Review: The Hotel Jen Maldives Malé by Shangri-La, Malé, Maldives


The capital of the Maldives is the city of Malé. Malé is the most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 227,486 and an area of 8.30 square kilometres (3.20 sq mi), it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. With that population comes expensive real estate, which is often translated into higher room rates. For our stopover in Malé, we ended up at the Hotel Jen by Shangri-La. The Shangri La describes Hotel Jen as a “design and lifestyle centric hotels offer cutting-edge tech, flexible spaces and 24/7 everything. So you can maintain your rhythm and make the most out of your stay”. We would end up having a great stay that mostly met all these criteria.

This post is one chapter on our third Round the World trip via South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, the Maldives and India. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport (World of Hyatt) loyalty programs. 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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Hotel Review: The Hotel Jen Maldives Malé by Shangri-La, Malé, Maldives

“Shangri-La’s newest entry into the lifestyle brand offered a great, convenient and hip space in ultra conservative Malé at Hotel Jen Malé, with a terrific breakfast room overlooking leafy streets and an infinity rooftop pool with skyline views”

Booking and Getting There:

Our Singapore Airlines Business Class Singapore – Malé flight arrived around 11 PM. Although it was possible, I opted not to attempt to transfer to the Park Hyatt Maldives that same evening. It is a very long transfer from Malé to the Park Hyatt that typically includes a one hour flight, and a forty five minute boat ride to the resort.

With limited hotel choices on Huluhule or Male, and having previously visited the Traders Bar at the Huluhule Airport hotel, (where many air crews stay – the hotel, not the bar) on our way back from the Park Hyatt Maldives the last time, we opted for the Hotel Jen of the Shangri La chain. The Hotel Jen brand is described as “Shangri-La’s design and lifestyle centric hotels offer cutting-edge tech, flexible spaces and 24/7 everything allowing you to maintain your rhythm and make the most out of your stay.” We had previously stayed at the Sheraton Full Moon Maldives on a short stopover before a transfer to resort hotel in the Maldives, but Sheraton Full Moon Maldives required a $150 per person boat transfer fee which substantially added to the cost of a short stay.

Since there aren’t too many options available on Malé, and no easy way to earn Shangri-La Golden Circle points for a 3,500 Golden Circle Points reward redemption, we ended up paying cash under the Best Available Rate for $335 USD, along with generous taxes and fees at $77.72 USD, for a total of $412.72 USD for one night. Although this was pretty steep, when you consider that nearby resort properties on islands often incur a transfer fee of $150 USD per person (or $300 USD for two), staying at the Hotel Jen in Malé made the most economical sense as there was no transfer fee.

Getting to the Hotel Jen Maldives:

After Maldivian immigration, we were met by a local Hotel Jen representative on the public arrival side of the terminal. Five other travelers (3 groups of us) from the Singapore Airlines flight were spending the night at the Hotel Jen. The meet and greet service and transfer to and from Male from the separate airport island is included in the room rate for all guests.

The Hotel Jen is on the main island capital city of Male, which was not connected to the airport island bt bridge at the time of our visit. We headed to the boat launch, situated adjacent to the Sheraton Full Moon Maldives boat launch. The Hotel Jen uses a dedicated private boat for transfers, instead of the public boat, which ferries everyone else from staff to locals to day trippers across to and from the airport for around $1USD. The Hotel Jen staff loaded our bags and we didn’t have anything baggage related to worry about. 

It was a quick five minute boat ride over from the airport. I happened to notice that the sea here is so clear, that even at 11 PM, you can see right to the bottom of the water from the artificial lights of the airport.

When we arrived at the boat launch in Male, the hotel was a 2 minute walk from the launch. It was just one block back from waterfront street in the same block as the boat launch. Again, the staff completely took care of our bags. The road wasn’t suitable for my rollie thanks to uneven surfaces, so I left it care of the willing Hotel Jen crew. The staff eventually brought up our six bags consisting of several carry ons and a laptop back. Given the airport to shore to hotel to room transfer, I gave a $5 USD tip and they were genuinely happy. They must be used to non tipping guests.

A Welcome by Hotel Jen by Shangri-La

Arriving to The Hotel Jen by Shangri La:

The Hotel Jen Malé by Shangri-La
Ameer Ahmed Magu, Malé, 20096, Maldives

On check in, we received a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe Ocean View view room from our booked base Deluxe Room. I attribute this to our Shangri-La Golden Circle Loyalty Program membership (Gold base level membership). Our room was on the 12th floor, with a view facing north toward airport and the northern atolls. It was a pretty good view. It’s worthwhile to note that the lower floor rooms have obstructed views into other buildings in the area. The hotel didn’t appear to have high levels of occupancy. 

