Bandos: the cheapest (luxury) accommodation in the Maldives
If you are going on a honeymoon in the Maldives and are on a tight budget, is there such thing as cheap resort islands in this world-famous honeymoon destination? Introducing Bandos Maldives – affordable luxury accommodation in the Maldives.
The boat came at 12:30 pm just like it promised. I was in the Maldives for 2 weeks already and this was the third time I was moving to another hotel. I got so used to the long speed boat rides so by the time I was transferring to Bandos, I didn’t feel any different – I was ready for another boat ride. A skinny-looking-fluently-speaking-in-English local helped me with my bags. “This way, madam.” Like India, this side of the world likes using the word madam for women guests.
I took out my jacket and was ready for a wind slamming speed boat ride accompanied by an orange life vest. As soon as we went down the harbor, I was surprised to see a big white with blue-roofed yacht that says Bandos Maldives. Sweet! I wasn’t going to spend time finding a good spot to sleep for the whole ride! The yacht was equipped with airconditioner, a refrigerator, and a mini-bar (literally, a bar bar). On the table, a bottle of champagne was sitting untouched. I was never good at drinking on boats so it’s better to stick with water.
At this point, it’s not even worth it to pour half a drink because Bandos Maldives is just 15 minutes away from the port. And this was one of the things that impressed me.
When I first arrived the Maldives, I flew from Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Singapore, then Male. After that, I had to take a 35-min boat ride to the first hotel I was staying. The minute I arrived, I couldn’t even feel my feet. I say this with so much truth – Bandos Maldives has the best location in the Maldives. A 15-minute boat ride and that’s it. For those of you who’s been to the Maldives, you’ll understand this is a big deal because some of us are really not very good with boats.
Now I know you’re wondering why I am writing that Bandos is a cheap accommodation in Maldives and not even discussing it in the beginning. But first, like many countries, hotel prices in the Maldives depend on seasons. The Maldives is undeniably gorgeous all-year-round, with average temperatures of 23-31 degrees celsius. Still, December and March are called high seasons because of the holidays and the unbearable winter in Europe, USA, and Canada. The high season normally means ‘best time to visit’ but in this case, November and April are still the best months to go to the Maldives because of the bearable temperatures. If you want to spend less and is okay with a little splash of monsoon rains, May – October is the rainy season in the Maldives.
I visited in June, the peak of the monsoon rains and yes, it was pretty rainy. I spent most of my days in the ocean villa but going out was still okay, especially for the surfers.
Bandos Maldives has 7 different room categories: Classic, Standard, Deluxe, Garden Villas, Beach Villas, Beach Pool Villa, and Water Villa. I am not going to discuss the difference between these villas because that’s really tedious. Just go to their website to see the difference. But I can help you choose the best option. After all, these villas have very small price difference. Most of them don’t differ what’s in the hotel room: mini bar, tub, hair dryer, housekeeping – these are things that are normally in luxury resorts and often not maximized by guesst.
If you are coming to the Maldives for a honeymoon, your best choices for cheap accommodation in Maldives are Classic and Standard rooms. They have very little price difference (not more than $30 USD) but the rooms are very beautiful. If you opt for the upper class rooms, the only difference is that these higher-priced accommodations have gardens, beach view, or an outdoor bathroom. But pretty much, everything else is the same. If you have extra $100 – $200 to spend, then go for it!
Remember that whatever room you book, you can use the same amenities as everyone else. Diving is one of the main activities that people visit the Maldives for. You don’t need to be certified in order to do fun dives. Each dive starts at $42 USD. If you’re an experienced diver and only want to rent gears, Bandos offers that too. To see the full price list of diving in Bandos Maldives, click here. If you only want to snorkel, this property has a lot of areas for that – I even saw a lot of baby sharks near the shore. I didn’t have to go that far! Bandos has a lot of beach areas that you can choose from and they’re usually empty.
Night fishing was one of my favourite activities because, in my tour group, I was the only one who was able to catch a fish! I wasn’t expecting to catch one as we only did this tour for fun (and mostly for a sunset cruise) but I ended up getting one! In the end, the kitchen made a dish out of the fish I caught and served it for dinner. I got to catch my own dinner that day and that was pretty amazing! Bandos has a Dhoni, a traditional fishing boat in the Maldives. The dhoni is not only for fishing escapades but also for island hopping experiences. This tour will bring you sailing across the Male Atoll and explore the different islands within Male. Snorkeling, swimming, or just napping at the dhoni are the best highlights of this tour. This full-day tour includes a picnic lunch on the beach. There is also a half-day tour that starts after breakfast and returns to the island resort of Bandos for lunch.
Other activities in the Bandos Maldives include fun-filled watersports experiences such as jetski, water skiing, parasailing, banana boat riding, wakeboard, kneeboard, and fun tubes. All these can be availed at the Bandos Watersports Center but are not included in the price of the stay.
Let me just make this clear: breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet are available when you pay an all-inclusive package in Bandos Maldives.
Meaning, you don’t need to worry about food for the duration of the stay! You may think that not availing food together with the accommodations will be cheaper but most resort islands in the Maldives are private. Meaning, you will not find street vendors or other restaurants than what the resort has. There are 7 different restaurants within Bandos Maldives and my favourite is Umi Yaki, which means ‘Grill by the sea.’ It was a total seafood show from a funny Filipino chef who served me the best menu of the house. This is an open restaurant and there is a sea view so don’t worry about getting a lot of smoke from the grill!
I also liked the Sea Breeze Cafe because it is a large outdoor over-water deck. I got to see the baby sharks while I was having a cocktail for the sunset! The restaurant offers a wide variety of dining options from a la carte offerings such as spaghetti or even authentic Indian curries to alternative fast-food fixes such as pizza and burgers.
Koon Thai Restaurant comes next – an authentic Thai restaurant in Bandos Maldives. Elegantly designed, guests can choose to dine inside or savor the view and gentle breeze outdoors on the deck overlooking the lagoon. Chefs at Koon Thai are very good Thai cuisine chefs from around the world so the quality of the food and the authenticity of the cuisine are ensured.
Other restaurants in the Maldives include the Pool Bar, literally a bar in the middle of the pool. I went here almost every day because I couldn’t take the heat of the sun. This bar has a lot of cocktails and serves snacks as well. Huvan, which means blue skies and calm seas is a dinner venue and is the best place to view the stunning Maldivian sunsets. Located at an enormous sundeck, Huvan’s view is definitely a dinner view worth availing at the Bandos Maldives. You will visit The Gallery Restaurant a lot because this is where breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets happen. If they are to do it in another venue, it will be announced on the whole island resort.
Private dining can also be availed at Bandos Maldives. They set up a dinner for me and my friends by the beach and it was really an experience! We were served by private chefs and had candles all around us. The dark blue sky was also a pleasing view. The Lobster Dinner package is definitely worth the try for honeymooners!
Who would come to the Maldives without having a massage? The Orchid Spa in Bandos was such a treat! After 3 days of stay (I stayed for 7 days), it was so hard to book a massage therapy session at the Orchid because the demand was really high – every guest is booking for a massage! As soon as I was able to secure my appointment, I went to the spa (golf cart service from my villa) and enjoyed a luxury body treatment. After which, I had a 1.5-hour massage. In the beginning, I asked if a room service is possible but they highly encouraged me to visit the spa so I can use other amenities such as the sauna.
It was my birthday weekend during this trip and I am so happy I chose Bandos Maldives for this event!
Do you know a cheap accommodation in Maldives?
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