastern-based, which means lots of barbequed meats, always a great thing!
The entrance to Cargo is beautiful; you walk into a heavily treed area with lamps guiding your way. Perhaps it’s the sand flooring, but this restaurant was a memorable dining experience.
We chose to share the Meat Platter, which came with rice and was more than enough food for two. We also sampled a couple of cocktails, which were delightful.
The restaurant also brings cold towels to help cool down during your meal. We loved the cold towels and had the same experience at Orientale. Servers were happy to bring more on request as well.
This is the spot to go if you’re looking for sushi during your stay. The restaurant’s architecture is impressive and visually appealing as you approach it.
The modern theme also continues inside, with sharp angles and unique lighting. Depending on where you sit, you can even catch a glimpse of your sushi being prepared.
There was also a unique handwashing ceremony every table had the option to partake in. This added even more character to a restaurant already full of it.
Dinner started with an amuse-bouche and some delicious salmon rolls. We also enjoyed some vegetable fried rice, but it was so delicious it didn’t last for a picture!
Orientale and Cargo made such a great impression that we would skip dinner at Alba and dine twice at one or both!
The Whale Bar
The Whale Bar is the most iconic structure at the St Regis Maldives, and for good reason. It’s enormous, beautiful, and indeed looks like a whale.
As you get closer to the entrance, it only gets more interesting as the sunset bounces off its rounded edges.
The Whale Bar is where the famed Sabrage takes place, which is a St Regis tradition that celebrates the changing from day into night. We’ve been lucky enough to experience this tradition at a few properties; while the St Regis Kanai was special, this ceremony’s dramatic music and jaw-dropping background take the cake.
The Whale Bar offers steak, burgers, and other Western-influenced dishes, but before dinner during sunset is the best time to be here. However, unlike all other St Regis properties (that I’m aware of), the Sabrage champagne is not complimentary. Instead, this property sells it for $35 per glass; only four glasses are available.
Considering cocktails are about $10 less than that, we opted to indulge in a couple of those some nights before heading off to our dinner reservation. A small selection of complimentary elevated snacks is served while you enjoy the views, even if you don’t order any drinks.
As the sun went down, the views from The Whale Bar became even more extraordinary. This is an activity that I would say is a must-do every night. It’s such a unique and special experience to watch the sun go down over the ocean unobstructed.
T-Pan was the only restaurant we opted not to eat at. They are open for lunch on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and daily dinner service except Sunday.
The menu is Maldivian and Japanese-inspired, which sounds lovely and extravagant but has an extravagant price tag. Starting at $350 USD for a set menu, we opted for the private dining option instead.
This was easily the most expensive dinner for two we have ever had, but it was worth every penny. We opted for the Starlight Dinner package, which includes a set menu of meats freshly barbequed on the beach, salads, sides, and more food than you need for an evening!
Our beach dining took place on the arrival jetty beach, which was lucky because it’s the best beach to host the dinner. The next evening, there were four private dinings, and some unlucky couple was placed on the lagoon beach. While I’m sure it was still wonderful, we saw them as we were biking along the villa jetty. It clearly wasn’t as private of a setting.
If you opt for this ultra-lux experience, be flexible with your schedule and request the arrival jetty beach for your private dining experience.
Facilities & Service
When we booked this vacation, we were a bit concerned about being bored as the St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is fairly small, and we tend to enjoy “busy” vacations with full itineraries. For us, the time at this resort really flew by, and we wished we had a couple more days to soak in the relaxed atmosphere.
As you’re in the middle of the Indian Ocean, several water activities are available. There are more than enough snorkeling spots around the resort to check out, so many that we didn’t get to see all of them.
There’s a great route from the dive center, where the current takes you over the house reef and around the Whale Bar to the main beach. From our first villa, we could walk into the ocean, swim the route, and then request a golf cart or walk back to the room.
