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Transport : Airlines

This trip report reviews the Trans Maldavian Airways Seaplane Transfer between the St Regis lounge at Male International Airport to the recently opened St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort.

St Regis staff members will escort you from the lounge to a room, where you have to watch a 5 minute safety movie about the seaplane. From there, it’s a short stroll to the seaplane docks where you can board your plane.

The seaplane transfer to the St Regis resort is operated by Trans Maldivian Airways, the oldest (and currently only) air transfer operator in the country. With a fleet of more than 40 de Havilland Twin Otters, Trans Maldivian Airways manages the largest seaplane operation in the world. The De Havilland Twin Otter is an unpressurized, twin-engine turbine powered aircraft is ideally suited to operate in all conditions and climates. The versatility of this aircraft makes it perform very well on wheels, skis or on floats. The latter, along with the useful short take-off and landing performance, makes it the ideal aircraft for the 1190-island archipelago of the Maldives.

Each seaplane has a crew of 2 pilots and one flight attendant (alias luggage handler), all of them wearing shorts and operating the plane barefoot. The cabin feels remarkably spacious and there are 14 seats for passengers in total, with single seats on one side of the plane and double seats on the other side. Seats are not assigned, so the first ones on board can choose the best seats. There’s no door between the cockpit and the cabin, so you can observe the pilots’ activities when you are not distracted by the awesome views while flying over the atolls. It can get quite hot in the cabin, although some fans cool down the temperature as soon as the seaplane leaves the docks. Also, the seaplane is really loud, and passengers are given ear plugs for their comfort. There are no toilets onboard.

The flight from Male International Airport to the St Regis resort takes around 40 minutes, although it may be 50 minutes in case a stop-over needs to made at another resort to drop-off other passengers. There’s no service onboard, and there’s not much to do, except for enjoying the phenomenal views as you fly over several atolls. For most people, the iconic image of the Maldives is that of a deep blue ocean interspersed by tiny palm islands surrounded by ridiculously clear lagoons and sugar white beaches. The only way to see that breathtaking view of 50 shades of blue is from the air, and although you will catch a few glimpses of the islands from your plane upon landing or departure at Male airport, the best vantage point for the breathtaking panoramas is offered by the seaplanes that take guests to their resorts.

St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort also features in my 10 best new luxury hotels in the Maldives and my top 5 best ultra luxury new hotels in the Maldives.

This review was written by our friends at The Luxury Travel Expert.