At Kandolhu immerses you in the art of a deal with their “Spa AI” package. You can relax about a spa splurge and leave behind your worries about a wallet purge:
- “The new offering provide unlimited access to the entire range of spa treatments including VOYA body experiences, YonKa facial treatments, skincare options and a wide range of specialised massages. Skilled therapists personalise daily treatments and activities according to the guests’ wellness needs. By unlimited, no restrictions are applied from visit frequency to type of treatment. Curated instructional videos, Manduka towels and mats, specially designed wellness beverages and healthy mixed fruit plates are provided to all guests booked for this package. A preferred discount is given on all VOYA and Yonka retail products sold at the spa.”
Let your aches and cares melt away instead of your budget.
In the traditional travel market, the term “all inclusive” often connotes a bit of a down market, budget holiday with white-label booze and tired buffets. I often get enquiries that are concerned about the quality of a resort because it has all-inclusive offer. As with so many aspects of luxury, the Maldives destination re-writes the conventional wisdom and the “AI” package is in many cases a cornucopia of luxury.
All-inclusive got its reputation catering to budget travellers who had saved up precisely a certain amount for their vacation and not a penny more. They couldn’t chance facing some big check-out bill of extra charges and still hope to pay the rent the next month. To some degree, the same dynamic takes place in the Maldives…but at an entirely elevated level. For many, a trip to the Maldives is a trip of a lifetime. Celebrating a special occasion like a honeymoon or anniversary or milestone, people splash out their life savings for this bucket list adventure. Despite spending thousands, they too want some bounds on just how much the trip will set them back. So a number of the finest resorts offer AI packages to help plan and contain their expenditure.
And it’s not just about financial planning. It’s also a handy convenience. Write your cheque and then don’t worry about prices or money or signing things at all for your entire holiday. Just let the resort pamper you with all they have on offer.
What is on offer is becoming a bit of an escalating arms race in its own right. When I visited the World Travel Market in London this year, I go around to the resorts exhibiting and ask about their distinctive features and offers. Two properties – Centara Grand and OZEN – claimed to have the “most luxurious” AI package in all the Maldives. And that’s no small claim given some of the extravagant packages on offer including a previous Best of the Maldives post on Lily Beach as well as an impressive rival I uncovered at Kandolhu this summer.
As the various inclusions are a bit of an apple-to-orange comparison, I’ve decided to assemble the summary table above to let you all figure out which opulent omneity best suits your tastes. I haven’t included the pretty standard stuff that many if not most resorts provide FOC to all guests like snorkelling equipment, wifi and use of non-motorised sports facilities.
I’ve also now added the Tag “All Inclusive” to track all of the best AI offers.
‘Luxury’ and ‘All Inclusive’ don’t typically go hand in hand.
All Inclusive resorts have tended towards the budget end of the market where people wanted to have a very defined price for their holiday without risk of overspend. Also, budget conscious travellers value the ‘quantity’ (all you can eat) versus ‘quality’. The problem with having ‘All In’ for premium travellers is that when they want extra wine, it could be £100 per bottle wine. An evenings drinking session could consume more than the cost of the holiday. If you start excluding all the treatments, yacht trips, Blue Label scotches and lobster dinners, then the high end traveller wonders what the point is.
But if you want your cake and eat it too in wanting a 5 star resort with an All In plan, then the Lily Beach is the place to go. Trip Advisor Forum reports and reviews consistently rate it as the highest quality all inclusive resort.
They offer a special ‘Platinum Plan’ which they describe as…
“Keeping the overall concept of ‘Affordable Luxury’ in mind, ‘Platinum Plan’ is a Premium All-Inclusive Plan, offering the discerning traveler absolute value-for-money and a hassle-free holiday with uninhibited enjoyment and peace of mind. Our ‘Platinum Plan’ will delight you with a fantastic array of quality services including premium wines & spirits, sumptuous dining experiences, hand-crafted excursions, sport activities, and much, much more!”
Lily Beach is the place were high rollers can go ‘all in’.
An example of the kinds of questions that TripAdvsior Forum and its experts can help you with was a topic that comes up regularly – ‘All Inclusive’ packages. Many guests are drawn to the notion of all-inclusive so they can truly relax without worrying how much more in ‘extras’ they are going to rack up at the end of their already wallet-biting holiday. But what is included in ‘AI’ packages varies dramatically. Typically, they do include drinks, but some resorts have only a limited selection of drinks available to AI guests and all other drinks are extra. Some activities are included and others are not in places.
According to Spammie, one of the top all-time Maldives destination experts, Athuruga is the premier offering when it comes to ‘all inclusive’…
“to my knowledge, there are only two resorts that will give you “real AI” – without the dreaded exclusions that mount up to a big bill at the end – as their base standard. the newly refurbished Athuruga and its sister island Thudufushi , which is due to close for refurbishment over this summer. depending on when you are planning to go, Athuruga is your only choice.”