Review: Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa, Maldives
We set off our arrival in the Maldives by a short stay at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa. While this was a convenient resort to the airport, it wasn’t necessarily the experience that you’d expect when travelling all the way to the Maldives. Despite this, it was a great transfer hotel and we’d easily stay here again if the rates were competitive.
This post is one chapter in our trip to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the Maldives on United Airlines and Etihad Airways. This trip was booked and credited to Aeroplan and Etihad Preferred Guest. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
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Read more from this trip:
- Trip Introduction: The Empty Quarter of the United Arab Emirates, Doha Qatar and Huvadhoo Atoll Maldives via United Airlines and Etihad Airways.
- United Airlines: Vancouver – San Franciso – Washington Dulles
- United Airlines: Washington Dulles – Dubai
- United Airlines: Dubai – Doha
- Oryx Lounge, Doha International Airport, Doha, Qatar
- Etihad Business Class: Doha – Abu Dhabi
- The Grosvenor House, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Qsar Al Sarab, The Empty Quarter, United Arab Emirates
- Qsar Al Sarab, Activities (Camels and Dune Dashing), The Empty Quarter, United Arab Emirates
- Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Getting into the Emirates Palace Hotel & Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi – Malé
- Sheraton Full Moon Resort and Spa, Maldives
- Maldivian Air, Malé – Kadhdhoo – Kooddoo
- Park Hyatt Maldives – Park Villa
- Park Hyatt Maldives – Water Villa
- Visiting an Inhabited Island, Gemanafushi Island, Maldives
- Maldivian Air, Kooddoo – Malé
- Etihad Airways, Malé – Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Airways Pearl Business Lounge, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi – Doha
- Marriott Doha Hotel, Doha, Qatar
- Doha, Qatar
- United Airlines, Doha – Dubai
- Marhaba Lounge, Dubai Terminal 3, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- United Airlines, Dubai – Washington Dulles
- United Airlines, Washington Dulles – Los Angeles – Vancouver
Review: Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa, Furanafushi Island, North Malé Atoll, Maldives
“Quite possibly the nicest airport transfer hotel in the Maldives that happens to be in a resort”
Booking and Getting there:
After deciding on the Maldives as a destination, I went through stacks of research trying to decide what we wanted from our Maldivian experience. In the end, we decided that we wanted a high end resort, with a fabulous house reef for snorkeling, that was away from all the crowds. We didn’t have an unlimited budget either, as it became apparent that a $2,000 per night room could easily be had in this corner of the world. We considered the Four Seasons, the Hilton and the W Hotel however the resort that we ended up booking was the Park Hyatt Maldives – situated about 400 miles away from Male.
Doing further research on blogs and forums, I discovered that arriving to the Park Hyatt from our Etihad Abu Dhabi- Male flight (which arrived at 2:40 PM), meant a resort arrival at 9 PM after all the transfers. I wasn’t keen on that additional travel and transfer time after a 4 1/2 hour flight. We decided to use the Sheraton as an airport transfer hotel, and to enjoy a Cash and Points $300 discount off of the regular room rate of $450 USD per night. As a result booked on a Starwood Preferred Guest Cash and Points rate of 8000 SPG Points + 150$USD per night for a two night stay.
Sheraton Arrival experience:
After arriving from our international flight, we immediately met our greeter outside the secure side of the MLE arrivals hall. After a few turns on a brief walk, we were led out to an awaiting boat tied up. Immediately after stepping outside, you could tell that the water was a wonderful color. The hotel ride was 10 minutes away in a smooth older style 45 foot boat. There were 2 other couples on the inbound boat transfer. It’s also worth noting that there is a $100+ USD charge per person for the fifteen minute boat transfer.
On arrival at the welcome dock, we were seated and given a welcome drink while a small army of hosts processed us. Trying to make the most of our short 2 night stay here, I asked where the house reef or the best snorkeling was to be found on the resort, and was told “Err sir, we do not have a house reef or snorkeling here, but you may find some fish under the water villas”. (Snorkeling Excursions were available for $50 USD PP between 10:00 –12:30 PM most days). The host took the time to explain all the restaurants and features of the resort, including which restaurants required reservations.
The Room: A Deluxe Room, 1 King, Garden View
We were led to a golf cart and shown our room on the far side of the resort (about a 20 minute walk island end to end). With a Cash and Points rate, we had booked a basic Beachfront level room, however we appeared to be have been given an modest upgrade, since we ended up in a nice four plex town home on the second floor at the far end of the resort. These beach front rooms were perfect for families as the rooms provided almost immediate beach access.