Swimming around the Whale Bar can be intimidating as you’re right next to the “drop-off” where the ocean really starts. Taking a peek over the edge is where some of the best snorkeling is, though an abundance of life calls the wall to the ocean floor home.
To get your snorkel gear, simply head to the dive center, where you sign a waiver and acknowledge there will be a charge if you lose any of the equipment. The gear comes with easy-to-carry bags, making it easy to bring the gear to start a snorkeling trip from different parts of the resort.
If you’re not a strong swimmer, guides will pull you along as you observe the sea life below.
When we moved to the overwater bungalow, there was less snorkeling in the immediate vicinity, but we did manage to see a ray vacuuming up some sand, which was cool to witness.
We only purchased one excursion during our time at the resort, the Turtle Quest. We saw three turtles during our outing, which was amazing but didn’t add significant value to our time at the resort. The excursion took place with about ten other guests and included two snorkeling locations over reefs.
The boat doesn’t stop over the reefs, so you’ll swim through about 100 yards of open ocean before arriving at the sea wall, where things feel more secure. As a moderate swimmer, those moments were a bit terrifying!
For guests that prefer land, there’s quite a lot to do between biking around the resort, checking out the culinary garden, taking in the views from the observation deck in the gift shop, or enjoying a book in the library.
On rainy days (thankfully, we didn’t have any), the Vommuli House is the place to be. There’s lots of entertainment, including board games, foosball, air hockey, billiards, video games, and ping pong.
Next to Vommuli house is the tennis court. I wish we had a chance to use this, as the tennis pro is quite friendly and was happy to chat when we stopped by for a photo. It’s also a gorgeous setting in which to play a game.
My final recommendation for an activity is to wake up early and take in the sunrise at least once. We were lucky to be on the sunrise side, so this was an easy task. As you can see, it’s stunning.
As expected from a St. Regis property, the service was excellent, but this was at another level. Whenever a staff member greets a guest, they always put their hand over their heart, I assume as a sign of sincerity. All the staff were consistent in the practice; their dedication to the greeting was impressive.
The staff were also expert photographers; no matter who took the photo, it always had perfect lighting and posing.
Turn-down service was always prompt to replace any coffee or water we used throughout the day and deliver fresh pool/beach towels. They also arranged our toiletries and my watches and had fun with extra beach towels!
The unpacking service offered by the St Regis Butler service was convenient when we moved villas. We had packed everything and then set off on our day of snorkeling and avoiding responsibilities. Everything was perfectly placed in the closet and drawers when we returned to change for dinner.
My last note about service was the special surprises we received on our anniversary. The resort asked in advance if we were celebrating anything, and for good reason! They made our wedding anniversary extra memorable.
The fitness center is located at the Vommuli House and offers classes and an open gym. I brought my gym clothes with the best intentions but never made it here for anything but a photo…
The truth is, if you’re swimming most of the day, it’s a workout in itself! The personal trainers at the reception desk are happy to show you around and chat about their services. Classes include boxing and acro yoga, which could be great activities for a rainy day.
We didn’t spend time in the pool as the ocean is so inviting, but it’s beautifully designed and provides a nice view during breakfast. There’s also a shallow “kids” pool, but I think it’s designed for toddlers. There are changing rooms and bathrooms located just behind the main pool area. The pool is especially beautiful at night.
The Iridium Spa is beautiful; from above, it’s shaped like a lobster, tying into the Whale Bar. Sadly, we couldn’t find the time for a proper visit, but I managed to bike over for some photos.
The St. Regis Maldives is the most luxurious and extravagant resort I have been lucky to stay at. Earlier in 2023, we stayed at the St. Regis Kanai, just south of Cancun. I made the comparison that it was like an easier-to-access Maldives, and it kind of is. But nothing compares to the Maldives.
In what we thought could be a one-and-done destination, we plan to return to one of the many resorts in the beautiful island nation. I hope my review has inspired you to plan a vacation to one of the most unique destinations!
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