Seaplane transfers are definitely the most dramatic way to arrive at your luxury hotel in the Maldives, but these transfers can be eye-wateringly expensive, and some guests prefer not to fly on these little planes as they are concerned about their safety.
Some islands can only be reached by boat, so you may not have the opportunity to transfer by seaplane. In contrast, other islands are so close to the international airport on Malé that taking a seaplane simply isn’t worth it, as it doesn’t save time and costs considerably more.
That said, many island resorts offer the choice between speedboat vs. seaplane transfers, so in this review, we outline the best transfer option, speedboat vs. seaplane.
Wherever you decide to stay, in the Maldives, or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more.
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / late check-out (subject to availability)
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Speedboats tend to offer a cheaper transfer option, and they are great fun. You pick up your speedboat (usually the resort branded speedboat) from the jetty just across the road from the airport terminal. From here, you were whisked off to your hotel. Depending on your resort’s location, you can expect the trip to last anywhere between 15 and 75 minutes.
The big advantage of speedboat transfers, beyond the cheaper price, is what you might spot on the way. You are at sea level so you can view the other islands and also marine wildlife like dolphins as you are transported to your resort.
Several islands can only be reached by seaplane, and it’s sensible to choose the seaplane if you are staying on an island far from the main airports in the Maldives. If you really want to “get away from it all,” then seaplanes are probably your top choice as they enable you to reach islands at the very edge of the Maldives.
The seaplane transfer starts by taking a minibus to the seaplane terminal. Here, you can relax in your resort’s private airport lounge. The planes used for transfers are small, with around 15 passengers and flights tend to be less than an hour. The views are incredible. Looking down upon the tiny atolls scattered in the wildly blue ocean is an unbelievable sight.
The major disadvantage of the seaplane transfer is the luggage limitation. You are restricted to just 44lbs, which may not be enough for all your glam clothing (although do bear in mind that heels are fairly impractical in the sand as they sink, so girls can leave their shoe wardrobe behind).
The main questions that clients of our luxury travel concierge ask when booking into luxury hotels in the Maldives are:
How much does a seaplane transfer cost in the Maldives?
Our answer is that the price of a seaplane transfer varies by the hotel from around $75 to $750 round trip, depending on the hotel and the length of the trip.
Do you have to get on a seaplane to the Maldives?
No. While seaplanes are necessary to get to some far-flung resorts, there are many excellent luxury resorts that offer a speedboat alternative.
What is the best hotel in the Maldives if you want a seaplane transfer?
Great question! Although it is hard to choose, one of our favorites is Soneva Fushi Resort, located in the stunning Baa Atoll island archipelago, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Eco-chic villas are hidden among dense tropical foliage and are the stuff of romantic Robinson Crusoe fantasies. In fact, many are built to resemble tree houses. All open to their own private stretch of sugar-white sands, and most boast their own private seawater swimming pools. Service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers who know what you want before you do!
Located in the Baa Atoll, Kunfunadhoo Island is one of the largest islands in the Maldives. The resort can be reached by a scenic 30-minute seaplane flight direct from Malé International Airport or a 12-minute speedboat ride for guests scheduled on domestic flights at the nearby Dharavandhoo Airport. Soneva Fushi has a private airport lounge exclusively for guests.
Activities include a Six Senses spa, private beach with watersports facilities, bikes to borrow, an observatory, open-air cinema, floodlit tennis court, badminton, snooker table, group yoga, and tai chi classes, jogging trail, board games, ice-cream parlor, library, a stash of CDs and DVDs, free Wi-Fi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, preloaded iPod and dock, binoculars, air-conditioning, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities. The resort can also organize scuba diving, motorized watersports, and local boat trips.
If powder-white sands, crystal clear waters, and understated luxury is what you are looking for, the original desert island honeymoon hideaway of Soneva Fushi will make your dreams come true.
What is the best hotel in the Maldives if you want a speedboat transfer?
Our top pick for the best Maldives resort with speedboat transfers is Four Seasons Resort Maldives, Kuda Huraa which gently rises from a sheet of turquoise. Here, it’s hard to tell where the ocean ends and the sky begins. As captivating beneath the waves as above them, this resort embraces stunning surroundings to bring you closer to the sea and its secrets. Discover the welcoming embrace of a lagoon, flower gardens, a private spa island, and spacious new Beach Pavilion hideaways in a charming village setting, awarded a Five-Star rating by Forbes in 2020.
You can reach the resort by speedboat transfers from Male International Airport, and these cost around $308 USD per adult, round trip, inclusive of all taxes. For children 6 to 12 years, the transfer cost is USD 154 per child, round trip, inclusive of all taxes.
Of course, there is no Four Seasons rewards program, but if you are a regular guest of the Four Seasons or even want to try this iconic brand for the first time, you can take advantage of loyalty style benefits at Four Seasons hotels for no extra cost by booking your next stay via our luxury travel concierge.
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