Review: Maldavian Air DHC-8, Kooddoo – Malé

Sooner or later, all good things most come to an end. We were sad to leave the Park Hyatt Maldives, where we had received excellent treatment over the past four nights and five days. We eventually had to transfer back from Hadahaa Atoll to Malé on Maldivian Air.

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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Review: Maldivian Air DHC-8, Kooddoo – Malé

Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to a wonderful stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives. We headed back with 2 other couples back to GKK and our flight back to MLE.

GKK-MLE (Kooddoo Airport – Nasir Ibrahim Domestic Airport) 
Maldivian Air
Q2 303 – Economy Class (Q)
Oct 17, 2012
Booked: Dash 8 – 300 
Flown: Dash 8 – 300

Again, like many areas in the Maldives, the GKK airport was simple.

Kooddoo Departures
Kooddoo Departures Hall – Public Side

After we had checked in, our hand baggage was individually searched by hand by a charming representative of the Maldivian military. There was not a working X-Ray machine for the cabin baggage when we passed through. 

Kooddoo Departures Lounge – secure side

After a short wait, it was time to board our Dash 8 back up to Malé.

Maldivian Air Boarding

All in all it was a short great flight back up to Male and we were there without any stops.

Hyatt had a representative meet us in MLE to assist us in getting checked in to our return flight home. Unfortunately, with the Maldivian flight schedule, we had 4 hours wait prior to returning home. Hyatt offered us a tour guide to take us into Male, but we would have had to check our bags at our own cost at the Left Luggage at MLE. Since we had about 6 bags at this time, and they wanted $5 per bag, we opted against it. I think we were simply expensed out by that point. It was a pity Hyatt didn’t offer a service to keep the bags at their kiosk or similar. It felt almost a bit of a gouge after we had paid several thousands of dollars to the hotel for food, beverage, accommodation and transfers.

A snack at Aqua Restaurant:

Instead, we opted for a $20 club sandwich at the Aqua airport restaurant. I’ve attached this photograph to show what was the smallest club sandwich ever.

Aqua Airport Restaurant Club Sandwich

The final Maldivan sunsets are not soo good from the MLE Airport Aqua Restaurant in comparison with the others, but still, it’s in the Maldives. 

Final Maldvian Sunsets from Nasir Ibrahim Airport

Given the costs of wine, we had gone lean on our alcohol consumption at the Park Hyatt. I had read that there was only one bar in Male which was situated on the airport island of Hulhumale. Male is otherwise a completely dry city thanks to its Muslim population. Given that we still had several hours to kill, we ended up wandering in search of a drink.

Locating an alcoholic drink in “dry” Malé:

Roller suitcases in tow, we walked about 10 minutes across cobble stoned streets through the air cargo ship yard to the Hulule Island Hotel. It turned out there was a short free shuttle, available from the airport (red and white bus). On arrival, the lobby was packed with various flight crews and stewards. After some pleading with the doorman to watch our bags (he was insistent we pay a $6 fee for self storage) and, a small Rufiyaa tip, we made it to the “Champs” lounge, reportedly the only public, off resort, bar / lounge in the Maldives.  

The Champs Bar, Hulule Hotel

Stepping into the lounge, we entered into a different world. It was like stepping into the drinking parlor where you were in your twenties. There were the tacky alcohol posters, a dart board, frosted mirrored logos above the bar, and stacks of expats’ and travelers killing time surfing the next and reading books on wifi and Kindles. We spent the balance of our time here over a San Miguel draft and a Two Oceans White wine while awaiting our return flight. It was a definite must if you are stuck at MLE awaiting for your homeward flight for several hours. 

A return transfer summarized:

In summary, it was a more reasonable trip back to Malé. The trip was made much easier thanks to being on the same time zone. The fact that we were transferring to an evening flight where we were likely to sleep as much as possible also helped.

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