Front Desk Reception at Hotel Jen Malé, Maldives
Hallways of the Hotel Jen

The Room: A Deluxe Ocean View

The Deluxe Ocean View room itself is Hong Kong styled, like many of the other buildings in the Maldives. This means that real estate was at a premium, the rates were expensive, and the room was not very spacious. The hotel room furnishings were upgraded and were in excellent condition. The room was decorated in modern traditional fixtures.

A Deluxe Ocean View with Queen Bed
Pleasant Greens Accent a Queen Bed
A small Desk Area and Flat Screen Television

As seasons Maldivian travelers will know, the entire city of Male is a “dry” city. There isn’t a drop of alcohol publicly available, aside from the few resident expatriates that are allowed to purchase some with their permit. Everyone else seeking a beer, wine or cocktail needs to visit the Traders Bar on the airport island at the Huluhule Airport hotel. The Hotel Jen was also a dry zone, as reminded by the signs in the room. 

The Hotel is a “Dry” Alcohol Free Zone

The Washroom:

The shower featured a rain shower. As far as comfort and noise, the room itself was very quiet, thanks in part to an absence of an abundance of cars on the island. A Golden Circle welcome amenity was offered to us as a published benefit in the form of welcome fruit in the in room fridge. 

A Rain Shower in the Center of the Room
A Refreshed Bathroom with Single Vanity sink

A Room with A View:

We had some nice morning views on sunrise the next morning. Although we were in an Deluxe Ocean View room, the view is somewhat between structures between the hotel and the water just one block in.

A Twelfth floor Deluxe Ocean View room (between buildings)

I found it particularly neat to see the atolls from far away from our hotel room that is so typical of beach views within the Maldives.

Views of Atolls of the Maldives in the Distance on the Horizon

Around the Hotel:

The Lime Restaurant in Hotel Jen:

We were up sold to the breakfast buffet on check in at the front desk. It was offered at $21 USD if purchased in advance, and $27 USD on day of based on a walk in at the restaurant. This turned out to be quite a bargain considering the comparative food costs at hotel properties in the Maldives.

The Lime Restaurant breakfast room in the Hotel Jen turned out to be a beautiful breakfast room that was much better than expected. With a charming view of the quaint quiet street below, the breakfast setting featured the usual favorites: buffet, asian, omlette station and the Maldivian Tuna Manushi that I had missed for two years since my last visit. 

Lime Restaurant Floor to Ceiling Windows
View of the Leafy Local Streets from Lime Restaurant
Breakfast Buffet: Lime Restaurant
A Breakfast Buffet

The food was exceptionally spicy. It was not toned down for international clientele. I throughly enjoyed it once I put the fire out in my mouth. Our experience here was very genuine and there were many Maldivian diners in the restaurant, in addition to some Indian staff. 

Before we headed out for the day, we checked out the rest of the hotel.

Outdoor Pool

The Hotel Jen featured an infinity pool on the roof top. While we took a sneak peek the night we arrived, it looked ever more inviting today in the sunlight. It was pretty amazing to have a small Infinity pool on a roof top,, but it was a really terrific feature if you happened to be stuck here on a layover or needed somewhere to wind up a work day.

Hotel Jen Rooftop Infinity Pool
Hotel Jen Rooftop Infinity Pool Views over Malé

The pool at night is an intimate roof top place, with city lights views

Night Time Pool Views overlooking the lights of Nasir Ibrahim International Airport
Roof Top Lounge Space

Recreation Center:

There was also a small gym available for those needing a quick workout. There was one of everything needed for a proper hotel workout.

One of Everything for a Workout

The Bottom Line: Our stay experience with The Hotel Jen Malé by Shangri – La

The bottom line was that we were well taken care of at the Hotel Jen. The rooms are New York sized, with room rates to match. However, the convenience of being met on arrival and taken into Male for a comfortable stay in a unique property in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, along with warm hospitality made for a great stay experience. The added benefit of being able to sightsee around Male in conjunction with your stay before transferring to your resort turned a good stay experience into a great one. I would easily chose this property again as a transfer hotel prior to a journey to a resort in the Maldives.

If you’ve stayed at The Hotel Jen Malé, did you find it a reasonable alternative from staying at a resort hotel near Malé ?

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