Around the Resort:
The Resort itself was much nicer than our last experience at the Sheraton in Abu Dhabi. There were lots of Asian tourists here. It was a basic 5 star experience, but not an over the top 5 luxury star experience. The grounds were nicely landscaped and required raking on a daily basis to collect all the droppings from the trees.
The main swimming pool was pretty garden variety. It was not too exciting. Unlike more modern pools, it had no water view or other modern features like an Infiniti edge to it.
The over water resort villas are popular at this resort. Unfortunately, the villas are situated very close together and do not offer a lot of personal space. As a result, I suspect they may be quite noisy.
House Reef at the Sheraton Maldives:
We did try to find some fish snorkeling. We tried under the water villas as suggested but found the current to be quite strong – in that you had to be continuously paddling in order to maintain a stationary position. We went out for an exhausting swim and over 20 minutes, had only seen 3 fish. We ended up finding more fish on the protected south side of the island. There were some fish, but nowhere near as many as you would hope to have seen for a trip to the Maldives. We perhaps saw 20- 30 fish over 3 snorkeling outings. These dismal photos reflect our snorkeling experience, poor visibility and fish picking away at plankton on the man made artificial wall of the loading dock.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t expect to have a great snorkeling experience in the Maldives from the beach of this particular resort. We didn’t investigate the excursion, so I can’t comment if it’s any better.
Food and Beverage:
Prices for the food were reasonable. Pizzas and pastas were $24-27, meat dishes were $32-37 in the cheaper bistro style restaurants. Draft beer started at $6, wine at $11 a glass or at $50 a bottle. All prices had 10% service charge and 6% government tax added at the end. The prices for food and beverage were expensive but not outrageously so. The strategy here seemed to be a lower price point, but also a lower portion size, which actually was appreciated given the ease of over indulgence at the breakfast buffet. Pack your sunscreen though; SPF aerosol suntan spray in the hotel gift shop was $48 USD.
Despite the slightly better than discounts of food, the bills added up. Our two day stay with food and beverage and taxes, with a Cash and Points rate still totaled $850 USD by the time we checked out. The only other caution here would be that if you are here on Cash and Points there is no other breakfast option other than “Feast” buffet at $24 a person.
Reef Shark Feeding:
The Anchorage bar had a wonderful sunset (there was a thundershower the first night and we missed it). There was reef shark feeding at the bar between 5:30 – 5:45 PM, which was a thrill to see. The shore crabs also emerged after the shark feeding and spent the better part of the evening skittering up and down the shore. I personally have not had a more entertaining bar entertainment experience. Ms WT73 also enjoyed the wine tasting experience at the bar – 3 smaller pours for $15 USD – a steal compared to some of the prices we’d see in the future.
The Anchorage Bar was probably the nicest place on the resort. It featured views over an artificial lagoon, which was peaceful if not still.
The Anchorage Bar had spectacular sunsets. This was one of the best features of the resort.
Summary: Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
In conclusion, the Sheraton was a lovely resort and completely appropriate for families. However, I didn’t find it to be too Maldivian an experience. There was no real authentic Maldivian food and the resort could pass for any other resort in Malaysia or Thailand at half the price. One can see construction cranes and parked container ships from the resort itself. The city lights of Male are easily seen during all evening hours. There are hardly any snorkeling fish that the country is known for. Add in the constant flight of sea and jet planes taking off from the resort during daylight hours, and at times you feel as though you are in the middle of an air bombing raid. Having said that, if I was nearby in BKK or SIN, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly the 4 hours to get here for an easy weekend break. However, I don’t think I would do the same from the Americas where the trip is 25 hrs to stay here, and I don’t think I would stay here unless it was on a Cash and Points or other SPG award. However, the Sheraton did make the perfect transit hotel while headed to another resort in the area. Ultimately, this is probably one of the properties’ best features.
Very close the city – makes for a quick arrival off the plane.
Perfect for use as a transit hotel (despite the $100 pp boat transfer fee)
Perfect for families – with close beach access for the rooms.
Cash and Points offers good value here in my opinion over a hotel stay in Male city.
The resort appears quite well run, despite being a larger volume resort.
Not a very Maldivian experience as it is so close to the city
The resort could pass for any beach front resort (Thailand, Mexico etc.)
The hotel is in the immediate flight takeoff / landing path for MLE airport. Most of your stay will have jets flying overhead.
In the end, we would visit again with the objective of using this place as a transit hotel on our way to another resort in the Maldives. If you visit here with this in mind, you likely won’t be disappointed with any lack of Maldivian Beach or Snorkelling experience.