How does a Luxury Hotel on a Private Island Work? The Guided “Back of House” tour at the Park Hyatt Maldives


The Back of House Tour at the Park Hyatt Maldives generated an interesting look at how a luxury hotel on a private island operates. I certainly had lots of questions: What do they do with all the trash? How to they fix the broken chairs? How is the laundry completed – on site or off site? While an operations tour isn’t something that I’d typically be in to when I would travel, the Park Hyatt Guided Back of House tour was an interesting experience and view into hotel operations.

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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How does a Luxury Hotel on a Private Island Work? The Guided “Back of House” Tour at the Park Hyatt Maldives.

“The Back of House Tour provided insight on how to run a sustainable luxury hotel in a remote and difficult to access location.”

On this visit to the Park Hyatt Maldives, we stayed in a wonderful Park Hyatt Maldives Pool Villa. We also had the opportunity to circumnavigate the Hadahaa Island, took in a back of house tour, explored and snorkled the wonderful Hadahaa house reef, and enjoyed many sunsets on Hadahaa.

For our experience during our last stay, or for a look into some other room configurations, please see here for our time in a Park Hyatt Maldives Park Villa and Park Hyatt Maldives Over Water Villa.

One of the interesting features that the Park Hyatt Maldives had formalized since our last visit is the “back of house” tour. The tour features a walk through of the living areas of the private island, and what it takes to run a hotel in the middle of nowhere. During our visit, the tour was running twice a week in the early afternoon and was offered on a complimentary basis.

The Guided Back of House Tour:

Overall, it’s a pretty impressive effort of what it takes to make all the magic happen. Its easy to be critical about things when travel. Requests don’t get completed, room service arrives cold or late. One thing I learned about the Hadahaa adventure is that the total service experience doesn’t happen by accident. It’s even more staggering when you consider that this place is in the middle of nowhere and everything has to be shipped in at great distances.

Staff Housing at the Park Hyatt Maldives

The back of house is in the center of the island of Hadahaa. The staff compound is in a circular format. There are up to 175 staff working for the Park Hyatt Maldives (including the part time ones; gardners, plumbers etc) and 90 staff living on site. Most of the staff are double, if not dormitory style bunked.

The resort has it’s own waste management facility which includes organic composting, manual separation of all trash for recyclables and solid wastes. Amazingly, someone is sorting all trash from the villas and other areas to minimize the waste footprint.  

How Laundry is Done:

There were giant laundry machines responsible for the crisp sheets in our villas. 

Resort Commercial Laundry Machines
Crisp Laundry Machines
Hotel Villa Sheet Standards

How the Resort gets Power:

The resort is powered by diesel generators that extend power across the island. There are four of them on site, with extras in case mechanical failure. 

Diesel Generators

Where the staff eat and exercise:

There was also an area for general administrative offices a staff canteen for food, in addition to a soccer field for some healthy exercise. 

Staff Cafeteria
Staff Soccer Field
Hadahaa Leegaa Soccer League

What happens to things that break?

Being in the middle of nowhere, all repairs need to be made on site. Staff were repairing office chairs and other assorted pieces of furniture that needed attention. 

The Houseman’s Workshop: Most items need to get repaired instead of replaced

How does the Resort communicate with the outside world?

There was also a large cell tower in the middle of the island for all of the digital communications. They’ve done such a good job hiding this thing, because it’s not visible from other parts of the island unless you are looking for it. Overall, I found the cellular coverage good to very good throughout the villas. I didn’t use Skype or VOIP, or download movies, but the coverage for email was excellent. 

A Cell Tower hidden away in the middle of the Hadahaa Island

Where does the Resort get their drinking water from?

The resort desalinates their own water, instead of bringing in more expensive bottled water. The bottling station uses high temperature washing to clean all the water bottles prior to re-filling them. Any glass bottles that are accidentally broken on site are taken off the island and disposed of by crushing in an organic manner.

Bottled Water Desalination

How I felt that the Back of House Tour generated goodwill:

The back of house tour was a pretty fascinating insight into how the resort runs. It’s probably not something I’d be interested in seeing at every hotel I stayed at. Given the unique remote distance challenges here in the South Maldives, I found the experience to be engaging and fascinating on how they execute a luxury stay in the middle of nowhere. It also built a lot of goodwill on my part towards the staff in how they deal with problems. Many of them have to make substantial sacrifices to move to paradise. The ninety staff have to stay on site since there is no commuting to and from the private island. When they do so, they have to double bunk in order to serve guests, with limited privacy compared to the opposite end of the spectrum for their fortunate guests who get among the most private hotel rooms in the Hyatt franchise. The staff also live in basic accommodations, compared with the luxury that Hyatt aims to achieve for their guests. Indeed, the tour was a terrific look into a day in the life of hotel operations. It’s highly recommended if you happen to stay here and have an interest in the travel industry.

Is the Back of House Tour something you’d be interested in if you were in the Maldives?

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